Checking In With Russ Henshaw: US Grand Prix & Beyond
RUSSELL, HOW ARE YOU? WHERE ARE YOU? I'm good mate. Just in Mammoth for the Grand Prix.
AH, THE US GRAND PRIX. HOW ARE THINGS LOOKING DOWN THERE? WHAT'S THE COURSE LOOKING LIKE? Well I've been here for a week before the comp and it has been bluebird, warm and slushy. Then as soon as everyone rocked into town, the weather turned to blizzard conditions. The course is sick though, I managed to hit the jumps yesterday and they are super fun.
CAN YOU TAKE ME THROUGH THE COURSE? HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO SOME OF THE OTHER SLOPESTYLE COURSES THIS YEAR? This course is super long and flows really well. It starts with a down rail or box stair set, then a down rail or down-flat-down, then a gap to lift tower tube or a wall ride with weird ledges. And then four jumps.
NICE. ALSO, WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON THIS US-ONLY PRACTICE HUBBUB THAT WE'VE BEEN SEEING? Yeah, I'm not sure what the deal is with that, It's not like that with snowboarding, they just have group training sessions. So far it hasn't mattered though as the weather has been so bad that we have all been training together. But I mean, will the Russians have separate training sessions in Sochi? [laughs]
BESIDES YOURSELF, WHO DO YOU THINK IS GUNNING FOR THE TOP SPOT IN MAMMOTH THIS WEEKEND? Well there are a lot of sick skiers here, Mr Wallisch (who is on a mission this season), Bobby Brown, Nick Goepper, PK Hunder and a bunch of other people are here so it's going to be a super tough competition. We will have to see if we can train on the jumps before the comp though.
HOW'S THAT KNEE OF YOURS? IS IT FINALLY 100-PERCENT SINCE YOUR OPERATION LAST SPRING? I wouldn't say its 100-percent, It feels pretty good when I'm skiing although it still gets sore. Lately it has been getting a little swelling in it after skiing which I think is because I'm skiing so much. It's hard not to ski though because it's so fun and I missed six months of it, so I'm hoping it just gets better and I can keep skiing as much as I am. [laughs]
IT HAS LOOKED NEARLY PERFECT THIS YEAR AS YOU'VE FINISHED FIFTH, THREE TIMES THIS YEAR. HAVE YOU BEEN HAPPY WITH YOUR SEASON? Yeah, I have gotten a lot of fifth place finishes this season. I would have been stoked to get on the podium but to come back after acl surgery and to be able to finish in the top five in events like the X Games is a pretty cool feeling considering that I wasn't even sure I could do these events when I had just had surgery. This is my comeback season so hopefully next year I will come back even stronger than this year!
I'VE HEARD THAT YOUR SURGERY IS CRAZY. GIVEN THE AMOUNT OF KNEE INJURIES HAPPENING THIS YEAR, CARE TO GIVE US THE QUICK RUN DOWN ON THE PROCEDURE? I'm pretty sure that the surgery I had done is only done in Australia. Basically it's the same as getting a cadaver graft. Only difference is I had a live donor, my Dad, who donated his hamstring tendon. The benefit to this is my body is more likely not to reject the graft because its not from a random person. It also meant that I didn't have to recover from two injuries (hamstring graft on left leg, acl on right leg) which meant I could get into doing the physio much faster than If I was to have traditional surgery. Pretty happy with the outcome as I was able to ski pretty early. THANKS DAD.
YEAH BIG UPS TO ELDER HENSHAW. HAVE YOU BEEN CAPITALIZING ON ALL THESE FIFTHS BY BUYING YOURSELF IN FANTASY FREERIDE? No actually I haven't. I didn't join up at the start, I don't even know how it fully works. I know Gus Kenworthy and Joss Christensen are both super into it. They gave me a run down of it when I was in Snowbasin. Seems fun.
WHAT'S NEXT AFTER THE GRAND PRIX FOR YOU? After Grand Prix I am flying to Europe where I'll get a few days off snow to rest my knee and then I have European X Games. After Euro X I think i am going to go to Barcelona with Laura for another break and then I'm flat out with JOI, Nine Knights, WSI and filming!
SOUNDS MARGINALLY BUSY. YOU BACK ON TRACK WITH MSP THIS YEAR? OR ARE YOU BRANCHING OUT? Yeah pretty busy. I am back with MSP which I'm stoked on. Super cool crew and always a good movie. Pretty stoked I have the opportunity to film with them again and I hope I get some good shots.
AFTER ALL THIS FILMING AND COMPETING, YOU GET TO GO BACK TO AUSTRALIA IN TIME FOR… WINTER. WHAT'S IT LIKE NOT HAVING MUCH SUMMER? This year is going to be a little different as I am planning on going to Mexico and getting some sun before heading back to winter in Australia. It's not bad not having a summer because the Northern Hemisphere I am so busy traveling and skiing that I don't get much time to ski for myself, so when I get back to ''Straya'' I can ski with my friends and do whatever I feel like that day, whether its park, riding the mountain or just chilling at home. Its super fun.
About the author:
Shay Williams is the former Managing Editor of Freeskier Magazine. He now works full-time with Monster Energy, and continues to contribute to freeskier.com, offering insights re: the lives of his Monster athletes.