2 topsy-turvy ski videos: the world’s first upside down rail slide and a risky, backwards high-speed rock slide

Skier going backwards and skier going upside down
(Image credit: Red Bull Snow / Drink Butter / Instagram)

There probably aren’t bumper stickers saying, “Skiers do it upside down and back-to-front” mainly because there wouldn’t exactly be much of a demand for them. But some skiers do love to do things a bit differently, as these two video clips prove.

One is an elaborate attempt at the world’s first rail slide, the other is a deceptively simple-looking but actually phenomenally tricky high-speed rock slide… backwards.

First, the upside down rail slide, sponsored by Red Bull. And it’s a challenge that needed some big bucks behind it, because they had to build a suitable rail first. Normal, right-way-up rail slides are performed on rails a few feet off the ground with metal struts holding them up – not exactly ideal, is an understatement. And the special rail they built – at Sunday River, Maine –  is quite an imposing structure in itself. 

The skier vying to become the first ever upside down rail skier is Mac Forehand and the attempt happened in Spring this year, though Red Bull has only just released the footage.

“It's hard to say how many attempts it took but including the airbag hits – I think it was anywhere from 50-65 tries until I got the shot that I wanted.” Forehand told Powder Magazine.

Meanwhile, US pro skier Jasper Skidmore was filmed performing a stunt that was a lot less showy, and required no expensive extra props, but which still took an amazing amount of skill and bravery: a high-speed hurtle backwards down a rock slide.

It looks simple – after all, switch skiing, or skiing backwards is hardly rare (though not exactly something you learn on your first ski lesson) But rarely does anyone do it at this speed down slopes this steep. And Skidmore makes it look like a walk in the park. You only have to read the comments to see how much he impressed fellow skiers (including pro freeskier Parker White). Sometimes you don’t need to do aerials gymnastics to impress on the snow – just keeping your skis on the powder is a major feat.