Snowboarder Chris Corning podiums at Austrian World Cup slopestyle event
SUMMIT COUNTY — Chris Corning podiumed this past weekend at a World Cup slopestyle event in Austria, his first event since finishing an impressive second at last month’s Dew Tour at Breckenridge Ski Resort.
The 19-year-old Silverthorne snowboarder and former Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club athlete earned another second-place finish on the slopestyle course in Kreischberg, Austria, with a score of 84.75, behind winner Mons Roisland of Norway (88.75).
The second-place finish slightly closed the gap between Corning and Japanese teen rider Takeru Otsuka in the season-long International Ski & Snowboard Federation World Cup standings. Corning’s second-place finish at Kreischberg earned him 800 World Cup points to improve his point total on the season to 2,890, behind only the 17-year-old Otsuka (4,100) in the overall park and pipe race.
Corning has gotten the better of Otsuka, though, at the most recent two competitions where they both competed. That included his second-place finish at the Dew Tour slopestyle competition and his second-place finish on Saturday in Kreischberg, where he earned that 84.75 on his third and final run through the relatively atypical slopestyle course while Otsuka finished in fourth place.
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The Kreischberg course consisted of features that alternated between rails and jumps throughout the entire course. Comparatively, at last month’s Dew Tour, the rails and jumps were separated into two distinct sections that were scored completely separately and at different times. Also, at last February’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, the slopestyle course consisted of several rail features at first before transitioning to the jumps to conclude the all-in-one run through the course.
Corning began his podium-placing run through the Kreischberg course on an up, flat-down rail feature. On the feature, he executed a backside 270-onto the feature, and then a 270-off of the feature, which he gapped all the way to the down portion of the feature. A 270-on means the snowboarder rotates 270 horizontal degrees while jumping onto the rail while a 270-off means the snowboarder rotates 270 degrees after jumping off of the rail. The “gap” means Corning soared in the air over the up portion of the rail before landing on the down.
Corning said the quick transition from the first rail feature to the second was difficult due to its steepness, which required him to slow his speed before that second rail feature: an up rail into a flat rail. On that feature, Corning rode in switch (with his opposite lead foot), before board-sliding up the rail before executing a 450-degree rotation over the flat portion of the rail into the landing.
Corning then rode his customary goofy-foot style into the first of the course’s three jumps, where he executed a frontside, flat-spin 144. The move required Corning to rotate toward his board’s front side for four full 360-degree rotations. And it came on this jump course, which Corning said consisted of jumps 60 to 70-percent as tall as the jumps at last month’s Dew Tour at Breckenridge.
“I was able to do the tricks I wanted to do on the jumps,” Corning said of the course’s design. “It just made it so I had to go further on the landings than I normally would like to and just spin a lot faster than usual, which is fine. It makes it harder to land consistently.”
Corning rode off that first jump goofy before mustering to turn around a back-side, triple-cork 1440 despite the short height of the jump. To land the move, Corning kept his rotation and torque tight and powerful on his vertical axis despite taking a relatively flat jump line. With the low line through the air, Corning landing deep on the jump’s bottom portion.
That deep landing on that second jump was followed by the third and final rail feature, which Corning described as a canon rail into a butter box. On this feature, Corning’s main focus when strategizing his overall run was to depart the butter box feature riding with his left foot forward. That was in order to execute a switch trick on the course’s final jump.
With that in mind, Corning executed a board-slide up the canon rail into a 270-off of the canon rail into the down portion of the butter box. Then on the flat portion of the butter box, Corning launched off the box and landed his customary rodeo flip. Then, on the final jump, Corning pumped his fist in celebration after landing a flat-spin cab 1260.
Following the Austrian World Cup event, Corning will next compete in this weekend’s World Cup slopestyle event in Laax, Switzerland, with the finals scheduled for Friday. Corning predicted this weekend’s competition to be at a higher level than Kreischberg.
“This contest is always really heavy,” Corning said from Laax. “They always have really good jumps out here.”
Corning was the top American finisher in Kreischberg, ahead of Californian Judd Henkes (sixth), Alaskan Ryan Stassel (eighth) and Will Healy of Connecticut (22nd), among a few others. Steamboat Springs rider Nik Baden is scheduled to compete in Laax this weekend while, at the moment, neither Red Gerard or Kyle Mack of Summit County are in Laax preparing to compete.
Corning also is expected to compete in both big air and slopestyle at X Games Aspen, which runs from Jan. 24 to 27 at Buttermilk Ski Area.
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Many of the trails in the Roaring Fork Valley, especially from the midvalley up, are far from ready and it’s important that people stay off of them despite having cabin fever.