Interview with Jamesa Hampton, Freeride Skier
By Ollie Hunt
Jamesa Hampton had a great winter in New Zealand last year, winning the Premier event, the North Face Frontier with a fast paced, balls to the wall line. With this win under his belt, we take a look inside the mind of this Enigmatic Character, the Flying Fijian, as he looks to qualify for the 2021 Freeride world tour on the Freeride World Qualifier Circuit.
Name: Jamesa Hampton
Local Field: Mt Olympus, Temple Basin
Date of Birth: 1996
Favorite Colour: Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Favorite Animal: Weasel
Jamesa Hampton in the middle a 360 on the way to a three-way with Craig Murray and Hank Bilous on the Podium
Credit: The North Face Frontier
Talk me through the Frontier [NZ OPEN] run. Are you nuts? How did it feel? Did you put 10% on the bar?
I watched some amazing runs from the top and thought to myself there’s no way I can get a podium today. I considered trying to change my run last minute, but I stuck to one that I was confident and familiar with. As I came down, I was surprised at the size of things due to it being a low snow year but managed to stay on my feet. Turns out it was enough to put me into 1st place and got to share the podium with fellow club field enthusiasts Craig Murray and Hank Bilous. I can assure you that we paid our dues on the bar tab.
I hear you went touring the day after the Frontier. Is it fair to say you didn’t go hard enough at the afterparty? Why?
I only had one week off work, so I was pretty motivated to make the most out of it and fit in as much as possible. Although it was a tough day after the frontier, I wasn’t the only one suffering and we had a few fun days skiing up at the Adventure Consultants Geodomes in the McKerrow range, near Wanaka.
Tell us a little bit about how you got to where you are today with your skiing?
I’ve grown up skiing around the Clubbies every weekend. I was lucky enough to find myself in a competitive friend group who all had a love for skiing and were constantly trying to one-up each other. It was ultimately this which led me down a path of competitive freeride skiing. The old Chill Freeride Series and Black Dimond Big Mountain competitions were the perfect entry into the sport with a laid back and casual format but world class competition.
Club fields can provide challenges for all abilities. Even for Jamesa Hampton.
How have the club fields and skiing helped you develop your skills as a big mountain skier?
The culture that these mountains breed is seen no where else in the world. The farming and rural background has developed a raw and rugged feel, which attracts only the hardiest of skiers. The lack of groomed runs means that you have no choice but to hone your skills.
What is your favorite non-skiing aspect of the clubbies?
It’s pretty hard to beat a good old hot tub up at Mt Olympus.
So you are one of the arctic athletes – what are the arctic athletes it and how did you come to get involved?
The arctic athletes are a group of extreme adventure athletes supported by Bear Grylls and his partnership with Arctic Juice Cafe. The idea of the Arctic Athletes is about inspiring the next generation of athletes and helping to protect our planet by raising awareness and encouraging a culture of respect to the environment that has given us so much.
Some of the arctic athletes featured in this video in the southern alps:
Who do you look up-to in the New Zealand Skiing Scene?
There are so many skiers that I look up to in the world skiing scene for so many different reasons that it's hard to break down. Growing up I was always inspired by skiers like Candide Thovex and Sammy Carlson. Now the skiers that I look up to most are often the ones that I actually get to ski around with. Craig Murray, Hank Bilous and Blake Marshall to name a few, can't wait to see how they get on in the Freeride World Tour this year!
Talk me through your prediction for the 2019 FWT as it stands.
A three-way with Craig Murray, Hank Bilous and Blake Marshall. Hopefully the results will be something similar too.
Any wise words for youth looking to follow in your path?
Find some friends that love skiing. Get up the mountains as much as possible. Take as much time off work/school as you can. Keep enjoying yourself, stay safe and don’t take it too seriously.