From Tess Johnson on the current season, recent highlights, updates, and more:
It’s pretty crazy that spring is right around the corner from one of the most amazing winters I’ve experienced in Colorado. I hope you’ve all had the opportunity to take advantage of all the spectacular skiing! To refresh your memory, my name is Tess Johnson, and I’m The Inn at Riverwalk’s resident professional freestyle skier on the US Ski Team. I grew up in Edwards, Colorado right up the road from The Inn, and my journey began at two years old at Beaver Creek where I eventually skied my way to the 2018 Olympics and the FIS Moguls World Cup Tour.
This season has been a rollercoaster for me with minor injuries, incredible pow days, moments of triumph and feelings of defeat, but I’m incredibly grateful to do it all with the support of the Vail Valley and the Inn at Riverwalk. While it hasn’t been my best season to date in terms of results, I’m finding confidence in my process and taking small steps everyday toward the way I want to perform. Whether that be competing with a new trick package, taking risks with my speed, or adding a grab to one of my hardest aerial maneuvers, I’m quite proud of the way I’ve skied this year.
On Traveling the World, Competition-Style
As a professional athlete, I’m constantly relearning this always relevant lesson: focus on the controllables and trust your process. In a judged individual sport like freestyle mogul skiing, it’s easy to dwell on the outcome and things beyond my reach, but I’m keeping my eyes on what I can control. Regardless, I’m exceptionally proud of my performances in Deer Valley, Utah and Alp d’Huez, France where I placed 7th in both events. My family was even able to be in Deer Valley cheering me on, which is always enough to fill my heart to the brim.
Competitions aside, this winter has been so fun! With COVID protocols lifted, we can finally enjoy the abundance of life experiences beyond the slopes that this wild journey has to offer. Powder skiing with friends and family in Colorado, a floating sauna experience in the fjords of Oslo, exploring European cities like Geneva and mountain towns like Valmalenco or Alp d’Huez — these are just a few of my favorite moments from this season. While I do pour blood, sweat, and tears into this sport to be where I am today, I also acknowledge the immense privilege it is to even be able to have a platform to write about moments like these, and I certainly couldn’t do any of it without the Vail Valley community by my side.
Ski Days at Home in the Vail Valley
The few breaks in our competition schedule this winter have provided beautiful opportunities to enjoy all the powder days at Vail and Beaver Creek. January 18th was possibly one of the best days of skiing I’ve had in my entire life! I started the day with some productive training at Golden Peak on the “Dark Side” (the Ski and Snowboard Club Vail mogul course on which I train when I’m in town – it’s visible from the base of the mountain), had a delicious lunch at Mountain Standard in Vail Village with my sister, and went back out with her to enjoy at least eight runs of free refills. It was dumping so hard, there was more snow every run we skied. There really is no better feeling than waist deep turns and face-shots in the back bowls at Vail. I think it’s my favorite place to ski in the world no matter the conditions, but I’m especially stoked when two feet of fluffy, Colorado snow blankets the slopes perfectly. It’s hard not to smile even just thinking about it!
What's Coming Up:
For the past couple of weeks I’ve been skiing (both training and freeskiing) in preparation for the last few competitions of the season. I’m currently in Utah training with my US Ski Team teammates for the World Cup Finals in Almaty, Kazakhstan. It’s a very interesting time to be traveling to this part of the world given the current climate, but I’m looking forward to competing again and I’m confident it will be a good time. The girls on my team and I are headed to Istanbul for several days before the event just for fun. Like I mentioned earlier, the lack of COVID protocols make it much easier to take advantage of cultural opportunities like this one, and I can’t wait to explore with the girls. After the World Cup Finals on March 17-18, we have U.S. Nationals in Waterville Valley, NH on March 25-26. This last part of the season usually brings sunshine, slush and great vibes, so I’m hoping for all of the above! U.S. Nationals are especially fun because we reunite with the nation’s regional level skiers to compete all together. If you want to tune into the upcoming events, go to either mine or the US Ski Team’s social channels/websites.
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the rest of this epic winter! It’s surely going to make for a fantastic spring.