by Wagner Skis / Dec 10, 2019

Season 2, Episode 6: Jonathan Ellsworth – Lean Into It

As the founder and CEO of Crested Butte-based Blister gear review, Jonathan has spent the last nine years studying, testing and reviewing gear. He’s got a global audience that relies on his team’s unbiased, long-form reviews that explain why some gear works while others fall short. The former philosophy professor turned personal trainer turned small business owner and outdoor industry watchdog skis more than 100 days a winter while working 80 hours a week. So, he’s got a unique perspective on how we can improve our turns, from technical tips when selecting the right skis and boots to advice for desk jockeys who pry ski turns into their work days. Join us as Jonathan shares why heavier skis work better, the technological future of ski boots and the best exercises for working stiffs who ski hard.

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[02:05] Jonathan grew up in the Chicagoland area, not anywhere near a ski area.
[02:50] He thinks his late start in skiing is key to Blister’s success.
[03:00] When an injury ended his football career, he threw himself into his studies in kinesiology.
[04:14] Jonathan went to New Mexico to work on his dissertation, which gave him access to the mountains.
[04:47] He took a year off of school to do everything he could in the mountains and never went back to Chicago.
[07:04] Blister does not accept money from gear manufacturers that they review, which is in contrast to a lot of ski publications.
[08:50] He wants to make sure his revenue streams don’t undermine his work.
[09:30] Integrity and credibility is everything.
[11:15] Blister employs 6 or 7 reviewers to do most of the ski gear reviews, but employs 50-60 freelancers.
[14:10] By coming late into skiing, Jonathan has a greater appreciation for gear that improves performance.
[15:24] Skiing and ski design stole so many good ideas that came from snowboarding.
[18:26] Jonathan has spent a lot of time telling people lightweight skis suck.
[21:50] Making lightweight gear is such a thing now.
[22:00] Manufacturers try to say that you don’t lose performance, but this isn’t 100% true.
[25:08] There are still hundreds of thousands of skiers out there in incorrectly sized boots.
[26:45] If you’re an intermediate skier, get yourself to a boot-fitter.
[27:24] Heat-moldable shells are becoming more common for ski boots.
[27:55] If you have trickier feet, heat-moldable shells are the way to go.
[30:15] Jonathan has to be intentional with his workouts, because his time is limited.
[30:40] You absolutely must stretch your hamstrings.
[39:15] Crested Butte has a lot of steep terrain.
[39:45] Jonathan thinks the more scared you are of the terrain in front of you, the more forward you should be on your skis.


A Little More Info on Back Pain and Hamstring Stretching
Stretching For Skiing 101
Après Ski Stretches How to Navigate A Ski Buyer’s Guide

Strength Ball Crunches/Back Extensions:



“Institutional trust: right? That’s not just a problem in the world of outdoor sports reviews, that’s a problem at the biggest levels of government…”
“Tip and tail rocker…has really opened up the sport in a super significant way.”
“Do not buy your ski boots online and have them show up in a box…go to an experienced boot-fitter…”

Listen to other episodes

Lindsay Andersen: Pull Your Toes Up
Evan Reece: It’s Rare to Find a Place That Isn’t Worth Going to at Least Once
Wendy Fisher: Spontaneity is Key
Kim Reichhelm: The Most Important Thing is Having Fun
Hilaree Nelson: The Value of Saying Yes
Jonathan Ellsworth: Lean Into It
Allen Tran: Building An Athlete, One Meal at a Time
Joel Gratz: The Powder Prophet