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John Collinson has had a Weird Summer

TGR photo. 

Last week, John Collinson cruised into the TGR office repping his unique personal style we all know and love—camo tank, Red Bull flat brim, Nikes, nose piercing, and skull rings on multiple fingers—to check out his segment in TGR's upcoming film, Tight Loose. I sat down with him for half an hour after; his light-hearted vibe and general openness made him easy to talk to. I asked him if he liked his seg. “Yeah it was sweet,” he said, his eyes lit up, “the boys always get it done.”


So far John’s summer has involved the Southern Hemisphere, rehabbing his shoulder, Red Bull’s “mind camp,” and teaching Angel how to use Snapchat. 

Going To Chile (and not skiing)

John on his way to judge the Chilean Freeskiing Championship put on by The North Face. 

John just got back from judging the Chilean Freeskiing Championship in Santa Tere El Colorado. He said the competitors sent it down their lines, balls to the wall, and it was more about getting down that mountain than seeing what tricks and aesthetics they could incorporate into their skiing. “Things are a bit loosey-goosey in South America, but the guy in charge of the comp was super dialed,” he said. 

I asked him if he did any skiing down there. "I didn't even bring my skis because I knew I wouldn't be able to resist." John tore his labrum and rotator cuff while skiing in the Yukon this past winter and had surgery at the beginning of June, so his primary focus this summer has been rehab. 

Dealing With Injury

"I've been so boring this summer," John told me with a laugh. 

I suppose pedaling away on a stationary bike for three hours a day isn't his usual program, and he definitely wasn't planning on knowing all dudes at his gym by their first names. “My goals have changed,” he said. “I went from being like, ‘I’m going to run a 50k this summer,’ to, ‘I’m going to try to stretch my shoulder to 60 degrees.'” (Fun fact: He now uses his ski poles almost exclusively for stretching.) 

Angel Collinson is also on the mend. She tore her ACL at TGR’s Fantasy Camp last winter and had surgery in May. I asked him where she’s at and what she’s been up to. All he knew was she’s in Tahoe, “I’ve been trying to teach her how to use Snapchat so I know what she's been doing down there.” Apparently, she’s sent him one snap but was an uninformative selfie. At least we know she’s alive.

According to John, the two will be ready to get back into the swing of things this winter. 


Last winter, John found himself without a ski sponsor for the first time in his professional career. Armada decided to switch things up and sponsor athletes who would also wear their apparel in addition to repping their skis. Understandable, but John didn’t want to leave The North Face (also understandable). “It was really scary there for a bit,” he said. “I just didn’t know for sure what was going to happen.”

The North Face stepped up with tons of support for his 2015/16 season and eventually Faction and Red Bull latched onto him hard toward the end of the winter. So far he loves them—already on the grind with Faction helping them with ski design. 

“Red Bull is such a sick company,” he told me. “I love the vibe in the office, everyone is super nice and laid back.” Also, Red Bull does cool things like sending its athletes to mind camp.


“Been having an amazing time with the @redbull#HighPerformance crew. Here is us soaking in an ice bath for 10 minutes after learning a breathing/calming technique this AM. So cool to be learning skills and implementing them right away. Also blown away at how amazing and unique each of these athletes are, and stoked to be among them!!” Red Bull Media Photo.

“We had no idea what it was going to be like, they just bought us all plane tickets to Montana, and that’s all we knew.” Red Bull flies their athletes into a remote location and blasts them with mental stimulation and high-pressure obstacle courses; it's a sort of mental training camp.

John was challenged to stand on a stage and act out certain emotions like stress, sadness, embarrassment, and anger. They did drills with ex-military guys where they had to find and diffuse the ‘land mines’ before everyone ‘died.’ 

“The whole time we wore heart rate monitors and all these things just helped teach us how to overcome obstacles in your sport and deal with the stress and pressure that comes along with being a pro athlete.”

John’s biggest challenge? Public speaking. He said he was most uncomfortable up on stage trying to act out what it's like to be embarrassed. Good thing he doesn't need to feel that emotion often (See below for reference).

About The Author

stash member Leslie Hittmeier

Leslie is a freelance writer and photographer. Storytelling is her focus and she spends her time following badass skiers and climbers around in their natural habitats. As an obsessed skier and climber herself, she plays and trains in the Tetons.

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