Brown promises triple corks
ASPEN, Colo. -- An hour after snowboarder Shaun White landed a triple cork and Mark McMorris reportedly followed it up with one of his own in X Games Aspen 2013 Slopestyle practice Wednesday, two-time Ski Big Air champion Bobby Brown made a bold prediction.
Speaking at a jam-packed press conference at the base of Buttermilk Mountain on Wednesday, Brown said the Big Air jump is finally large enough for skiers to throw triple corks as well. No skier has landed a triple at the X Games, a drought Brown expects to end in the Ski Big Air contest on Saturday night.
"Last year was pretty flat and the jump wasn't amazing for skiers," said Brown, who won Big Air gold in 2010 and 2012. "You saw Mark [McMorris] and Torstein [Horgmo] do triples, but I think this year it's definitely going to happen. It's going to happen in qualifying, I'm sure."
Brown's prediction was one of many themes fleshed out during the wide-ranging press conference, which placed 10 star athletes in front of media members hailing from 13 countries.
White, dressed to the nines in a plaid shirt buttoned up to his Adam's apple -- a fact not lost on the Aspen fashion writers in attendance -- confirmed he threw a backside triple cork 1440 during his afternoon practice session. That's the same trick McMorris invented two years ago and the variation that will likely factor heavily in Saturday's Snowboard Slopestyle final.
"I think it's pretty much guaranteed that people are going to be doing triples in Slopestyle," McMorris said while sitting next to White. "There's triples going down already on the second day of practice, and the semis haven't even started. So it's going to be a wild one."
You won't see triples in the halfpipe this year, although White didn't rule it out for future contests during Wednesday's press conference. However, you could see the first double backside rodeo landed in competition by a woman, namely snowboarder Elena Hight, who became the first and only woman to land the trick last May. "I haven't done it yet this season, so I'm not 100 percent confident," Hight said. But, she added, "I'm definitely hoping to bring it out Saturday night."
Tucker Hibbert, the five-time defending champion in Snowmobile Snocross, compared returning to the X Games after his sport was dropped in 2012 to breaking up with his high-school sweetheart only to get back together the next year. He will try for a six-peat on Sunday afternoon, mere hours before White will attempt the same Sunday night in Snowboard SuperPipe.
"Last year not being here was a disappointment. It was a big hole left in our season; it made the whole year just feel a little different," Hibbert said. "To be back this year has re-motivated me and my team to work hard and get that six-peat. Hopefully we can pull it off and make some history."