Jacob Wester
Jacob Wester
Jacob Wester
Jacob Wester
Jacob Wester

Blog

I’m free!

Day 52 since I broke my ankle and I am finally out of my cast and on the serious recovery mission! Can’t describe how good it feels to get that boot off me and to be able to actually use my foot properly again. Now starts the task of rebuilding all the little muscles in the foot as well as my calf muscle which has seen better days. Going to be in Sweden for another week before heading back to beautiful Chamonix valley! The light at the end of the tunnel is shining brightly!

Here’s a little photo update to keep you all entertained.

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Here’s what my ankle looked like this morning (sorry if you were eating). It’s never felt so good taking a shower.

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Straight off to the gym to start the rehab. Balance, rubber bands, yoga balls, all that fun stuff. Going to basically live here the next week.

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It’s crazy how fast you lose things you normally take for granted, like balancing on one leg. It’s all in the little muscles.

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Last weekend I had to say goodbye to Sofia as she is taking an exchange semester in Perth, OZ. She has promised to start a photo blog that I will of course guide all of you to :)

Some more drawings from the last few weeks late nights:

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Perspective training

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Stellated tetrahedron

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This one took it’s fair share of hours. Pretty happy it’s over.

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Isometric fun.

Another 8 days in Sweden and then I’ll be back blogging from the mountains! See you soon!

Jacob

 

 

 

 

New job!

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Well, not exactly permanent, but I will take the helm as editor in chief for Swedish ski community Freeride.se for the week. I will write about whatever comes to mind, as well as keep the site flowing with stuff I find on the Internet. If you read swedish, check it out, and don’t hesitate to give me some ideas of what to cover!

Jacob

 

Swedish Slopestyle Tour day 2 (Finals)

First stop of the Swedish Slopestyle Tour stop 1 at Kungsberget, Sweden is a wrap! The contest went smoothly and the level was raised another notch by the incredible finalists from yesterday, showing an array of different rotations and axis’ ranging from stylish 540s to perfect cork 10s with different grabs. Watching everyone killing it out there was hard, I wish I could take a few runs through the course as the jumps look perfect! Being only 2 hours from Stockholm this place is really impressive.

Huge congratulations to the podiums!

photos by Sofia Sjöberg:

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Men’s podium, with Hugo Burwall, Emil Granbom and Felix Lundin taking the top spots.

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Emma Dahlström, Elina Vesterlund and Jennie-Lee Burmansson in the women’s division

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Announcer Victor White holding it down on the MC side.

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Hanging out with 3rd place Felix Lundin and my judge colleague Kevin Häggström

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Axel Östlund after going down on one of the few dub cork attempts of the day. The size of the jumps made most of the field stick to lower rotations.

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Judges hard at work

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Great job everyone, loving seeing the swedish freeskiing scene alive and well! Hopefully I can get some more of these gigs in the future!

Back to Stockholm now to celebrate my mom’s and sister’s birthdays! See you soon!

Jacob

Swedish Slopestyle Tour

A few weeks ago I was invited to be a judge at the Swedish Slopestyle Tour. I guess my after my X-games posts I seemed fit for the job, and I happily accepted it. Since I can’t put myself to use on snow, I jump on any opportunity to somehow be involved in the scene as there’s nothing more boring than sitting at home waiting for bones to heal.

Headed up to Kungsberget, a 2 hour drive from Stockholm and made myself comfortable in the judges’ booth. I’ve judged a handful of contests before, and I felt like we were a good team and kept everything fair. It’s amazing to see the giant talent pool coming out of Sweden and the slopestyle tour is a great initiative that can really help those who want to make it into the competition circus.

Here’s a couple of photos Sofia got from the day, more will drop tomorrow after finals!

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Congratulations to all the finalists, check back again tomorrow for more!

Jacob

Pen and paper.

Hi everyone, it’s now day 29 since the injury. Another few weeks and I should be on the quick road back into winter mode, and I can’t wait. So much snow coming down everywhere, looks like the spring will be a good one!

The last few weeks I’ve been killing some time getting back into drawing. I think whenever one creative outlet gets cut off, in my case skiing, you find another way to put your mind to use. I haven’t been drawing in ages so it’s nice to get the feeling back, even if it’s only for an hour or so each day. Staying in my mother’s old house in my hometown we’ve had some great nights drinking tea, playing boardgames and drawing together with Sofia and my sisters. We went and  bought some new fineliners and a drawing compass, as I’ve been inspired by mandala art and sacred geometry lately. It’s a really meditative way of expressing yourself. I figured I’d post some of the creations here, in lack of other content, enjoy;

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I don’t really have any plans as of right now with these drawings, but maybe they will lead to something bigger. Maybe I’ll forget about them and find them again in 10 years. Time will tell.

