Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is a big-mountain playground with few peers. The stats speak for themselves: a 4,139 vertical drop, 2,500 inbound acreage, and a 458” average snowfall put it at the pinnacle of North American resorts. Not only that, but the famed Aerial Tram carries 100 people to the top in only nine minutes, with stunning 360-degree views.
At its core, JHMR is all about the terrain. Set amongst the awe-inspiring Tetons, the resort offers lift access skiing to steeps and drops that challenge even the most seasoned athletes. Equally significant are the 3,000+ acres accessible through the backcountry gates, where riders can play mountain explorer across winter expanses.
Corbet’s Couloir is one of the mountain’s highlights, featuring a narrow swath surrounded by towering rocks. Requiring courage and skill, it’s a true test for the mountain athlete. That’s what makes it an ideal competition venue for the world’s top freeriders, who compete in The Kings and Queens of Corbet’s each year. But unfortunately, the competition’s canceled for 2024, and you probably know why. Here are the details.
In 1960, mountaineer Barry Corbet looked at a thin snow strip resembling an upside-down funnel near the top of Jackson Hole and said, “Someday, someone will ski that.” Not only did that happen, but “Corbet’s Couloir” became a centerpiece of the mountain’s challenging environment. With a near vertical initial drop, the couloir tests the mettle of all who edge up to the entry. For the world’s best skiers and snowboarders, The Kings and Queens of Corbet’s is a showcase for top-level freeride skills. Unfortunately, the competition’s canceled for 2024. Here’s why.
While even seasoned skiers and snowboarders take their time on Corbet’s, pro riders make the couloir their canvas, bringing creativity and flair to next-level terrain. That’s what makes Kings and Queens such an awe-inspiring event. Instead of a tentative drop, competitors hit a cheese wedge jump, throw a spin or flip, as if skydiving into the run-out. It’s that confident style that shows their true skill.
The competition draws the finest talent in the world, including Olympians, X-Games winners, and Freeride World Tour champions. Competitors and spectators line the entry and run-out, hooting and hollering with every limit-defying run. It’s freeride bliss.
But holding such a high-level competition requires ample snowpack to ensure the safety of participants. For 2024, it just isn’t there. Jackson Hole explained its logic for canceling the event:
We have received over six feet of snow in January and the resort is open wall to wall. Unfortunately, the recent storm also came with a north wind. Given the location of Corbet’s, a north wind scours the couloir even when arriving with snow. We inspected Corbet’s with a team of athletes, Park Crew, and Patrol to assess the conditions in the venue. After looking at snow depth, rock coverage, and viable features, all parties agreed that the venue presents serious safety concerns for the athletes. For the safety of the athletes and the integrity of the event, we have decided that we cannot responsibly host Kings & Queens of Corbet’s in 2024. While we would do anything in our power to make the event happen, the conditions and forecast have not aligned this year. The event has been postponed to 2025.
Have you ever missed out on something, only to appreciate it more when you finally experience it? Maybe you had to work on a powder day, but it snowed even more the next week. Maybe your friends took an epic snowcat trip, but when you joined the next year, scored all-time conditions. While losing King’s and Queen’s for 2024 is disappointing, the one-year lull could make 2025 even more exciting.
At the end of a concert, when the band disappears for a while, the crowd gets anxious and begs for an encore. Before long, there’s a crescendo of cheers, and the group appears for a few more songs. That brief absence creates a renewed energy.
The same principle could take effect in 2025 when Kings and Queens is set to return. Pro skiers and riders, forced to wait a year, could attack the course like never before, and the event could be better than ever.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort made the difficult decision to cancel Kings and Queens of Corbet’s for 2024. But it was the right call. Safety takes precedence over spectacle, ensuring athletes stay healthy throughout the season. For 2025, the competition could have a renewed energy, with eager competitors and an amped-up crowd. We can’t wait.
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