Freeskier Jackie Passo On Being an Elite Athlete While Pregnant


Pregnancy is no easy feat. Neither is skiing the biggest runs in the world. Combining those? That’s next level. 

Post-pregnancy now, and traveling the world with her one-year old son, Tor, we caught up with international freeskier Jackie Paaso, 40, to find out how she makes the extreme look so effortless. 

Image by Cham_Ddaher

You kept skiing right through your pregnancy. How did you modify your activity on the slopes?

Jackie Passo: I skied up until one day past Tor’s due date. He was almost two weeks late. For me, other [skiers] were the biggest challenge. I’d make sure to pick areas that had less traffic at the resort. Sometimes I’d do a mellow ski tour with my dogs, and then just cruise down. I really tried to avoid crowds.

Did it feel different?  

JP: As far as my body felt…I felt OK for the most part. It felt weird to have a big belly—things felt a little different. 

I was skiing off-piste (in the backcountry) until I was seven months pregnant, but one day I took a tumble into a stream. I stopped myself from falling hard, but my reaction time was different. I realized that I had no business skiing in that type of terrain right then. You can’t ski like you normally can when you’re seven months pregnant. So I started to stick with easier ski touring, to just try to stay active.  

I stopped flying (hit pause on traveling) when I was seven months pregnant, too. 

Image by Fiberbrunn_Thaller

What advice would you offer other active moms?

JP: You’re tired. It doesn’t matter if you want to sleep because there’s someone else waking you up. I’m fortunate because I’ve had friends who’ve shared their stories with me. And I’ve had physical therapists who help make sure I don’t overdo it. I mostly try not to stress that I’m not back to where I was. You don’t sleep the same as a new mom, or have the same amount of time to train. I try not to stress about it. It’s more important to remember that he’s OK. 

OK, so—what’s the best part of being a mom and a professional athlete?

JP: The best part—if he can continue having this active lifestyle—would be to show [Tor] the world along with different activities, and then see what he’s excited about. He might not like skiing when he gets older. But if he can find something he’s passionate about—that would probably be the most exciting thing. Having something you’re really passionate about and sharing that with your child, and then sharing the importance of having a passion—that’s huge.

Tor is enjoying himself when he travels. He started walking a couple months ago, too. 

Image by Jackie Passo

What’s next for you and Tor?

JP: Elyse Saugstad and I are producing a film project. And Leanne Pelosi is joining us in Alaska to film. We’re mothers and athletes, so we’re making a ‘mockumentary’ that touches on some of the challenges we experience. We hired a director and there’s a storyline. We’re having fun with it. Our little boys are not the center of the story but they get to play these silly characters. The project is tentatively called: Here, Hold My Kid.

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