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Sorry for taking so long to get a post back up on here. I have been having problems with my computer charger and haven’t been able to charge and use my computer. It’s all sorted now so expect it to be back up and running like normal!

Anyway, the trip home was one of the longer trips I have done in recent memory. After JOI we had an extra day in Are before flying down to Stockholm. Then we had a night there before flying to L.A, where we had another night and then flew from there back to Australia.

It feels amazing to finally be home. I think I was away for close to 6 months so getting back home and walking through the from door was one of the best feelings ever!

The northern hemisphere season this year was definitely a weird one, with bad snow conditions and bad weather making it a very challenging one, but it was definitely a lot of fun. I got to see so many rad places and had so much fun skiing with all my mates! Thanks to everyone for making this such a fun season!

My season isn’t quite over yet. I  am heading to Melbourne early next week for a week and then back to Jindabyne for 2 weeks and then I have to decide if I fly back to Europe for some more skiing. The Legs of Steel are having a park shoot in Austria at the end of may and I have to decided if it is something I want to do. I would have to fly over for another 2 weeks! I guess over the next few weeks I’ll have to make the decision on whether I go over or not. I let you guys know what I decide to do!

Over and out,

//Russ

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JOI finals

Well the weather gods didn’t seem to want to help us out at all yesterday. It definitely wasn’t as windy as the day before but the wind was still there and it was gusty rather than consistent. When we got to the venue we were all pretty excited to hit the big kicker finally but we soon found out it was a little sketchy with the wind.

I hit the big jump about 3 times and every time I would go to a different point of the landing because of the changing winds we were having. About half way through training a riders meeting was held to figure out what we were going to do. A few people felt fine hitting the big kicker but the majority felt it was too dangerous. I felt it was too dangerous and voted to have the competition on the smaller kicker. Not only did I not want to get hurt at the last event of the season, I didn’t want to see any of my friends send it and get hurt either. The decision was made and the event was run on the smaller kicker.

It definitely sucks that we couldn’t run the event on the iconic JOI kicker but at the end of the day I think it was the right decision. The event was the same format as qualifiers, with 1 tech, 1 single cork and then two more runs to try and better your scores.

I screwed up my first run, I took off a little early and completely missed my grab on a switch 10 mute. 2nd run I did a nose butter dub 12 and let go of my grab a little earlier than I would have liked. So basically I had to land my last two tricks.

On my 3rd jump I decided to go for the single cork, a switch 10 mute. I mentioned yesterday I planned on doing a switch 14, but during training for the event yesterday I ripped my ski off mid air again and it absolutely scared the crap out of me. You might be wondering why I didn’t turn my din setting up on my binding. Well, it was a fine line between ripping it off and having your din setting to high for the amount of slush that was on the landing. I was worried that if I crashed my ski wouldn’t release and that is never good news. Any way I ended up handing my 3rd run and I was given a 73. Not the highest but I knew the judges were looking for the switch 14!

On the 4th run I went for another tech trick and did the nose butter dub 12 again, this time with a safety to japan grab. I landed it and rode away stoked. I guess the judges really like the trick because I was given a 90.2, which I believe was 1 of 3 scores in the 90′s during the night.

Joss and I were stoked on how fun the competition was. Photo: www.joinvitational.com

Yours truly mid nose butter dub 12

This is right after I landed the nose butter 12. Obviously I was stoked haha

Overall I am super stoked on how the event went. I wish I could have done the switch 1440 but I am glad I am healthy and feeling good! Last night marked the last event for me this season and the start of a few really long days of travel to get home.

Time to get some sleep as the travel starts tomorrow!

//Russ

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JOI QUALI

Well yesterday we made the best we could out of a bad situation. We geared up and made our way over to the jump not sure as to what was going to happen as the wind had been howling all day. We got to the jump and not much had changed, it was super windy and definitely too dangerous to hit the big jump. Jon had checked the forecast the day before and decided to reshape the cannon rail which was next to the kicker, into a smaller step over jump.

