An Interview with pro-skier John Collinson

Here's a link to 'Mica to Greenland', featuring John. We give the movie 5 stars and it is by far one of the best films we've seen in a long time.

Check it out in the link below:

Mica to Greenland by the North Face.

Editor:  How old were you when you developed a serious interest in skiing? Who was your first ski instructor?

John Collinson: I started skiing when I was two, my first instructor was my dad. Then I really got into it around the age of six or seven - that was when I knew I'd ski my entire life.


Editor: Who were your skiing icons that inspired you when you were growing up?

John Collinson: My dad was a huge skiing influence, and then in the professional world it was Sage Cattabriga-Alosa, Jeremy Nobis and Chris Collins.


Editor: What important lessons/skills did you learn from them that you still use today? 

What advice do you have for younger skiers who emulate you?

John Collinson: A huge lesson I learned, is that you have to be doing it for the right reasons - none of us grew up thinking we would become "pro skiers". We just had the passion and have kept it alive, and that's helped us reach where we are.


Editor: Your style of riding difficult lines is particularly interesting to watch, and you’ve been featured in countless magazines. 

Would you say that the style we observe today will change and evolve as time goes by?

John Collinson: I do, I think that's a big part of Freeskiing: the evolution. There's always new styles, and as I gain more knowledge and experience I'm sure my skiing will emulate that.


Editor: Skiing makes us display qualities that are also useful in our daily life, such as self-control, patience, intuition, humility as well as the confidence to do things your way, but also understanding of where and how you fit into the greater scheme of things. 

You cultivate a strong connection to nature and her unspoken language. What gifts has skiing blessed you with?

John Collinson: Skiing has blessed me with countless gifts, the first and foremost being a love for the mountains. Mountains are just raw temples of power, and you can feel it when you're amongst them. I've also developed a sort of self reliability in the mountains, my internal compass naturally work better when I'm playing in the mountains than when I'm in cities.


Editor: That's a great description. You, Lucas Debari, Hilaree O’Neill and Ralph Backstrom were recently filming in Greenland for the North Face. The editing by Sherpas Cinema was fantastic, and we saw some really sophisticated work done by you on the mountain.

Some say Greenland’s mountains have some of the most magnificent lines anywhere.  

What kind of impression did Greenland make on you? 

Would you like to go back some day?

John Collinson: I love Greenland. That was my second trip there, and it was just as magnificent as the first. Every line you ski, or ridge you walk makes you feel like you're on a complete adventure - with nobody around for hundreds of miles. There is so much terrain to explore, more than a lifetime's worth, so I would love to go back.


Editor: That's cool and we hope you get to go back and make another film. What was it like making the film 'Mica to Greenland'?  In the film, we saw gorgeous 100 foot pillow lines, and spines lines and just the best quality pow anywhere in the world. 

What are your thoughts on the film? 

What was it like riding those spectacular lines?

John Collinson: Making the film was really fun, I love working with the Sherpas, and it was super great to ride with Lucas Debari and the rest of the crew. The film came out amazing, and the documentation of our lines is well done.

The lines we ride are very difficult, and it's taken a lifetime of practice and learning to get where we are, so hopefully that comes across in the film. We love to inspire people, but don't want those that get inspired to get into anything over their head.


Editor: The mountains we see in the film look strikingly like the big mountains of the Himalayas, but during filming, fog became an issue. 

How did you handle it when that happened?

John Collinson: It was pretty crushing to have to fog come in right after we saw the glory of the peaks around us. Then sitting and waiting below the fog became a chore - so once we escaped above it, that was the best feeling ever. Made me realize how little we can appreciate what we have until it's gone.


Editor: Do you ever get intimidated by a particular line and how do you control any feelings of doubt? How do you condition your mind?

Channeling the great Bruce Lee here, how do you empty your mind of negative thoughts and just ride it full throttle? 

John Collinson: For me, it depends on the severity of the exposure below a line. If it is a large big mountain line that is mandatory no fall, I need to be 100% confident in myself.

If it's a smaller pillow or jump style line, I'll accept a bit more risk and chance of falling. Basically it's all about assessing the risk and consequences, and it's taken my whole lifetime to balance them with the desire to ski.

Editor: That's very interesting. So, what’s next for you? Your fans would love to know.

John Collinson: My plans now are to work on a strong Freeride segment with Teton Gravity Research. I worked with them last year, but didn't compile all the footage I wanted, so I want to focus on that as much as possible, and maybe plan a ski mountaineering trip for this summer in South America.


Editor: Young skiers look up to you. Do you a message for your fans who will be reading this?

John Collinson: Thanks for reading this and supporting! Stay safe this season, and always just be stoked and share the love!!

Editor-in-Chief of
All images © of the designated photographer and used with John's written permission.


John Collinson. Photo Credit: Andrew Miller/ TNF.

On the Cover: John Collinson