It was a fun question to ask, but no one thought he'd actually really do it. Would Torstein Horgmo try to throw the triple in Big Air at the X? Even Horgmo himself said no. It's one thing to land the first-ever triple cork in snowboarding on a perfect, sunny warm day, on a kicker that is big enough, and built perfect enough to try a trick that big -- as Horgmo did this June. It's quite another to throw one on a much smaller jump, with a landing that most competitors agree is a little too flat, and way too icy. But that is what he did -- three times, with broken ribs. The final one he landed. You could hear a pin drop in the crowd as we all waited to hear the score.
"It's probably the stupidest thing I've done in my whole life," said the Big Air gold medal winner later. "It didn't feel right doing it. I don't think the jump was right for that trick. I went down fakie and had a hand drag. I wanted to go all the way around."
To this we ask the only person in the world to have landed a triple, twice: Really? You're upset because you didn't get the final 180-degree rotation on your landing? Because all of us watching thought that, even without that, it was kind of incredible. "I'm pretty hard on myself when it comes to things like that, how stuff looks," answered Horgmo.
The level that big air and slopestyle snowboarding is at right now is ridiculous. All of the top riders have double cork 1260s in their bag of tricks. When they're not feeling it, they throw double cork 10s. If you remember, it was only last year that Halldor Helgason came blasting out of nowhere and stole the Big Air show with the first-ever backside 12 double cork to be thrown at Winter X. Now you can't podium in any contest if you don't have one.
What Horgmo meant is that the triple he tried tonight was nowhere near as corked, stylish, and flawlessly landed as the one he did in June. And he was upset about it, because style matters to Horgmo, maybe even more than an X Games win. This may seem insane, but his triple actually scored lower (42 points) than silver medalist Sebastian Toutant's perfectly-executed backside 1260, which earned him 44. If Horgmo's second-highest score wasn't higher than Toutant's, he wouldn't have won tonight.
Let's repeat that: the level of snowboarding is so high right now, that there was a very strong possibility that Torstein Horgmo could have thrown the first triple to ever be landed in a snowboard contest, and the second triple ever to be landed in snowboarding, and ended up in second place tonight.
Last week we asked Sebastien Toutant, the 18-year-old upstart from Montreal who came into the event hot, with two huge big air wins already this season at the TTR Air & Style Beijing and FIS World Cup in Stockholm, if a competition came down to a 1440, a double cork 12, and a triple, which trick would deserve to win. He answered, "the triple," with no hesitation.
"I'm stoked for him," said Toutant, of Horgmo's win. "I got a front 10 double cork, which is a new trick for me, and I think is the most legitimate double cork you can do. I'm happy about it."
Asked if he was going to try a triple soon, bronze medalist Sage Kotsenburg answered, "No, not for a long time."
This is Horgmo's second gold in Big Air, and his third medal in the event in four years. He goes into Sunday's Slopestyle finals with two Dew Tour slopestyle wins under his belt, but also with a possible concussion from tonight's falls added to his already broken ribs.