So we ran the competition on the smaller jump and it ended up working out pretty well. The jump itself was definitely not huge and kind of tricky to get used to. The format for the competition was 4 jumps, one had to be a single cork, one could be whatever you wanted to do and the other two jumps you could use to better the scores of which ever trick you pleased.

My two tricks were a dub 12 lead tail and a switch 10 mute. It put me in 14th position and qualified me through to today. On my last run of the evening I went for a switch 14 mute and pulled my ski off when I tweaked the grab. It was super scary and I am glad I made it out un hurt. Hopefully I can put that one down tonight!

The finals are kicking off soon and as off right now the wind is pretty minimal so maybe we will get to hit the big jump. Which is making me some what nervous because I haven’t hit it yet. Hopefully I can figure something out to do.

Mid dub 12 lead tail during the event. As you can see the step up is a LOT smaller than the actual jump. Photo: Tommy Pyatt

Cork 9 tail during training. Photo: Laura Mechielsen

Time to get ready,

//Russ

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Sweden

So after a delayed flights, missed flights, lost baggage, and the worst seats imaginable, Laura and I have made it to Sweden. We got the chance to have a quick peek at the jump before checking into our hotel and let me tell you, this thing is an absolute beast. Really looking forward hitting it tonight during training.

After dropping our bags in our room and then getting some food with Bobby, Laura and I passed out in bed due to exhaustion. Its 5pm here now and we just woke up. I’m going to go and grab a Redbull and wake up a little before training.

Over and out,

//Russ

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WSI finals

So this is probably going to be a pretty long post, so if you want to read you can, if not here are the points I am covering:

- Slope finals recap

- Big air recap

-  Judging

- AFP world tour finals Repeat ( not just yesterdays slope finals )

Slope Finals

Yesterday was the AFP world tour finals for Slopestyle and Big air (All though there is one more Big air on the Calendar for this season which is the Jon Olsson Invitational) and it turned out to be pretty decent weather. Definitely not as bad as the day before but still challenging with the gusty winds we were having.

The event ran really smoothly with the event organisers being really proactive with sending slippers through the course to clear snow, the shapers working on the take off and also adding dye to the take off’s and landings for us when needed. So thank you!

I had the curse of dropping first which is never a good thing. On my first run I landed my run from top to bottom and I feel like it was pretty smooth. The only thing I could criticise was the fact that I didn’t go huge on the first jump, but it saying that it wasn’t a knuckle and I rode out clean. My run consisted of a right 270 on the down rail, a right side dub 12 mute, switch 270 back 450 on the high rail, a switch dub 9 safety, and a dub 10 lead tail. I span both ways on the rails and the jumps and each one of my grabs on the jumps were different as well. I got to the top and looked at the score and I had an 80. I figured this would be the case as I was the first to drop and this always happens to the first few people to drop in.

On my 2nd run I did the same run except on the last jump I went to 12 instead of just 10. Everything about this run felt smoother and cleaner and i went massive on the bottom two jumps. I was on the way back up to the start with the biggest smile on my face knowing I had done my job and improved on my first run. I was stoked. But then the scores came in and I improved by only the slightest. I was given an 80.42. I honestly can’t understand why it only improved by this much. But at the end of the day it is a judged sport and its out of my control. I landed my run and I have to be stoked on my performance.

It wasn’t only myself who felt like the scores were a little weird. A few other athletes were also having trouble trying to understand why they got the scores they did. I won’t say who or why, but it was definitely a little confusing in the start gate yesterday.

Photo: Newschoolers.com

Big Air

If we thought slope style was confusing with judging, the big air was even more confusing and I don’t think any one understood. Unfortunately the weather was kind of in and out during big air which kind of sucked but it didn’t stop any one throwing down.

My two tricks in big are were a nose butter dub 12 and dub 12 tail. I’m not to fused about big air because I haven’t done many this season (1 to be exact) but when you get scored weird you just get a little frustrated. My first fun I did the nose butter dub 12 and got a 79.33. I held my grab, landed sweet spot and rode out fine. Definitely not a bad score but people were getting high scored with double 9′s and switch dub 9′s. Kind of confusing when the risk factor of a nose butter is significantly higher than a lot of the other tricks done yesterday.

