Chris Corning is coming in hot, and possibly under the radar. The 18-year-old American started off the 2017-'18 season exactly where he left off last season--with a win.
Storming the competition in Milan, Italy, Corning reemerged on the snowboard scene at the first Snowboard Big Air event of the FIS World Cup season and rode out with win. It seemed all too easy for the young gun as he locked in his victory with the first two of three jumps.
By way of stomping a frontside 1440 melon and a backside triple cork 1440 melon, Corning accumulated a score of 182.75, the best of the event.
So, who is Corning, anyway?
Well, for starters it is worth noting that he hails from Summit County, CO, which is home to not only the Breckenridge Dew Tour (possible hometown advantage?) but also some of snowboarding's most talented athletes. Since he was just seven years young, Corning has been on the board and in the snow.
IT WAS QUITE A WAY TO START THE OLYMPIC YEAR." -- CHRIS CORNING
In 2014, Corning hit the competition circuit by way of the U.S. Revolution Tour, and by 2016 he was taking home wins at the Junior World Championships in Slopestyle and Big Air. Corning repeated the title-earning feat in 2017 for Slopestyle, too.
These days, though, Corning is shaking up the rankings in the elite level competitions. Last season, Corning took home the 2016-'17 Crystal Globe in Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic, for earning the Slopestyle World Cup overall title. The overall title came just one week after Corning reclaimed his Junior title on the same course.
"It was a lot of fun”, said Corning. “To step on the podium with two teammates was an amazing feeling, it couldn't get any better. It was quite a way to start the Olympic year."
Considering this is an Olympic season, Corning is definitely one to watch as a serious contender for Slopestyle and Big Air teams. The first official qualification for the U.S. Slopestyle team took place February of 2017 in Mammoth, CA, but Corning finished dismally in 37th place. Fortunately for him there are three more U.S. qualification events for him to perform well in.
Dew Tour Breckenridge will be his next opportunity to earn a podium and points for a sanctioned Olympic qualifier, and Corning looks ready to capitalize. Despite the poor finish in February, what has come to follow for Corning is nothing short of momentum building. It was shortly after that Mammoth event when he earned the Crystal Globe.
Since the close of last season, Corning has also picked up a couple new tricks. In June Corning dropped a couple clips to his Instagram such as his first backside quad cork 1800 and what he believed to be the first-ever backside triple cork 1440 (one of his winning tricks from Milan). Corning kicked off this season in September with a fourth place finish at the Cardona, New Zealand Slopestyle World Cup event. Considering the level of competitors in attendance, it was a bit of an eye-opener for the field.
After factoring in his performance in Milan, it seems that Corning is well on his way to a standout season and a high likelihood of finding his way onto a U.S. Olympic team.
Though the requirements to make the U.S. Slopestyle team include either combination of a podium finish and/or a points-based ranking from the sanctioned qualification events, the Big Air team will be a straight-forward nomination process.
For another chance to watch Corning compete in Big Air, see how he finishes at the Air + Style in Beijing, China as part of the World Cup series.
Watch Corning compete at Dew Tour Breckenridge December 14-17.