Jacob

day 22

It’s been 3 weeks since the injury, and today I got the stitches back out of my leg. 23 of them to be exact. Got nicely wrapped up in a new cast, and now awaits 4 long weeks before I can finally be cast-free and ready to regain some muscles in my left leg.

Thinking about skiing daily and it doesn’t help seeing how the French alps are getting absolutely dumped on these next few days. Hoping everyone out there stay smart and make wise decisions. The news of Dave Rosenbarger’s passing the other day were horrible and another great man is lost to the mountains. Stay safe out there, friends.

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cast, off

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23 new stitches to add to my growing collection

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before/after

Now the new cast will stay on for another 4 weeks, before I get to actually do something. Should give me plenty of time to draw, play music, work out my upper body, and whine about contest scores :)

Jacob

Where do we go from here?

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Just a handful of the scary crashes from last night’s Big Air event.

This morning at 3:00, Swedish time, I had my alarm set for what I used to consider one of the most exciting events in snow sports, the X-Games ski Big Air. I’ve had the fortune of being a participant a total of 5 times, and there’s really no contest like it, with tens of thousands of people under the lights of Aspen watching a fun format of 15-20 minute jam sessions. The pressure on the athletes is low because of the many attempts you get on your big trick, and it’s an easy concept for the audience to follow, with the feeling that it’s all a big show and not as serious as the pipe or slopestyle events.

This year, however, felt…different. Over the last couple of years, the physical limits of the athletes have rapidly been pushed forward, to a point where a mistake no longer means a face full of snow and a wave to the camera at the bottom while waiting for a crash score. Last night, a mistake resulted in exploding bindings and helmets, concussions and injured body parts, and this was true for at least 30% of the field. I was no longer enjoying watching, I was seriously worried for my friends, Big Air had turned into an absolute bloodbath.

Every year after the X-Games Big Air event, the freeskiing community collectively asks itself if the peak is reached, is it possible to progress the sport further from here? Every year, those predicting it is not are proven wrong, with yet another 180 added to the biggest trick, or another triple cork landed. I’ve always been a firm believer that the spin-to-win progress will continue as long as the judges reward those endeavours, and this year, suddenly they seemed to look for something else. Unfortunately there’s always this delayed response from athletes, who have prepared themselves to be judged like the year before, but with a little luck, we just saw the peak of the flip-to-win era, and next year everyone can show up with a fresh bag of unique tricks to choose from, not necessarily containing 3 inverts and 5 rotations. Call it wishful thinking, but watching Jossi Wells, Kai Mahler and Vincent Gagnier get rewarded big scores for tricks that very few (if any), other skiers are capable of sparked a flame of hope in an otherwise dark and scary night. Thanks guys, for pushing the envelope in a much safer direction.

Decades ago, quadruple flips were banned in freestyle aerials competitions, deemed to dangerous for the sport. Any sort of restrictions, be it mandatory or banned tricks, or a cap on rotations is in my opinion the last thing out sport needs. Instead, let’s use this opportunity of learning from our past mistakes, and take a different path into the future, without having to sacrifice human bodies along the way.

What did you think of the contest, and what is the best way for Big Air skiing to progress from here, without people dying, and without limitations and rules being implemented?

Thanks for reading

Jacob

Do the X Games judges have the worst jobs in the world?

