In the lead-up to the 2020/21 FIS Snowboard World Cup season we'll be interviewing some of last season's crystal gloibe winners to find out what they've been up to in the off-season, what they're looking forward as we head into winter, and hopefully a little bit more about what it's like behind the scenes for some of snowboarding's top riders...
The numbers are nothing short of incredible: three slopestyle crystal globes, two big air globes, and two big globes as the Park & Pipe overall winner; Utah 2019 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle & Freeski World Championships slopestyle gold, as well as big air silver and slopestyle bronze from the Sierra Nevada 2017 world champs; eight World Cup victories and 14 podiums in 27 career starts...no other man anywhere on the FIS Snowboard World Cup has put anywhere close to the numbers that the USA's Chris Corning has over the past five seasons.
In fact, by taking the big air crystal globe last season, Corning has put himself in a tie for the most ever by a freestyle snowboarder on the men's side of things with seven, and all of this success has come before he was even legally allowed to buy a beer in his native United States. Throw in a couple World Cup 'firsts' - first ever quad cork landed in World Cup competition back in Cardrona (NZL) at the start of the 2018/19 season, and first quad landed on a scaffold big air jump at Atlanta (USA) last season - and you've got one of the most talked-about riders in snowboarding since he first landed on the scene as a 15 year-old.
Having just turned 21 back in September and coming off of a 2019/20 season that saw him slowed by injuries in the second half of the winter, Corning is heading into the new competition season focused and ready to continue his assualt on the history books, and we caught up with him a couple weeks ago in Saas Fee (SUI) to get a sense of where his mind is at heading into what might be an unusual season in 2020/21...
FIS - Last season you earned your seventh career crystal globe when you took the big air trophy, which ties you with Janne Korpi for the most ever on the men’s side of Park & Pipe World Cup history. What does it mean to you to already have accomplished so much on the World Cup stage, all by the age of 20?
Chris - Earning my seventh career crystal globe last year was an amazing feeling. I'm very happy to be able to capitalize on all the opportunities that I've been given. With that being said, I have worked really hard for all this, and it's nice to see it paying off.
FIS - Although you won the big air globe with four podiums in four events (including two wins), with some injury trouble and limited slopestyle action 2019/20 wasn't the easiest or most successful season for you. Does that change your approach at all as we move towards the 2021 world championships and 2022 Olympic Winter Games? Are your expectations the same?
Chris - With injuries last year I struggled later in the season to finish out the slopestyle competitions. My mindset going into this season will be to take things back a little bit and to try and take each jump or rail as one thing at a time and I'm gonna try to be in the moment even more.
FIS - Last season you began work on your video project Teal with your friend and US teammate Chase Blackwell. What can you tell us about the project? Any idea on a release date?
Chris - Teal is my project that I'm producing that was supposed to come out October 14, but should be out in the coming days here (new date - October 29). We're working really hard to get this movie out to world and make it the best we can. I had a lot of fun collaborating with my US teammate Chase Blackwell because it was an entirely different environment than the contest scene for us. We really became better friends and that was awesome and I really enjoyed my time making the film.
FIS - How have you handled the whole lockdown situation and the ongoing uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic since the season ended so abruptly?
Chris - I have been handling everything I can the best that I can. I have taken every day for what it is worth and kept all my spirits up.
FIS - Putting all the uncertainty in the world aside, what are your hopes for the upcoming season?
Chris - Basically, I'm hoping to compete as much as I can this season and do the best I can. I hope to podium at each event that I compete in.
FIS - What do you love most about snowboarding?
Chris - I love snowboarding for the fact that you can do whatever you want to do and you can show the world how you feel by doing that. You can put passion into your snowboarding and everything that comes with it.