Red Bull: Russ! 5th at X Games - you've got to be happy with that after the year you had last with your knee injuries?
Russ: Yeah! I am super stoked I achieved within the top five. I wasn't even sure If I would be ready to do the X Games and Dew Tour this year so to get in the top five feels amazing.
Red Bull: Maybe a little bitter sweet given you placed second last year...
Russ: As I said, I wasn't even expecting to be able to compete when I first found out I had torn my ACL! So even just to be in the event was amazing - getting 5th was the icing on the cake!
Red Bull: Mate, your upcoming schedule makes you look busier than Obama. Which location are you looking forward to more - Utah or France...
Russ: France for sure! Haha. Utah doesn't have too much snow at the moment so France should be amazing. Plus France, from what I have seen, has an amazing jump built for the Frosgun Big Air. Can't wait to hit it!
Red Bull: For all our Mormon readers, lets pretend it's Utah. Any planned stops at the local pioneering villages? Or re-enactments from King Pin?
Russ: Nope. I am skiing and then chilling in my hotel. My schedule is so busy that I need all the rest I can get!
Red Bull: So you're pretty much a baller by the looks of it. Aspen, France, Los Angeles, Mammoth and back to France again...
Russ: Yeah, it's a tough life. It does get tiresome though as I live out of a suitcase and I am constantly on the road. As I'm writting to you now, I am waiting to board a flight to Geneva. Busy, busy, busy...
Red Bull:We're feeling for ya.... Aside from the European X Games, what's the biggest event on your calendar the next couple of months and who is your biggest rival?
Russ: After Euro X Games I have three more competitions. I have JOI, Nine Knights and WSI. I'd say all three are going to be crazy. JOI and Nine Knights will be crazy as they are huge big air competitions. I have a feeling new tricks will go down... But I think the most important is WSI as it's the AFP (skiing world tour ranking system) world championships. I guess there are a lot of riders I have to watch out for, I can't really say one as there is a lot of time between now and then and you never know what or who is learning something new!
Red Bull: You got an arch nemesis on tour this year? C'mon, somebody... Every sports needs a villain
Russ: Not really, haha. Pretty much everyone I ski with in these competitions are my friends. We ski together in the build up to the comp, during the comp and then hang out when the event is done. Pretty cool crew!
Red Bull: Did you get a look a at Shaun White's perfect 100 in Aspen? Put into perspective just how crazy that was...
Russ: I unfortunately couldn't watch it live as I had to hit the road. But his run was crazy! He goes so big it's ridiculous. Such a boss!
Red Bull: Could you replicate that on skis? Easy right...
Russ: PFFFFFT! Not a chance. I can't ski halfpipe to save my life! I wish I could but it's way too scary. I put all my time and energy into slopestyle skiing.
Red Bull: How's the injury front? The knee still holding together?
Russ: Yeah, it's pretty good... I have been seeing physios while I have been traveling and apparently I have stretched my LCL and I might have bone bruising on my tibia. Other than that, it's fine.
Red Bull: How far away from being back to your best are you after being ruled out last year?
Russ: I feel like I am skiing pretty well considering the injury. I definitely am holding back more than I want to. I haven't been able to learn a few tricks that I need for competitions and I am always aware of how the jump is riding in the competition. If it's good, I'll compete, if it's not, I will pull out and watch as I would rather be in good health for the whole season than risk getting hurt again.
Red Bull: Any other news, brother? Invented any new moves/sports/foods/power sources?
Russ: I have a few tricks I want to learn before the season is out. Other than that I have been getting into playing guitar again. I actually started to travel with one, which is a pain in the butt because I have so much gear, but it's totally worth it!
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