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If you tuned in to the Winter X Games live stream last night (or day, depending on where in the world you happen to be), and you also had your twitter feed in front of you, you may have noticed just a tiny bit of frustration directed to the judge’s panel during the men’s slopestyle prelims. This seems to be the case at every event these days, and I am certainly guilty as charged, as I tend to have strong opinions on the sport I hold so dearly. Trying to give accurate scores to 16 of the world’s best slopestyle skiers, in a 10-15 second time frame, where every run is equally insane and on the absolute forefront of physical progression is no easy task, and I have a deep respect for the individuals that sit behind that table with their papers and pencils. This year however, I felt more confused than ever before. After over 10 years on the contest scene, I have gotten to know the judges at different events, and I usually have a pretty good hunch of what score is going to drop, so for fun and games I always try to call the scores before they go up on the board. Yesterday, I was on a few occasions off by 20 points. Yes, twenty points. A discrepancy of 5 points is usually understandable, since everyone have different tastes, and there’s no objective way to judge the “style” aspect of the sport, but as the night went on, I was blown away by some of the seemingly insane decisions that were taken, especially the ones in favor of well-established, predominantly North American skiers, to the expense of lesser known up-and-comers that would put down podium-worthy runs. Many times, judges seem to overlook subtleties and nuances in tricks, such as grab/spin combos that are harder than others, unique axes, and left/right spinning on rails. Instead, points are deducted for the most minor mistakes, which I believe could deter many athletes from experimenting with unconventional tricks, and instead stick to the “safe” formula.

This morning, with nothing to do all day I decided to sit down, watch the replay of the event, and try to judge the contest myself, to see where my opinions differ from the judges. What started as a fun little experiment ended with a 9 page PDF document, complete with short explanations for every skier and how I judge individual runs against eachother. I won’t post the whole thing on here, but I’ll summarize it by giving you the final results:


Judges’ scoreboard:

Tom Wallisch

Joss Christensen

Alex Bellemare

Bobby Brown

Henrik Harlaut

James Woods

Alex Beaulieu-Marchand

Gus Kenworthy

 

Nick Goepper

Mcrae Williams

Jesper Tjäder

Oscar Wester

Oystein Braaten

Evan McEachran

Alex Schlopy

Antti Olilla

 

 

89.66

88.00

86.00

83.33

82.33

81.66

78.00

77.00

 

76.00

75.66

69.00

66.66

61.00

60.66

54.66

49.66

My scoreboard:

Tom Wallisch

Alex Beaulieu-Marchand

Alex Bellemare

James Woods

Mcrae Williams

Joss Christensen

Henrik Harlaut

Gus Kenworthy

 

Bobby Brown

Oscar Wester

Nick Goepper

Jesper Tjäder

Oystein Braaten*

Evan McEachran

Alex Schlopy

Antti Olilla

 

89.66

88.00

86.00

83.66

83.00

82.66

82.33

81.00

 

79.66

78.00

76.00

74.00

61.00

60.66

54.66

49.66

The video at the top of this post is the full recap of the event, so feel free to watch it while you read the PDF, which you can view here: X-Games slopestyle breakdown

Thanks for reading, and do let me know what you thought about the event, do you think the judging was fair? Who do you think should have made top three?

Jacob

*CORRECTION – turns out Oystein put his hand down on the first jump, something the camera man missed. I revised my scoreboard above.

Newsflash, FIS – no one cares about your World Championships

If you don’t want to read this wall of text below – just watch this video. It sums everything I am about to say pretty nicely.

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The other day, David Wise – the best halfpipe skier in the world, and someone, despite our wildly different worldviews I think of as an all around great guy – posted a great text about this same subject. I have been meaning to write something about it for a while, so I figured I’d give you my view on it too. If you like sports, get ready to get upset. Here we go.

I very rarely watch sports on TV. As a matter of fact, very few subjects are less interesting to me than sports. No, sports end up somewhere in between opera concerts, and reality shows about Americans catching fish with their hands. This is impossible, you might say. Jacob, you are a pro skier, you do sports for a living! You must love sports! Well, I beg to differ. See, the problem I have with sports (where do I even begin), is the standardization of everything from dress codes to venues, the rules and regulations governing everything around what athletes are allowed to say, do, stand for, or wear, and most of all, the ridiculous patriotism it promotes and perpetuates. Why should I care if 20-something highly paid athletes that happen to be citizens of the same country as me, or represent the same town I grew up in, happen to be the best at kicking a ball into a net every two years? I have never understood this phenomenon, and I don’t think I ever will. To me, it’s the same kind of mechanism that wars are started over, or that creates racism, the “us vs. them” mentality. I completely understand if one gets a thrill out of, say, playing soccer, just to stick with the example. It’s great exercise, it’s a way to bond with your friends, and it’s always fun to win something, but to watch it on TV, and root for “my” team? No rationale will ever explain it to me in a way that makes sense.

