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Saturday, January 18, 2014

the Triple Cork vs. the YOLO Flip | the Biggest Snowboard and Ski Tricks

By Andrew Sachs
With snowboarding qualifying for the Olympics taking place, the Winter X Games next week and Sochi around the corner in February, we decided it was time to take another look at some of the winter snow sports' biggest tricks: the (1) Triple Cork and the (2) YOLO Flip.  If last year's winter competitions were any indication, competitors will be riding these 2 tricks to the top of the podiums all winter.

In addition to the explanations below, for a frame-by-frame breakdown of the tricks, check out:


The Triple Cork was the biggest trick of the Winter X Games Aspen 2013.  It was the trick that won gold for competitors in all kinds of events, including the skiing big air (nose butter triple cork 1620) and snowboard big air (switch backside triple cork 1440) competitions.

To announcers and competitors, it seems obvious that everyone knows exactly what a triple cork is.  But I was having trouble understanding the mechanics of the triple cork, considering it happens in about the blink of an eye.  So I did broke down the trick.

A cork is a type of flip.  During a spin, the axis of the rider is turned upside down or completely sideways in the air.  Some corks are made differently than than others; not all riders get completely inverted in every cork.  Turning a single cork into a triple cork means that the rider inverts himself at three different times during the aerial rotation.

Which triple corks are better than others?  This is the challenge for judges.  X games judge Tom Zikas explained what the judges are looking for in triple corks.  In the lead-up to Winter X-Games 2013, he said, "What we look at more is how inverted it actually is.  Some people dip slightly and some people are way more corked, more inverted.  That makes a difference to us.  How big it is is a factor, how long you hold your grab, getting it clean and huge."


Then last year at X-Games Tignes, Iouri Podlatchikov, aka I-Pod, landed the first ever (what announcers called) cab double cork 1440 in competition history in the snowboard superpipe finals.  He who lands the trick gets to name it: I-Pod's calling it the YOLO Flip (even though you flip twice).

To understand the YOLO Flip, start with its traditional name:
  • Cab = switch frontside.  I-pod said himself that the term "Cab", which comes from Steve Caballero of skateboarding legend, should be reserved for skateboarding tricks.  He refers to the YOLO Flip as a switch frontside trick.
  • Double Cork = 2 inverts
  • 1440 = 2 inverts + 2 rotations
Starting next week at the X Games, we'll see who's mastered these tricks, and if there's any new surprises to be unveiled on the mountain this winter.