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Still a teenager, Canadian snowboarding sensation Mark McMorris has only a couple more months to make that claim. On December 9, 2013, McMorris officially hits 20. Watch out world.
McMorris’s start in the prairieland of Regina, Saskatchewan, is the stuff of legend, although for McMorris, the backstory has worn a little thin. It’s true, he and his snowboarding older brother Craig once nabbed snow from local parking lots to build mini-hills so these two young wannabe board wizards could gain a little backyard height. But in the decade since, Mark has scaled — and conquered — a lot of tall terrain, emerging as a special talent in big air and slopestyle. Slopestyle, as it happens, debuts as an Olympic sport at Sochi in 2014, and the stage is set for McMorris to take the Winter Games’ highest honour.
Slopestyle, as defined by the B.C. Snowboard Association, “tests a rider’s ability to handle a variety of terrain by executing freestyle maneuvers down a course filled with terrain features including rails, hips, tabletops and a multitude of jumps, allowing riders to combine big air and technical tricks into one run.” Despite his flatland origins, McMorris comes straight out of Canada’s deep bench of freestyle specialists. Since placing eighth in the FIS Snowboard World Cup in 2009-2010, he’s collected high-end hardware at Aspen’s Winter X Games, including slopestyle gold in 2012 and 2013.
McMorris’s particular claim to fame? He was the first person to nail a backside triple cork 1440 in competition, the description of which is enough to make any landlubber dizzy. Launching into the air, the rider flips off-axis three times as he spins four full rotations of 360 degrees, then lands. Will McMorris, aka McLovin’, roll out this gravity-defying trick in Sochi, leaving his competitors in the deep powder? Stay tuned.
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