There have been mixed opinions voiced from riders on the state of the Sochi 2014 slopestyle course since practice began on Monday.
Following a nasty slam by Torstein Horgmo, which saw him break his collar bone on the first rail feature, many riders called for changes to the course – a common feedback process before any slopestyle competition.
In particular, riders have mentioned that the rail features were a little too close together and that the kickers themselves were too big. (Better too big than minuscule right?)
British slopestyle veteran and X Games medal winner Jenny Jones commented:
“I think the take-off isn’t ideal from the jump, so that needs adjusting. We have voiced our opinions and everyone’s in agreement with what needs to be tweaked.”
Chas Guldemond also described the jumps on the course as being similar to “dropping out of the sky.”
The last jump I did has a lot of impact in it and the take-off is really long. Some of the guys and girls are intimidated
Following that initial feedback, course officials reduced the combined height of the three jumps by around six feet (1.82m).
But despite the tweaks, a few riders, including Shaun White, think that even more changes are needed: “There is a bit of danger any time you step out. This one may have a bit more than the others. It has been a challenge. The consensus so far from everyone is that there are changes that need to be made.”
Shaun took a tumble during yesterday’s practice, hurting his left wrist:
It puts a damper on the whole mood, and it’s kind of like you’re getting ready to do a big trick and you see something like that. Intimidating. Unfortunate. I’m hoping the builders can make some changes and the course has a little more of a friendly vibe. But I can’t change the course. Just doing the best I can
Shortly after White’s crash, Finnish ripper Marika Enne hit her head and was taken off course with a concussion. In addition, some of the other female riders, who are keen to hit the big jumps along with the guys, also think that the jumps are on the large side, with slopestyle boss and favourite Jamie Anderson even describing the course as “a little intense”.
On the flipside, a whole bunch of riders are supposedly loving the course after the initial niggles were ironed out. Mark McMorris doesn’t think the course is dangerous and Max Parrot, who took gold in the recent X games slopestyle event also seemed to be loving it:
Today it was perfect. There is nothing to complain about. I don’t think it can get much better.
Sage Kotsenburg re-confirmed that he is indeed the man, with his tweets telling folk to RELAX:
He went on to compare ‘dangerous’ slopestyle courses to lollipops and unicorns (as you do):
In short, the Sochi slopestyle course is pretty damn gnarly. Some are down with it, others are intimidated but all will be doing their best to handle it in tomorrow’s qualification stages. It’s gonna get interesting that’s for sure.