On and Off the Slopes
Jonny Moseley, the 1998 Olympic gold medalist in freestyle skiing, is a busy guy. Although no longer competing, the 35-year-old Marin County resident has appeared in his own video game, hosted an MTV television series, served as a pitch man for Sprint and skated as a competitor on Skating with the Stars where he placed fourth. Most recently, he appears in a new ski movie by adventure filmmaker Warren Miller. Like There’s No Tomorrow was released this fall and played throughout the Bay Area.
Moseley is also the devoted dad of two boys, 4-year-old, Jack, and 18-month old, Tommy. He and business manager wife, Malia, split their time between the Bay Area and Squaw Valley, the resort where Moseley learned to ski. As Chief Ambassador, he skis with guests while showing them aspects of his favorite mountain terrain.
We caught up with Moseley in the lobby of the Resort at Squaw Creek in Olympic Valley to discuss his upbringing, career, marriage and fatherhood. Questions and answers have been edited for space and clarity.
How did your parents support your passion for skiing?
When I started competing, I was in first or second grade and I moved into freestyle when I was 9 years old. I needed to keep skiing all year round, so in the summer, we would go to Oregon and Whistler, Canada. My parents were totally selfless during this time. They would make these eight-hour drives to Tahoe without complaining. I sometimes wonder: “How am I going to replicate what they did for me for my sons?”
How did life change after you won the gold?
I was 22 years old. After I won the medal, I was so burnt out on skiing, because I gave it my all. I cut loose for awhile and my plan was to quit the sport completely and go back to school. I started going to UCLA, but I realized this was not the opportunity for me. I wanted to go to the X Games, where I wound up getting a silver medal and getting involved with Warren Miller after that. (Moseley eventually returned to college at UC Berkeley and graduated in 2006).
Your wife is your business manager. What is it like to work and live together?
We play lots of different roles. I am out there and creating different connections that can potentially turn into business, and she executes the ideas. I run things by her all the time, and she is a great sounding board. I am bad at assessing my value and managing my time.
What has amazed you about fatherhood?
I didn’t know I could do so much on so little sleep or know how far I could push the limit. I never realized how much more fun and more rewarding it is to be with your kids than to be traveling or skiing. I love hanging out with my 4-year-old son. He is the best little buddy. He is already skiing and taking to it.
What are your hopes for him?
We hope that he is not pressured as he grows up skiing, since he has me as a dad. I guess it will depend on how my wife and I manage and approach things. My number one goal is that he loves skiing. If not, it would be hard for me. I know that I have to be in that frame of mind that if he likes something else, I would be okay with that, too.
I am curious about a lot of things. So, if he is into something else, like music, I want to be there for him. What was interesting about my dad and mom was that whatever the kids liked, they followed up. They took us skiing because we loved it.
What lessons did your parents teach you that you want to pass to your kids?
They always made us feel that they were having the best time and felt happiest when we were together – no matter what we were doing. This is invaluable to pass on because it gave me a sense of confidence. No matter how bad things get, spending time with your family is always something you can count on.
Advice for parents who have Olympic hopefuls?
Always try to hedge their hopes by exposing them to other disciplines. This will help cut the pressure if they do make it, and it will give them some other skills if they don’t. Support and exposure are key, but the kid must be pretty self-motivated. Of course, I think pushing to try new things is okay, too.
Tell us about the new ski film that includes your son.
Jack and I did a small bit together. We skied together a little bit and goofed around. He mostly threw snowballs at me. I love doing anything with him. It was a great opportunity to hang out with my son – and to be able to call it work.
Kathy Chin Leong is editor of bayareafamilytravel.com, an online site for adventure-loving families.