Snowboarders are spinning less to bring the style back
AP Sports Writer
ASPEN ” It’s no longer spin to win in the halfpipe.
After several years of rapid innovation, the progression of snowboarding tricks has taken a new, smoother turn. Instead of riders trying to outdo each other by spinning as many times as they can, they’ve gone back to smaller tricks like 540s and 720s, using extra combinations and grabs to impress the judges.
“There was a heavy, heavy push of new trickery within the last couple of years, and now that’s kind of leveled off,” said Steve Fisher, the defending Winter X Games superpipe champ.
The change has to do with style.
When riders try big spins, like a 1260 (3 1/2 revolutions) or a 1440 (four times around), the tricks look forced, an almost unnatural motion as they torque their bodies to get all the way around. Style has always been a big part of snowboarding, so now riders are going back to some of their older tricks to get some of that flow back.
“I think tricks are taking a step back in some ways, back to the alley-oops, the 540s, the 360s,” said Mike Jankowski, halfpipe coach for the U.S. Snowboarding Team. “They’ll do different types of combinations, get more amplitude, sometimes even slow a spin down or hold a grab a little longer.”
More than style, there’s a fear that snowboarding will become standardized, that the free-flowing nature of the sport will be diminished. Continue down the same can-you-top-this path and there’s the chance big spins could become a requirement for every run.
“We really don’t want to see this become figure skating where there becomes a standard and you have to do a certain amount of rotations, and the person who does the most rotations wins,” Jankowski said. “That’s not what snowboarding is about at all.”
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