Broken Record

Christian Pondella

Simon Dumont 35 feet above the deck. I don't even want to think about how high that is above the flat-bottom.

Simon Dumont set a new world record this morning, and there's nothing funny about it. Simon eclipsed Terje Håkonsen's 32-foot quarterpipe height record in style with a 35-foot cork 900 tail grab. Red Bull's press release reports:

The project began Tuesday morning when Dumont arrived on site directly off a flight from Sweden. Dumont began hitting the quarterpipe in the early afternoon when he reached heights as high as 28 feet, before drifting in the air and falling nearly 66 feet onto the snow below. Dumont's hard hitting landing caused him to bruise his heel and aggravate an existing knee injury. After seeing the doctor, Simon returned to the hill on Wednesday, but was plagued by his injuries and was forced to recuperate for the rest of the day. Thursday was disrupted by high winds forcing the entire staff to delay their flights in order to provide Simon with one more opportunity to attempt the World Record. At 9am Friday morning Simon showed up with his game face on and was ready for his final attempts. After an hour of repeatedly hitting the quarterpipe, at 10:12am EST Dumont hiked an additional 15 feet up the hill to gain more speed. Simon crouched into a tucked position going 55 mph down the in-run and not only launched 35 feet into the air, but spun a 900 in the process.

I've alluded before to how tough Simon is. But bouncing back (in a nauseatingly literal sense) from a 66-foot fall to boost a 35-foot cork 900 two days later far exceeded anybody's expectations. A fall from that height would leave most pros hospitalized, contemplating the allure of a new career in finance. All Simon needed was a day off and a lidocaine numbing patch for his heel. After I hearing about the deep landing, I was a little bit surprised that he continued. Then again, this isn't the first time that Simon has demonstrated an uncanny ability to survive horrific falls.

Not that it was easy for the guy. He says that, earlier this year, "In Park City, I was going 25, 26 feet out and I felt totally comfortable, landing just right every time." That facility in the halfpipe doesn't automatically translate to the quarter though. Shortly after breaking the record, Simon admitted that the difficulties got into his head. As the sessions drug on, "I started thinking about what I could get out of it, and what could happen. I was over it."

Over it or not, he did it. Instances of pigeon-holing self-preservation instincts always bring to my mind a quote Eric Spriet from Dave Levin's 2002 ski video Blunt (that makes three very obscure references in a single sentence): "I don't care, I [expletive] did it! Gimme some props here, [expletive], [expletive]!" Six years later, Dumont did something much less obscure, and much more imposing.

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