“You can never cross the ocean, unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” -David L. Weatherford
We all know that to get the best out of life, we need to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones once in a while. Whether that means taking up a new sport in our 40s that we’ve never tried before, hiking that mountain that’s been taunting us for years with its near vertical climb, or simply switching careers because the urge to do something we love is so strong, fulfillment is ours when we reach the other side of a challenge.
At LonoLife we are inspired by people who push the limits of what is possible and who show us that the rewards are always worth the work. One of those people is a good friend of LonoLife -- Jussi Oksanen. Jussi is a Southern Californian transplant who grew up in Finland. Well-known as one of the top snowboarders in the world, Jussi retired from the sport in 2015 to dedicate his time first to Mizu -- the reusable bottle company he had founded -- and then to building out branded photography content for other brands in the active outdoor world.
With a job that keeps him on the road (and up mountains) on a regular basis, Jussi always has a pack of LonoLife sachets handy. When he dropped by the office the other day, we decided to check in with him on life on the road, transitioning from a pro-athlete to a business owner and photographer, and what he does to stay healthy.
Let’s start with the really fun stuff. We know you have 7 X Games medals to your name as well as numerous other accolades and wins, but if you could summarize what your snowboarding career gave you on a deeper level, what would you say?
Snowboarding changed my world view, because of all the travel we got to do. Whether I was down in Chile filming a video part or jumping out of a heli in Alaska, I got to see parts of the world that made me appreciate its beauty and diversity. I also realized that you can achieve your dreams, no matter what anyone else around you says. Finally, I think it triggered a love of adventure in me that will live on forever.
You founded Mizu while you were still snowboarding. What drove you to create your own company, and why reusable products?
During a snowboard trip to Alaska, I took stock of the amount of single-use plastic water bottles we were using and was shocked. Single-use plastic is one the biggest environmental problems facing our world today, and I just felt compelled to do something about it. The problem was, there wasn’t a product on the market that I felt I would want to own. So I figured that if I could create one that I would be proud to use, then a lot more like-minded people might start using reusable over single-use. That’s how Mizu was born.
What took you from working full-time at Mizu (once you retired from snowboarding) to working with other brands on their photography needs?
I’ve always been a photographer of some sort, ever since I was young. While working full time at Mizu my focus was on building out its creative direction and content to showcase who we really are. I felt like the company got to a point that it could run with that on its own with the talented crew it has there, and I felt inspired to do the same thing for other companies in the outdoor world. Plus, I’m a hard person to keep within four walls, and need to be outside as much as I can be!
Let’s talk about that. You spend a lot of your life in some of the world’s most beautiful places, hiking mountains and camping out for photoshoots. How, as the athlete that you are, do you make sure you stay healthy while on the road so much?
It all comes down to a little preparation. I know that if I eat badly, I feel bad, so it’s just not worth it. So I focus on food that keeps well without being kept cold and sustains me during long hikes. The last couple of photoshoots I was hiking and camping, carrying everything with me on my back. I have to make sure I have food and drink that is protein rich without taking up much space. That’s why I love the LonoLife single-serve sachets! They are the perfect break food (or drink, depending on how you look at it!) Super light-weight with enough protein to keep me going for the next leg of the trek. I also make my own trail mix to snack on along the way.
When you’re not shooting for brands in the great outdoors, how do you get your exercise fix now that you aren’t snowboarding full time?
It’s all about the bike for me now! Road bike, gravel bike, mountain bike -- it doesn’t matter. If I don’t get at least an hour on the bike every day, I’m climbing the walls. Just ask my wife!
We know the feeling! Ok, final question. If you were heading out on a month long trip and could only take one LonoLife product with you, which would it be?
The Thai Curry Bone Broth, hands down! It’s my go-to every time.
To check out some of Jussi’s most recent photography, head on over to www.jussioksanen.com
Or to see him in action on a snowboard, click here https://vimeo.com/76489010