Interlocked pretzels with a cinnamon glaze sold at McDonalds.
That’s what came to mind when I first heard the term “Double McTwist 1260.”
But then it was explained that a “Double McTwist 1260” is the newest aerial trick performed on a snowboard by Carlsbad’s Shaun White.
My blank stare probably revealed I still didn’t have a clue.
So I watched the Winter Olympic halfpipe competition on Wednesday night to see what all the hype was about. I’m glad I did.
Wow! What that young man can do on a snowboard is unreal. I’m not even going to attempt to describe White’s new signature trick, other than to say if you didn’t see his second run, find the video and watch in awe.
What’s even more amazing is that on that run, where he took the wraps off the DM1260, he didn’t have to spin, flip, and turn once to win the gold medal. White could have snowboarded in a straight line down the hill and still won due to having his first run’s score hold up through the competition’s second attempt.
White’s second run was a victory lap. It will become legendary in a sport that has deep roots at the nearby mountain resort where the talented redhead honed his skills at a young age.
According to Chris Riddle, director of marketing at Big Bear Mountain Resorts, Snow Summit is where White hung out when he was a kid.
“Because of the proximity to Carlsbad, his parents would bring him up all the time,” said Riddle. “The Whites were regulars here. We did an ad with Shaun a couple of years ago and we found his season passes. They dated back to when he was eight years old.”
When White first locked on to a snowboard, the U.S. Amateur Snowboard Association was in its infancy and Snow Summit was on the cutting edge of embracing snowboarding. White competed in halfpipe and gate races up in Big Bear at a time when the slopes were skier dominant.
But go to Big Bear now and you’ll seen Shawn White imitators all over the slopes. “In Southern California, we have the highest percentage of snowboarders in the country,” said Riddle. “At Bear Mountain we have 75 percent snowboarders and 25 percent skiers. Snowboarding fits our region’s culture with surfing and skating.”
White is a surfer and a skater, having won X-Games medals in vert.
All the more appropriate that he closed his gold medal run with the McTwist, a move with San Diego skateboarding origins invented by skate legend Mike McGill, who happens to own an Encinitas skate shop and spent time honing his craft in the 80s at the Del Mar Skate Ranch.
The move has since made its way into snowboarding ranks.
As for White’s advancement on the slopes and the halfpipe, Riddle said: “He has moved to such a different level.”
White has also moved to a different practice location. One of his sponsors built a private halfpipe run on Silverton Mountain in Colorado.
There will likely be a “bump” in the number of snowboarders due to the attention White has drawn in Vancouver. USA Swimming saw its membership spike by a record seven percent after Michael Phelps’ record-setting performance at the 2008 Summer Games.
As for the Double McTwist 1260, I’m of the opinion it’s going to be the cause of many broken bones as snowboarders try to emulate White’s achievement.
And if that name ever gets associated with a McDonald’s menu item, I’ll pass.
Vic Salazar is a veteran San Diego journalist and an SDNN sports columnist.