Woods and Summerhayes love 'big challenge' slopestyle course

03 February 2014 / 14:14

British Olympic freestyle skiing medal hopes James Woods and Katie Summerhayes have given their seal of approval to the slopestyle course in Sochi.

Slopestyle, in which competitors perform a series of judged tricks down a course pitted with a range of obstacles, is set to make an eye-catching Olympic debut this week.

Woods won last year's overall World Cup title and claimed World Championship silver while close friend Summerhayes finished fourth at the worlds and recently secured her second career World Cup podium.

Some snowboarders, including Great Britain's Jenny Jones and Billy Morgan, have asked for changes to be made to the course after a first practice and one Irish rider, Seamus O'Connor, even dubbed it 'dangerous'.

But Paddy Mortimer, who leads the the British freestyle skiing team, insists he and his charges have no complaints about the set-up at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

"The athletes love it, it's big and it's a challenge," he said.

"The people that have built the course have listened to the coaches and athletes.

"It is big enough to do tricks such as the triple cork but much will depend on whether the riders and skiers are comfortable and whether they can get perfect conditions.

"If they have that confidence, then I think we will see something very special."

Great Britain's freestyle skiers - dubbed the Fridge Kids because they learned their trade at indoor ski slopes - arrive in Sochi in confident mood.

Halfpipe specialist Rowan Cheshire, 18, became the first British woman to win a World Cup ski event in more than two decades when she beat Swiss world champion Virginie Faivre in Calgary recently.

And Woods and Summerhayes are now established regulars on World Cup podiums.

"The evidence says these guys have got podiums, so that should be a confidence boost they can do it here," added Mortimer.

"We have worked very hard to put together a programme for them and help them achieve their best.

"You have to say in control and be calm, whatever the perceived pressure is, if you want to executive.

"A competition is a competition, I don't want people to make the Olympics more than that."

© Sportsbeat 2014