Aussie Russ Henshaw wins London Freeze big air

Posted By: The Ski Channel on November 2, 2009 9:18 am

When half the run in for the London Freeze big air jump was washed away by heavy rains, competitors weren’t even sure the contest would go on as planned. However, after some amazing grooming work by event organizers, the contest went down after all, albeit hours later then scheduled.

This particular jump was unusual for a big air, as it was a hybrid between snow and Snowflex, which proved to be an added challenge for the riders. While the landing of the jump was crafted entirely out of snow, the drop-in portion of the jump was part Snowflex and part real snow, adding to the difficulty of gaging the proper speed.

For the average skier this could have ruined their podium chances, but we’re dealing with consummate professionals here, and throw down is what they did.

After UK skiing hopeful James Woods was voted by his peers to test the jump setup, he launched a massive 360 truck-driver grab more then halfway down the landing to the roaring cheers of the crowd. With that, the skepticism over generating enough speed from the setup began to fade.

In the end, it would again become a contest over who could complete the best looking double cork 1080 or 1260.

The finals were a dog fight between Aussie Russ Hehshaw, USA teen heartthrob Bobby Brown, and Norway’s Andreas Hatveit. All were tossing double corks with a flurry of different grabs. The difference maker would ultimately be Russ Henshaw’s ability to include a two-handed mute grab all the way through his 1260 rotation.

A few weeks ago at Zurich a double cork 1260 with no grab would put you on the podium. That same maneuver  done in London would have knocked you out after the first round. The dizzying rate of progression happening before our eyes each week is nothing short of remarkable.

Personally I just can’t wait to see what happens when the competition season resumes on snow in a few months.

Contest Notes:

Special shout-outs must go out to Corey Vanular for his triumphant return to the contest scene. Vanular was arguably at the top of the competition scene until he suffered a barrage of major knee injuries the last three years. Vanular has finally recovered, and proceeded to not only earn 6th place in the big air this weekend with an amazing nose butter 900 blunt grab, but also won the London Freeze rail jam.

Also want to wish a speedy recovery for Frenchman Richard Permin who injured his ribs/mid-section after a nasty crash on a double cork 1260, and was ambulanced to the hospital.

Results from the contest:

1. Russ Henshaw, 99
2. Bobby Brown, 98
3. Andreas Håtveit, 96
4. Benedict Mayr, 94
5. Jacob Wester, 94
6. Corey Vanular, 90
7. Roy Kittler, 89
8. Elias Ambuhl, 92

9. Fridtjof Fredricsson, 85
10. Phil Casabon, 84
11. Matt Walker, 83
11. Paddy Graham, 83
13. Tom Wallisch, 82
13. Alexis Godbout, 82
15. TJ Schiller, 81
16. Oscar Harlaut, 80
16. Colby West, 80
18. Oscar Scherlin, 79
19. James Woods, 78
19. Gus Kenworthy, 78
21. Steffan Karpiel, 77
22. Shinji Osada, 75
23. PC Fosse, 70
24. Justin Dorey, 64
25. John Spriggs, 63
26. Fabio Studer, 61
27. Matti Raty, 60
28. Andri Ambuhl, 55
29. Mike Hauser, 51
30. Matt Margetts, 25
31. Mike Riddle, 20
32. Pekka Hyysalo, 15
33. Richard Permin, 10