The Snowboard Big Air finals at Winter X Games 2012 in Aspen turned into a triple cork party under the lights at Buttermilk on Friday night, with Canadian rider Mark McMorris claiming his first Winter X gold thanks to a massive backside triple cork mute 1440. McMorris scored 49 out of a possible 50 points for the trick.
"I didn't really think it was going to come down to triples because there wasn't a lot of airtime with the jump," McMorris said. "If you did send it deep, it made for a lot of airtime, but it also made for a lot of impact in the landing."
McMorris landed the first triple cork 1440 in May during filming for The Art of FLIGHT, but pulling it in competition is another thing entirely.
After Torstein Horgmo's gold medal triple flip in 2011, Winter X Games organizers decided to build a bigger, 80-foot step-up style jump for the competition this year in order to accommodate the level of progression happening in the sport and make way for more triple cork spins. Friday marked the first time the triple cork had been seen in competition.
"I was really pumped to land it," McMorris said. "It could've gone either way, but I'll take the win and it's really cool to get my first X gold."
Horgmo actually went bigger than McMorris in Friday's final, nabbing a perfect score for his own backside triple cork 1440, but fell short of the top spot in the overall calculations. Big Air competitors are judged on the combined total of their two best tricks, and Horgmo fell on several triple cork attempts before landing it in his final run.
McMorris' frontside double cork mute 1080 in his first run helped him hold the overall lead, while Sebastien Toutant claimed the bronze, thanks in part to his double cork Cab 1260.
Friday was a huge day for McMorris, who also finished first in the elimination round of Men's Snowboard Slopestyle and is a favourite to win the Slopestyle finals Saturday.
"Today was heavy," McMorris said after the late-night competition concluded on Friday. "I'm just so happy with how the Slopestyle semis went, and now this. And I've got a big day tomorrow."