Henderson Earns Sixth at His First World Champs
Hunter Henderson stomped his second run of two in the freeski slopestyle finals to earn sixth place in his first-ever FIS Freestyle Ski, Snowboard and Freeski World Championships.
The FIS Freestyle Ski, Snowboard and Freeski World Championships take place every two years and the event brings together the best ski and snowboard athletes in the world to compete for the title of World Champion in moguls, dual moguls, aerials, halfpipe, slopestyle, big air, snowboardcross and skicross. This year, the event is taking place in Bakuriani, Georgia and is the largest sporting event Georgia has ever hosted.
High winds and heavy snowfall on the days leading up to qualifications and finals made training difficult. However, the athletes persevered and were able to make the most of their time on the course during practice. Slopestyle qualifications were postponed due to heavy wind, but they were able to go off a day later in sunny conditions, albeit with a bit of wind. Cody LaPlante and Hunter Henderson both landed clean first runs to qualify third and fourth, respectively, from heat two. Unfortunately, Mac Forehand and Troy Podmilsak weren't able to put down the runs they were hoping to and just missed out on making finals.
Finals day dawned with perfect conditions—sunny, warm, and no wind. After Henderson bobbled on his first run, the pressure was on for his second run, but he didn’t let that phase him. Henderson proceeded to nail his final run. “I was honestly in disbelief when I landed my second run," he explains. "It was definitely the hardest run I’ve ever landed in competition.” Henderson’s run even featured a new trick he recently added to his collection. “I learned the carving double 1620 Japan in Laax after the competition there when we were training. Today, I took that into competition and was doing it on the second bat-wing style jump. I was definitely stoked to be using that feature in a more unique way.”
Birk Ruud of Norway won gold, while his teammate Christian Nummedal claimed silver, and Andri Ragettli of Switzerland took home the bronze. LaPlante wasn't able to put down the run he wanted and finished 13th.
Henderson, Laplante and Podmilsak aren’t done just yet. Next up on the World Champs schedule for them is big air qualifications on March 3 at 3:30 am ET.
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