Chas Guldemond. PHOTO: Frode Sandbech

 These Corks Were Made For Stomping: Why Doubles Work

Throwing down a double cork takes some serious air-awareness, tech skills, and commitment. Because of that, landing one in competition is usually rewarded with high scores, but that’s not the only reason the trick works well in a slopestyle setting. Doubles tend to be something you stomp the piss out of. Bud Keene, the US Snowboarding national freestyle development coach and Shaun White’s Olympic coach, explains, “When it comes around, a double matches the transition of the landing far better than flat spins ever did. When you take off a big jump and start to spin flat, generally you match the horizon with your board. When you come down on a landing that’s 35 degrees steep, you’re landing on your tail, nose, heels, or toes. Doubles match landings very well. Riders go into that third plane, so it’s no trouble to slap tranny flat base and ride away. There’s not 1,000 degrees of rotation to stop on a dime so there’s a lot less reverting. They’ve made it a much more technical sport and it’s much more fun to watch.”

Sage Kotsenburg. PHOTO: Rob Mathis

Style, Rails, And Better Courses: What’s Next?

The story of slopestyle progression doesn’t end with the double cork, but the current level is close to a plateau as far as jumping goes. The NBD (never been done) list is getting short: four back-to-back double corks in one run and a 1440 double cork in a line are still left to claim. After Torstein Horgmo landed the first triple flip in competition at the X Games 15 Big Air last January and Mark McMorris, Pat Burgener, and Seb Toots all debuted their backside triple corks (switch for Pat), it seems like the trick is ready to be that new new. But doing it in a slopestyle run might not happen so soon. Mark McMorris, one of the obvious picks to land a triple in competition, says, “I don’t think they are possible on any of the jumps at [slopestyle] contests right now. Maybe X Games, but I don’t think we’ll see a lot of them next year. At least I hope not, because they’re kind of dangerous.”

Thankfully, slopestyle isn’t defined by corks alone. Mark, Seb, Gjermund, Torstein, and Seppe feel that progression will continue less in the form of totally new tricks and more with a focus on style and changing up grabs. Mark says, “Right now you see a lot of mutes and Indys. I think we’ll see a lot of nose and tail to throw some diversity into the tricks.”

Torstein Horgmo agrees, adding, “The technicality of tricks might stagnate for a little while. I don’t know where it will go in terms of putting another flip or spin on, but I’d like to see different variations and more style. Doing a trick your own way and not the way your friends do it is a part of progression, too.”

Jibs are another area ready to be revisited. With the hype over what happens in the air, they’ve nearly become a token obstacle, often set only at the top of the course, something that riders hit on their way to the section where the winners are decided—the jumps. Seb, Gjermund, Mark, and Torstein think that riders have been holding back on the jib sections and this is where we’ll start to see new or at least more technical tricks.

That leaves the courses with a need to evolve. Riders have pushed creativity to the limit given what they have to work with and are ready for new and more challenging setups. Says Torstein, “I like to ride creative features where I’m not stuck doing something that everyone else is doing, and they’re stuck too because that’s how the feature is. Putting kickers on the sides of jibs—that alone opens up so many more tricks. As far as airtime, there are so many different styles of jumps that aren’t always used. Plus they can still build jumps that are way bigger, but way safer.”

Is the double cork going to be the key to Olympic glory? Find out on the next page!