Our new “How To” series will walk women through trying something new in outdoor sports and activities with professional athletes. We’ll be sure to cover skills and tricks from beginner level to expert.
This edition covers how to land a backflip on skis with The North Face, Black Diamond athlete, Jacqui Edgerly. I’ve personally been amped to see more and more women throwing huge backflips of late, including Rachael Burks and her Femalewolfpack.com crew. But for many of us —including me—it seems extremely scary to attempt, and thus, quite impressive to see Jacqui push herself to become a backflippin’ master. Jacqui, 23, of Aspen, Colo. is a seasoned big mountain athlete, competing on the Freeskiing World Tour (now the Freeride World Tour) since she was a teen. She’s spent the majority of her comp years on the podium. About three years ago, while I was covering the FWT for Powdermag.com, she started throwing backflips off cliffs during competition. Few, if any women, were doing that in competition. What stuck with me was that she wasn’t only taking a physical risk when she backflipped, but she was also risking the podium. As is the case with trying anything new, sometimes you don’t quite nail it. In the action sports world world it takes loads practice and muscle memory to land a trick the majority of the time. Jacqui did crash a couple times, but she also earned a great deal of respect in my book for pushing the level of competition and inspiring other women to step it up. The late Sarah Burke was a similar sort of competitor; someone who wanted to push the sport forward, rather than earn another medal. Jacqui, too, pushed through her crashes, and now dominates the backflip. Her progressive nature, determination, and of course, raw talent, has landed film segments with Sweetgrass Productions, Stellar Media and Dubsatch Collective.
WGG: Take us through the motions of backflipping start to finish.
JE: Know what speed you need to hit the perfect landing. The more speed you have the better, usually. As you reach the lip think about popping up and not back, hips to the sky. Look for your landing as you spin around and bring your hands forward and stomp it. It will come naturally if you commit to it. Be confident and committed and you will most likely spin right around to your feet. And be patient…a lot of time I just flip it right as I hit the lip, but if you are patient and take your time getting around it is much smoother and more layed out.
Yeah, she sends it!
WGG: What kind of take offs should you look for?
JE: Jumps with nice wootang lips are the best. Flat take offs are a little more difficult.
WGG: Where is a good place to practice?
JE: In the spring I hit the jumps in the park, but mostly just find/build jumps that have enough kick to send me upside down.
WGG: What’s your favorite thing about backflippin’?
JE: The weightlessness. If all goes well the landing is rewarding, skiing gracefully out.
WGG: When did you land your first back flip?
JE: I landed my first backie about five years ago down in Farellones, Chile.
Me: My name is Leah Fielding, I've been a freelance skiing journalist/editor—working with Freeskier, Powder and SKI/SKIING— for the last four years and decided it was time to share all the wonderful outdoor products that I've come to know and love for their commitment to active women. I am the founder and head reviewer for WGG.
Tester Profile: Height — 5' 3" Weight — 115 Body Type — athletic, small Injuries/Physical issues — left ACL repair, IT band and hip flexor tightness, sub-scapula injury (shoulder blade), flat footed. Sports — Skiing, Mtn. Biking, Downhill Biking, Hiking, Trail Running, Yoga Level — Expert Skier, Advanced Biker, Intermediate Trail Runner/Yogini.
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