As the women of snowboarding take to the halfpipe at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park for Olympic gold Wednesday night, expect to see more flips and spins than ever before. An international field of rippers will be stomping back-to-back 720 and 900 combinations, and Kelly Clark (USA) will be looking to make Olympic history with a never-been-done-before Cab 1080. While progression is key, amplitude is still the great divider amongst the ladies, and judges will be looking for podium contenders to be boosting these five must-have tricks out of the 22-foot pipe (no matter what shape it’s in) in Sochi.
The breakdown: Three rotations, taking off forward and landing backward.
The backstory: Though the trick has been a staple in the men's runs since 2002, Kelly Clark was the first woman to land a 1080 in a contest at the X Games in 2011. Now a handful of women can land them.
See it in Sochi: Gold-medal favorite Clark of Team USA has one of these on lock and is looking to back it up with a Cab (switch frontside) 1080 in Sochi. Queralt Castellet (ESP) also has a frontside 1080 that we can count on seeing.
The breakdown: Two and a half rotations, taking off forward, spinning backside on the backside wall, and landing forward.
The backstory: Elena Hight was the first woman to incorporate a backside 900 into her run, in 2005. Since then, this technical spin has been getting a major head nod from judges and fans alike.
See it in Sochi: Two-time Olympic medalist Hannah Teter (USA) has a brand-new backside 900 that she'll be looking to link with her standard frontside 900. Technical master Kaitlyn Farrington (USA), along with Sophie Rodriguez (FRA) and a few other women, should be landing these on Wednesday.
The breakdown: Two and a half rotations, taking off forward, spinning frontside, and landing going forward.
The backstory: Anne Molin-Kongsgaard was the first woman to land a frontside 900, in the early 2000s, and since then it has become an upper-echelon must-have maneuver in women's pipe runs.
See it in Sochi: Any woman who plans to take home some Olympic bling better have this trick on lock, grabbed all the way around and with sizable amplitude. Arielle Gold (USA) has one of the best in the business.
Switch Backside 720
The breakdown: Two full rotations, taking off backward, spinning backside, and landing going forward.
The backstory: This is the most technical trick women are working into their runs these days. It was originally made popular by Torah Bright heading into the 2010 Olympics and helped her earn gold in Vancouver.
See it in Sochi: Kaitlyn Farrington has been dialing in a backside air-to-fakie to switch backside 720, hoping it will put her on the podium in Sochi. Bright still has the biggest and boldest switch backside 720 in women’s snowboarding.
The breakdown: Backside 180 rotation while doing a backflip on the frontside wall.
The backstory: This inverted backside alley-oop is a last-hit favorite from the likes of Torah Bright and Kaitlyn Farrington. Elena Hight, whom you unfortunately won't be seeing in Sochi, made history as the first woman to land a double alley-oop rodeo.
See it in Sochi: Triple threat Torah Bright has a super-clean alley-oop rodeo in her bottomless bag of tricks, and Kaitlyn Farrington will be looking to finish off her run with one of these.
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Torah Bright's road to Sochi rocky, but redemptive
Kelly Clark often mistaken for 'American Idol'
Shaun White misses podium in men's snowboard halfpipe final
Taylor Gold misses shot at men's halfpipe final
Iouri Podladtchikov stiff competition for Shaun White
USA's Devin Logan secures Sochi silver
Meet Japanese wunderkind Ayumu Hirano