Tinker, Tailor, Freeskier

In the wake of his new namesake film, Hoji the skier is now also recognized as Hoji the inventor.

Until the media buzz surrounding Matchstick Productions’ biopic, Eric “Hoji” Hjorleifson, 35, has largely avoided big name recognition, despite being one of the most notable pioneers of freeskiing. Yet behind the scenes, Hoji has been busy leaving his mark. He’s the only pro who not only has a signature ski—the 4FRNT Renegade—but now a signature alpine touring (AT) boot, the Dynafit HOJI Pro Tour, as well.

The transition from racer kid to pioneering freeskier didn’t happen overnight—primarily because the gear to speed up the process simply didn’t exist. So Hoji started inventing it. He began crafting his own AT boots, building Frankenboot walk mechanisms and gluing Vibram soles onto the bottoms of his Tecnica race boots. Eventually, he gained international recognition for his performances in MSP films wearing Dynafit Titans and later Vulcans. Dynafit took note. “He was quickly recognized not only for his skiing but also his design ability,” says Dynafit North American PR Manager Eric “Hende” Henderson. The brand then recruited Hoji to help develop the fully DIN-certified Dynafit Beast 16 binding.

Forever unsatisfied with the status quo, Hoji kept tinkering. With the help of Dynafit’s binding guru Fritz Barthel, the revolutionary 120-flex, three-buckle HOJI boot was born, with just a single heel switch to go from touring to ski mode.

Whether this boot will prove to be Hoji’s Magnum Opus—or if something even better is in the works—remains to be seen. But it’s clear that Hoji won’t be resting on his laurels waiting for someone else to do the heavy lifting.

This article was originally published in the December 2018 issue of SKI Magazine.