Chris Corning’s “On Deck” was Originally published in the November issue of SNOWBOARDER Magazine, Chris has since qualified for the Big Air Finals happening later this week at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
It was at age twelve, the first time Chris Corning had entered a contest, when he was bitten by the bibbed bug. A regional USASA event offered up Chris's first slopestyle experience and while he didn't end up in the running that particular day, he was immediately eager for more runs. From then on, the Colorado local found his rhythm in the prolific park lines of Summit County, honing his abilities in the jump lines of Copper, Breckenridge, and Aspen. While Corning quickly rose through the local ranks of Summit savants, it wasn't until last season that the greater snowboarding world really took notice of this Rocky Mountain rookie. A lot can change in a year or two, and now, heading into the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, Corning is a favorite to represent the US in slopestyle and big air. His rapid rise through the ranks of contest contenders prompted the conspicuous #WhoTheFIsChrisCorning as Chris let his ability to go off axis do the talking on hill. This past summer, at a US Team training camp, Chris landed his first quad cork, a maneuver that only a few riders currently claim in their arsenal. With that trick up his sleeve and an ample supply of Colorado-born drive, it's clear Chris will be rising to the occasion in contests around the world this winter, and for many more to come. —Mary Walsh
Name: Chris Corning
Home Mountain: Summit County, CO
Board: Never Summer Shaper Series Twin Chris Corning Model
Binding: Flux FX
Gloves: CG Habitats The Workman's Mitt
Other Sponsors: Monster Energy, US Team, G Form Protection, Gravitee Boardshop
So, you live in Silverthorne in the heart of Summit County. Is that where you grew up?
I grew up in Denver, actually. I was a weekend warrior for a really long time. We moved up to Summit three years ago.
How old were you when you actually started snowboarding?
I started snowboarding when I was seven.
Where did you like grow up riding?
I grew up riding Loveland and Echo Mountain. My dad would take me snowboarding every weekend and we'd go out and have as much fun as possible. Mostly we were just freeriding. I started to ride park a little bit when I was twelve years old. My first contest was a USASA regional contest when I was twelve, too.
When did the #WhoTheFIsChrisCorning start on Instagram?
It started last year at the US Open. T. Bird wrote an article about it and that's kind of how it started. Seth Hill jumped on it really fast. He really wanted that one to work, hahaha.
You exploded onto the scene last year when you landed in fifth at the US Open. What has it been like reaching the premier competition stage?
The year before, I got eighth at the US Open, so it was cool to be back and be more familiar with what was going to happen during the contest. I felt a little more comfortable and was able to do my thing. I was coming off the Air & Style and I was pretty stoked on how that turned out because going into that contest I wasn't riding very well. I was coming off an injury and was struggling. Then Air & Style happened, I got fifth there, and I was pretty juiced, going into the US Open ready to go. I had my family there, which was awesome—another confidence boost to just go for it.
You've been training with the slopestyle guys on the US Team for a minute now?
Yeah. This is my second year with them.
What is it like trying to qualify for the men's slope and big air team for the 2018 Olympics?
It's been a crazy experience because when I first moved to Aspen to ride with the club there, we were looking at a six-year plan—that's when I would start getting into all those contests, doing Rev Tours for a while and then Grand Prixs and then getting into World Cups. And then it just happened in the span of a year-and-a-half. So, I've just been kind of going for it and seeing what happens. I just try to do my best and try not to worry about it too much. It's an amazing experience that I've been given, so I'm just going to try to do the best I can and make my parents happy.
You landed a quad cork in Mammoth this past summer, right?
Yeah, that was the first time I'd ever even tried it.
How did that go?
I was thinking about it for a while. We were there for three weeks and the second week they changed the jump and made it way smaller, so I focused on the quarter and learned how to triple out of that. A few days later, we were hitting the jump and it was pretty good. It was literally like last run, two o'clock, I had been riding all day and it was pretty slushy. I just decided I was going to try it. I hadn't tried it into the bag or anything like that. I had done a couple triple corks where I didn't pop and just tried to spin as fast as I could. So, I was like, "OK, I'm going to do one back triple as big as I can." I went halfway down the landing, didn't land it and was like, "Alright, I'm going for it." I put on a good song and just hucked it. It was kind of late and my legs were pretty tired. I got it around to my feet, but kind of went into a safety seat and rag-dolled down the hill because on that kind of trick, you either land it or you don't. It was not too bad of a fall, but enough to take the next day off. Two days later, I went up to the mountain and did three back triples that were super anti-popped and then one big back triple, and then went for it again and over-rotated to my face. I had a bloody face and an eye that was swollen. By the next chairlift, riding up, my eye blinking was getting slower and then at the top, Jason, our physio guy, was pushing on my forehead to stop the bleeding. I looked like a boxer. It wouldn't stop bleeding, but I put my goggles back on and got ready to go again. I got closer and closer and then on the fourth try that day, I ended up landing it. It was a crazy feeling. I've never really done anything like that, just kind of how it worked, not doing it on the bag, just doing it straight to snow. That's how I've learned everything.
What does it feel like to do a quad cork? What does it feel like when you're actually doing it when you're in the air?
The best thing I can tell you is that it's just like a count to four. Like one, two, three, four. That's pretty much how fast it is and how it feels. You just whip your head back four times and you spot the landing at the third one upside down. And that's literally it. It's one, two, three, four.
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