French halfpipe skiing legend Kevin Rolland has been seriously injured while attempting to break the world record for a quarterpipe air.
French media have reported that Rolland was hospitalized in Grenoble, France after a crash on Tuesday, April 30. According to Le Dauphine, Rolland suffered several fractures including a fractured pelvis. Although his injuries were first reported as “serious” and “grave,” updates from his medical team indicate that Rolland’s condition is now stable.
Rolland was attempting to break the world record for highest air out of a quarterpipe, set by Simon Dumont at 10.8 meters in 2008. This record has already been in the news lately, after David Wise achieved the height of 11.7 meters last week at the Audi Nines in Sölden, Austria on a quarterpipe to banked landing — a modified version of this feature style that’s safer than regular quarterpipes.
As skiers debated the differences between Dumont and Wise’s features, a consensus emerged that Wise had not, in fact, broken Dumont’s record, but rather set a new one for a different kind of feature. The quarterpipe to banked landing that Wise used is built specifically to be safer than a regular quarterpipe, making it technically “easier” to hurl yourself over 10 meters into the air and, most importantly, land again in one piece.
This left the stage open for Rolland, who’d been secretly planning his own world-record attempt at his home resort of La Plagne. Unlike Wise, Rolland was reportedly using a “true” quarterpipe—without a banked, extended landing—for his record attempt.
If anything, the events of the past few weeks have proven how difficult and dangerous Dumont’s “true” quarterpipe record is to break. Even Wise wasn’t immune: a few days after setting his own “to banked landing” record, he broke his femur while trying—apparently on a whim—to land back into the quarterpipe transition. Wise and now Rolland—two high-profile quarterpipe incidents within a week of each other.
Please join us in sending some healing vibes in Kevin’s direction.