Jackson Hole’s Kings and Queens of Corbet’s is without a doubt one of the most progressive events in the snow world. Set in the famed Corbet’s Couloir on Jackson’s peak, today’s top snowboarders and skiers send themselves through the air off the iconic drop and into a course of jumps and features below. Unlike many events where both snowboarders and skiers have respective podiums, at Kings and Queens, snowboarders and skiers compete against each other directly. There is only one King, and one Queen crowned at the event, and the cross-discipline competition adds a heightened intensity to an event that is already steeped with palpable energy.
For two weeks leading up to the event, Jackson Hole closes down the famed chute to allow snow totals to pile up, and event crews to begin shaping a series of jumps and drops for athletes to descend upon. The event is a cross of freeriding and slopestyle, forcing athletes to pick a line without close inspection and then execute it in real-time. With a week-long period set for the event window, athletes gather in Jackson Hole and wait for the perfect conditions to come together before the event takes place. Starting order–a critical component to an event that relies on good snow conditions for each athlete’s line–is determined randomly by selection of numbered ping-pong balls that are distributed similarly to your grandparent’s weekly Bingo game. Cross your fingers for an early drop in, because the course will only become more rugged and trying as the day unfolds.This year marked the second annual execution of the event and brought together the very best of the best freeriding athletes from both disciplines. On the snowboard side, Jackson local, Travis Rice made his first appearance and was joined by Hana Beaman, Cam Fitzpatrick, Mary Boddington, Laura Dewey, Mikey Marohn, Wakana Hama, Ryan Cruze, Patrick Van Horn, and more.
When the dust had settled, Travis Rice found himself atop the podium as the crowned King of the day. On the ladies side, skier Caite Zeliff found herself atop the podium as Queen. Following close behind her on the ladies side came Hana Beaman. Congratulations to all of the many competitors, as simply attending and participating in an event of this magnitude is surely cause for celebration.
All photography courtesy of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.