Tomorrow morning, 20 year old superstar Jamie Nicholls will be taking part in the Slopestyle Snowboarding finals after getting a stunning 86.75 in his second run in qualifying. It’s one of many new events that have sprung up in Sochi this year, and it’s one of the most varied and exciting events in snowsports.
So what is Slopestyle? Is it all about what jacket you’re wearing? In our guide we’ll run through what the event is, how it works, and why it’s so awesome.
Each competitor has 2 runs to get through the slopestyle course, which includes rails and jumps. They’ll be scored out of 100 by 6 judges. Points are given for the execution of tricks, technical difficulty, style, variety and the use of course features. Only the best run counts to the final score, so you can get away with a couple of mistakes or a crash on one run.
Typically, riders will grind on the top rails, and then on the jumps try out flips, grabs or spins – or a combo of these – to get as many points as possible.
The 635 metre long Sochi course – at the Rosa Khutor “Extreme Park” – starts off with a series of rails and then goes straight into some huge jumps.
It’s attracted controversy due to the speed, the height of the jumps and the space between the rails. Shaun White – possibly the most famous man in snowboarding – has withdrawn from the competition due to safety concerns. Norweigen medal prospect Torstein Horgmo crashed and broke his collarbone during training for the event, although the FIS (International Ski and Snowboard Federation) have blamed Horgmo for the crash. Even our medal hopes have raised concerns – Billy Morgan said that “it’s been a bit scary getting used to hitting the jumps” and Jenny Jones added that “people are a little bit concerned about the speed”.
Despite this, for those that stick it out it’s a great course. The three big jumps at the end allow some of the top boarders to bust out some huge moves, and we’re excited to see what the best can pull out of the bag in the final.
Team GB medal hopes
We’ve got 4 riders in the slopestyle boarding – Jamie Nicholls and Billy Morgan in the mens, and Jenny Jones and Aimee Fuller in the womens. Jamie is already in the final, but Billy, Jenny and Aimee will have to battle it through the semis to be in with the chance of glory on Sunday.
So tune in, enjoy – oh and watch the slopestyle skiing as well, James Woodzy Woods is a big medal hope for us.