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What's Jonathan Vellner listening to?

The freestyle skier gives us a peak at his playlist — and favourite new musical toy

If Jonathan Vellner wasn't a freestyle skier he might be a musician. "Or an actor because I love performing," his bio on the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association website clarifies.

Vellner, who placed second last year at the Canadian Championships, loves strumming his guitar and blasting music while he's kicking around at home, but he only dons headphones on the mountain in very specific scenarios.

Pique caught up with the music fanatic to talk about what makes up his playlist, when he cranks those tunes and his new favourite instrument.

Pique: Do you ride and listen to music?

Jonathan Vellner: When I'm skiing, I never go alone. If I was to go alone I would. But always I sing to myself when I'm skiing. It's super weird. I see little kids do it and I'm like, 'Yeah buddy!' Especially when I'm off the path in tree runs. It's kind of like singing in the shower.

Pique: When do you listen to music?

Vellner: Outside of training, I always have music playing at my house. In training, not so much. It's a practicality thing. It's a pain to have ear buds, taking them in and out. When I was doing trampoline I would listen to music right before to calm down or pump myself up.

Pique: How big of a role does music play in your life?

Vellner:  To give an example, I came out here without my guitar because I had skis and shit to bring. After one week without a guitar, I went and got myself a ukulele. I've been playing the ukulele five hours a day lately. I gave myself a concussion, so I've been writing songs on the ukulele. I have harmonicas that I bring everywhere... If I'm not playing music I'm always listening to it.

Pique: What about when you're travelling?

Vellner: I listen to music on the plane and stuff all the time.

Pique: What has been your biggest musical discovery this year?

Vellner: My biggest musical discovery other than a band is playing the ukulele. I'd never played it before. I've been loving this thing. That's my biggest musical discovery. As far as music goes, I think I shifted into an electronic phase. I was listening to blues and a lot of stuff. I've been going through old Massive Attack and Thievery Corporation.

Pique: It sounds like music helps you unwind.

Vellner: That's exactly what it does: it helps me unwind. A lot of people use music to pump themselves up. I rarely use it to pump myself up. It's almost always a relaxation thing for me.

Jonathan's playlist

(Note: a few times a week he tweets a track he's listening to with the hashtag #skitrack. Keep up to date with his musical offerings on Twitter @jonvellner.

1. "You Know Who!" by Damu The Fudgemunk

2. "Escape the Funk" by Ill Biskits

3. "Who's this?" by Artifacts

4. "Mind Blowin'" by Pete rock (ft. Vinia Mojica)

5. "Brave in the Heart" by Big Pun (ft. Terror Squad)

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