Jossi Wells wins top snow sports award
After 10 years kicking around at the top of the world in his sport, Wanaka freeskier Jossi Wells, 26, ticked off a career goal in Aspen in January when he won an X-Games slopestyle gold medal.
It capped a remarkable comeback from a broken neck in 2014 and earned Wells his third Snow Sports NZ overall athlete of the year award on Saturday.
The awards acknowledged the achievements of snow sports athletes during the 2015/16 Northern Hemisphere season and the 2016 Southern Hemisphere season.
They were delivered in 12 categories to adaptive, developing and elite athletes competing in events such as World Cups, Winter Youth Olympics, Freeride World Qualifier Tours and the X Games.
Wells is regarded as New Zealand’s most successful and versatile winter athlete.
He is the oldest of Stacey and Bruce Wells’ four free-skiing sons (the others are Byron, Beau James and Jackson) and they are coached by their father.
The Olympian and six-time X Games medallist learned to ski at Cardrona when he was two years old and has been making waves in the freeski world since he was nine.
Wells started out as a ski racer but switched to freeskiing when he was 15.
He has now won medals in all three X Games freeski disciplines – big air, halfpipe, slopestyle – and was the only athlete to compete in both halfpipe and slopestyle at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, placing fourth in halfpipe.
The guest speaker was US snow board coach Bud Keene.
Instructor of the Year: Justin Stoddard (Auckland); Men’s Masters Ski Racing Champion: Jon Wardrop (Auckland); Women’s Masters Ski Racing Champion: Bonny Teat (Wanaka); Coach of the Year: Sean Thompson (Queenstown); Breakthrough Season: Finn Bilous (Wanaka); Cross Country Athlete of the Year: Campbell Wright (Wanaka); Alpine Ski Racer Athlete of the Year: Willis Feasey (Twizel); Adaptive Snow Sports Athlete of the Year: Corey Peters (New Plymouth); Freeride Athlete of the Year: Sam Lee (Wanaka); Snowboarder of the Year: Christy Prior (Kaukapakapa); Freeskier of the Year and Overall Athlete: Jossi Wells (Wanaka).
Wanaka freeskier Jossi Wells is Snow Sports NZ’s overall athlete of the year.