In recent years we’ve been witnesses to the rapid progression of female skiers, and seen a number of monumental achievements. Fixtures of the female ski scene such as Sarah Burke have tossed 1260′s, Kaya Turski has been routinely throwing switch 720′s, among a myriad of other progressive tricks from the top women in the sport.
However, a new generation of girls are quickly making their presence known. Young ripper Megan Gunning provided a glimpse into the future of girls in the sport with her lofty cork 900′s at Winter X Games, and Vermont’s Devin Logan has quietly been perfecting her stylish misty flips and 720′s to rack up an impressive list of wins. Even with this quick change in the talent level of girl’s skiing, almost no one thought a double flip in the park would soon be in play for the ladies.
But then, just a few weeks ago, a little known skier from Ontario blew open the idea of what was possible for females in the park with her groundbreaking double flatspin 720.
Video of Warll’s double flip is available at 3:38 into the clip:
With a Tweet here, and a Newschoolers post there, Jessica Warll’s double flip became one of the most talked about ski stories of summer. Who was this seemingly unknown girl helping to lead the next generation of female ski talents?
Hoping to mimic fellow Ontario skier, Sarah Burke, Jessica Warll is on her way towards becoming a household name
Name: Jessica Warll
Birthday: August 5, 1988
Current City: Whistler, B.C.
Hometown: Collingwood, Ontario
Home Ski Resort: Blue Mountain, Ontario
Sponsors: Amplid Skis
Favorite Ski Movie or Segment?
Not really huge into owning ski movies, but I remember liking this one ski movie with Sarah Burke where she her own segment. She was pretty much the only girl skier I knew of starting out, and she was from Ontario, so people always talked about her.
Take us through your competition season. What were some highlights for you?
I competed in the Aspen Open, which was my first ski competition that I traveled to, and I had never even skied in the U.S. prior to that, so that was cool. It was also one of the nicest contest courses I’d ever rode.
It was funny though – during one of the first training days we were skiing this area where we skipped under a fence and got chased by a ski patroller into the course area. He came up and took my event credentials, and I had to talk my way into getting them back. We went home, changed clothes, and came back looking completely different. I was able to borrow a pass from my friend, who was just training halfpipe, so I used his lift pass to keep practicing in the slopestyle course. The day before the contest, I got my stuff back from the office.
Also competing again in the Blue Mountain Triple Challenge this year was sweet, because you always have a pretty good chance of winning some money with so few girls entering. I think this year there was three of us?
Who did you film with this year? More edits with Craigleth Area Street Gang (CASG)?
I didn’t get to do much filming this year. The camera we used a lot last year was my friend’s camera, and he sold it.
Usually Max [Hill] does most of the filming, but it’s hard to have a dedicated filmer unless someone is hurt, or just super into filming.
The girl known more for her air skills isn’t a slouch on rails either
You must be pretty thick-skinned to be one of only two girls in the CASG crew, do you prefer sessioning with the boys?
It’s not really that intense – it’s just a group of friends who started making edits, and we’ll sometimes just film while we’re skiing.
It can be as mellow as setting up a little rail or something, but we’ll just session.
I usually like riding with boys, it pushes me a lot more. Like this summer at Whistler – so many good skiers came out I was just kind of overwhelmed. There aren’t a lot of girl skiers in Ontario, especially not that many that ride at my mountain.
How was summer in Whistler for you? Were you a camper/coach/public park skier?
I came out to Whistler in April and then the glacier opened, so we bought passes. Last year I was a digger at Momentum Ski Camps, but couldn’t be a digger again this year because they were all filled up.
So we rode the public park for a while, but kept seeing the Camp of Champions setup and wanted to get in there so bad. People told us we could just sneak in without a problem, so we did it one day. After we were in line waiting to hit the jump, this guy runs over and ejects my boots from my ski bindings, and just kicks me out. He told us to stop trying to sneak in every day, and knew I had no business being there right away, even without checking for a wristband.
Thankfully, I got to ride the last two weeks at Camp of Champions because I eventually got a wristband, which was perfect because it was sunny for almost all that time.
Explain your progression from thinking the double was possible to actually landing it. What were your training methods?
At the Aspen Open I hucked a flatspin 720 and ate it, stopping at the bottom of the landing on the side. I did like a one-and-a-half flip to death on the jump. My friend said I should try a double, but some other guy was saying not to do it today and that I should try it first on trampolines or water ramps. Basically he was discouraging me super hard from trying on snow.
