The All-Star Ski Gear of the 2023 Kings & Queens of Corbet's

Published on 02/24/2023 · 7 min readKings & Queens of Corbet's gets bigger and riskier each year, and 2023 was no exception. Catch up on the jaw-dropping runs and the skis that enabled them here.
Lauren Dobbins, Ski Expert
By Ski Expert Lauren Dobbins

The 2023 Kings & Queens of Corbet’s did not fail to wow the crowd! From insane drops to jaw-dropping spins, this year proved that the event only gets bigger and riskier with every iteration. If you missed out on the action (which most of us did since there was no livestream), you can catch the full replay from Jackson Hole here. With so much heart-stopping action, I promise it is worth watching every single run on repeat!

Kings & Queens of Corbet’s is known for making history with new tricks every year, and this was no exception. For the first time ever, a woman attempted a double backflip into Corbet’s (more on that feat in a minute), proving that the women can give us just as much of a show as the men. Clean runs ruled supreme, which is impressive in the ungroomed snow and ever-changing conditions. Here is a recap of the podium-placing skiers and other major moments, as well as the skis that they were on.

Kings of Corbet’s

King of Corbet’s: Colby Stevenson on the K2 Reckoner 122 Skis

2023 is clearly Colby’s year! Fresh off his win at the X Games in Slopestyle, he proved yet again that he is one of the best freestyle skiers in the world. Colby laid down an absolutely meticulous run on his first attempt, and his clean run was exactly what you would expect from someone who consistently makes clean runs in competition. Notably, he decided to not tackle Corbet’s headfirst and dropped in switch instead! His switch five rodeo was flawless, and he was the clear winner from take off.

Colby has been a K2 athlete for the past 9 years, and as such, he has a full fleet of K2 skis at his disposal. For this event, he was on the Reckoner 122. A true powder ski and the widest offered by K2, the Reckoner series is known for its incredibly playful nature. The 122s match the fun of their narrower park iterations, and it is this playfulness and pop that help Colby reach the throne.

Runner Up: Blake Wilson on the Faction Prodigy 4 Skis

Similarly to Colby, Blake showed that a clean run was key to making it onto the podium. His run was nearly perfect with flawless execution and effortless precision. Blake dropped in with a beautiful backflip and what was probably the cleanest landing of the competition. The beauty of this backflip was quickly overshadowed though, as he immediately followed it with a perfect front flip off the side hit.

The Faction Prodigy series is known as the absolute park destroyer. The narrower skis in this series are frequently seen on the podium at major freestyle events. The Prodigy 4 takes the freestyle attitude and puts it into a more freeride-focused ski. At 116mm, the Prodigy 4 is the widest of the Prodigy skis and feels right at home on a powder day.

Third Place: Alex Hackel on the 1000 Powder Skis

Alex’s finish on the podium was impressive mainly due to the conditions of his runs. Prior to the event, he had never skied at Jackson Hole before! His first run was his first time ever dropping into Corbet’s, as this couloir is closed prior to competition in order to have the best snow possible. To add another layer of difficulty to this fact, Alex drew the unlucky position of dropping in first and testing the snow conditions for the rest of the field. After falling in the unexpected conditions of the first drop, Alex secured his podium finish with a super clean second run.

Alex is an athlete for 1000 Skis, a smaller brand designed by professional athletes. They only produce three skis, each created with a timeless design in their signature solid red. The 1000 Powder is 117mm underfoot for effortless float in fresh snow, yet these skis are made to be nimble in all conditions.

Queens of Corbet’s

Queen of Corbet’s: Claire McPherson on the Salomon QST Blank 112 Skis

Claire was a late entry to the event, so you would have missed out on reading about her in my event preview. Claire’s win is a divisive decision amongst fans, but her flawless execution ultimately secured a win for this newcomer. Although her tricks weren’t huge, her entrance was clean, her backflip was precise and beautiful, and her finale trick of a big spread eagle was a crowd favorite.

Claire’s winning run proved that a unisex ski is just as capable in the hands of a woman. The QST Blank is a standout of the Salomon’s QST line, as it was designed by the pro athletes that ride them. At 112mm underfoot, these skis can do it all from groomers to backcountry. If you want to be awesome like Claire, consider picking up a pair of QST Blanks for yourself.

Runner Up: Piper Kunst on the 1000 Powder Skis

Representing the infamous South Park, my hometown hero and fellow Colorado skier took incredible risks that you would expect from the reigning 2022 Queen of Corbet’s. She was unique in her drop in choice as she entered from the cliff of the west wall. Even more impressive than this incredibly difficult entrance location is the fact that she competed on broken boots that were held together with straps!

Piper rides the 1000 Powder skis, the same skis used by Alex Hackel for his podium finish. Having both a men’s and women’s podium finisher on the same skis has solidified the reputation of 1000 Powder as a freeride slayer.

People’s Choice Awards

People’s Choice King: Ben Richards on the Line Vision 118 Skis

Both the men’s and women’s People’s Choice winners were awarded to non-podium finishers, showing the competitors that big risks still come with big rewards. Ben’s second run was awe-inspiring, but an unfortunate ejection on the last jump kept him from the podium. The highlight of his run was easily his drop into Corbet’s, as he perfectly landed an incredible double backflip.

As one of the pro skiers for Line, Ben is on the newest version of the Vision 118 that is yet to be released. Another wide powder ski in this group, the Vision is lightweight and a favorite amongst the professionals at Line.

People’s Choice Queen: Veronica Paulsen on the K2 Mindbender 115C Skis

The 2020 Queen of Corbet’s truly lived up to expectations. She did a feat that no other female skier had tried at Corbet’s (until later in the competition): the double backflip. This trick has been elusive to female skiers, and she was incredibly close to landing it. Although she had a bobble at the end and ultimately didn’t have a clean landing, she reached legendary status with this attempt and won the viewers’ admiration.

Veronica’s Mindbenders are the only women’s specific skis of this group. They are a consistent favorite among K2’s pro freeriders, and their female-focused design offers many sizes for the shorter women who are often pushed out of unisex skis (myself included). If you want to send it like a pro and are on a budget, look no further than the past season model available here.

Tomahawk Award

Parker Costain

For the first time ever, King’s & Queens of Corbet’s give out the Tomahawk Award for the gnarliest fall. A tomahawk is when someone double ejects from their skis and does a series of flips down the mountain (looking similar to a tomahawk mid-throw). The Tomahawk Award went to the 2020 King of Corbet’s, Parkin Costain. Parkin sent it into Corbet’s HARD and landed about 50-60ft from the take off. His landing resulted in a double ejection and several tumbles. Fortunately, he is okay but opted out of the second run due to what looked like knee pain. We wish him a speedy recovery!

This year’s Kings & Queens of Corbet’s was one to remember. Congrats to all of the winners and the competitors that were brave enough to jump into the couloir! Watching these world-class athletes has definitely inspired me to be braver on the slopes. Want to learn more about the gear used at this event or need skis for your own mountain adventure? Chat with me or another Ski Expert here on Curated to match you with the right setup that will have you looking like a pro!

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Written by:
Lauren Dobbins, Ski Expert
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Lauren Dobbins
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