On my 2nd run I did a dub 12 lead tail. I had just watched Elias do the same trick and he scored an 81.33 for his efforts and I figured it I could land I’d be in the same ball park. Well I landed, held the grab and went the biggest I had all day and for some reason I was given a 59. Everyone at the top was confused by this, including myself. But wait for it, thats not the most confusing part of it. I did a another dub 12 on my last run in the event and I completely missed my grab, I didn’t even come close to grabbing and surprise surprise I was given a score of 63. I’d love to know how an un grabbed dub 12 scores better than one with a grab? Maybe not grabbing is the way to go?

Photo: Freeskier.com

Judging

All in all I thing the judging was a little sloppy yesterday. I have no explanation as to why big air was sloppy but as the judges were right there and should have been able to see everything. But I do have a point to raise about slope style.

This is a platinum event and we have a split panel of judging, I’m not sure how many judges were here but if there was 6, there were 3 in a tower in the first jump and 3 in a tower on the last jump. The first lot of judges score the top half of the course and the 2nd half judges the bottom and the scores are combined.

Now, split judging can work, but its not even close to being Ideal especially at a platinum event. If it is a platinum event, it should be a requirement to be judging off of a live feed and to be sat together rather than being split like that. I’ve done gold events this season where the judges had a live stream to judge off.

The reason I think this needs to happen is because a huge part of slope style is overall impression and I feel like its lost when the judging is split because the top half of the judges can’t see the bottom and the bottom half can’t see the top. Granted they talk to each other and relay information but it is still not the same as having all the judges together in one booth judging.

Another thing that has been bugging me is the lack in consistency from judging. I’m not saying these judges aren’t qualified at all. It just bugs me that the judges after one event will tell you one thing that you either didn’t have in your run that they were looking for, or something you need in your run in order to do well, then you show up to the next event, take what the judges at the previous event have told you, you put it into your run and then it turns out it didn’t matter at this event because these judges are looking for something else. How are we, as athletes, meant to know what to do if we are told different things after each event??

AFP world tour finals Repeat

Now this is a pretty big deal. The Afp world tour implemented a 52 week rolling calendar into its system to accurately represent he best in the field at any given time. Basically the season never really ends and each week the scores are up dated and show who is currently leading.  This is a great idea until you run into the problem we are running into right now.

The afp world tour finals last year fell 1 week later than what they did this year, which means last year’s results from the same event are technically going to count towards your ranking for this season as the AFP awards night is tonight and they will be crowning winners for this season.

If the event is taken out it changes the results but if it is kept in it keeps the results the same as they currently are on the website. But my argument is, regardless if it effects athletes or not, the credibility of the tour is lost if you have two of the same event counting towards the overall title for this year. It seems silly to me to have two World Tour Finals events being in the same calander year as it is meant to the the final event for this season.

We did have a huge afp meeting last night and for the most part I sat back and listened as a lot of the points were things we had already discussed in previous meetings. But this topic came up and there was an over whelming majority who didn’t want to have last year’s AFP world tour finals counting towards this years results. The AFP said they are going to reach out to the athletes that were not at the meeting to find out there perspective of it before they make any decision on what to do. But to me its pretty clear cut, even if the rankings weren’t to change, there just can’t be two of the same events in one season. It sounds ridiculous does it not? I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens. I’m guessing we will find out soon where they are going with it!

Conclusion

All in all this event was a lot of fun. I had a good time riding with all my friends and I managed to put a run together in slope style which I feel is one of the better runs I have done this season (even if the results don’t show that haha) and I made out alive! Congrats to everyone who got on the podium, you guys still absolutely killed it and laid down amazing runs in slope and crazy tricks in big air.

Yesterday marked my last slope event for the northern hemisphere. I have one event left, the JOI big air and then I am done competing for the season. I am looking forward to doing a bit more filming before the season is done and then its time for the Australian season! Can’t wait!

Over and out from an overcast, snowy and cold whistler,

//Russ

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