Feature | Alpine Skiing

USA speed skier Breezy Johnson: 'You can be scared of something and do it anyway' 

With four World Cup podiums, Breezy Johnson is enjoying her breakthrough season ahead of the 2021 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Cortina. Despite a list of serious injuries, the 25-year-old never considered retirement.

By Ed Knowles ·

Breezy Johnson is a downhill skier who, this season, has finished on the podium four times at World Cup downhill events.

It’s seen her touted as one of the favourites for success at the of 2021 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships and likened to Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn.

Breezy has overcome a series of injuries including a leg fracture and several serious knee ligament issues.

You can be scared to death of something and do it anyway - Breezy Johnson on facing fear

The setbacks took a mental toll leaving Breezy feeling drained.

But even during her darkest moments, she was committed to her sport.

“I never really considered retirement because I live for race day,” she said to the Olympic Channel Podcast.

“I think the hardest part with the injuries was [that]… I never had that feeling of racing.”

Here are five more things we learnt from her in-depth interview.

Breezy Johnson finished 7th in the Downhill and 14th in the Super G events at PyeongChang 2018

Breezy Johnson: Mental focus in downhill skiing

Downhill skiing requires incredible mental and physical dexterity.

The amount of concentration Breezy commits to racing means there’s no room for anything else in her mind other than the race at hand.

“I have this ability that [to be] one hundred per cent mentally focussed on what I'm about to do… [it] doesn't really leave space for a lot of doubt.”

Concentration is one thing but she still has to conquer some mental barriers in her preparation.

“There’s this myth that downhill skiers are fearless and we're not. But what I've always come to terms with is [that] you can be scared to death of something and do it anyway.” - Breezy Johnson talking with the Olympic Channel podcast

Women's Downhill - Alpine Skiing | PyeongChang 2018 Replays

The women's downhill competition was held at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre on...

Breezy Johnson: How to be brave

Given all her injuries, it’s incredible that Breezy can put the past behind her and focus on her race.

Perhaps it is in her genes, but maybe it is something that you can condition yourself in as well.

Bravery could be a skill and that means training is possible

“I don't know if you've ever gone like cliff jumping, but I always say that I learnt to be a downhill skier when I first went cliff jumping because I was scared…

“And so that's sort of how you have to ski downhill.

“I really don't want to go straight off this jump, but I'm going to do it anyway.”

Cirque Blanc | Trailer

Cirque Blanc follows France’s top female skiers Tessa Worley, Tiffany Gauth...

Breezy Johnson: Paddling on icebergs

“I'm from Jackson Hole. It's an amazing place,” Breezy said.

“And it's got these crazy cool high alpine lakes there.”

Part of her thrill-seeking nature has led her to jumping into these cold-water locations.

It also led to a resourceful idea.

“You're not allowed to take paddleboards in Grand Teton National Park to the high Alpine Lakes…

“So, we paddled around on these icebergs.”

Breezy Johnson: The Olympics and Beijing 2022

With one year to go until Beijing 2022, Breezy is not taking a place on the USA skiing team for granted.

Especially given her history on the treatment table.

“You're not guaranteed tomorrow. You're not guaranteed next year you're definitely not guaranteed next quad.

“You really just have to seize every day and seize every moment.”

Mikaela Shiffrin and Sofia Goggia give advice to YOG skiers

Olympic champions Mikaela Shiffrin and Sofia Goggia know what it takes to r...

Breezy Johnson: Team USA and great current form

With Mikaela Shiffrin returning to action after some time away from the sport, Ryan Cochran-Siegle’s stellar performances, and Breezy’s consistent form – the Team USA ski team is looking in good shape.

“I think in the last few years, we've been working really hard with the team on improving the culture..

“It's showing in the success of different people and that's really cool.”

Breezy is scheduled to compete in the downhill on Saturday 13 February.