For the first time in history, the Slopestyle contest was included in the FIS Freestyle World Championships. Red Bull athlete Russ Henshaw found himself once again on the podium, continuing his success from his X Games silver medal last weekend.
Russ Henshaw looked a likely podium bet from the outset of competition, taking the qualification runs by storm. At the finals on Thursday, Russ seemed to only add weight to that argument, pulling out a bronze medal winning run.
Park City, Utah played host to the inaugural FIS World Championship Slopestyle competition, and the course makers had made sure the slopestyle run was up to the highest standard. With seven features in all, three rails, one creative obstacle and then a line of three jumps to finish things off, the athletes had plenty of opportunity to show off their skills. Russ Henshaw quickly let his intentions be known, taking the top spot in the qualifiers with a run that included both left and right double corks, and his own unique interpretation of the creative obstacle, where he performed a hand drag 360°.
On the day of the finals, the conditions were perfect, with clear blue skies and bone-numbing -10°C. It did not take the riders long to warm up, however, and Russ was looking good as the competition started. Russ laid down a clinical run, with technical tricks on the rails – a 270° onto the down rail, 270° on to 270° off on the pyramid rail and a 450° on the gap box, before doing his unique handplant 360° on the creative obstacle. But as always it was on the kicker section that he really impressed, spinning a right 900° on the first jump to left double 900° to left double 1080° double mute on the last two kickers. It was a close call, and the difference between the top three was marginal. In the end though the judges awarded Alex Schlopy with first place and Sammy Carlson the silver medal, with the Russ settling for the bronze.