Four months after they effectively capped the 2017-18 snowboard season by going 1-2 as a teen tandem at the X Games Norway big air final, Japan’s Takeru Otsuka and Summit County’s Chris Corning rode to the top two spots at Saturday’s season-opening snowboard world cup event.
But this time on his 19th birthday, the Silverthorne resident Corning edged the 17-year-old Otsuka at the Cardrona Alpine Resort to kick-off the 2018-19 season.
The defending International Ski and Snowboard Federation freestyle snowboard World Cup champion Corning topped the podium in New Zealand on Saturday by landing one of the biggest tricks in the ever-evolving sport: a quadruple-cork 1800.
The groundbreaking trick is at the forefront of competitive freestyle snowboarding’s current progression for more rotations and inversions, as the maneuver requires athletes to rotate five 360-degree horizontal rotations while also inverting four times on their vertical axis. It’s also one Corning came oh-so-close to landing during last year’s Olympic run, namely on his final hit on the big air jump at February’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympic final. At the inaugural big air Olympic event last winter, Corning finished one-spot out of medal position, in fourth place, after slamming the back of his airbrushed-Team USA helmet on the South Korean snow on that attempt at the 1800, going for broke despite not having enough room to land his final 360-degree rotation.
The 1800 is also a trick landed only a handful of times previously, namely by a couple of Corning’s elite international rivals such as Norwegian star Marcus Kleveland and Canadian star Max Parrot. Corning had previously stomped the move on the big air jump at Mammoth Lakes California last June, though that was out of competition.