Freestyle snowboarding has exponentially gaining viewers over the past decade. One of the most notable events in this extreme sport is the Winter X Games. Within the X Games there are multiple snowboarding events however, Big Air takes the crown. The worlds greatest snowboarders get together and put on the show of a lifetime sending their biggest and best acrobatics off a 85 ft. jump. Each rider brings a unique style to the event, giving the spectators a show of a lifetime.
Due to the progression of the sport there has been a divide in the types of riders. In terms of the score of a trick, judges aim to award points for number of spins/flips, originality/style, and cleanliness. Although these are the grounds that judges claim they are awarding points upon, the top tricks in recent years are all some form of the triple cork. The triple cork is an insane looking trick where the rider must “huck and tuck” for the sake of making that last rotation around to land the trick. There are multiple riders that are experts at the triple cork, Mark Mcmorris is considered to be one of the best. Below is a video of him describing the stunt and the elements involved.
Although the triple cork is a beautiful acrobatic trick, some elements of style are naturally lost due to the rider having to tighten up his body position to execute all three inverted rotations very quickly. Another type of Big Air competitor is one who’s main focus is style and originality. Halldor Helgason is one of the most prominent riders in this category. When his turn comes to drop in on the Big Air jump, none of the spectators are sure what his stunt will be because he incorporates unique grabs and tweaks into each trick to add an element of true style to the sport. One of his most notable tricks, and my favorite of all time, is the “lobster flip” shown below.
All in all the judges of the competitions have a strong say in where the direction of where the direction of the sport is headed. Many professional riders are discontent with them driving the sport towards the “huck and tuck” to see how many corks/flips they can crank out. The sport continues to progress for now there are a select group of riders who have landed the quadruple cork… which is utterly nuts. I love that the action sport athletes are pushing the sport forward, but I hope an element of grace and uniqueness is kept in parallel. It is up to each rider, professional or amateur, to have their own style while riding big mountain.