revor Kennison imagined skiing Corbet’s Couloir—Jackson Hole, Wyoming’s iconic and nearly vertical chute with a dicey, dramatic entrance—six times in his head while waiting at the top. He closed his eyes, took three fast breaths, then visualized it: Ride the ramp at just the right speed, hit the takeoff, hug the rocks on skier’s left, then stick the landing into the chute. If he could picture it going perfectly in his head, he knew he could pull it off.
He’d wanted to ski this line for years and finally, the day had come. Kennison, who’s paralyzed from the waist down, says he wasn’t scared. “I knew what I had to do. I was ready,” Kennison, 26, said. “Everything I do is calculated risk. I think, where is it going to go wrong? I learn so much from the people around me.”
It was mid-February at the Kings and Queens of Corbet’s, a unique big-mountain competition where skiers and riders are judged by their fellow athletes on their line, style and fluidity down Corbet’s Couloir. The event, which began in 2018, is the brainchild of former pro skier Jess McMillan, who competed on the Freeride World Tour for 10 years and now works as Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s events manager. “I wanted Kings and Queens to be more about the athletes and being in the mountains, less about competition. The goal is for it to feel more like a celebration of what’s possible,” McMillan said. “So the event is athlete-judged and set up like a film shoot. The athletes are not segmented into heats by gender or sport. Everyone’s name is thrown into a bingo machine and chosen randomly for start order.”
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