BIG MOUNTAIN SKIER
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH
The night after skier Johnny Collinson summited Everest, on his way to becoming the youngest person to climb the Seven Summits at the age 17, he barely slept; he was too busy helping an altitude sick adult rehydrate and recover. The Sherpas called Johnny “white Sherpa” for his high-altitude climbing ability that has been nurtured since age 4, when he stood atop Mt. Rainier in Washington. Johnny, his sister Angel (a fellow TNF athlete), and his parents Jimmy and Deb Collinson spent 10 summers living out of a ’79 Ford Econoline Van hiking and backpacking around the West and climbing more peaks, like Shasta and Whitney before Johnny turned six. Without crampons and good boots small enough to fit, Johnny used tiny Sorels that his dad fitted with construction nail plates, and could hike 3,000 feet or about 10 miles a day at a young age. Angel remembers, as a kid, Johnny would say: “Well, this can’t be as hard as Everest.” But years later, when he did climb the peak, he found it relatively easier than many previous mountain challenges.
As much as Johnny excels at going up, it’s skiing down that he’s known for. The same year he climbed the Seven Summits (and skied down three: Denali, Elbrus, and Vinson Massif), he also won the 2010 Junior Freeskiing Tour overall title. He's since landed on podiums at several Freeskiing World Tour events and Red Bull big mountain competitions and racked up awards for segments in films by TGR, Sweetgrass Productions and Sherpas. Johnny grew up skiing at Snowbird and Alta resorts, living at the base in employee housing with his family—father Jimmy was snow safety director at Snowbird. Homeschooled by his mom, Johnny accumulated more powder days in his childhood than skiers most do in a lifetime. Today, he’s one of the most progressive, versatile and recognizable faces of big mountain skiing today. As his friend and TNF teammate Hadley Hammer says: “While most skiers fit into either a freestyle category, mastering tricks, and spins, or are big mountain chargers, sending cliffs and mountains with nuclear speed, Johnny can and frequently does both. He survives off of chicken tenders and Coors Light, but will always be the first and fastest up the boot pack. You can’t put John into a box, and that’s what makes him so successful.”
The motorcycle riding, black leather sporting, jewelry wearing Johnny may look more like the frontman of a heavy metal band than a skier, but behind the luscious blond locks that earned him second place in Powder magazine’s first annual Ski Town Hair Down, lies a dedicated mountain athlete. He spent the summer of 2018 rehabbing his knee five hours a day, and he came back strong from a shoulder injury two year prior to that. In the summer, he climbs, bikes and hikes, much of it in the canyon he grew up in.
- 2017 film projects: TGR - . Faction: This Is Home
- Opening part in TGR’s "Tight Loose"
- 2nd Place, Red Bull Cold Rush 2016
- Best Powder, Powder Awards 2014
- 2010 Junior Freeskiing Tour overall title
- Youngest person to climb the Seven Summits (age 17)