We think Jacob Wester might like surfing more than his chosen profession, skiing. But anyone driven enough to earn himself a place on the X-Games podium isn’t one to settle for either-or. No, no, no. Jacob is a man of and.
Which is why last spring he decided to surf and ski in the same day in Norway. Because why limit yourself, right? Watch the vid below, then read the interview he did with Awayco‘s Chris Booth. It’s all entertaining, enlightening, inspiring. Makes you want to bring a bit more and into your life.
AWAYCO: We’re going to try and sum you up because we love to generalize. Swedish. Pro skier for around 15 years. Two times X games medalist. Part time Chamonix resident. Steep skiing enthusiast. Van owner. Aspiring surfer in retirement? Did we get that right? (you can tell us about yourself if we didn’t).
JACOB: Haha, yeah, this is pretty spot on I guess… It’s always difficult to be asked to define yourself like that. I’m all of those things, but to try to unpackage it a bit more, I think I would say that I am obsessed with learning new things, pushing myself past my boundaries and evolve both as a person and as an athlete. I love nature and being outside, and I get bored really quick if I hit a ceiling in my progression curve. I think that’s why my skiing has taken me from the park, through backcountry freeride territory and eventually onto the crazy snow-plastered ice walls in Chamonix.
Getting waves and turns in the same day is something that pretty much every dropout on the planet has dreamed of at one point or another. Where else do you think it could be possible to live such a full day?
Good question. It’s certainly possible in a lot of places, but my objective for this Norway trip was to get the best of both worlds, i.e. perfect snow and world class waves, in one day, without having to transport myself between the two mediums. I wanted to literally just get out of my ski gear, put a wetsuit on and paddle out. There are many locales where you could do it with a bit of a commute in between, but I think Northern Norway is hard to beat if you want to avoid that. Iceland has a few setups where you could do it as well. Maybe somewhere in Alaska? The Aleutian island chain looks like it might be the place. Time to plan some future missions…
How might one of us dropouts go about trying to ride down something cool and get almost-barreled in the same day? Learn anything?
As with most of our outdoors endeavors these days, Google Earth is your friend. Quality surf is always harder to find than good skiing. Decide where you want to surf first, then draw a demi-circle inlands from there with the radius as your preferred maximum travel distance, and find an incline that will hold snow at some time in the season. Luckily the snow usually coincides with the swell season in most places, so that shouldn’t be an issue. Going far North is a good idea too if you want to maximize daylight hours. In the video we had 22 hours of sunlight in early May, so plenty of time to wait for the wind and the tide to be just right.
What’s your van quiver? You’re ski touring and surfing cold water in the spring so I guess your setup is kind of tailored to making that work right?
Well, the best thing about the van is that it’s big enough that I don’t really have to think about what I pack. I usually throw in a couple different touring setups in there, like the Rossignol Soul7s with pin bindings for bigger tours, but I always make sure to bring a pair of fat skis like the BlackOps 118 as well in case it really dumps. I like boot-packing and riding steep couloirs, so if there’s a flat enough approach I sometimes use trekkers to get out there, and leave them at the bottom of the line. For the waves, I always keep at least 2 boards in the van, a fish and a regular performance shortboard, and as much rubber as I can carry. 6/5/4 hooded suits, at least 2 so I can wear a dry one for the second session, as well as thick booties and gloves.
Skiing is kind of hard work. Why don’t you just surf?
Haha! It wouldn’t be as fun if I did it all the time I think. I love the seasonal lifestyle, getting enough time to really start missing either skiing or surfing. It gets me so motivated at the end of the ski season, to start making surf plans, getting my gear in order, looking at swell charts etc. And come November, I start dreaming about skiing again. I wouldn’t want it any other way!
Want to try the same skis as Jacob? Click the images below!