Last week in the first edition of “Editor’s Trick Tip” I wrote how it’s sometimes difficult with skiing tricks tips to digest the author’s written advice on a particular trick, and then try to visually learn from watching a completely different person perform the corresponding trick in an attached photo or video demonstration. My goal with this ongoing feature is to break down the walls between the writer and skier, and simply make them into only one person, myself.
This week we will be covering the Cork 720.
The Cork 720, known more commonly as just a Cork 7, has been around for some time now as a staple trick for any serious freestyler to hold in their arsenal. While I don’t think anyone will name just one particular skier to have first invented the move, it was popularized in the late 90s by such legends as JP Auclair, CR Johnson, Candide Thovex, Mike Douglas, among others. An appealing thing about the Cork 7 is the natural stepping stone progression that develops after learning the maneuver, as it can be modified to have less rotation, more rotation, or unique grabs. For many skiers the Cork 7 is the first move they will learn that isn’t on a straight spinning axis, or completely inverted. Like many tricks, the move might initially seem difficult but it can be usually be learned without too much trouble if one takes it one step at a time.
The Cork 7 is a pretty advanced trick, so you should feel very comfortable with hitting jumps of all sizes, “knowing” how to fall, and spotting your landing. More specifically, having straight axis spins up to 720 is also a nice skill set to have locked up before trying this trick. Also helpful would be being comfortable getting inverted. In a true Cork 720 your legs won’t go above your head, but getting used to being temporarily blinded mid-trick (as is the case with most inverts) will help develop additional aerial awareness.
One optional, but extremely helpful practice technique for this move is trying it on dry-land before you give it a shot on snow. The way I learned it was through the use of a trampoline. Trampolines obviously have their pros and cons, but I found it to be a pretty easy transition to snow once I knew how to throw the move on tramp. If trampolines aren’t your bag, any of the other new technologies such as a water ramp, foam pit, or air bag would provide an extra level of safety when getting used to the new movement. However, I understand the obvious hurdles associated with these methods such as travel and cost, so I have written this guide without requiring the use of these as integral techniques.
Step 1: Picking the right feature can make a world of difference when learning any new trick whether it’s in the air, on a rail, or in the pipe. For learning the Cork 7, it’s best to try it on a semi-poppy jump that is about 20-25 feet in length. This will give you enough time to execute the rotation and not have to huck. Also look for a jump with an average pitch to its landing, as too steep of landing can be hard to land even when only slightly back-seat.
Step 2: Before dropping into the in-run for the jump, take a moment to visualize everything from take-off to landing. I know it sounds kooky, but when trying an off-axis move it really allows you to break down each physical movement required to perform the trick. With the Cork 7, the key lies in learning to appropriately drop the shoulder once in the air to initiate the natural corking movement. A good way to think about it is if you are using your opposite arm and shoulder to place a gun in a holster that would be placed on the opposite side of your body.
Step 3: Now you are finally ready to try to trick for real. Come in with an average amount of speed, as you already have taken several hits on the jump to dial in the speed required to clear without casing. Be slightly leaned back as your skis begin to match the transition of the kicker. As you begin to see the end of the lip approaching, you can begin to prepare to drop your shoulder as described previously.
You want to be in a relaxed stance as you prepare to drop your shoulder
Step 4: Pop the jump as you would during any other trick, and when you feel your skis begin to leave the lip, drop your shoulder across your chest and begin to make your body nice and tucked so no limbs will flail while in the air.
As your skis ride off the lip allow yourself to pop before fully dropping the shoulder
Step 5: Once your completely in the air, your corking rotation will begin as you feel yourself move onto your stomach. You should be able to see your take-off point behind you. Try to remain cool and collected as you begin to unravel.
As you begin to become more corked, remain relaxed with your knees tucked in towards your body
Step 6: You’ll shortly begin to feel yourself completely horizontal, as your skis will hit a point where they are nearly vertical. If you can, try to keep your wits about you, and determine where in the spin you are. This will help you decide if you need to slow the spin or speed it up slightly. The early you can figure out this information, the more time you have to make micro-adjustments.
The first part of the Cork 7 puts you almost flat on your stomach
Step 7: Eventually during the trick your body position will change and you will begin to move onto more of your back. Be ready to temporarily lose sight of your landing, as your feet begin to come up towards your head.
Be ready to become temporarily blinded to your landing as you transition onto your back while in the air
Step 8: If thrown correctly, you will feel a point where your completely on your back, and your legs are level with or slightly above your head. Relax, this is normal, and it’s especially important to remain tucked up in the corking motion so you don’t stall out. Coming untucked during this portion of the trick isn’t fun, as you don’t want to fall out of the air from your maximum height.
This is the point where it’s especially important to stay tucked up to avoid stalling your corking
Step 9: Eventually your body will once again change positioning as your head will dip down allowing you to again spot your landing. This should occur at roughly 600 degrees into the spin.
As your rotation continues, at about you 600 degrees you should begin to spot for your landing
Step 10: As you come close to finishing your spin, your legs should just barely come around in time for you to get ready to ski out of the landing. Having already spotted your landing, this should help make the quick body adjustment a little bit more tolerable.
After you can spot the landing, the rotation should naturally put your legs back under you if set right
Step 11: Try to keep your body in a relaxed position as you land with hands at their sides and arms below your shoulders. Ride out and pat yourself on the back for putting down a new move.
Stomp the move and keep practicing the move until you get it dialed
Progression from here:
So you’ve stomped the Cork 7 now have you? Well once you can confidently stomp the move, the most logical step is to begin throwing grabs such as mutes or tail grabs. Be sure to allow more time to get the rotation while grabbing as these will typically slow you down a bit.
For those looking to add a bit more style, there’s also the option of throwing a nose butter before launching into your Cork 7. This can be done either on a knuckle of a jump, or on the lip of a kicker.