Things I’ve Learned: TJ Schiller
TJ Schiller, 23, Pro Skier, 3x X Games medalist, Vernon, British Columbia
The nervousness I get before contests is a great feeling.
I never really got my head wrapped around hockey. I didn't understand how the plays worked. It just wasn't my passion. I wished I was smarter when I was younger and took advantage of my Dad's hockey skills as a player and coach. Sometimes I wonder where I'd be now if I chose hockey over skiing.
It was hard to study hockey plays when I could have been watching JF Cusson to AFI in a Hawaiian shirt doing huge mute grabs.
It is crazy to think skiing is my "job," even after eight years of working with sponsors and doing contests. I am super thankful to have my good friend Fergie Cancade at Goodlife Inc. helping me out with all my everyday ski "business" and “job” issues.
But, it’s still skiing at the end of the day.
The industry has changed to an extent. Having all the new technology — mainly the internet — has allowed our sport to grow. Everyone is able to share their skiing with everyone. It's a chain reaction, you've got all these kids watching edits and making edits. There used to only be six videos coming out each season. And now, shit, I couldn't even count how many came out this year. It blew up. We've got, what feels like to me, a massive following of shred heads. And the future of our sport is sprinkled throughout that group.
I had my walls literally covered in my favorite shots from Freeskier and Freeze (RIP) so I'd go to sleep thinkin' about skiing and wake up to it. Then pop in Royalty or 13 to get my day started.
JP stood out to me as the originator who spoke for the sport. I believe he still does. Tanner was and still is an idol. He's a boss. Nothing can take that dude down. If something does, he just gets back up and destroys it twice as hard. He's Inspiring.
Both tibial plateaus and both ACLs and both MCLs… That's going to be the most unreal comeback.
It's good to look at injuries in a different light. I have the next 10 months after surgery to focus on getting strong to ski off hill. Once my feet touch that snow after that long, it's gonna be a game changer. I know that i can come back stronger and more focused then ever before.
I hate the fact of the injury, but more accepting that it is a hazard of the profession, no matter how well trained and fit you may be. Shit happens.
ACL's are time-bombs in all our bodies. It's just a matter of time before they blow up. Then again, I'm just a bitter guy because both mine did blow up. Considering the stuff we're doing on snow all the time, I'm pretty grateful that my knees are all I have hurt.
Know when to take a break. Listen to your body.
My dad did a fundraiser for our club and with the money he got us a bunch of handrails, paid for coaching expenses and other things. My mom went out of her way to help set up a school program for kids like myself, who missed so much school due to a sport and allowed us to get our school work done via the internet. It helped so much. It got [Josh] Bibby and I out half a year early! Beyond that, the countless hours driving to and from the hill for training and all over BC and Alberta to events. They sacrificed a lot of their personal time and income to allow me to do what I do now.
Shit, they are still sacrificing their personal time to help me out to this day. Couldn't be more thankful for them.
I knew I would be skiing my whole life, but I never thought I would be traveling around the world being an idiot on my skis. Can't thank the sponsors enough for allowing me to run around the world and do this. Livin’ the dream, eh?
I had just come from winning the US Open Big Air, so coming into X Games I was feeling crazy confident. Winning it just felt right.
The second time was indescribable. I was an alternate until 11:30 the night before the event. I was coming off my first ACL reconstruction. It was my first event of the year. In training though, I knew I had a chance to make it to finals. I won it on my first run. It felt like the last 12 months of gym and dry land training and not skiing had paid off.
The Olympics would be insane. Growing up doing moguls that was always in the back of our minds. But, after realizing how cool this newschool thing was, all we wanted to do was that and make cool seggies and try and make it to the US Open. I didn't even think Olympics was possible for us four years ago.
If the chance is there for slopestyle, then count me in. I think that would be an amazing way to finish my competitive career.
As long as our voice is heard and we have guys like Trennon Paynter speaking for us, I'm down.
Nike was natural. I always had a Nike high top fetish and couldn't get enough of the SB's. When Sammy told me 6.0 was getting into skiing I almost lost it.
It's important to line yourself up with company's that fit your style/image and how you want to be portrayed as an athlete. Can’t emphasize enough how lucky I am with my present sponsors. They continue to be supportive and understand the injury situation for what it is – a temporary setback.
Europe is old country! I think Europe is more mature. They recycle more, eat less, more organic, have more sex, take more holidays. Maybe they live life a little more because they have been doing it longer?
Hasn't the invasion already happened? When I was in Trysil, Norway two years ago for the Sweet Rumble I had never seen so many amazingly good kids trying to do their best PK Hunder impersonation. Every single one of these kids had a dialed dub 10 and 12 mute. I was lucky enough to go back there this year and compete. It was gnarly. PC Fosse stomping dub rodeo 10's. Jesper Tjäder being like 10 years old and throwin steezy 9 tails and dub 12's…
Newchoolers is rad. Some of those kids are out of their minds, but it's cool to just see how into skiing they are. They want to be involved in some way and NS allows them to voice their opinions. Let the haters hate, right?
Baby sisters (read: babysitters) on team trips are by far the best. Huge shout out to Jake Largess (of Nike 6.0). It's rad having some of your best friends being team managers. They make sure you're doing what you gotta do and make sure you're comfy while doing it.
My first girlfriend dragged me into the girls bathroom in a bar to tell me she really liked me. That was a lil' over the top. But I was fine with it.
Most importantly: Hang out with my family. Catch up with old friends. That's one thing I've felt bad about over the past few years. Getting so caught up in my world, then all of a sudden three years has gone by and I haven't kept up-to-date with some good friends. So, yeah. I got some catching up to do. And rehab.
Can't live without? Music. Could give up? My truck.
Check out TJ on our February 2011 cover. On newsstands soon.
About the author:
Shay Williams is the Managing Editor of Freeskier Magazine. He loves cheeseburgers, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Sweden. He's likely on a plane right now—first class only.