A true original, James "Woodsy" Woods cut his teeth learning how to ski at the Sheffield Ski Village, one of the UK's many artificial pistes where a polymer composite meant to mimic snow is laid over whatever slope is available. While these slopes are fine for snow-starved recreational skiers looking for a quick fix, the surface's inherent restrictions mean the likelihood of future Olympic athletes honing their skills in such an environment might seem unlikely.
Woodsy, however, is an unlikely athlete. The 21 year old could be, from a distance, mistaken for something of a showboat. He wears his hair long and messy, save for the left side, which is shaved to the skin. His outerwear is oversized and the colours are loud. On and off course he can be seen moving from group to group of his peers, laughing, talking loud, cracking jokes. But sit down with Woodsy and you soon find out he's one of the most thoughtful, well-spoken, and genuine guy you'll find in any FIS discipline.
And this thoughtfulness seems to translate to the slopestyle course. Woodsy routinely does things on hill that no one else does, reaching for grabs that no one else can reach in the middle of tricks that few others can do, riding smoothly, oozing style.
In the 2012-13 season, Woodsy scored podiums in three out of four events that he started, locked down a 2nd place at the 2013 Freestyle World Ski Championships in Voss, and took home the Crystal Globe for top overall slopestyle skier.
A couple years later and a couple of silverware pieces to his impressive collection including the 2017 X Games big air gold as well as the 2017 World Championships slopestyle silver, and Woodsy is still one one the best in the game and his hot start into the season with yet another win in New Zealand just proves he is aiming high with the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games on the horizon.