Words by Ian Cosco
Photos by Felix Rioux
First off, I would like to note I am not nearly as pimp at writing as Schmuck, so bear with me. Second, I am still jet lagged as hell. Third, I know I'm whining so I’ll “stfu” for you.
Alright, so I got invited to the King of Style qualifiers through a video submission contest and have been directed by Schmuck to try and give you the athlete perspective of this contest. Well, for those of you that didn’t hear about the video contest, here’s the scoop…60 second max video submission on Youtube.com, top 25 voted move on to the next round, where Richard Permin and Henrik Windstedt choose 4 winners to be invited to compete in the King of Style qualifiers with free room and board. The four winners being myself, Gus Kenworthy (aka Kenny G), Michael Clarke (who I did NOT see in Sweden, Clarke, call me, what happened!?), and the tall tee stretcher himself, Tom Wallisch.
When I found out I was in I was ridiculously stoked. All I could think about was how I had never been to Sweden before, never been to a big air in a city, never hit a jump made out of scaffolding, and I haven’t skied since July.....Oh SH*T. This hit me pretty hard. The last time I had skied was at Momentum this summer, where I was coaching so I wasn’t pushing myself very hard at all. I knew I wanted to do my double cork 12, but I hadn’t done that trick since the Stevens Pass Park shoot with Rage Films in April! I became more and more nervous, but figured everything would work out.
I ended up hopping on a plane and meeting up with Colby James West and Gus Kenworthy in the Stockholm airport, after a 7 hour nap on the floor at baggage claim. We proceeded to get to the Scandic Taby Hotel and Gus and I checked into our rooms. The next day there was training in the evening and I was super scared. The training session was really short and I only ended up getting five jumps in. I am scared shitless of this thing! It’s a decent sized jump, you have one speed you have to go and you are skiing on scaffolding. The stairway up (which I hiked up all training, not realizing there was an elevator) was super sketchy and I thought of all the different ways I could die on each step. Not pimp. I ended up doing my five training runs in this order:
Straight air scream
Rodeo 5 scare
Rodeo 7 frighten
Cork 7 to my back
Double Cork 12 freak out....sort of land to die.
My fifth jump in four months is the hardest trick I know how to do...I got super scared in the air at 7 and began to flail...not so dope. I put it to my feet but really sketchy, was sort of skiing out and then BAM, I am on my side, winded and my thumb is now a skiers’ (I got skiers’ thumb for you slow ones). My confidence is way down. I seriously contemplate if this whole skiing thing is for me all night.
Colby James West
The next morning I am up at 5:30 and ready to ski. I take a shower, get myself completely prepared for the day, and we are on the bus at 7:40 towards Stockholm Stadion. There is that beast of a set-up, just laughing at me as if it knew it was going to eat me again. But today is different; I am having an awesome time with my friends. I start off with a screamin seamen, then warm up with a few rodeo 5’s (I love that trick!) and then a cork 9. Then it’s time for the big gun. One last jump in training, and I’m going for my dub cork. I’m pushing down the in-run and I figure I know what I need to do. Pop. Cork 7. Spot. Cork 5. Land switch. Ride away. I did it! Yes! I am so pumped right now.
The qualifiers are now beginning. three jumps: one style, one technical, and one of your choice. Top two scores combined become your final score. Everybody is killing it! Casabon, does the SICKEST 9 tail I’ve ever seen...
Gus puts down a switch double 10, Houle gets his double, Henrik cab 12’s (even with his broken thumb)...
and even though I missed all of Oscar’s jumps, I know his shit was ridiculous...
As for me, I decided to do a rodeo 5 for my first jump and then go for the dub cork on my second. Rodeo 5 is good. It’s dub cork time. Hooray! I land! I am so pumped that I am talking to Wallisch at the bottom, just gathering myself when I see Gus flying through the air, landing his switch double...I wish I had the audio from my mind, but it went a little something like this: “YAAA GUU....HOLY FUCK! HE’S COMING RIGHT AT ME!” …then panic, then BOOM!
One of my most laid out front flips to my back, but I get up as soon as I realize Gus is on the ground. Everything is fine! I figure Gus just wanted to push his ass into me hahaha.
So now it’s now like 9:30 am or something and we don’t get to ski until 3:45 pm, or so we think! Since the Winter Jam is running on TV, they are behind schedule and cancel training at 3:45. We then don’t get to ski until 6:30, where we get two jumps. My knees now begin to hurt from the collision. Really hurt. I do two rodeos for warm up, as to save my knees for the contest. Everybody is throwing down in finals. PK stomps his double 10 on his first jump (no big for PK) then gets the most pimp double 12 I have EVER seen...
Jon throws his switch double 9 and 10 flawlessly...
Aleksander Aurdal does the craziest grab I’ve seen in a rodeo...
Henrik stomps switch 12’s...
Gus does a super sick switch 7 nose...
and Casabon STOMPS shit so cleanly you’d think he wasn’t a dirty Frenchman (haha just kidding Phil, you da man). And I don’t ski well, but I don’t care because I am just happy to be there.
After the final jumps get stomped, everyone knows the podium. PK, Jon, Casabon. The judging was perfectly on point in my opinion and those three killed it so ridiculously hard, there was no arguing that they were the top.
PK Hunder is King of Style.
All in all, my trip to Sweden was pimp, and packed with numerous emotions. Some being scared of myself, others being scared of switch afterbang. I had an incredible time, and I really hope I can get into the contest next year!