For the 30 men competing in the first-ever Olympic halfpipe skiing event on February 13, at Russia’s Rosa Khutor Resort, winning a gold medal will almost certainly require landing a trick called the unnatural double cork 1260. What’s involved: two off-axis flips with three and a half rotations in the skier’s unnatural spinning direction.
"From a difficulty standpoint, the unnatural dub 12 is right at the top," says Josh Loubek, head judge of the Olympic halfpipe competi-tion. So far only three skiers have pulled it off in competition.
David Wise, of Reno, Nevada, was the first to land the trick while competing, in 2011, and is the gold-medal favorite. Fellow American Alex Ferreira and Canadian Justin Dorey added the trick to their arsenals last winter, and a handful of other skiers were feverishly practicing it on air bags this past fall.