Slopestyle skiers positive about Sochi Olympic course

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As we’ve documented over the last several days, the Olympic slopestyle course has given top snowboarders like Norway’s Torstein Horgmo (who broke a collarbone in training Monday and is out of the Games) and Team USA’s Shaun White (who jammed his wrist today) some problems.

However, the skiing contingent – which will also be hosting its inaugural Olympic slopestyle competition in Sochi – appear to be taking the challenging course in stride. While acknowledging its tough nature, they’re staying mostly positive.

“The course is a little rough, but it’s fun,” U.S. skier Nick Goepper told NBCOlympics.com’s Skyler Wilder today. “It’s a little high impact on the jumps because they are big step-downs, but overall it’s pretty sweet. It is just different.

“The rails are interesting, they are a little bit hard to do tricks on, but I think we just have to make do. I’m feeling confident. We’ve had more training than ever, so I think you will see some sick runs in the qualifiers and finals.”

MORE: Ski halfpipe, slopestyle teams include youngest U.S. Winter Olympian since 1972

Not that the course is entirely perfect in the eyes of the skiers. Another American, Joss Christiansen, said to Wilder that ice has been an issue on the course. As a result, he’s hoping for higher temperatures in the days leading up to the competition on Feb. 13.

“They are having a bit of problems, but the park crew is doing a pretty good job,” he said. “They are going to work the kinks out. I’m hoping through the next nine days before we compete that it warms up and gets a little softer. I think that would be a good show if we are all a little more comfortable.”

For more reaction from the training runs, check out Wilder’s story in the first link above.

World Cup champ lands first quad cork 1800 (video)

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Switzerland’s Andri Ragettli landed what’s being touted as the first ski quad cork 1800 in a video published recently.

Ragettli, 18, is one of the leading slopestyle skiers in the world. He won the World Cup season title in 2015-16 and placed second this year, in addition to fifth- and sixth-place finishes at the last two Winter X Games.

Previously, Ragettli became the first slopestyle skier to land back-to-back triples in a full competition at the 2016 Winter X Games, according to ESPN.com.

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MORE: McMorris’ brother details life-threatening crash

Mark McMorris’ brother details snowboarder’s life-threatening crash

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Mark McMorris‘ life was in danger after the snowboarder crashed into an area of trees riding in the backcountry in British Columbia on Saturday, according to Postmedia News, quoting older brother Craig.

Craig was there when McMorris, the Sochi slopestyle bronze medalist, suffered a fractured jaw, fractured left arm, ruptured spleen, stable pelvic fracture, rib fractures and a collapsed left lung.

McMorris was found conscious, but he was struggling to breathe with blood in his mouth, according to Canadian media.

“You can die from that, from bleeding out,” Craig said, according to Postmedia News. “But it was so hard for him to breathe, so that was my biggest concern with time. I communicated that to the search and rescue, and that’s why they got there as fast as they possibly could. Mark knew it was super bad. I knew it was super bad. But you just have to think positive, and that’s why he is still here.

More details of the rescue, via Postmedia News:

Craig McMorris and a handful of friends on site peeled off their jackets to create a nest for the injured Olympian. The couldn’t move him for fear of a spinal cord injury, and hypothermia was a real danger while waiting about 90 minutes for search and rescue personnel to arrive. Every minute counted due to the ruptured spleen.

“I’ve been involved in backcountry rescues before,” Craig said, according to the Canadian Press. “This was by far the gnarliest and most severe.”

An airlift to a hospital, two surgeries and two days later, McMorris was looking more upbeat in his hospital bed on both brothers’ Instagram pages Monday.

He has been named to Canada’s Olympic team for PyeongChang, and Craig believes he will be there to compete. Before the accident, McMorris was considered a gold-medal threat in slopestyle and the new event of big air.

“It’s been 48 hours, and he’s gone from being the most broken human to talking and communicating,” Craig said, according to Postmedia News. “In his mind, he’s going to the Olympics. In my mind, he’s going to the Olympics. There’s no reason why he can’t.”

McMorris has come back from injury before, but not this severe.

He won bronze in the first Olympic snowboard slopestyle event in Sochi, competing 12 days after breaking a rib.

He has already come back in this Olympic cycle from breaking his right femur in an Air and Style big air run in Los Angeles on Feb. 21, 2016.

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MORE: McMorris, after horrible injury, ups risk for 2 golds in PyeongChang

Kids tough as nails. All good news from here on out. So much love

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