Kings and Queens of Corbet’s is a ski and snowboard event that takes place at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in one of North America’s most iconic ski runs, Corbet’s Couloir. The inaugural event took place in 2018 and was one of the most talked about events of the winter. This year, it came back event bigger with a top-tier list of twenty-four skiers and snowboarders who were given the green light to put down their best run on Tuesday, February 12.
Stio was well represented in our home town with three local athletes competing in the event: Cam Fitzpatrick, Sam Schwartz, and Blaine Gallivan. We followed up with each of them after the event to get an insider’s perspective on what it felt like from a competitor perspective.
What did it feel like to compete in Kings & Queens of Corbet’s?
Sam: It was an experience to say the least. Corbet’s is the iconic run I grew up skiing on. I rarely jump into it these days due to how popular it has become. Taking an opportunity to jump into an untracked Corbet’s with a slopestyle course underneath was a dream!
Cam: It’s truly an honor to compete in Kings and Queens of Corbet’s. To ride bottomless powder in one of the world’s most iconic ski runs is a pretty special experience. Not to mention, you get to ride it with some of the best skiers and snowboarders in the game.
Blaine: It was a dream. To be in my hometown with some of my best friends just pushing each other is something I'll look forward to hopefully for years to come.
Explain to someone who has never looked into Corbet’s what the course was like.
Sam: Looking into Corbet’s during competition day was pretty insane. Three ramps off the top sending you 50 feet down the course with five different jump options, 30 cameras in your face, and a cheering crowd below. What. A. Scene.
Cam: From the bottom, Corbet’s looks manageable, but once you get to peep over the edge from the top it’s a whole different story. You definitely get the shakes once you’re up there and realize how big of a drop it actually is.
Blaine: It's a knife edge cliff that drops off into a tight couloir spanning over 1500 vertical feet.
How bad were your nerves at the top of the course before dropping?
Sam: No nerves up top. I’ve found that staying calm during the action is the best way for me to perform. If I’m exceptionally nervous then something is wrong, and I generally back down. To me, that was just another day out skiing!
Cam: The nerves were flowing at the top for sure. I used to compete all the time when I was younger and feeling those nerves is actually kind of fun. The energy at the top both years has been intense but once the first person drops the fun begins.
Blaine: They were racing a little bit, but I kept reminding myself to have fun and BREATHE.
View this post on Instagram
Kings and Queens of Corbets POV Run 1. Stoked to link the features together and take a run top to bottom 💥▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️ #jhkingsandqueens #jhdreaming #gopro #lettheoutsidein #nsfamous #buckles #stiomountain #sendandreturn #k2mindbender #builttolast #thisisskiing #freeskier #skinaked #seriousfun #rageagainstthemachine #SFD #outside #dragonalliance #redbullsnow #redbull #weareframeless #backflip #skiing
Did you stick the run you were hoping for?
Sam: Almost to the tee. Run 1 was successful. The backflip off the top. Shut down the speed quick. Flat spin off the middle jump. Another small air. And then I was so pumped to have linked everything together I totally forgot to pull 360 on the last jump!
Cam: I’ve actually never hit Corbet’s from the top before, so when I aired into my run, that was a new thing for me. When you ride up to the take-off it looks like you’re about to jump off the end of the planet; you can’t see where you’re going until the last second. I had a blast and my run wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do but worked out in the end.
Blaine you were the only person to attempt the alternate route through the rocks at the bottom of the course. What were you thinking as you got into that zone?
I was feeling pretty confident that I had a good line thru the top off a small shark fin pad of snow into a small apron of pow, but sure enough I landed square on a rock. I felt a little shook up for a minute, but found my ski, dusted myself off and started mentally preparing for my next run.
What makes King’s and Queen’s such a unique event?
Sam: There is nothing like it! The logistics of this type of event is next level. Hats off to Jess McMillan and JHMR crew for doing a fantastic job. Also, this is an athlete run competition. No other event is like that. Most details are up to us. Run by us. It’s special to feel that involved.
Cam: King’s and Queen’s is such a unique event because there aren’t many contests like it. They close the run for a week or two before the event and this year the JHMR park crew built jumps and features throughout the whole course. This made it such a creative event for all the competitors. It’s awesome to have an event this big in my home town.
Blaine: First off, the venue is unlike any other, especially after they brought in JHMR park crew to push some huge jumps. The most unique part I'd say is that it's video reviewed and athlete judged. I think more competitions should be on that program.
What was your favorite part about the day?
Sam: Fist bumping your friends before they drop, being hundreds of feet in the air above a huge crowd and hugging everyone at the bottom. This sport is truly about the people you spend it with.
Cam: My favorite part of the day was hands down when Trevor Kennison launched off the top on a sit ski. Might have been one of the crazier things I’ve ever seen. Much respect.Blaine: My favorite part was watching Trevor Kennison absolutely tee off Corbet’s on his sit-ski! Major inspiration!