Three words summed up Russ Henshaw’s day today.
“So, so stoked” said Australian Henshaw who qualified first in the first FIS Freestyle World Championship slopestyle event in Deer Valley and Park City, Utah this week.
There’s big hopes for Slopestyle as the FIS officially recognises the sport, surely the Winter Olympics will be next? Dare we even hope for an Olympic medal for Russ who is currently ruling the sport?
Aussies are obsessed by sports, so long as we’re winning, and while Alpine Racing receives little media attention, an uber sexy sport like slopestyle may just get Russ his first front page.
Australia’s queen of slopestyle, Anna Segal gave Miss SIA her pre competition game plan yesterday, today she qualified eighth making her first FIS slopestyle final tomorrow.
“I’m stoked that I made it to finals but I definitely want to improve on my 8th position” said Anna after the qualifying event. “This morning was the earliest I’ve ever been on the hill for a slope-style comp. We were on the lift at 7.30 in -20f temperatures! This afternoon I went and skied in the public park to work on a few tricks. I’ll be changing my run up a little for tomorrow.”
“I’m planning on going into the race with confidence, and skiing my best. I’m going to attack the course, and leave nothing behind” says a psyched Katya Crema. “The girls I’m watching out for include Fanny Smith from Switzerland, Heidi Zacher from Germany, and Ana Holmand of Sweden. These girls have skied consistently fast all season.
The past two days training on the course have been extremely cold (-28C today). The track is a lot of fun though, and I’m looking forward to racing head to head on it!”
While Russ is tipped as the big hope for gold for Australia. Katya hasn’t ruled out some others. “The Aussies have a really strong team across all disciples this year” said Crema. ” Another big contender in the aerials in Dave Morris.”
Assistant aerials coach and former world champion, World Cup and Olympic aerialist Liz Gardner is on the ground training the aerials team and backs up Crema’s tip.
“Dave after a few weeks away on the World Cup circuit is back on as close as it gets to home turf for him and is looking to compete his two hardest jumps, that put him in with a chance to contend for the top positions” said Gardner. “He will of course have to fight against the experience of Warren Shouldice from Canada, the perfectionist of our sport Anton Kushnir from Belarus and the Swiss and Chinese teams.
The Australian aerial skiing team is very much in a building faze and although our team is quite inexperienced we still have two very competitive athletes who have a great chance” continued Gardiner.
“Laura Peel has a chance to make her first ever World Championships final, but the battle for the podium will most likely be between the Chinese, Alla Tsuper from Belarus and the US women.”
Australia may be swealtering in record heat waves in Sydney and Melbourne and bowing to floods and cyclones in Queensland but we haven’t forgotten our comrades north of the equator doing their best for us in the cold.
Here’s raising an umbrella laden coconut cocktail to you!