Words by Jeff Schmuck
Photos by Dan Brown
Sunshine, spring skiing, Kaya Turski and Bobby Brown were the names of the game today in the ever beautiful and raucous village of Whistler, BC, as the inaugural AFP World Championships kicked off day one of the World Skiing Invitational during the amazing and fun-filled Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival with Men’s and Women’s Skiing Slopestyle Finals.
Whistler has been experiencing an endless winter of sorts this season, as after recently surpassing their second highest accumulation of white stuff ever, it’s just kept on snowing and snowing, particularly during yesterday afternoon, when golf ball-sized flakes pounded the quaint village stroll, threatening to put a damper and dampness on the beginning of the four-day long event.
However the snow was nowhere to be found today, as beluga blue skies and a smiling sun boosted sunscreen sales in town while warmly welcoming everyone to the High Level Terrain Park on Blackcomb Mountain, where a gargantuan slopestyle course awaited an impressive laundry list of competitors at the last major contest of the year.
Up first was Men’s Slopestyle Prelims, where 30 talented whipper snappers battled it out in the morning for one of the 10 spots in this afternoon’s finals. And once the smoke of 4/20 had cleared, moving on to the last dance were Bobby Brown, Simon Dumont, Charles and Vincent Gangier, Henrik Harlaut, Gus Kenworthy, Tim McChesney, John Spriggs, Tom Wallisch and James Woods.
After prelims wrapped up it was time for a short break for a free luch courtesy of the good people at AFP, which consisted of a buffet of sandwiches, deserts, Kokanees, and most importantly, developing sun tans. And once everyone had finished chowing down while getting their shine on, it was time for men’s and women’s finals, where Maude Raymond took ninth amongst the ladies with a butter switch 270 on to the down rail along with a 5, switch 5 and 7, newcomer Dara Howell placed eighth with a 5, switch 5 and flat 5, Devin Logan scored seventh thanks to her cork 7 and flat 5, and Yuki Tsubota landed in sixth with a nice 3 and two 5’s.
In fifth was Kim Lamarre with a cork 3, 5 and a motionless zero spin on the bottom booter, while Keri Herman just missed the podium in fourth with a switch cork 5 nose, cork 5 mute and another sweet switch 5 at the bottom.
Taking third was Anna Segal with a ballsy run that consisted of a big switch 5, cork 7 and flat 3, while Ashley Battersby scored herself another podium finish with a rock solid and stylish switch 5, cork 5 and switch 7.
And taking the top spot both in today’s event and the overall 2011 AFP Women’s Slopestyle title was Kaya Turski, who once again brought the thunder with the smoothest run of the field thanks to her supreme rail skills along with a big switch 5, cork 5 and switch 7 on the jumps.
On the gentlemen’s side of things, Tim McChesney took 10th after having trouble on both of his runs, Simon Dumont nabbed ninth (and first for fastest down the course according to event emcee TJ Schiller) with a dub 10, 450 on to 630 off of the gap to flat box, cork 630 off the cannon box and a right cork 9 and switch left cork 9 on the bottom two jumps.
The perma-stoked John Spriggs took eighth with a huge dub 10, right 9 and switch 12, while the brothers Gagnier scored lucky number seven and sixth, thanks to a cork 9 truck driver and two switch 10’s from Charles and a switch 12, right 9 and switch 10 from Vincent.
Fifth place went to James Woods, who has been skiing like an absolute champ as of late and wrapped up his season with another respectable showing today after stomping a dub 10, cork 9 and switch dub 10, while just shy of the podium was Henrik 'E-Dollo' Harlaut with a jaw dropping bio 10 blunt, 630 off the gap to flat box and a silky smooth right 9 to his unique switch double 10.
Taking third was Gus Kenworthy with a huge dub cork 12, misty 5 off the cannon box, switch right 10 and switch double cork 10 in his run, while Tom Wallisch officially returned to fine form at the 11th hour of the season after a less than stellar competition year (mainly due to his mid-winter shoulder injury) to score second with some of the largest airs and authoritatively stomped landings of the event with a dub cork 10, misty 5 off the cannon and back-to-back switch left and right double cork 10s.
But in the end, today, and really the entire last week, belonged to Bobby Brown. Five days after making freeskiing history by becoming the first skier to land a triple cork 14, Bobby threw down the absolute biggest airs of the day to the roar of the thick crowd with a switch double 9, 270 on to 450 off of the gap to flat box, misty 5 off the cannon and a left dub 10 to right dub 10 to pick up both the win and the overall 2011 AFP Men's Slopestyle title.
Congratulations to Kaya and Bobby, and stay tuned for more from the AFP World Championships at the World Skiing Invitational in Whistler, which continues tomorrow with Superpipe Qualifiers followed by Big Air on Saturday night and Superpipe Semi-Finals and Finals on Sunday.
1) Bobby Brown - 94.8
2) Tom Wallisch - 93.0
3) Gus Kenworthy - 90.2
4) Henrik Harlaut - 85.4
5) James Woods - 82.4
6) Vincent Gagnier - 80.8
7) Charles Gagnier - 76.4
8) John Spriggs - 75.8
9) Simon Dumont - 65.6
10) Tim McChesney - 60.8
1) Kaya Turski - 88.8
2) Ashley Battersby - 88.4
3) Anna Segal - 86.0
4) Keri Herman - 82.6
5) Kim Lamarre - 73.0
6) Yuki Tsubota - 72.4
7) Devin Logan - 70.8
8) Dara Howell - 59.0
9) Maude Raymond - 36.6
To see how this event will affect the AFP rankings, be sure to head over to http://www.afpworldtour.com, and stay tuned for the crowning of all of the 2011 Champions, which will take place this Sunday right here in Whistler.