'Can you do tricks?' is the general response you get when you tell people that don't snowboard, that you snowboard. Whilst they'd probably appreciate it if you then started singing the national anthem whilst balancing a stack of plates on your forehead and doing a handstand at the same time; that's probably not what they're asking.
The deeper into snowboarding you go, the more you begin to appreciate the nuance of tricks. For example, when you look at grabs you begin to notice what the grab is, whether the grab is counter-rotational to the direction of the spin, whether the grab reduces their centre of mass, whether the rider switched up the grab in mid-air, whether the grab was held, whether the grab was poked and we could go on... and that's just the grab.
However, we appreciate that not everyone is quietly creaming themselves over the finer details of snowboarding as much as we are, so we've rounded up a lucky 13 of the craziest tricks that went down last season for your viewing pleasure, as hucked by some of the most renowned sideways standing stuntmen on the planet.
1. Sage Kotsenburg - Backside 1260 Off The Heels
You might know Sage Kotsenburg as the gold medal toting Olympian that stunned the world with his run at the Sochi Games' inaugrual snowboard slopestyle event. No big deal.
In his own words, the day before the slopestyle finals, he was “...eating mad snacks. Chocolate. Onion rings. Chips. We were chilling really hard. Then we fell asleep watching ‘Fight Club.’ Getting stoked, you know?"
Apart from taking home the sizeable nugget of Sochi bling, Sage came out all guns blazing at the X Games Aspen, in 2015, landing the first ever backside 1260 off the heels.
Now, in snowboarding, when you spin backside, you turn you back down the mountain in the direction of travel, so that you're turning your head up the hill to begin the rotation. This is MUCH easier, when you have your weight on your toes. Off the heels means that Sage took off from the jump with all the pressure on his heelside edge, instead of the more natural toeside pressure.
Whilst it might sound easy, there's a reason why only the gold medalist at the Sochi Olympics is, as far as we're aware, the only dude to have ever landed one.
2. Billy Morgan - Quad Cork 1800
Back in 2010, it was Norwegian jump crusher Torstein Horgmo, that put his neck on the line (literally) to take snowboarding to a higher plane of triple corks. At the end of last winter, British snowboarder Billy Morgan, took the baton from Torstein, turned the cork-ometer up to 1800, and became the first snowboarder to land a quadruple invert.
The full name of the trick would be the backside 1800 quadruple cork, because not only is Billy flipping on a longitudinal axis, but on a vertical one as well. This means that the rotation is corked, as it's twisting on two axis a little like a corkscrew. Confusing eh?
Billy's background in gymnastics no-doubt served him well on this manoeuvre, as well as his strongest discipline within snowboarding; big air.
3. Maxence Parrot - Half-Cab Quadruple Backflip
Hot on the heels of Billy Morgan was French-Canadian Maxence Parrot, who fired back this cab 180 quadruple backflip, in response to Billy's quad cork.
Rumour has it, that they filmed them on the same day, but Billy's production team managed to get it out on the olde' internet before Max did. Either way, both tricks are damned impressive.
Max's quad is pretty different to Billy's when you break it down though. Whilst Billy was spinning on two axis, Max is inverting exclusively on his longitudinal axis making it a backflip, not a cork.
4. Yuki Kadono - Backside Triple Cork 1620 to Switch Backside Triple Cork 1620
The first rumblings of Yuki Kadono’s prowess was at the Air and Style Beijing back in 2012 when he clinched the crown from atop Peetu Piiroinen’s head in the finals with a backside triple 1440.
Quite frankly, we had Yuki down as a big air threat. His one hit wonder skills were incredibly good, as demonstrated by his results list including a smattering of top 10 finishes at big air events globally.
So, whilst watching the Burton US Open finals, you can imagine the amount of screaming as Yuki launched himself from backside triple 1620 into a switch backside triple 1620. The thing to remember with this is that a lot of the riders were saying that the landings were a little flat as well.
Whilst you might think that it's not as impressive as a quad cork, back to back triples is a huge step for snowboarding, especially as the last one is switch backside; which is generally considered the hardest rotation type.
5. Yiwei Zhang - Cab Triple 1440
Whilst riders have been mastering the triple inverts on jumps for almost 5 years, the halfpipe riders have been busy mastering variations of double in its various forms.
Shaun White had attempted the triple before, as we imagine other riders have in private, however it didn't really work out for Shaun, as proved by this vertebrae pulverising slam on the lip of the pipe.
Now, Yiwei Zhang is a bit of a controversial character in snowboarding. Snowboarding is defined by style, and a lot of people have beef with riders that 'huck and hope' tricks around, in the words of British commentator Tim Warwood "The Chinese haven't so much as upset the applecart as they have stolen the wheels and given it a good kick..."
Whatever your opinion on Yiwei's triple, it's hella ballsy...
6. Sparrow Knox - Container Gap Backside Rodeo
The most insane trick that went down at the Onboard Send Off Session. Sparrow knox is a mentalist.Watch the FULL EDIT here --> onboardmag.com/videos/full-movies/onboard-send-off-session-2015-main-edit.html
Posted by Onboard Snowboarding Magazine on Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Sparrow Knox's entry into the craziest tricks of the year, is a late one, but a good 'un. Whilst he was out in Finland for our Send Off Session (#HumbleBrag), he laid out one of the ballsiest moves of the week. His ridiculously sized gap came with some pretty hefty consequences.
Not only is each container 6m long, but the rail add's another 4 meters onto the metalwork you don't want to come up short on. In the words of one internet commentator "That tranny find was the equivalent of finding a tranny in a North Korean conference for accountants." - sums it all up really.
