Feature drawing by Sierra Roberts.
Jesper Tjäder is a Swedish freestyle skier that has strutted into the industry, picked up some epic sponsors, filmed some banger edits, traveled the world, and is well on the way to making a name for himself in the competition scene. On Friday at the Winter Games NZ slopestyle quals, his flawless skiing was more than pretty, including a huge right double cork 12. Claiming 1st in his heat, the 19 year old came out in front of the likes of PK Hunder and Noah Morrison. Needless to say, we’re all a bit excited to see him ski in the finals tomorrow. I should probably mention that he took out 2nd in the TNF Freeski Open last year. Because that’s what we’re here for.
Did I also mention that his skiing is really pretty? Honestly, it’s a like watching art.
Jesper, you’re pretty fresh on the freeski scene, so let’s start by hearing a little about your ski beginnings. How did you discover skiing, and when did you decide it was dream you wanted to chase?
“My parents introduced me to skiing when I was 3 years old, and apparently it was “love in first sight” because as far back as I can remember I’ve always liked skiing. Then when I was 16 and got my first sponsors, was when I started to dream to become a professional freeskier.”
Well isn’t he cute? | Sweden
While the rest of your friends were still dealing with the standard high school dramas, you began travelling the world to compete in skiing. Did they all think you were the man, or was it just life as usual?
“I think everything was as usual. I don’t think anyone really understood what was going on in my life. Not even me.”
‘R A I N’ | Stockholm, Sweden. Photo credit: Jesper Tjäder (stylish selfie!)
The edit released from your 2012/2013 winter has seen almost 20,000 views, and it’s no surprise. Full of creative and insane skiing, with a mellow backing track to make it seem like it’s no big deal, the edit is definitely worth a watch. And if we thought that was impressive, your 2011/2012 edit has seen over 183,000 views. Can you tell us about these edits?
“Those edits includes just some shots I have filmed with my friends over the season. It’s just for fun. My “real” shots over the past two seasons will be shown in Field Productions upcoming skimovie “Supervention”.”
You have entered competitive skiing at a pretty important time for the sport. How does the Olympic qualification affect you, does it make it more awesome or kill the fun?
“I think it’s awesome! I really like competitions because I like the pressure, and I get super focused on what i going to do. And also, The Swedish Freeski Team supporting me with all kind of awesome stuff just because of the Olympics.”
Switch Cork 7 Japan Grab | Cardrona, New Zealand. Photo credit: Emma Dahlström
In February, you competed in the Red Bull Play Streets Invitational in Austria and came out of it with a place on the Red Bull International Freeski Team. Congratulations, what an unreal achievement! How did it all happen??
“Thanks! I started to talk with Red Bull more than 3 years ago. But nothing really happen until I got invited to a Red Bull performance camp in Sun Valley last December. So I went to the camp, but nothing really happen after that.
But later that season, right before Red Bull Play Streets, they randomly asked me if I wanted to sign for them! I was pretty surprised but really damn stoked!
Then during the comp it got official.”
Red Bull Play Streets Invitational | Bad Gastein, Austria
Last year at the TNF Freeski Open, your fluid, creative skiing impressed us all. What was the competition like for you, and how was your first experience of New Zealand?
“It was by far one of the best competitions of the season! The course was sick and I just had a really good time! I also think that New Zealand is a awesome country so I’m super stoked to be back this year!”
Jesper at the TNF Freeski Open 2012 | Snow Park, New Zealand
No doubt skiing takes up the majority of your time, but outside of skiing what else brings you joy?
“I really like all kind of “extreme sports”. Stuff like mountain biking and inlines etc. But right now I’ve been really into skateboarding!”
Time with friends | Säfsen, Sweden. Photo credit: Jesper Tjäden.
How do your sponsors affect your skiing? More pressure or is it all about the love?
“Without my sponsors I wouldn’t be able to ski or travel as much as I do right now. I’m so damn thankful for all the awesome support I get!”
Cork 9 Tail Grab | Voss, Norway. Photo credit: Niclas Magnusson
A big thank you to Jesper for his time, make sure you all keep an eye on this boy.
INTERVIEW BY NIKI PETERS