At every Freesking World Tour stop the skier who goes the biggest, male or female, wins the Sickbird award. Only three women have ever gotten the Sickbird. Jackie Paaso won it at Snowbird in 2008, in the third contest she’d ever done.
“It was basically my first year ever jumping off cliffs,” she says. “It helped me earn a little recognition.”
That’s pretty indicative of how Paaso approaches skiing: all out, aggressive, and even with the guys.
This year, she’s been battling to keep women’s skiing as a whole on par with men’s. Paaso was one of two American women who were invited to this year’s European-based Freeride World Tour. When the tour cut the majority of the women’s events Passo was one of the athletes who negotiated with the tour’s organizers for more equal coverage and prize money between the men’s and women’s competitions. “It was frustrating to have no funding for tour, and no progression for women’s sports,” she says.”
This winter, she says she’ll be doing some of the big mountain comps, but she’s also looking at filming and shooting photos. “I’m trying to scrounge pictures,” she says. “I’m trying to get everything together for this winter.”-H.H.