Following the news that Torstein Horgmo has been injured in slopestyle practice, and will almost certainly miss the rest of the Olympics, a number of top snowboarders have voiced their desire to have changes made to the course.
Among those looking for alterations – to the kickers in particular – is flying Finn Roope Tonteri, who has said they are “not really safe”. According to the UK’s Jenny Jones, a lot of riders are now pulling together to ask for changes. Whatever is wrong has to be pretty fundamental, as she notes that “everyone’s in agreement with what needs to be tweaked.”
In one fell swoop, this raises a lot of the main talking points surrounding Olympic snowboarding. Firstly, there’s the venue. Apparently the warm weather in Sochi has prevented some of the heavy snow-shifting machinery from being used effectively. Then there’s the sheer size of the jumps; the IOC must be keen for an audience-friendly triple fest, as all the booters are built for insane amounts of airtime. Finally, there’s the possibility that FIS’ relative lack of experience with slopestyle courses might have played a part. Does this validate Terje Haakonsen’s thoughts about the governance of Olympic snowboarding?
We just hit up Billy Morgan to get his opinion, but he was adamant that everything is in great shape. All it needs is to be raked properly, otherwise “the course is sick”. Ed Leigh is optimistic also, highlighting the size of the jumps but affirming that “it’s going to be epic”. American Sage Kotsenburg took to Twitter after a few hits to give his perspective:
From the sounds of things, the folks at FIS are happy to work with the riders to fine tune things ahead of the first qualifying event on Thursday. Perhaps it’ll all blow over soon, especially if no more medal contenders come a cropper. Keep an eye on whitelines.com for all the news as practice continues.