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With Quad Cork 1800, Snowboarding Twists To New Heights

The British snowboarder Billy Morgan on his way to landing a Backside 1800 Quadruple Cork. Before this week, the trick was a subject of debate — including the question of whether it could be performed.

If you're new to this area of winter sports, we'll reassure you: the Quad Cork 1800 is not a drink. Instead, it's a big deal in the sport of snowboarding, where Billy Morgan is being hailed as a hero for pulling off a trick that some had thought impossible.

The British snowboarder accomplished the feat on a slope in Livigno, Italy's Mottolino Resort, where a special wedge of snow was built to provide enough speed and lift for Morgan to perform four off-axis flips and five full rotations while in the air.

"So stoked," Morgan said after landing the jump Tuesday, according to his sponsor, Red Bull. "I've been thinking about this for so long, it's such a relief to have it done. It could have been cleaner, but I'm still pumped."

Red Bull released a video of Morgan's trick Wednesday; they published a new one Thursday that includes a view from just below the historic jump.

For a rider to pull off the trick, Red Bull says, they have to spend at least 2.8 seconds in the air. Morgan says that requirement made the move very tough to practice.

"There was no real training for the trick," he says.

Morgan's trick is formally known as a Backside 1800 Quadruple Cork, a trick that has been anticipated — and debated — for months. While part of the debate focuses on the technical aspect of whether physics would allow such a trick, another argument surrounds the question of whether spins and flips have gone too far in replacing creativity and style in the sport.

During this past January's X Games, Snowboard magazine's Jens Heig wrote of a succession of riders landing triple corks, "from my perspective as a spectator, watching this triple cork exhibition isn't the most entertaining snowboarding I have ever seen. Though insane, each jump looked largely the same, almost to the point of being sterilized."

After Morgan's first-ever landing of a quad, an amazed Heig wrote, "We have now reached the point of no return."

He adds that next year's X Games "will be surrounded by the hype of, 'Who will land the first quadruple cork in competition?'"

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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