Kiwi Jossi Wells defends slopestyle course

19:26, Feb 06 2014
Jossi Wells
NO WORRIES: NZ medal hope Jossi Wells.

Kiwi Winter Olympics medal hope Jossi Wells has brushed off talk about the Sochi slopestyle course being too dangerous for athletes, instead saying it will "sort the men from the boys" during competition.

Wells will compete with younger brother Beau-James in the men's freeski slopestyle event next Thursday at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

Several athletes in both freeski and snowboard slopestyle have criticised the safety of the course for competition during practice this week.

Australian medal prospect Torah Bright has expressed concern, while American snowboarding star Shaun White pulled out of the slopestyle event after jamming his wrist during practice.

Wells, who won the last FIS World Cup event in freeski slopestyle in Switzerland before the Olympics, remained philosophical about the course - describing its difficulty as a good thing.

"For the first day, a lot of people were complaining about jumps and needing to change some stuff," the 23-year-old Wanaka skier said.

"They've made some minor tweaks, nothing crazy. But each day, the course is riding better. It just gets worn in, and people are figuring it out. The course is not an easy course, but this is the Olympics - and they bought the biggest course we've been riding so far.

"In saying that it is a dangerous course, you go to the X Games and it's not a safe course either - [this is] freeskiing. It's going to be dangerous.

"It's going to be the sort of course to test the riders and sort the men from the boys, which is kind of what you want at an Olympic Games."

Freeski slopestyle - along with the sport's halfpipe discipline - is featured in the Winter Olympics programme for the first time in Sochi.

Wells, and his younger brother Beau-James, have spent two days practising on the course so far, with the freeskiing prodigy hinting he has some special moves up his sleeve for competition next week.

"We've got three days of practice before we compete, so we'll try the runs together in the next few days - it's 'go time,' he said.

"The speed has been pretty consistent - it hasn't changed very much.

"As far as the rails go, I'm trying to think of something that the rest of the crew is not going to be doing. to stand out a little bit.

"I've been playing around there a little. I don't want to unveil everything at practice so everyone will see and copy it."


Fairfax Media