Scaling new perspectives

Like many Swedes, Johan Jonsson was introduced to skiing before he could tie his own shoelaces, and long before he could appreciate the gift his parents were sharing. Those early days have led to a life full of skiing, and unlike many of his friends, his love for the sport hasn’t faded over time, instead it’s grown stronger with each new seasons snowfall.

Photo: Bea Tander Gellerbrant

— To me, skiing is this multiple joy with infinite perspectives. I’m constantly aware that I’m able to appreciate the happiness I get from the everyday mini-adventures, as well as the multi-day mission into the biggest terrain. Variety is the spice of life, I guess, and if it only included small or big days I may have tired of skiing. These days I just want to do more, of everything, every year!

Early promise on skis led to a place in the alpine race academy in Malung, the nurturing ground to many of Sweden’s elite ski racers, but as the edges and elbows got sharper, the calling towards deep, soft snow and wide skis got ever louder, finally becoming a chorus following his first trip to Canada and the USA. A life of razor sharp edges, icy slopes and speed suits was left behind.

— I’m incredibly happy that I have a racing background, but I’m even happier I found something else to do with skis. Today, to be skiing is, of course, a big part of my mountain life, but I very rarely think of what’s under my feet. To me, my skis are merely a form of transportation that will let me access places I want to experience. Sometimes that will be the season’s first turns on my small local ski hill behind my house. Sometimes it will be a bucket list first decent, deep in a national park above the arctic circle. And sometimes, actually quite often, it will be the twelfth lap of the day on my favorite ski run in Engelberg, getting air on the exact same jumps and cliffs each lap.

The sense for exploration has always been a big driver in his skiing career, but the last few years those exploring missions have taken a different twist.

Photo: Bea Tander Gellerbrant

— Maybe it’s age, experience, or a combination of factors but I’m amazed at how much new terrain it’s possible to discover if you tweak your mindset and perspective on the word “traveling”, even just a little bit. I may have lost all my status and cards with various airlines, but thanks to that tweak I’ve seen and been able to experience more new places. “A day of traveling is a day you don’t ski” a friend once said to me, and that’s very true. So instead of flying to the other side of the globe to seek out a new mountain, I’ve used that time to hike further and do small drives or take a train to locations that I haven’t been too previously. To me the joy of exploration isn’t ever about how many time zones I’ve passed, but when I stand somewhere new.

Photos: Frank Shine

But new doesn’t have to be the be all and end all either. It may sound a little contrived, especially when melted in with our social media driven lives, but Johan claims that what makes him happy, what makes him breathe, is basically all that’s outside.

Photo: Frank Shine

— Since I’m less and less comfortable with traveling far to go skiing, I became very comfortable in finding my energy in everyday adventures. Big or small. Once you get a little distance from the globetrotter lifestyle you realise that you can hear your nearby mountains call your name, louder than ever, and much clearer than those far, far away.