Master Builder

Swedish freestyle skier JON OLSSON, 24, dispenses advice on international relations and the best tool for making a good kicker

OUTSIDE: Last year you invented a new trick, the Kangaroo Flip (a double flat-spin 900). What's so marsupial about it?
OLSSON: After the 2006 X Games, I realized I had to do something different if I wanted to keep winning. But I needed to try the new trick on a water ramp first, and the only place you can find one in February is Australia. Everyone thought I was crazy, but three days later I flew there to practice it. There was a bunch of kangaroo poop on the ramp, so I figured I better give Australia some credit.

What's the next big thing in park skiing?
I don't know, but right now the jumps at a lot of events are actually inhibiting skiers. So that's something I'm trying to change: to get the arenas so good that the only thing holding the athletes back is their own abilities. I'm actually obsessed with building jumps.

What's the key when you're making a jump yourself?
It takes a lot of hard work and attention to detail, and you need to have a really good shovel. In the backcountry, I use Backcountry Access's Companion EXT Shovel ($55; bcaccess.com). I like it because it has a large aluminum blade and a long shaft, which are good when you need to move huge amounts of snow to build monster kickers.

Jon (pronounced Yewn) Olsson shares the record for most X Games skiing medals (eight). Look for him at this year's event in Aspen, January 25-28.

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