The youngest skier to ever make the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team
When she was just 2 years old, Tess learned to ski on Beaver Creek Mountain with her parents. "My mom tells me I was carving in my first few days," she says. "I will always remember dodging trees and catching air in Coyote Glade, my very first skiing memory."
"Although I initially wanted to compete in slope style, I found my true passion in mogul skiing," Tess says. "I've always been very fierce, and mogul skiing was the perfect outlet for my competitiveness because I absolutely loved it." At 9 years old, Tess began competing in moguls competitions and quickly found success.
As the youngest skier at the time to ever to make the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team at 14 years old, Tess was making history. Several years later, Tess won her first World Cup in Japan and skied in the 2018 Winter Olympics as one of the six 17-year-olds on Team USA. In 2019, she skied to two World Cup podiums as well as a bronze medal in the 2019 World Championships, and this past season defeated World #1 Perrine Laffont head to head in a dual. She is currently ranked 8th in the world at just 19 years old.
"I want to ski the best I possibly can. The results will come after that."
An interview with Sports Illustrated, Pyeongchang, South Korea, February 2018
Beyond the moguls
Tess credits much of her success to her mindfulness-induced training approach. Mediation, yoga, and relaxation play a huge role in her training and life. "Staying in the present helps keep the focus on what I can control," she says. "I've learned that I ski my best when I don't force things." The balance of a competitive culture and a composed, fun-loving nature make up Tess' lifestyle. "Having fun is key. I know I'm having fun when I'm smiling, and anyone who knows me would say I smile a lot."
Growing up in Vail, Colorado shaped Tess' mogul skiing career. Her parents, who met in Vail, raised their three kids to appreciate mother nature's wonders. "Even though my family doesn't share my passion for competitive skiing, we are so close because of our mutual love for the outdoors." When they aren't skiing, the Johnson's can be found rafting, hiking, biking, playing soccer, or doing yoga.
A social-media enthusiast, Tess uses Instagram and Facebook to share her training and activities with her followers. "Being exposed to so many new cultures has widened my perspective and contributed to my education more than I could have imagined," she says. "It's helped me realize the importance of all types of education." Tess has intentions of achieving a higher level of academic education one day, but right now she is focused on skiing. She is also passionate about inspiring those younger than her, especially girls, to reach their full potential physically, mentally and emotionally. "I am very excited to be working with GirlPowHER, an organization in the Vail Valley, to help girls realize all they have to offer the world."