Torstein Horgmo, Trevor Kennison reflect on double backflip moment while summer riding at Woodward Copper
DILLON — It was three years ago, long before his iconic send into Corbet’s Couloir at Jackson Hole, when Trevor Kennison first threw a backflip into the foam pit at Woodward Copper’s Barn. There to witness that day was Torstein Horgmo, the 33-year-old Nowegian X Games and Dew Tour championship snowboarder who now calls Silverthorne home.
Fast forward a couple of years, and Horgmo and Kennison ran into each other at Gravity Haus in Breckenridge where they organized a ride day the following morning at Breckenridge Ski Resort. Horgmo told Kennison — a sit-skier branching out into groundbreaking freestyle and big mountain riding after suffering a spinal cord injury in 2014 on Vail Pass — that it’d be cool if they could do a backflip together and film it. It was earlier this month at Woodward Copper’s summer Central Park when the GoPro team duo got their chance.
Horgmo said GoPro has expanded its GoPro Live It program through the novel coronavirus pandemic, making it a charitable event encouraging employees to take two hours in their day to raise money via social media.
Knowing Kennison would be at Woodward’s Central Park the same day as him, Horgmo knew this would be the opportunity to try the double backflip with the sit-skier, an inspiring visual that could motivate others in a difficult time.
After GoPro’s team manager connected the two, Horgmo soon saw that Kennison’s four-plus months off snow didn’t matter.
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“He was flipping out after a couple of runs,” Horgmo said. “When I met up with him, he had already broken one ski trying it. So he got another ski mounted, we decided to go for it, and it came together. It was a long time coming, but it was super awesome.”
Summit County rider Chad Otterstrom filmed the flip that was sure to inspire any snowboarder scrolling Instagram out of their COVID blues. The 28-year-old Kennison describes the sit-ski trick as one where “full commit” is required.
“That’s what it comes down to,” Kennison said. “It’s understanding how much speed do you take for the jump, how much rotation do you set at the beginning of the jump. If you set too hard at the beginning, if you get too much speed, you can over-rotate. But you don’t want to clip your tips if you’re rotating too slow. There’s a fine line of having the balls to do it and feeling good about it and committing. Like I always say, that cliff, that jump is always there to do it. If you’re not feeling it, don’t do it.”
Kennison, who rides a Volkl ski with Marker binding, said he is focused on pushing big mountain boundaries after trying para-Alpine ski racing in the past. Though he hopes to one day Alpine ski race in the sit-ski division at a Paralympics, he’s more interested in learning how to jump “a bunch of stuff.”
“I’m basically taking the lead right now to create that,” Kennison said. “Not many people are doing what I’m doing. I haven’t ever really liked ski racing. I’m filming a two-year, full-length documentary with Level 1 that should come out in the fall of 2021.”
Before the shutdown, Kennison was pushing the boundaries of his ambition while filming with Teton Gravity Research and executing a backflip for the first time after holding onto a snowmobile at 40 mph.
As for the longtime Summit local Horgmo, he embraced the change in pace the shutdown brought. He can’t remember the most recent year where he wasn’t flying across the world to execute “run-and-gun” snowboarding either for contests or filming.
So after his recent experimental “Light” snowboard movie debuted in the spring, and after he returned to the states to hunker down after filming in Austria, Horgmo spent more time meditating and resting while spending more quality time snowboarding in the Summit County backcountry than ever before. He enjoyed borrowing a friends’ snowmobile and surfing powder in local zones like “Little Alaska” out of Montezuma.
“Usually, I’m traveling and chasing it elsewhere because we don’t want to worry as much about avalanche safety,” Horgmo said. “It was a real treat to go to Montezuma and see the local mountains around here and explore.”
Looking ahead to the uncertainty of this season amid the pandemic, Horgmo said “Light” is a sign of what he wants to do with his snowboarding career more in the future as it’s a project that embraces the artistic side of the sport and showcases the lifestyle behind the passion. But what exactly he’ll be doing this season is up in the air as the virus lingers.
“I think we’ll just try to adapt and see,” Horgmo said. “It’s obviously hard to make plans right now for this coming season, and who knows what’s going to happen. But I love what Copper (Mountain Resort’s) doing. They’re complying with rules but also setting an example at the same time of how it actually can be done.