With that said, I’ll continue to my area of expertise, freestyle skiing. One of the main reasons I’ve been opposed to the Olympic movement, and FIS gaining more and more control of our sport, is the above stated patriotism it ultimately leads to. Suddenly, individual athletes represent nations, not themselves, and when they get financial support from their countries they can’t be expected to truly express themselves without censorship. I made my mark on the contest circuit back when no one competed for their country, we were a big group of friends from all over the world, traveling and partying together, and we saw each other as individuals, not parts of national teams, with little flags neatly sewn to our chests and team coaches watching our every move. Sure, you always made sure not to do something too outrageous that might slander your sponsors, but the ceiling was very high, after all, we were action sports athletes and were in a way expected to act somewhat rebellious at times. Those days are over, at least for anyone on a national team.

Earlier this fall, the world cup schedule presented by the FIS showed a huge double booking at the end of January.  The circuit’s most prestigious event, with the most media exposure, the World Championships, seemed to clash with the X-Games, the biggest contest in the world of action sports. Since I knew I wasn’t to compete in either, I didn’t pay it much attention and shrugged it off, thinking to myself that it would probably change as soon as FIS figured out that no one in their right mind would turn down an X-Games invitation, which usually gets sent out to the very best skiers in the industry. Obviously, the Federation didn’t have the same thoughts. Months passed, and the events were still clashing on the schedule. Now, with both events underway, and the top 16 halfpipe and slopestyle skiers in the world on location in Aspen, I can’t help but think that the massively pompous FIS officials must be scratching their heads just a little bit. Did the World Championships suddenly become a second-grade contest? The millions of dollars plowed into this project must certainly seem a bit wasted now that the world’s best athletes aren’t there? Isn’t that what the World Champs is all about? On Swedish national TV, I saw a short sports report about the upcoming week where the anchor curiously asked the reporter why none of Sweden’s top names were on location in Austria. The channel had, after all, made two big show specials on both Henrik Harlaut and Jesper Tjäder earlier the same week, and they are showing the World Champs live on TV, not the X-Games, which is only streamed on their online service. It makes me wonder if maybe even the media wasn’t prepared for the decision of all the top athletes to go to Aspen instead? Either way, the fact that they didn’t turn down the X-Games, makes me seriously proud of our scene, and it shows that action sports will always attract the special ones, the ones that refuse to sell out to traditional values and follow their own paths. I’m going to be watching the webcasts, and I’m not going to be rooting for my country, but for my friends. Good luck everyone, and fuck FIS!

Jacob

 

 

 

Gym

Day 13 since the injury, and time could not go slower! Just to have an excuse to get out of the house I made a commitment to go to the gym at least 5 times a week, even if all I can do right now is upper body. Doing an upper body split, with one day of pushing exercises (chest, shoulders and triceps), and one day of pulling exercises (back and biceps). I have never really put any focus on upper body for obvious reasons, I am a skier, not a beach model. Anyways, if there’s ever a time, this is it, so hopefully in 2 months I’ll be really good at bench press!

today’s workout: bench press, 50 kg (12 reps, 2 sets), 60 kg (6 reps, 2 sets), 70 kg (4 reps, 3 sets), 80 kg (1 rep max)

incline dumbell press, 20 kg, (10 reps, 3 sets)

shoulder dumbell press, 10 kg, (12 reps, 3 sets)

cable pushdowns, 3 sets

After the pushdowns my triceps were burning and I felt like throwing up, so I decided to call it quits. I think all the walking around on crutches already takes a big toll on my shoulders and tris, and I just wasn’t feeling like hanging around the gym much longer. Energy levels are low in the afternoon after I quit drinking coffee and I think they’re going to stay that way for a few weeks before my body gets used to functioning without caffeine, it’s truly a hardcore addictive drug! I’ve been drinking coffee every day for 12 years so I wasn’t sure what to expect but it really is gnarly to go cold turkey from it. Does anyone know how long it takes before the cravings and the headaches go away?

Here’s two iphone photos, it’s hard to get motivation to post photos in the gym…

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Beach 2015, here we come!

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1001, 1002, 1003…

Also, big ups to Nico Vuignier for taking home the Linecatcher today down in Les Arcs! So bummed to miss this contest again, last year because of snow conditions and now because of an injury. The snow looked all time and everyone skied super well. It’s tough to sit at home in front of a computer screen watching your friends throw down in untracked powder and sun, but I’m keeping the spirit high, the next 2 months are going to fly by quick. I’ve been so lucky over my 12 year career to never have gotten injured during a season, so I accept it for what it is. Let’s hope the snow stays around for a long time this spring!

Jacob