Kings & Queens of Corbet’s 2023 - What to Look Out For in SnowboardingPublished on 01/30/2023 · 7 min readBri Dornisch introduces the 11 snowboarders seeking total dominion over the world-renowned Corbet’s Couloir of Jackson Hole in the 2023 Kings & Queens competition.
Well, well, well…if it isn’t my favorite time of year! The season of slashing. The era of epic lines. The period of powder! Come one, come all, because the Kings & Queens is back!! From February 4-11, 2023, fearless freeride snowboarders and skiers voyage from far and wide seeking total dominion over the world-renowned Corbet’s Couloir of Jackson Hole. This year brings 11 snowboarders to the chute to take on one of the most jaw-dropping contests in winter sports.
In 1960, experienced mountaineer and local legend, Barry Corbet first spotted the line and was quoted saying “Someday, someone will ski that.” It sure makes me wonder what he would think now. As for me, I can’t believe how incredibly far the boundaries have been pushed in this amount of time. Every year, I look forward to runs that continually grow bigger and better. Who will push the line just a little bit more? Who will propel the sport even further into the unbelievable? Lucky for all of us, that’s the joy of this legendary event. The Kings & Queens of Corbet’s allows the greatest-to-ever-do-its a chance to show the world what they’re made of…all while proving just how far the big-mountain junkies will go to push the sport to the next level.
And now, a look at our riders…
Who to Look Out For
Back for her fourth year, Blackley comes to the mountain in hopes of a second win. She claimed the title of Queen in 2021, and the chick don’t quit! Blackley rides for Rome Design Syndicate and is no stranger to the fast-paced competition circuit. She is a fan-fave with a carefree, take-on-the-whole-world attitude and is certainly not to be missed as her huck-able skills range from the urban arena to the backcountry backdrop.
Cooper has been a man of the mountain since he was just a wee four-year-old fella. He grew up in the Pacific Northwest, went to college in Boulder, CO, and is now taking on the backcountry pow stashes of Wyoming. To put it lightly, when it comes to the big mountains and the deepest snow of the western United States, Branham has done it all. He is no stranger to big air and big grabs. It is not this Burton rider’s first time to take on Corbet’s, and it likely won’t be his last.
Everyone loves a hometown hero. Cam was born and raised in Jackson, Wyoming. His dad was a member of Jackson Hole ski patrol, so he got Cam on the slopes at the ripe age of two, and let’s just say, the kid never looked back. You may recognize him; he has spent a lot of his time as a rider in films, including “The Fourth Phase” and “Cosa Nostra.” In a lot of ways, the torch has been passed down from Bryan Iguchi and Travis Rice to Cam. He grew up under the wings of Travis and was quickly introduced to more of the big names as he advanced. Fitzpatrick now carries a lot of weight with his own name, not only in Jackson but around the world.
Sponsored by Bataleon, Deeluxe, Volcom, and more, Giller is a rider for the people. He grew up in Colorado and has been riding the Rockies—from the backcountry to the streets—for years. He has taken his talents in and around all styles of terrain, all around the world. And, talk about a man of many talents! Grant actually holds the world record for the largest projected video game display, claimed on Cooper Mountain! Giller is a full-time fun lover and is showing up in Jackson to prove it.
If you’re a long-time lover of Kings & Queens, you know the name Yuki Kadano. And if you don’t know it yet, trust me, you will. Yuki placed second at the event last year, but that’s hardly what he’s known for. The Japanese rider has been making a name for himself in the world arena since his pre-teen years. He has found his way to the podium at the Olympics, X Games, and World Cup, among many other high-level contests. He has claimed quite a few firsts, including the first-ever back-to-back triple cork 1620. He is an international slopestyle and big air phenom. Don’t take your eye off this guy; he’s just getting started.
Hailing from Vermont, Mason is a true core rider. As soon as he was 18, he packed up and moved across the country to Oregon to shred the big, big peaks of the Pacific. He may be the mountain party boy, but don’t think he doesn’t mean business. Expect his runs off the cornice to be jam-packed with full-throttle energy.
Netherlands native turned Idaho local, Cheryl is one snowboard hotshot you absolutely do not want to miss. A 3x World Champion, 3x Olympian, and recipient of X Games Gold, this chick is ready to full-send her way to another title. Even with her long list of accolades around the world, the deep white of Jackson, Wyoming is her favorite spot to ride, so she comes to the event with a full tool belt of experience.
If you don’t recognize this name, get your head out of the snow! Mastro comes to Jackson with a long resume. She started her on-snow career at two years old as a tiny skier and took to the world of standing sideways at merely six. Since then, she’s taken to the big stage—participating in the Olympics twice and making it to the podium in several world championships. No stranger to big drops and big air, Maddie’s home mountain is Mammoth. Her half-pipe wizardry is one you’ll want to keep a close eye on.
Yet another female Olympian with her eye on the crown, Sarka Pancochova has no shortage of tricks up her sleeve. Riding for Nidecker, Pancochova—born in the Czech Republic—has amassed a laundry list of World Cup medals, appearances in the Olympics, and an X Games medal. She rides Slopestyle, Big Air, and Halfpipe all at a world-class level. Where better than the iconic Couloir to showcase everything she has to offer?
Romanek was born and raised in Minnesota but moved to Tahoe to chase the deep and steep. His Instagram handle is @bigmountainjibber, and I can safely say that it is the most appropriate title for this rider. Big mountains? Check. Full-time jib machine? Also check. He really first stepped into the spotlight filming with the Think Tank crew a decade ago. It’s his second year taking on the beast that is Corbet’s, and he is sure to impress with his freestyle prowess.
A Salomon-sponsored rider out of Colorado, Ryan absolutely crushes the halfpipe. He grew up on the mountain, surrounded by skiing and snowboarding all of his life. Honing his skills through his youth in the Rocky Mountains was the perfect path to the podium on the world stage. His background throwing huge tricks off the half loads him with a ton of shred-worthy ammo to make his drop into the couloir memorable. Wachendorfer won’t disappoint.
The lineup is stacked. The snow is falling. We’ve got the recipe for another year to remember in Jackson Hole. With a window of Feb. 4-11, the athletes have ample time to hang in Jackson and prep to shred the gnarliest of gnar hard and fast.
Different for this year, the only way to watch the event is to ski or snowboard to Tensleep Bowl. There will be no live stream, so if you want to watch the guys and gals throw down, you’ll have to strap in and watch it firsthand! Bear in mind, the area is advanced terrain only so if you make the trek, be ready to get into some gnarly terrain yourself. I’ll be back post-event to update ya’ll on whose hucks were most deserving of the crown!
If you have any questions about the gear on the couloir or have been dreaming of a send-worthy setup of your own, reach out to a Snowboard Expert here on Curated. Sending a ton of luck and the fluffiest of snow to all the contestants!