Courtesy of Red Bull Newsroom
Snowmobile star Bodin reflects on double backflip and X Games win in Aspen.
Daniel Bodin is currently the talk of the extreme sport world after an extraordinary month culminating in a thrilling Winter X Games victory.
The Swede came into the showpiece event on a high after landing the elusive double backflip for the first time in snowmobile freestyle history late January back in his home town of Malung.
Not only that, he took on the world’s best in Aspen with a sore knee. The 32-year-old, though, is a fierce competitor and he duly scooped the Best Trick gold medal with a sublime seat-grabbing backflip.
It was his third Best Trick gold and fifth X Games medal overall, while his rivals Heath Frisby and Colten Moore both failed in their double backflip attempts.
He said afterwards, “I want to thank everyone. I don’t have any more words. Four years I had injury after injury, but never gave up. Hard work pays off.”
Bodin first came to the sport’s attention when he landed the world’s longest backflip of 147 feet nearly a decade ago. He has also managed to battle back from a horror crash that fractured five vertebrae to compete again.
What made you think the double backflip was actually achievable?
“It always was a trick too unrealistic to even consider, even after Travis Pastrana’s FMX double flip.
“But in 2009 Levi LaVallee did his attempt at the X Games. It looked completely dangerous and reckless to me then. But in 2012, Justin Hoyer made a new try that felt safer and more sensible. I guess the idea started to grow on me slowly from that day.
“When Red Bull gave me the opportunity to train for the double backflip with the help of an airbag, I started to understand that it could be done in a reasonably safe manner.
“Landing upside down in a foam pit from 45 feet is scary as hell and it can really hurt you. From the highest point in this trick, a foam pit or an airbag looks ridiculously small. You have a split second to make up your mind – continue the rotation or bail out.
“The airbag made it possible to train properly and do more attempts. Would it pop like a balloon during the attempt? It turned out that it didn’t.”
How did you go about designing the trick itself?
“I reached out to Travis and Josh Sheehan to pump them for information about their double and triple backflips – about what actually happens during the second and third rotation.
“Travis made clear that the most important thing is to believe in your heart that you can actually pull it off.
“The years on snowboards, trampoline training and jumping off bridges and cliffs into water just for fun have given me a good body control. It was natural to transfer these tricks to vehicles.
“Early on I felt that the ramp used at the X Games was too small and aggressive for a snowmobile. It was originally designed for motocross.
“I wanted a smoother, longer transition, giving me time to feel the lift-off. Some of the inspiration came from the set-up Josh used for his triple backflip, but translated into the world of snowmobiles and the physics I’m facing in my sport.”
What made you spend so many years on such a crazy trick?
“I honestly believed that if anybody should land the double backflip on a snowmobile, it should be me. Also, I’m a very bull-headed person. If I put my mind to something, there’s no going back. Failure hurts me more than physical pain after a crash.
“When I broke my finger during an early double backflip attempt at the end of the season, I nearly gave up. Rebooting the entire project nine months later just seemed so tough.
“Another time when some may have considered throwing in the towel were the attempts just a week before the successful one. We had the full team in place in Malung, including camera crew, photographers, family and friends.
“I crashed hard. Twice. I hurt my knee and realised that it was over. I had to send everybody home. Just a few days later I woke up and had the feeling that the timing was right. Everything was right. Looking back it was!
“On the Monday leading up to X Games there were no more question marks. I had done everything I could possibly do to give myself the best shot at this trick. It was more like a sixth sense telling me that we had the exact right set-up.”
What went through your head when you landed it?
“That was two years of work finished in four seconds. Imagine the feeling. Who wouldn’t be extremely happy? Like a personal moon landing.
“I don’t know how else to describe it. I also got that intense adrenaline rush, like the syringe in the chest in the movie Pulp Fiction. Boom!
“I’ve had that adrenaline shock before when I landed my 147-feet backflip in Alaska. But back then I had no hard work or preparations before, I just decided to pull the trick.”
So what’s the next trick? A triple backflip?
“I can’t tell right now. I really have to go back to the drawing board again. Start thinking of something new and exciting.
“I know there are tricks people would like to see transferred from FMX into snowmobile, like an underflip. Tricks that we today consider unlikely to happen. But this is how we felt about the double backflip before, so I must say that nothing is impossible!”
Check out Bodin’s behind the scenes story on Redbull.com HERE.