Snowboarders and freeskiers are waging a cold war, the New York Times reports, putting top competitors under constant pressure to develop next-generation tricks. At this year's Winter X Games, under way in Aspen, the stakes are higher than ever: A new event named big air calls for competitors to launch themselves off a 65-foot jump.
"The level is so high for the tricks that you have to be learning," says one competitor whose routine includes a backward-launch jump. Tricks such as the double cork, frontside 1080-degree spin, and double backside rodeo 1080-spin keep the outer limits moving. Unveil an innovation, says an eight-time X Games medalist, and look over your shoulder for your rivals: "They’ll learn it in a week."