Corning and Gerard among Summit locals to compete in Aspen World Championships
Freeski and snowboard big air, halfpipe and slopestyle slated for March 12-16 at Buttermilk
Several Summit locals will represent the United States at the 2021 International Ski and Snowboard Federation Snowboard and Freeski World Championships from March 12-16 in Aspen.
The multiday event will feature the annual Visa Big Air competition, including a heavy-hitting crew of international athletes — local pro Chris Corning among them.
Corning will be part of a deep 35-athlete U.S. ski and ride team featuring slopestyle champion Red Gerard of Silverthorne. Since his 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic gold medal, Gerard has won it all at Dew Tour and the Burton U.S. Open while also medaling in slopestyle at X Games Aspen.
Corning, a multitime FIS Crystal Globe season champion, is the reigning World Champion in slopestyle from a 2019 Park City competition where finals were canceled and he was named world champion for having the highest score in the qualifying round.
Last week, Corning won a deep Revolution Tour event in Aspen that featured some other top American and international pros. The Avon resident who’s family lives in Silverthorne said last week that his current competition riding is as consistent as it has been “in a long time.”
Corning is also the reigning Visa Big Air champion after he won the December 2019 showcase event on a scaffolding jump at SunTrust Park, the home of the Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball team.
At last month’s X Games Aspen at Buttermilk, Corning had his best career performance, landing a four-times inverted, five-rotation quad-cork 1800 — the trick that won it all for him in Atlanta. He also landed a flat-spin cab 1800 with a tail grab to finish fourth in what many in the industry have said was the greatest snowboard big air contest of all time.
If Corning can apply and hold a better grab of his board’s tail on that new cab flat-spin 1800 and land a quad-cork — which he has been more reliably landing on this larger Aspen jump — then he is in the thick of it for a medal.
Corning again will be able to challenge the riders who bested him at X Games — Norwegian gold medalist Marcus Kleveland, fellow Norwegian rider and silver medalist Mons Roisland and Swedish star Sven Thorgren — in what is certainly the most anticipated big air contest in World Championship history. Kleveland, Roisland and Thorgren all landed 1800s in a high-scoring final where Japanese big air beast Takeru Otsuka landed the first quad-cork 1800 rotated front side in contest history, in many ways stealing the show despite finishing behind Corning’s fourth place.
Gerard didn’t challenge for a medal at X Games, which was his first contest back from knee surgery in the offseason. Both the Dew Tour and Burton U.S. Open were canceled this season in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The U.S. will field 18 riders, including 2021 X Games gold medalists Chloe Kim, Jamie Anderson and Dusty Henricksen — a fast-rising American teen star who said he’s never ridden “at such a crazy, fun venue” as Buttermilk’s this year.
The 17 freeski athletes include back-to-back FIS World Champion Aaron Blunck of Crested Butte, two-time Olympic medalist Nick Goepper, double-Olympic gold medalist David Wise, Olympic bronze medalist Brita Sigourney and X Games gold medalist Alex Ferreira, who historically has performed very well in the Buttermilk superpipe.
Steamboat Springs native and Breckenridge-based halfpipe rider Taylor Gold will join Dillon local Chase Blackwell in the men’s snowboard halfpipe. And Winter Park’s Birk Irving also will vie for a World Championships medal as he’s becoming more of a contest force. American freeski slayer Alex Hall is a medal favorite in slopestyle and big air after wowing viewers with his X Games Aspen Real Street gold last week.
Friday, March 12
9:30 a.m. World Freestyle Championships Snowboard Slopestyle, live broadcast, Olympic Channel
1 p.m. World Freestyle Championships Freeski Halfpipe, live broadcast, Olympic Channel
Saturday, March 13
10 a.m. World Freestyle Championships Freeski Halfpipe, next-day broadcast, NBCSN
11 a.m. World Freestyle Championships Snowboard Slopestyle, next-day broadcast, NBCSN
11 a.m. World Freestyle Championships Freeski Slopestyle, same-day broadcast, Olympic Channel
1 p.m. World Freestyle Championships Snowboard Halfpipe, live broadcast, Olympic Channel
Sunday, March 14
Noon World Freestyle Championships Snowboard Halfpipe, next-day broadcast, NBCSN
Tuesday, March 16
10 a.m. World Freestyle Championships Freeski Big Air, live broadcast, NBCSN
11:30 a.m. World Freestyle Championships Freeski Slopestyle, delayed broadcast, NBCSN
1:30 p.m. World Freestyle Championships Snowboard Big Air, live broadcast, NBCSN
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