Jossi Wells Returns
Two droughts ended at XG Aspen 2016 when Jossi Wells won the Men's Ski Slopestyle competition: He gave his home country of New Zealand its first X Games gold medal in 19 years, and his victory came in his 24th competition start. It was the most competition starts before striking gold of any winter athlete, ever.
Stormy conditions rattled some of the favorites, but Wells -- the oldest in the field at a then 25 -- was creative and flawless. "I skied the run that I had been planning, and it didn't matter that the weather was bad," Wells says. "I honestly didn't even notice the weather. When it comes to things like that, we're all in the same boat."
Barely a year earlier, Wells broke his C5 and suffered a stress fracture to his C7. The doctor said he was one of the luckiest patients he had ever seen because the bone was almost touching his spinal cord. In the end, he only missed four months, though it was long enough for Wells. "Coming back from that neck injury where I had all that time off, I really took a look at what I hadn't done yet," he explains. "I hadn't won gold, and it became a really big goal."
The oldest of four brothers who have all skied competitively, Jossi first came to X Games back in 2007 at age 16. In a sport with high turnover and brief careers, he hasn't missed a winter event since. He's reaching some rare air, with 25 competition starts, two starts short of the most competition starts ever at a winter X Games event (which Seth Wescott owns). He's also got skate skills to pay the bills. (See above).
Jossi Wells returns for X Games Aspen 2017, with an automatic invite to compete in Men's Ski Slopestyle. Qualifying for the event begins at 12:30 p.m. MT on Thurs., Jan. 26.
Follow Jossi Wells on Instagram for the latest on his upcoming skateboarding career, black and white photos, and oh yeah, freeskiing.