So after heading home to Blue Mountain, there was definitely no way I was going to try it there on the small jumps that weren’t poppy at all.
Once I got to Whistler I was able to hit the Momentum jump Chris Turpin designed, which was like a super kicky step-over jump. The first time I hit it, I did another flatspin 720 on it, where I hucked the flip part super hard.
My friend Alexis was there and he was like saying ‘go for the double’ and to just try it.
After that, I did end up trying it a few times on that jump, and hit it about three times before finally getting the second flip around. It’s just so weird having the ground come back under you during the trick, and then having the feeling of flipping over once again. It ended up okay, I realized I just have to commit, and cant get scared part way through.
When I finally got my wristband for Camp of Champions, I got to hit the TTR World Tour jump they built for the snowboard contest (Billabong Ante Up). I did a flatspin 540 and was like oh my god – this is the jump!
The first time that I tried the double on the TTR jump I did the first flip, and then spun out before the second. My friend was saying to just commit and I would get it.
I ended up stomping it the second time I tried it that day, and just started freaking out. It was the end of the day, I didn’t have work, and I was just stoked.
I don’t think people should try doubles on snow first, they should find a trampoline or a water ramp first. I was just being retarded; I don’t know what I was thinking.
Did you think about setting female precedents?
I did think it would be pretty cool if I landed it, but I didn’t really think about any sort of precedent stuff. I don’t really follow along what’s going on in the ski world.
I landed a flatspin 900 this year, and all the guys I was skiing with were saying they didn’t think any girl had ever landed that trick before. Since I ride with guys mostly, I kind of compare my skiing to what they do on skis, and just think how easy a trick like that is for them, so I don’t really think about what it means for girls.
If I land a trick that’s sick, if I eat s*** that sucks.
How has your life changed since stomping the double? Obviously you turned a ton of heads including several members of ski media. Do you think it’s going to open more doors for you?
I feel as if I’m more known now. But it was on the last day of camp, and the glacier was closing, so everything was coming to an end for the season – it hasn’t really had any effects yet.
I do hope it will help out for getting into bigger competitions next year like maybe the Dew Tour if they have slopestyle for girls again, which is apparently doubtful.
Do you know early on what your run is going to be during a contest, or do you just kind of wing it at the last minute?
I always act like I know what I’m going to do for my run, but I never know what I’m doing until at least the day of the event. One time I had to call my friend just before my run and had him tell me what tricks I should do.
Do you ski much much halfpipe? Would you consider getting more into it if IOC approval is gained for 2014?
I thought about it this year, thinking I’m really going to go for it, but you have to do a lot of laps and it takes a lot of time. I’ll be skiing in the pipe and it will start getting sunny, and all I want to do is start hitting the jumps in the park. There’s no way I’m going to ski in the pipe when it’s sunny like that.
I’m just trying to work on getting out of the pipe – my winning trick is like an air to fakie. I remember the Blue Triple Challenge used to have a pipe element to the overall point standings, but once they took it out, I was never really motivated to try halfpipe.
What are your thoughts on the arrival of triples to the freestyle ski world?
I think it’s pretty crazy but I don’t think I’ll ever try a triple.
I feel like a hypocrite. I used to make fun of my guy friends, being like doubles are so hucky, or saying it looks like a huck show. Now I’m doing them.
What was your scariest moment while on skis?
I knew the answer to this before you even finished asking. Last year, at Blue’s Triple Challenge during the Big Air, I had one goal in mind, which was to hit the jump switch. I was a little hung over, but I straight aired it a few times and saw dudes hitting it switch. My friend Martin comes up asking me for the speed needed to clear the jump, and then just casually drops in, hitting it switch like it was nothing.
After seeing that, I tried to hit it switch for the first time and took it deep while off balance. After a sketchy second attempt, the third time I dropped in switch and took it straight. People were yelling to slow down – I spun like a switch 90 and landed at the bottom of the jump after over shooting the whole thing, knocking myself out.
It was bad – my aunt and cousin came to watch and I just ate it in front of them.
I remember just being off balance but I don’t remember being in the air. I was thinking, ‘I’m overshooting this jump, I’m dead, there is nothing I can do now.’
What’s some of your favorite things to do outside of skiing?
I like to walk the dog, swim, hit up the trampoline place when I can, go to the beach, hike. I want to try surfing.
Any shout-outs to wrap the interview?
I want to give a big shout out to CASG, and my homies back home.