Great Britain
  • It's a long way from the dryslopes of Sheffield, UK, to the top of the FIS Freestyle slopestyle World Cup overall podium, but one young man from England has done it, and his name is Woodsy.

    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 young men 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 Freestyle World Ski Championships in Voss, NOR, and took home the Crystal Globe for top overall slopestyle skier. And, the whole time, the kid from Sheffield did it looking like a natural; like someone who had been born on top of a West Coast terrain park with skis strapped to his feet, not someone who had come up out of a town in the heart of England's rolling hills, where the highest point is 548m and the average January temperature is about 7c.



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