7. Marcus Kleveland - His General Existence
We first heard rumblings of this Norse demi-god in 2011, when he was signed to Volcom's Euro team at the tender age of 11. Now, there are lots of kids that get signed at young ages, if anything, its become the norm in the world of snowboarding.
What blew us away when he first got signed though, was that he already had double inverts on lock. Fastforward to the 2014/15 season, and it's what you could call his 'breakout' year with a flurry of edits, comp results, footage and general badass-ery.
Marcus has a certain Midas touch at the moment, anything he hits, turns to gold. The video above is a quick hitter of what he's capable of, but if you're looking for something a bit more sizeable, check the video out below.
8. Alek Østreng - Eurocarve to Misty Flip
Snowboarding is a catwalk and tricks are the glad-rags covering the really, really, ridiculously good-looking clothes horses. Or something. And as certain styles in fashion come and go and then come back again, it's much the same for what tricks are en vogue.
Snowboarding's Wheel of What's Hot spun round a couple of years back and the arrow stopped pointing to carving as something that's once again cool, thanks in no small part to Dylan Gamasch and his antics in the Yawgoons edits. And we're thankful because while we might not quite be able to get our legs under a pentacork, we can Eurocarve pretty well meaning at least in this aspect we can remain on fleek. Carving's got hype again in a way that it's not been since tightly-clad pioneers like Peter Bauer and Jean Nerva were getting their armpits down in the early 90s and it's now common to see all manner of edge-biting wizardry punctuate edits by kids who most of the time go upside down a lot or spin around on rails.
But then Alek Østreng did this, and ruined it for everyone. Now we have to try get upside down exiting carves? Seriously, WTF?
9. Dan Brisse - Gas Pipe Gap
Dan Brisse has been smashing the burliest drops, gaps and rails in snowboarding, and his part for the X Games Real Snow in 2015, was no exception.
Not only has Brisse's penchant for ridiculously sized features made him one of the most prominent riders in snowboarding, but has also inspired a tongue in cheek Instagran account. Probably one of the funnier Instagram account we follow in all honesty.
As opening shots go, this insane gas pipe gap is a helluva way to kick off proceedings. Margin for error on this one is pretty damned small; put it this way; you wouldn't want to catch an edge on the take-off of the tube...
10. Peetu Piiroinen - Tailgrab
Peetu Piiroinen is quite simply 64kg of prime Finnish muscle, ready to unleash at any given moment. He is quite simply, one of the best snowboarders that has ever existed on planet earth. Unfortunately, in our opinion, he's also one of the most under rated snowboarders of all time when it boils down to it.
Despite a trophy cabinet the size of a small house, we've always felt Peetu's never quite got the love he deserves. Especially when you consider just how fucking big he can send it.
This whopping air on the Nine Knights hip is just one of the many reasons why Peetu is the Mayor of Bauss-town.
11. Jaeger Bailey - Walltide to Lipslide
Jaeger Bailey consistently pulls mindbending stuff out of left field in his video parts. You'll remember that time he deliberately hooked his nose on a rail to frontflip down a wall, or some bouncy fence riding, or the backflip to knuckle frontflip from a few years back.
The dude's got form. But in his latest part he one-upped even himself in this department. This wasn't even the ender, but as far as batshit crazy snowboarding goes it's right up there. Wallride redirect backflip to lipslide? Hard enough to just type...
12. Sven Thorgren - Cab 1260 Shifty Roast Beef
One of Sven Thorgren's winning tricks from the Nine Knights 2015 Big Air finals - Cab 1260 roastbeef shifty-shifty... Say whaaaa?!Full recap of the madness and photo gallery here --> onboardmag.com/photos/galleries/sven-thorgren-wins-nine-knights-2015-big-air-recap-gallery.html
Posted by Onboard Snowboarding Magazine on Sunday, April 12, 2015
Whilst the trick name might sound more like a recipe of how to cook a joint of meat whilst in a taxi, it's actually a limb contorting number from Swedish slayer Sven Thorgren.
First off, a roast beef grab isn't really the easiest grab in the world. Rumours have it that Vishnu, would struggle to hold onto one if he hadn't warmed up already. Then throw in the fact that it's cab/switch frontside, and then he throws it into a shifty, is pretty off the charts.
It's one of the coolest looking tricks around in our opinion. You have to have mastered cab spins to be able to put this down at the drop of a hat, and Sven is the M-E-I-S-T-E-R of cab 12s right now. Svenny for Pres.
13. Seppe Smitts - Backside Triple Cork 1440 Nose
Seppe Smits Firstever Bs1440 Triple Cork Nosegrab - Nine KnightsThis is how you do a bs Triple with Style!Filmed with Panasonic GH4, Metabones Speedbuster, Canon 70-200 f2.8,96 frame, ISO 200, f11/200
Posted by Hambalkó Bálint on Friday, 10 April 2015
On the topic of mastering tricks, here's one for the books. As we mentioned before, snowboarding is defined by the style of how you execute your tricks. Now, both of the quads we showed you earlier got more than their fair share of grief when they were released. The main beef with them is that there's no style in them.
Now, this argument will go on and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on until the end of snowboarding.
We'd like to make a point though - people said the same thing when triples were being put down. Fastforward 5 years, and riders are beggining to master the triple corks. No longer are they a 50% chance of landing them, but their comfortable throwing them.
Case and point is Belgian waffle and/or hammer Seppe Smitts. Seppe put down this helluva' fine looking backside triple 1440 nosegrab earlier this season. Mental.