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California Questionnaire: Jonny Moseley

The Olympic Gold Medalist freestyle skier is ready for new adventures—all over California

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No one has left a mark on the sport of freestyle skiing quite like Jonny Moseley. The 1998 Olympic gold medalist built a reputation for pushing boundaries with his innovative skiing style and rule-stretching tricks (like his signature “Dinner Roll”), earning his spot in history as one of the most influential skiers of all time.

In the years following the Olympics, Moseley went on to develop a robust hosting career, including American Ninja Warrior, MTV’s The Challenge, and an appearance on Saturday Night Live. He also lends color commentary and analysis during Olympic and World Cup Freestyle skiing competitions for NBC. In 2007, Moseley was inducted into the Ski Hall of Fame. 

He can still be found frequenting his home mountain, Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows in North Lake Tahoe, but these days his visits often include his wife and two sons. Moseley has also parlayed his athleticism into other areas of adventure—slacklining in Lone Pine, flyboarding on Catalina Island—which is documented in his series, “Jonny Moseley’s Wildest Dreams.”

I’ve skied a lot,” Moseley says. “But there are so many other things that I’ve got my toes wet with because of living near the ocean—sailing, fishing, mountain biking. I have a list of things that I want to do, and most of them take place in California.”

Where do you live? Tiburon 

Why there? When the snow starts to thaw I love to be on San Francisco Bay, sailing and fishing. I also grew up here and live close to my parents and brothers.

Who or what is your greatest California love? Squaw Valley–Alpine Meadows ski resort has always been my sanctuary. Squaw is a place I associate with great memories with my friends and family. I am grateful to have my kids enjoy the same great terrain and special nature of the valley in the summer and winter. 

What is the biggest misperception about Californians? That we all talk like Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. I know what you are going say—well you do, Jonny! That may be true but I’m sticking up for the others.  

What is the stereotype that most holds true? That we all believe we live in the best place in the world! California exceptionalism I guess.

What is your favorite Golden State splurge? Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse, wine in Napa and Sonoma Valley, and IPA in Marin. Chez Panisse is simply amazing and the first choice for my wife and me. Napa and Sonoma are in our backyard and that is a great thing. Marin is home to amazing beers, including Lagunitas and Rugged Coast Brewing.  

Time for a road trip. Where are you going? It’s time for Yosemite. We’re going to load it up when school gets out and head over Tioga Pass to Yosemite. Then we will carry on down to Tehachapi so my kids can hit [action sports facility] Woodward West. From there we will head to Malibu and Point Dume area for some surfing and to catch up with our friends in L.A. 

(For more details on Moseley’s dream drive, check out his Ultimate Adventure Trip in the Visit California Road Trips guide.)

If you could decree an official state culinary experience, what would it be? Go fishing near Bolinas off Duxbury Reef to catch a few salmon and some Dungeness crab. Invite some friends over and boil the delicious crab in a big pot, throw some salmon on the grill, and drink IPAs.

Best California song? “California Love” by Tupac. It gets the party going. Or “Estimated Prophet” by the Grateful Dead to give you some mental imagery of the state.

How would your California dream day unfold? Run the Dipsea Trail to Bolinas at sunrise. Longboard by the jetty. Eat oysters for lunch in Point Reyes. Fly or drive to Squaw and spring ski on KT-22 until sunset. Après in the village.

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