In his new role, Schiller will act as a mentor for young athletes and assist current coaches Jeremy Cooper and Gabriel Leclerc in some events of the Nor-Am and World Cup circuits. This role will go hand in hand with his role as a commentator and analyst on the CBC Sports channel for the X Games and the PyeongChang Olympic Games.
Schiller will be on familiar ground as he has coached and tracked the progress of many athletes over the past few years. “I feel like I’ve reunited with my family by joining Freestyle Canada’s NextGen program. I know the athletes well, and I know Jeremy Cooper from Silver Star. I see so much potential in these kids, and they undoubtedly have the skills required to be part of the national team,” states Schiller, who hopes to share his experiences, what he’s learned, and the highs and lows of his career with them so that they can benefit from it all.
For ski enthusiasts, the name TJ Schiller is synonymous with amazing talent, positive leader, and freeski pioneer. He was one of the most prominent skiers during his professional career from 2004 to 2010, which was marked by an unforgettable moment at the X Games in 2010 when Schiller became the first skier to successfully land a double cork 1620 (four and a half rotations and two flips) that earned him the silver for the Big Air event. In addition to this, he has an enviable record of two gold medals at the X Games (best trick and slopestyle) and numerous podiums at international events. He who is famous in freestyle skiing for his style combined with his amplitude and irreproachable smoothness recalls a significant moment in his career among all those he experienced. “I finished high school a year and a half earlier, and as soon as I finished my last exam, I flew over to Vail in Colorado to participate in the US Open, my first ever professional event. I won the slopestyle event and finished second in Big Air. Overnight I became a professional athlete. It was definitely the most mind-blowing event of my career because I was only starting out and was already the centre of attention,” remembers Schiller.
Even though he has many years of experience under his belt, TJ only has one piece of advice for next generation freeski athletes: have fun. “Athletes must make sure that skiing stays a passion. When there’s no more pleasure, it’s harder to learn and evolve; so there’s a fine line between having fun and taking yourself too seriously. This will be my key message for those young athletes.”