Making Ski Tracks: Interviewing Jon Ginoli, Skiing’s Most Fabulous Musician
When skiing needed a soundtrack, Jon Ginoli delivered. His band Pansy Division may have not written the book on skiing, but they did write the song about it. In the early 2000s, when the freeskiing movement was taking traction, the Sierra Range foursome wrote, “Alpine Skiing,” to celebrate ski culture moving into the public eye. Jon has skied all of his adult life and is excited on the sport’s progression. From the skinny ski days the 90’s to his present day of smearing and slarving the backside, to him all aspects are great, but much better when done with your closest bros. Here’s what skiing means to him.
Doglotion: Jon, you and your band Pansy Division have created the anthem for skiing. What were you doing when the idea came to your mind?
Jon Ginoli: Me and a couple of guys were hanging out in the hot tub after a cold day. It’s good having a couple of buds around for inspiration.
DL: Your song was recorded in 2003 as the global freeskiing movement was building. All ski manufacturers already had twin-tipped skis on the market, allowing a skier to go both ways. How important is innovation to you in the sport?
Jon: Innovation isn’t as important as doing your variation or spin on the basics. Going both ways isn’t as important for me as going the way I want to go. I like keeping things simple and basic, like the song says. Trying something with others that you’ve done on your own can really be rewarding. Sometimes it takes 3 people to get it right, getting right rhythm going, is really satisfying.
DL:What type of skiing do you like to do? Do you guys ride pipe, or like dropping in the backside?
Jon: Backside mostly.
DL: What gets you excited about the coming season?
Jon: Looking forward to hitting the chutes.
DL: In ski towns, the biggest complaint is the lack of women. Yet you guys never sleep alone. Is this because of your rock-star status as musicians?
Jon: I remember playing a show in Banff, Alberta, and there was a definite lack of women. The bigger problem was that the guys present weren’t paying us much attention, rock stars or not.
DL: You guys are based near the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. What ski techniques have you adapted to accommodate for high elevation and steep pitches common in that range?
Jon: Skiing in threes.
DL: One of the biggest threats to our sport is climate change. As the earth’s temperature increases, we will have to go to greater lengths to find so much as a snowball. What is your prerogative to protecting the environment you love?
Jon: There’s not a lot just one individual can do, but one small step I’ve taken is using hair gel instead of hair spray.
DL:What is next in skiing?
Jon: Skiing when it isn’t snowing, like I sing about in the song. I was just in the Sierras this past weekend, it’s weird being there when everything is green, but I may have to get used to it.
DL: Describe your dream ski trip.
Getting tons of face shots from my two best skiing buds.
DL: Who would you like to thank?
Jon: Spider Sabich & Jean-Claude Killy, for inspiration. They were hot men from my youth that I would have loved to Alpine ski with.
When Jon and his band mates aren’t on tour they can be found riding pipe in the park or railing the backside. You’ve heard his words, now listen to the unforgettable soundtrack of the sport we love. Look for Jon and his band at your local ski area or check out where their next ski tour is at www.pansydivision.com
Jon with Pansy Division playing live for thousands of ski fans.
If this is your first time hearing this song, go read the interview again afterwards.