Josephine ‘Josie’ Baff is a snowboarder who was awarded a Tier 1 Scholarship within the 2021 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring Program, and has been paired with SAHOF Legend Susie O’Neill as her Mentor.
Josie was born in Cooma, NSW, in 2003 and spent her childhood in Jindabyne, Saint Moritz and Mammoth, where her parents taught skiing and snowboarding. Josie started skiing at age 2 and strapped into a snowboard as a five-year-old.
Josie competes in Snowboard Cross, which is a thrilling race down a course lined with jumps, cambered turns, drops, rollers and sharp corners involving four to six riders at a time. Collisions are common and so are injuries.
In 2015, Josie began to take snowboarding more seriously and by 2019 she was winning major competitions. As a 16-yearold she won the Canadian Junior Nationals and placed second at the Australian – New Zealand Cup. She also won bronze at the NorAm event. She then rose to another level in 2020 when she won Australia’s first ever gold medal at the Winter Youth Olympic Games, and rode this momentum to a bronze at her first Europa Cup.
As of September 2020, 17-year-old Josie had achieved a senior international ranking of 32.
Josie will continue to divide her between Jindabyne and the northern hemisphere as she chases world championship and Olympic success. Outside of snowboarding, she aspires to run a business offering a waste-free alternative to common health food stores and cafes, while creating a positive environment with access to personal trainers, gyms and other support networks – all under the same roof.
“Having this opportunity is such an honour and so exciting! It is so powerful to have access to one-on-one mentoring with Susie O’Neill who is such an incredible and knowledgeable athlete who is going to be able to guide me through not only my sporting career but my life outside of sport as well.
I feel as though it will open doors to invaluable advice and knowledge that is going to help me grow as an individual and become the best athlete I can possibly be. I am so thankful for this opportunity and am looking forward to seeing what this experience will bring.” – Josie Baff on being selected as a 2021 Tier 1 Scholarship Holder.
“Josie is such an impressive talent and I am excited to be able to support her in any way I can. It took many years for me to learn everything I did about elite sport and to be able to give even 1 per cent of that back to Josie as a Mentor will be an honour. I’m looking forward to getting to know Josie as a person and athlete and learning from her, especially more about snowboarding.” – Mentor Susie O’Neill AM.
Awards, Honours & Achievements
- 2020: Youth Olympic Games – 1st
- 2020: Europa Cup – 3rd (first Europa Cup, Senior)
- 2019: NorAm – 3rd (Senior)
- 2019: Canadian Junior Nationals – 1st (Junior)
- 2019: Australian New Zealand Cup – 2nd (Senior)
- 2021: Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship Holder – Tier 1
“It is great news that Josie has been awarded a Tier 1 SAHOF Scholarship. We are so pleased for Josie to have the chance to be mentored by Susie O’Neill. What an opportunity, Susie stands out as one of our greatest sportspeople, is just a super role model, and is an expert in understanding what it takes to perform at the highest level. The recognition and support from SAHOF will be a big part of helping Josie progress from her Gold medal at Youth Olympic Games to the next level in open competition, and ultimately to the 2022 and or 2026 Olympic Games.” – Olympic Winter Institute of Australia CEO, Geoff Lipshut
Snow Australia CEO, Michael Kennedy: “It’s a huge honour for Josie to be included in the elite group of young athletes receiving the Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship for 2021.
Earlier this year Josie showed she is a rising star of the sport when she claimed the first ever Australian gold medal at the Winter Youth Olympic Games. Being awarded the SAHOF Scholarship is a nod to that potential and apart from the significant financial support, it comes with a unique opportunity to be mentored by one our nation’s greatest ever athletes in Susie O’Neill. The whole Australian snow community is right behind Josie and are excited for what is coming next in her career.
We’re grateful to the SAHOF for providing such a tremendous opportunity for Josie, as she continues on her path towards the 2022 Olympics and beyond.”
Bio picture credit: OWIA