New Zealand was absolutely pounded with snow this week; a situation that is good news for incoming school holiday tourists and absolutely terrible for someone trying to attempt a historic freestyle skiing trick on a 90-foot custom jump.
Of course we’re talking about Swedish ski stud, Jon Olsson, and his quest for the elusive triple cork 1440 – a once unfathomable maneuver that includes three distinct, nearly-inverted rotations while spinning horizontally for a grand total of 1440 degrees. That mouthful alone should go a long way towards explaining the difficulty of the move in question.
However, Jon Olsson isn’t exactly a normal person. He doesn’t get bogged down with what others might look at as impossible. Olsson is a rare breed, seemingly always having the balls to go where no skier has gone before. The man who systematically brought double flips back into the collective consciousness of park skiers wasn’t content to just ride the wave of his freestyle skills until gracefully bowing out of competition when his skills could no longer measure up. No, Olsson, for better or worse, likes to his constantly challenge himself, particularly on his skis. This same mentality has lead him to an improbable ski racing career; a comeback that has him positioned to be the 3rd best GS racer for Sweden, and ranked 64th in the world, going into the 2010-11 season.
But leave it to skiing’s renaissance man to not be simply satisfied with dominating merely one aspect of skiing at a time. Olsson, who hasn’t competed in as many formal freeski competitions as of late, looked to remind the freestyle scene just exactly the type of talent the Scandinavian still has up his sleeve.
After setting the bar for the latest “hot” skiing trick year after year, first with the kangaroo flip, followed by the double cork and switch double rodeo; Olsson sought to leave his own mark on the triples game. Olsson watched his position as trick innovator begin to slip away a little bit this spring with rumors of Bobby Brown stomping a triple variation of the kangaroo flip in Alaska (which were eventually confirmed in Matchstick Production’s new film, “The Way I See It”). Then all hell broke loose, as this summer Sammy Carlson emphatically announced to the ski world that triples were indeed in play, putting down a switch triple rodeo at Mt. Hood.
The situation put Olsson in unfamiliar territory. Was he still at the top of the proverbial totem pole? Olsson wanted to challenge himself once and for all to see if he still had that special something, or in this case – a triple cork 1440 that would be Olsson’s indelible mark on the sport for generations to come.
Unfortunately, the weather gods did not cooperate with this mission. After over a week of anxiously waiting, Olsson was forced to put the kibosh on his triple cork plans after all sorts of snow and wind related problems derailed his attempts at the jump. He did manage to get a couple of speed checks, but knew gale-force winds were not the right environment to attempt this move. Olsson’s intuition for attempting tricks has got to be unparalleled in the sport for someone of his tenure, avoiding season-ending injuries like the plague.
A disappointed Swede was forced to head back to Europe, where he will compete in the upcoming Freestyle.ch Zurich this weekend in the annual urban big air.
While no one has stomped the move yet, and only a select few have the necessary resources at their disposal (read: talent and connections) to construct a jump of that size, the Swedish skier knows opportunities for the triple are few and far between when you’re a full-time ski racer with Olympic aspirations for Sochi 2014.
So let’s get this straight – the triple cork 1440 needs someone with deep pockets to build a private kicker large enough to accomodate triples with perfect weather… Sounds like the perfect recipe for a secret, invite-only session to be built in the middle-of-nowhere to settle this matter once and for all. Are you listening Red Bull?