The Kings and Queens of Corbet’s Couloir

River Denny

“Kinda like a metaphor for the movie gladiator.” “Huckfest.” “Epic.” “Rowdy.” “The best booter session with the sickest skiers you could ever hope to ski with.” “Corbets is one of the most unique comps in the world.” When athletes were asked to describe the Kings and Queens of Corbet’s competition, this was the common response. Hosted on February 7th of 2023, this marked the 6th year of this gnarly event. Twenty five athletes made the steep twenty foot drop out of the famous Corbet’s Couloir, eight women and seventeen men.

Even with the intimidation of the drop, the lead up to Corbet’s is even more terrifying. A lot goes into making sure that the competitors, videographers, medical team, and viewers will all be safe while at the peak of the mountain. Snow conditions have to be perfect; we’re talking snow can’t be too packed, otherwise the drop will physically hurt and can make a crash much worse. The snow also can’t be too deep otherwise it can tug at the skis and cause more injuries.

With weeks of preparation in advance, equipment will be set in place, a kicker jump into the couloir will be hand crafted by the athletes, medics will be in the ready, and the Teton Gravity team will be there to record the entirety of it.

Most are quick to point out that Jackson’s Competition is unlike any other. Rather than being ranked on tricks, points, times, and scores, the winners are chosen by people. Following the King’s and Queen’s events, four awards will be awarded the following week; Both the Queen and King title, as well as the RedbullSnow People’s Choice Award.

The Competition this year was started out with pro skier Alex Hackle, and he aggressively stomped a huge 360 into the bowl, followed by an Iron Cross, and finishing with a full 720 rotation. As intense as that likely was, Alex was stoked to have landed and participated in the 2023 King’s and Queen’s of Corbets more than anything. Alex started the comp out with some great energy, and the following twenty five athletes kept it going.

A ton of firsts were also seen. Veronica Belle was the first female ever to attempt a double back flip into the twenty foot drop. Her run was a fan favorite, though she didn’t stick the landing and ended up slightly over-rotating. Veronica was the winner of the Red Bull’s People’s Choice Awards. With a sick run like hers, she was guaranteed another spot along the future 2024 competitors. Many look forward to seeing what this woman can bring next year, and will be cheering her along until she stomps her landing.

Not every mistake made here is a mistake. With this information, it can be assumed that not everyone ended up landing on their feet. Several crashes took place, but no one was seriously injured. In fact, some of the athletes purposely put more effort into going out with a bang. Snowboarder Windham Miller did an effortless and graceful side frontflip, just minus the landing. Instead, he fell into a nice pocket of powder snow, and once he got back up, the whole crowd was screaming for him on his descent down.

The winners, or rather King and Queen, were Colby Stevenson and Claire McPherson. The People’s Choice King and Queen was Ben Richards and Veronica Paulsen. Everyone had a remarkable run, and history was made at the Jackson Hole Resort. For big mountain skiers, this is something that you can’t miss in your lifetime. For anyone who wasn’t there to watch this in person and would like to view it, Teton Gravity Research will later release a King’s and Queen’s of Corbet’s documentary, as they have done in years previous.