The Big O Factor

Riders have always been the driving force behind progression, but this past September a new factor entered the mix: Olympic slopestyle. There’s no denying the Olympics were a motivator for upping the level of halfpipe riding in 2010, but whether it will have the same effect on slopestyle remains to be seen. Much of the standard of riding at Sochi in 2014 will be dependant on the quality of the course and making sure the best riders aren’t excluded because of red tape surrounding contest schedules and qualification processes. But Bud Keene is confident the Olympics will take it up another notch. Bud says, “Money has always been on the line [in contests], now there’s a medal. The exposure is huge. The more people watching, the more that’s at stake. At that top level, it will get tight and more people will be pushing it. 2014—we’ll see triples.”

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Beyond that? Everyone we spoke with is confident the quad cork is coming at some point. If it’s physically possible to do a trick, rest assured someone will eventually step up and try it. After all, Ulrik Badertscher already put down a backside 1620, heinous as it may have been. New tricks are an inseparable part of snowboarding. They will be followed by tweaks to style and consistency and will eventually turn up in contests. As Mark McMorris says, “Everyone thinks the sport will stop at some point. But the jumps will keep getting bigger and safer, progression will never stop.”