Australia’s ski fields have taken on a glow this week as the snow continues to dump and our winter athletes revel in the improved training conditions.
Snowboard Cross World Cup medallist and Sochi Olympian Jarryd Hughes has been training in Thredbo and took to social media saying the latest falls have produced “possibly some of the best snow I have ever had in Australia.”
The 22-year-old Sydney-sider is ramping up his training ahead of the first World Cup this season in Argentina in early September.
“I’m pretty excited about the coming season – actually very excited to be healthy. That’s a big plus for me,” Hughes said.
“This is my first season without knee surgery – yahoo.”
Hughes has had five surgeries on his left knee in previous seasons, but this year is different.
“I’ve spent hours this winter getting fit in the gym. Up to eighteen sessions a week and working with ex Waratah Hall of Famer Tom Carter.”
“I came out of last season with a not-so-great World Championship result that I was not really happy about. The World Cup silver (in Feldberg, Germany in February 2017) was great, but you’re never going to be happy with second. I want to be first – that’s why I train so hard.”
Hughes’ off season has included training Waratah and Wallaby Rugby Union players and picking up some cross-training tips from Olympic Kayakers – a sport Hughes has enjoyed this year.
“I’ve been focussing on my sport full-time this year and knuckling down and been very fortunate that I get to work with many Olympians,” he said. “Sport is sport and I enjoy different sports. It’s all about how you deal with the pressure.”
Snowboard Cross is all about racing. Four people against each other vying for the top two places to eventually advance to a four-man final where anything can happen.
On his favoured NSW snowfields, Hughes has made the best of improved conditions.
“Getting in training runs with other riders such as Josh Miller, Adam Lambert and Adam Dickson is good. I’m making sure I rehab correctly and that I’m not missing a step.”
Hughes credits his father and coaches for his success to date.
"Dad tries to make as many World Cups as he can. he's a big part of the team and a big reason why I've been able to gather the success that I have."
Along with coaches Rob Fagan, John Shelley and Ross Dunlop, Hughes is confident.
“We do as much as we can and train to make sure those instincts (on race day) are correct.”
“The moment my hands get on that start gate, my instincts kick in.”
By Belinda Noonan