Stories  –  Veronica Paulsen’s Journey to Kings and Queens of Corbet’s Couloir

Veronica Paulsen – The Queen

Veronica Paulsen is the crowned queen of the ski community in Jackson. The humble big mountain skier who wrote history at Kings and Queens of Corbet’s Couloir: the first female to ever land a backflip. Who is Veronica and what is going on in her head when she decides to go for a double backflip in Corbet’s? A couloir scary enough that most of us would hardly even consider dropping into it, much less throw something gnarly off the lip.

The night before Kings and Queens of Corbet’s, I found Veronica Paulsen sitting on her living room floor in sweatpants and slippers, her hair in a towel, taking a Theragun to her leg muscles as her boyfriend, Randy, cooked them dinner. It could have been any other Monday night in Jackson. But with a window of sunlight in the morning and 10 inches of fresh snow having just fallen, the call to have the competition had been made a few days earlier than anyone expected. Although the next day weighed on my mind, Veronica seemed completely her normal, warm, funny self.

Paulsen is one of the most incredibly humble people I’ve ever met. Her love for skiing is easily recognizable just by how excited she is to get out into the mountains on any given day. Watching her excitement about a new trick or feature, or even just a good set of moguls is infectious to anyone who has the opportunity to witness it. “The first year, I was practically begging them to let me in,” she told me as we began to chat about the competition. The event started six years ago with a crew of mostly local skiers and snowboarders. But since then, Kings and Queens has not only become an event for professional skiers and snowboarders to test their nerves at the top of Jackson Hole’s most famous run, but for up and comers to prove themselves. After Paulsen became the first woman to ever land a backflip into Corbet’s Couloir and was crowned the 2020 Queen of Corbet’s, everything changed for her. She quickly gained sponsors and was offered film parts with Teton Gravity Research. The competition rocket launched her career as much as she’d launched herself into the couloir.

A year after her historic backflip, Paulsen once again sent it into the couloir, but socked in conditions made the landing difficult to see and like most other competitors that day, she crashed in the landing. After that, Paulsen decided to take a year off the competition to refocus and learn new tricks. After a year away, she’s back and more ready than ever to launch into Corbet’s. With how much of a community oriented event Kings and Queens is, it's a far more laid back and fun experience than many competitions in action sports. “It just feels like a booter session with your friends,” Veronica told me. Despite her calm, collected manner, when I asked Veronica how she’d be feeling standing at the lip in the morning, she still laughed and replied “I’m gonna be scared sh*tless.”

The next day, Paulsen sent not one, but two double backflips into the couloir. She landed on her feet during her second run but was kicked to the side by the impact and tumbled. “I wish I would have stomped,” she told me a couple of days later, “but the point was just to go out there and do it, and I did that. Twice.”

Quick facts about Veronica

Born in Tiburon, California

Home mountain? I grew up skiing Palisades Tahoe but I’ve live in Jackson, WY for almost ten years now, so I consider Jackson Hole my home mountain now.

Favourite Run? My favorite thing to ski is Cody Peak

Where comes the passion for skiing from?: Skiing is where I found my closest friends as a kid, it helped me find my confidence as a young woman, and it’s where I’m able to grow my love of the outdoors for the rest of my life.

Skiing described with three words: Community, Expression, Freedom

How to choose clothing for the mountain? When choosing my clothing for the mountain, the most important thing to me is knowing that I’m choosing clothes that will keep me safe out in the mountains. Being warm and dry is the first safety measure you can take when heading into the mountains!

Favorite Elevenate piece? My favorite piece in the Elevenate collection is the women’s motion jacket. I love that the jacket has both zipper pockets for my valuables, and open pockets to keep my hands warm!

Photos and article by Izzy Lidsky.

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