Ski Slopestyle course gets the thumbs up

FREESTYLE - SKI SLOPESTYLE: Australian skiers Anna Segal and Russ Henshaw are relishing the thought of chasing historic Olympic medals on one of the most challenging Slopestyle courses they have ever seen. And this is despite both going into the Games under diminishing injury clouds.

Slopestle specialist Henshaw is rated as a serious medal chance.

Segal, the 27-year-old 2011 World Champion, inspected the Sochi course - Extreme Park at Rosa Khutor - for the first time on Sunday and was immediately struck by the size of the jumps and the complexity of the course design.

However, the course, which some observers say has the potential of affecting the confidence of many of Segal's rivals, has left the Australian unfazed.

Segal, who has been focusing on her training sessions, said that the challenging nature of the course will in fact work in her favour.

"I think this is an advantage because I've had a lot of experience on big jumps and big courses," Segal said at a media conference this afternoon.

"It's always daunting to see a new course that is that big but luckily we have five (training) days on the course.

"The first few runs are a bit scary but once you get the speed down, the course just feels natural."

While the degree of difficulty left an impression on Segal, she was also complimentary on the build standard of the course.

"It seems like all the features are well built," she said. "The jumps are huge, bigger than any FIS (the International Ski Federation) course."

Before Segal is cleared to compete in the Slopestyle qualification session and final on February 11, she needs to undergo a medical assessment to answer any doubts about an injury which has significantly restricted her preparations for Sochi.

Henshaw, well known in the Snowy Mountains and who had a heavy crash in training at the X Games last month, shares Segal's assessment of the course and is also unperturbed by its complexities.

"I wouldn't say I'm scared," Henshaw, who won bronze at three World Cups in 2013, told a media conference.

"This course is massive but sometimes big courses are safer because you have more chance to sort yourself out if you mess up a trick.

"From what I have seen, it looks like it is built really well. It should be fun."

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