Occasionally, we witness watershed moments in snowboarding progression. More often than not these happen outside the competitive arena – when the jump is shaped to perfection, the rider has carefully prepared and the only cameras in the vicinity belong to their energy drink sponsor.
So it was with Katie Ormerod’s groundbreaking double cork back in 2014. It can take a long time – years, in some cases – before a new move is sufficiently dialled to unleash it in competition, and in the women’s game, it wasn’t really until Anna Gasser went on her surge towards Olympic glory in PyeongChang that doubles became a regular spectacle.
“Women’s snowboarding is truly on a tear right now”
Gasser was soon joined in the dub club by the likes of Jamie Anderson and Hayley Langland, though it’s fair to say that no other rider has approached her level of consistency, and in women’s Big Air the lid has largely been kept on the simmering multi-cork madness.
Rumours swept the internet earlier this year that Japan might have a secret weapon in their locker for the 2022 Olympics, by the name of Kokomo Murase. This 13-year-old girl appeared to be following in the footsteps of fellow teen prodigies Chloe Kim, Red Gerard and Ayumu Hirano when a video was posted showing her busting out a double cork 1260. It’s a face melter of a trick, featuring a blind landing, and – as far as we are aware – it’s beyond even Gasser thus far.
On Saturday – just four months after she first learned it – Murase put the trick into competition at X Games Norway 2018, stepping it up in the final round of the big air having already led the field with an ‘easier’ 1080 version from her previous run. In the process, she wrote herself into the history books as the youngest ever winner of a Winter X Games gold medal.
Women’s snowboarding is truly on a tear right now. With the likes of Maddie Mastro recently launching the first double crippler, and her competitor in pipe Chloe Kim not exactly holding back either, the future is looking very exciting indeed.
For the last few years, a certain kind of snowboard fan has seen women’s competition as carrying the torch for style, thanks to generally smaller and slower spins. But for better or worse, it looks like the ‘gymnastiboarding’ that has taken over the men’s game is crossing the divide.
Fasten your seatbelts.