Featured image: Keegan Rice
Veronica Paulsen has solidified her place in ski history by being the first woman to ever land a backflip in Corbet’s Couloir. That harrowing feat also earned her the title of Queen of Corbet’s that year (2020) and she since has gone on to continue to push the limits at that event and beyond. Just this year, Veronica became the first woman to ever attempt a double backy into Corbet’s not once, but twice, and earned the People’s Choice Award for truly laying it all out on the line.
What you may not know about Veronica is she is as genuine as she is tough. She wants to see real change happen in the industry and she’s working hard to be a part of that evolutionary force. After a couple seasons filming with TGR, Veronica has moved on to produce her own YouTube series where she feels she can be totally herself and pull the curtain back on what it means to be a professional skier and how one achieves success in this sport. Keep reading for the full interview, below.
How are you? How has your seemingly never-ending season been?
[laughs] I’m good! It’s honestly been really good. It feels like it was much-needed after last season being such a low snow year and I feel like it collectively affected the town’s mental health. So having a good year has been so awesome, it’s been really good.
You put it all out on the line this year at Kings and Queens of Corbet’s, being the first woman to ever attempt a double backflip off the entrance—what’s your why? Why do you continue to compete and push your limits at this event?
Because I can. And I feel a duty like I have to—I actually want to, I’m not saying I got pushed into this—but as a woman in this sport we should be pushing the limits and showing people what we can do.
I can only imagine what your body felt like after Kings and Queens, how do you recover after big slams? How quick are you to get back out there?
I definitely take a few days off to focus on stretching and recovering. I’m mostly concerned about staying healthy, longevity is really important to me in my career and a lot of that is avoiding injury. So if that means I have to take a few days off in the middle of winter to ensure I’m at 100-percent when I get back out there, that’s what I do.
You recently dropped the first episode of your new YouTube series, what was the inspiration behind this project?
I’m really stoked! This project started because I spent the last two years with TGR filming with a bigger production and it honestly didn’t go great for me. It just wasn’t a good fit, I felt like I wasn’t skiing well and I couldn’t figure out how to put together the segment that I wanted to for whatever reason so I wanted to try something new. The personal project is so much more enticing to me because I can put together a film crew made up of my friends and put myself in the best position to succeed. I was trying to figure out what my personal project would be about and what I came up with is what I value most in this industry: the connections I make with my friends and people I meet in this ski world.
What is more of a challenge? Filming for one film that drops in the fall or filming for a continuous web series?
They’re definitely different challenges. I felt a little more of the weight of the pressure with TGR just because it feels like everything has to be absolutely perfect for it to make the movie and it has to be the sickest thing you’ve ever skied in your life. Whereas with the web series, it’s a lot of work and since it’s my personal project there’s a lot on the line there with my sponsors, but it feels like there’s more wiggle room to let my personality shine and show the whole process, rather than just that one perfect moment. I don’t think it’s any less pressure or work but I think it just fits my style more so I’ve been having a better time doing that.
What is something you weren’t expecting when you became a professional skier?
Let me give you both a positive and a negative. The positive is that I was definitely not expecting the reaction that I’ve gotten from Kings and Queens, like when little girls come up to me and say they love my skiing. That just feels so insane to me still, which is awesome. Another thing I wasn’t expecting was struggling with the pressure as much but then talking to other professional skiers out here, it’s cool to see that we all struggle with the same issues—I’m not alone in that.
What is one thing you would say to your younger self?
You gotta meet yourself where you’re at. We all have strengths and weaknesses, there’s no reason to be embarrassed about it because it’s all part of the process and we’re all going through it.
Don’t worry, keep going, it’s all going to be okay. I remember back when I was younger competing in moguls, anytime I did poorly I thought that was the end of my ski career, which is hilarious looking back on it. Your regional moguls comp is not going to make or break your career [laughs]. If you have fun and keep pushing yourself it’s going to come around.
What is one thing you would say to your current or future self?
Ooo…how’d it all go!? [laughs] I would say just remember why you’re doing this and that’s because you love this sport and you love hanging out with your friends in the mountains. Don’t lose that.
What is it about this sport that keeps you fired up year after year?
The progression! Both from myself and from what I’m seeing on the internet. Just seeing how quickly this sport is progressing and how much confidence it’s giving young girls. Just seeing the creativity coming out of people is what fires me up.
If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?
No because I think it has all worked together to get me to this point. I was thinking about this earlier, being like ‘man, I should’ve started a YouTube channel 10 years ago’ but if I did that it would’ve been completely different and it probably wouldn’t be as good. Maybe it took me a little longer than I wanted for me to get here but that was necessary and what I needed to learn before I got here.