The word is out that Winter X Slopestyle silver medalist Mark McMorris just landed the first-ever backside triple cork 1440. The feat took place during a TransWorld Snowboarding shoot, called "The Park Session," at Snowmass, Colo., in the early morning on March 2, before the resort opened for the day.
"It was the first time I ever tried it," says McMorris. "I was trying back 14 double corks and it just felt possible." So he went for the triple cork. "The first one I landed on my feet, but fell over. The second one I got."
For those not following the rapid-fire progression of giant-kicker-inspired snowboard tricks this season, it has gone something like this:
This summer Torstein Horgmo pulled the first-ever triple cork on a massive, perfect jump up in Norway. (You can watch it here, and a close-up alternate angle in the middle of this video here.) For the layman -- though Horgmo's was a touch more complicated than this -- a triple cork is basically an off-axis triple flip. It's extremely difficult, and accordingly, the snowboard world applauded Horgmo's accomplishment -- and not one person claimed he was ready to try to repeat it.
Then the winter started, and in the first Big Air contest of the season, Sebastien Toutant -- who later went on to win Winter X slopestyle, and place second to Horgmo's triple backflip in Big Air -- set the contest trick bar by demonstrating that he knew every double cork 10 and 12 variation there was (video here), and everyone else would have to do them, too, if they wanted to beat him.
McMorris breaks the double cork down like this: "When I do a backside double cork 12, I basically do a corked [again: off-axis] backside 540, bring it around 90 [degrees] and then into a corked cab 7. So rotate a little less for a 10 and a little more for a 14."
A little more for the 14, he says, because McMorris also has double cork 14s in his bag of tricks now. But still, it was Sage Kotsenburg who first pulled one in competition -- a cab double cork 1440 (video here) last month at the Billabong Air & Style in Innsbruck. Meanwhile, former X Games dominator Kevin Jones quietly duplicated the triple backflip in the backcountry.
All of which brings us to March 2, when one of the best slopestyle riders in the world nailed a trick that only one other person so far can claim to be able to do, on the second try. Asked to differentiate his triple cork from Horgmo's, McMorris says that since his is a 1440, "it's a little more 'spinny' than Torstein's, but people are going to have to watch the footage to see how it breaks down, and what they think of it."
"It's so awesome to see snowboarding be one of, if not the most progressive sports in the world right now," says Kotsenburg, who talked to McMorris shortly after he heard the news. "Mark's awesome. It's so rad to see him come up from last year and take his riding to another level."
McMorris also fielded a call from fellow comrade in trick-progression-arms, Seb Toutant. "He was really, really stoked," says McMorris. "He couldn't believe it. He wants to see the footage. Everyone wants to. Hopefully they like what they see."
Watch the video on TransWorld Snowboarding's website here.