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Healthy Henshaw feeling confident on the slopes

Published 10 August 2017 (AEDT)

Russell Henshaw of Australia competes in the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup Slopestyle Qualification during the Winter Games NZ at Cardrona Alpine Resort on August 27, 2015 in Wanaka, New Zealand. (Photo by Camilla Rutherford/Getty Images) © Camilla Rutherford/Getty Images

SKI SLOPESTYLE: Decorated slopestyle skier Russ Henshaw is leading a winter sport that has become very attractive to young Aussies.

Heading towards his second Olympic Winter Games, Henshaw understands the lure of slopestyle, whether it be on skis or snowboard.

“You can do stuff with your friends. They see what you’re trying and they want to have a crack at the trick too,” Henshaw explains.

As a natural buddy to skateboarding, Australian snow resorts have cottoned on and many offer ‘terrain parks’ equipped with a mixture of jumps and rail features that test the skill of those daring enough to have a go.

Better still, Slopestyle is doubly attractive because it’s a sport with no rules. It’s a matter of competitors putting down a clean run from start to finish with the highest level of tricks they can muster.

27-year-old Henshaw began his skiing career as an Alpine skier winning the Under-12 slalom title before trying out the free-skiing terrain in Thredbo. By fifteen he had joined the European circuit and hasn’t looked back since.

His career has included a World Championship silver and bronze, an X Games podium and four World Cup medals but it is a second Olympics that is a driving goal.

Slopestyle debuted as an Olympic sport in 2014 at Sochi where Russ Henshaw placed 8th, nursing a torn ACL.

During the 2016/17 season he took the bronze medal at the Seiser Alm Italian World Cup and finished 8th in the World Championships.

“My main goal is to stay healthy. Last season I came home achieving what I wanted to achieve – and that was to be injury free.”

After a sluggish start to the Australian snow season, Henshaw is relishing the current conditions on the NSW snow fields from his home base in Jindabyne, getting in as much training as he possibly can ahead of the first World Cup in New Zealand in early September.

“POW days are the best days,” he commented on Instagram last week.

“When it’s good weather, I will be up early for coffee and breakfast before the first lift and train until 1pm. Then it’s the gym, recovery and start it all again,” Henshaw said of his current daily routine.

After the World Cup in New Zealand Henshaw will compete in two more World Cups during the coming season to qualify inside the top thirty for PyeongChang next February.

“I’m feeling pretty confident (of qualiyfing). My absolute main goal is to stay healthy,” he reiterated. “I will be doing everything in my power to go into PyeongChang healthy and ready to go.”

Henshaw will head to his Switzerland training base in October before contesting two more World Cups in North America later in the year.

Belinda Noonan

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