Who is Chris Corning?
Name: Chris Corning
Country: United States
Disciplines: Slopestyle, Big Air
2016/17 WST slopestyle ranking: 14th
2016/17 WST big air ranking: 8th
- 2016 FIS World Cup slopestyle champion
- 2017 World Championships big air silver medalist
- 2017 World Championships slopestyle bronze medalist
- 3-time junior world champion
Corning will be making his Olympic debut in PyeongChang.
Slopestyle and big air snowboarding have been dominated by riders from Canada and Norway in recent years, but Corning is someone who could potentially crack the podium and break that stranglehold. Despite flying under the radar in recent years, he has been progressing rapidly and proving himself to be a legitimate medal contender.
Contrary to most riders, Corning's default grab isn't a mute grab. Instead, he grabs melon on most of his tricks. (Melon grabs involve reaching back to grab the heel-side edge of the snowboard, whereas mute grabs involve reaching forward to grab the toe-side edge of the snowboard.) As a result, his tricks have a unique look to them.
In big air competitions, he has been using the frontside 1440 melon and backside triple cork 1440 melon (video below) for his two jumps so far this year, but Corning has learned bigger tricks, including a quad cork, that could possibly come out in PyeongChang.
Corning started skiing at age 3 before switching to snowboarding when he was about 7. The Colorado native would drive from Denver to the mountains with his father almost every weekend when he was young. It's possible that he could have had a career in skateboarding but several injuries resulted in him committing to snowboarding instead.
Road to PyeongChang
Corning's quick rise started with the 2015/16 winter season. A virtual unknown at that point, he won the FIS World Cup title for slopestyle and then captured a pair of gold medals in both slopestyle and big air at the junior world championships. The success didn't do much to raise his profile though, and Corning continued to fly under the radar entering the next season.
But by the end of the 2016/17 season, people were finally starting to take notice of Corning. One of the turning points was the Burton U.S. Open, where he finished in fifth place and landed a frontside 1620 in a run. He ended the season by defending his junior world title in slopestyle and also winning medals in both big air (silver) and slopestyle (bronze) at the world championships.
So far, the hot streak has carried over into the 2017/18 season. Corning has been on the podium at a number of contests, including the season's first two U.S. Olympic qualifiers, despite dealing with a painful back injury. By finishing as the top American at both competitions, he became the first rider to secure his nomination to the U.S. Olympic men's snowboard slopestyle and big air team.
In the lead up to the PyeongChang Olympics, the quad cork — a trick that involves four inverts — has the been the next step in progression for many riders. After seeing it landed in a big air competition for the first time in 2017, Corning worked on the trick over the summer and became the first American to land a backside quad cork 1800. He has not yet used the trick in a competition.
Off the snow
Some of Corning's outside activities include skateboarding, riding dirt bikes, playing volleyball and camping.