On Oct. 8, Iouri Podladtchikov landed the first switch double McTwist while doing offseason halfpipe training in New Zealand. To date, Podladtchikov and Shaun White are the only two snowboarders to have successfully landed a regular double McTwist in a halfpipe. Now I-Pod is the only one in the world to have landed one dropping in, and landing the trick, backward.
"For every snowboarder, just a regular backside spin is hard because it's off your heels," Podladtchikov said. "Picture standing on the street and trying to jump off of your heels instead of your toes -- that's what's happening in the pipe. It's the most unnatural way to spin, especially when you are spinning cork, going upside down and blind off your heels. That's why it's so popular, because it's brutal -- it's exactly what you don't want to do in the pipe. But when everything works out, it's awesome.
"So to do it switch, you are jumping from your heels, going in blind, and on top of that, it's all the wrong way. Not a lot of people do, or will ever do, switch backside tricks in the pipe because it's so hard. It took me so many switch runs to be able to even try it."
When White unveiled the double cork two years ago, it changed the face of halfpipe competition forever. When he pulled a double McTwist out of his bag of tricks during his victory lap at the Olympics, it made many wonder how on earth any other halfpipe rider would ever be able to beat him.
Then Podladtchikov pulled one out at Winter X Europe 2010 on his way to winning his first Winter X gold in Superpipe with the highest pipe score in Winter X history. His run was solid and led many to speculate whether it could have beaten White's, had White decided to show up to WXE. Unfortunately, I-Pod hurt his shoulder and couldn't compete at Winter X 2011. White didn't show up again to WXE 2011, so the showdown is set for this upcoming Winter X Games.
"I noticed Iouri doing switch doubles on the bag jump," said Ryan Gardiner, one of the filmers behind the video above. "He was riding a lot of runs switch. His coach, Marco Bruni, quietly told a few of us the day before that he wanted to try it. I was concentrating on filming Torah [Bright], while keeping one eye on Iouri. When Marco gave me the nod, I had to quickly reposition myself. There was no 'I'm dropping' callout. He did it when he was ready, and landed it on his first and only attempt."
"My biggest goal now is to get the most confidence I can get to have it in my run for the X Games," Podladtchikov said. "It's hard to get a switch backside trick into the middle of the run, though, because there aren't a lot of pump tricks you can do into a switch trick. You need a lot of speed to get into the double McTwist. That's why [White and I] don't do a big trick before it in our runs. But one of my even greater goals is to link the two McTwists together. I have to train for that, though. Right now it's all just going on in my head."
Looks to us like there is a legitimate contender for WX Superpipe gold this year.