Four Question Interview: Josh Madsen

Telemark skier Josh Madsen has always been in front of the camera. But now, the Salt Lake City-based skier is getting behind the lens. The tour for his new movie starts next week.

Salt Lake City-based freeheeler Josh Madsen has been skiing professionally (and waiting tables on the side) for the last seven years. He’s shot with the Powderwhores, Tough Guy Productions, and appeared in Warren Miller Entertainment’s Higher Ground. But then, suddenly, he decided to get on the other side of the camera and launched his own film company. His new film, called The Freeheel Life, debuts in Breckenridge, Colorado, on October 1. Sally Francklyn caught up with Madsen to talk about his film, youth talent, and hitchhiking through Nevada.

So you make telemark films starring mainly youth athletes, is that right?
I’ve always been on the other side of the camera, but there weren’t a lot of people showing what younger kids were doing. I started a crew of kids called Monster Squad to cultivate that talent. Another company bailed on an opportunity to film these kids, and I said, I’ll start my own film company.

And? What was the reaction to that?
People would come up to us and say “that’s not telemark skiing,” or “that’s the worst telemark movie I’ve ever seen!” That’s what Lipstick Films was all about—being the antithesis of a traditional ski film.

What does the film tour look like this year?

I was recently hired at Telemark Skier magazine, and we’re partnering to bring the free-heel life to the masses. The Freeheel Life is going on a 50-show tour. I want people to be active in their local scene, so we’re bringing telemark everywhere. Not everyone understands the telemark scene, and not that many people are telling its story, so the film and the magazine will do that.

Tell me your craziest hitchhiking story.
I went out to the Reno Tahoe Freeheel Open in Squaw, but I had to hitchhike home to work a graveyard shift. After an all-nighter out with friends, I made it through a series of rides to Winnemucca, Nevada, and got stuck there for five hours. Just as I was starting to worry, this guy pulling a horse trailer offered to take me all the way to Salt Lake City. This dude had set up a TV in the rear seat of his truck facing the rearview mirror and we both watched a movie. I’m lucky he focused on driving well enough to get me back alive.

Check the tour schedule at