Jake Hopfinger skiing Big Sky backcountry last March. PHOTO COURTESY OF JAKE HOPFINGER

Moonlight skiers place at Kings & Queens

Jake Hopfinger and Parkin Costain come in third and fourth

Jackson Hole wrapped up its fourth Kings & Queens of Corbet athlete-judged competition on Feb. 18.

Twenty-six snow athletes from around the world came to ride down Corbet’s Couloir and helped create the course. Skiers and snowboarders built jumps at the lip of the couloir and gave advice on what obstacles to place further down the stretch.

Jake Hopfinger, Moonlight skier and Bozeman resident, likes to set a jump eight feet or so back from the edge with a lip at the end. This method gets athletes higher into the air after takeoff and lets them land further up the couloir.

Last year, his first year competing, Hopfinger placed fifth overall at Kings & Queens. “I did a double backflip in, kind of a similar run to this year,” he said.

This year, he placed third out of the 26 entrants.

“This year I did a double flat spin into it. It’s kind of like a little variation of a double backflip. I just tried to change it up a little bit this year,” he said casually.

Hopfinger grew up in western New York and moved to Bozeman to attend Montana State University. He has been skiing in the Big Sky area for five years.

“Moonlight’s awesome,” Hopfinger said. “We go up there and rip around. I really like that side of the hill. It’s really fun—we shoot photos and just get to ski around and have a blast over there.”

Parkin Costain is born and raised in Montana and spends a lot of his time skiing Moonlight as well. His accolades include Teton Gravity Research (TGR) Grom competition winner in 2017, Quiksilver Young Guns Ski winner in 2017 and a feature in TGR’s film Far Out.

Costain placed fourth at this year’s Kings & Queens event.

Hopfinger’s GIS degree, and overall engagement in the mountains during the winter, keeps him avalanche-aware. He spoke about the quantity of avalanches in the west this season and gave his two cents on what part of the problem may be.

“The sun ruined it,” he said. “It was kind of cold and it just pulled all the moisture and just turned it to facets and granular snow, and it’s not looking good.” Now, extra snow just sits on a rotten snowpack.

Hopfinger has backed off the backcountry a little this year to play it safe.

“It’s kind of scary because you’re most likely not going to trigger anything because it’s so deep, but when you do, it’s like really bad news,” he said.



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