Leading Ladies, 5: Jackie Paaso
Jackie Paaso, the daughter of a former NFL player, talks about going big on skis.
[Ed's note: This story is part five of a series on some of freeskiing's most stand-out females, the women who are pushing the limits of what we all thought possible. Check back next Wednesday for the sixth installment, a gallery of the lesser-seen faces from the all-girl film "Say My Name." And see below for ones you've missed.]4: Photographers
Jackie Paaso throws down. Hard. The daughter of a former professional football player and once a member of the U.S. Freestyle development team, Jackie, a Tahoe-area local, has made a name for herself over the past several years by going huge on the big-mountain competition circuit. She won the Freeride World Tour in Squaw Valley last winter (see her winning line above) and she recently competed in the Chilean and Argentinean stops of the Freeskiing World Tour. I caught up with Jackie over Skype recently to pick her brain about competing, women's big-mountain skiing and providing shoes for children in third-world countries.
ESPN: Your dad played professional football. Does he ever give you advice on being a pro athlete?
Jackie Paaso: My dad played for the Sooners as defensive tackle and then played for the Broncos, but got cut in the pre-season. He knows what it's like to be working toward a dream or goal. He may not understand the skiing side of things but he knows what it's like to work toward something you really care about. I have his support.
You've bounced back and forth between the Freeskiing World Tour and the Freeride World Tour. How would you compare the two tours?
On the Freeskiing World Tour, [women] take safe runs to get the win or the points but they're not really pushing the sport. Because there are women taking safe lines, everyone else is doing the same. On the men's side [of the Freeskiing World Tour] every guy has to push it -- ski smart but step it up and ski at a higher level. As opposed to, 'Well, I'm just taking it easy and making it to the bottom.' Which is how I feel the mindset is on the Freeskiing World Tour [for women]. On the Freeride World Tour, every woman has a similar mindset to the guys -- I have to step it up, I have to push it -- which helps progress the sport of women's skiing.
So anybody you want to call out in particular on the Freeskiing World Tour?
There are women like Jacqui Edgerly, Crystal Wright and Rebecca Selig who are stepping up the game. And I really hope they continue to do so because I think it's really good for our sport.
Switching gears, you work with the Charity TOMS Shoes, what's your role with them?
For every pair of shoes TOMS sells they give a pair away to a child in need. It's something that really caught my eye and was a great concept and something I really wanted to be a part of. I don't think I have an official title, it's just a company cause I feel good about spreading the word and getting other people excited about the shoes. And, they're cute and comfy.
I'm going to ask the obligatory 'What are you plans for the season?' question.
Hopefully I'll have time to focus on some other stuff, possibly filming. Nothing is really lined up at the moment; I'm still working on it.
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