Words by Jeff Schmuck
Photos by Dan Brown
The inaugural AFP World Championships at the World Skiing Invitational during the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival in Whistler, BC just concluded with Men's and Women's Ski Superpipe Finals, and what a show it's been.
After three days of glorious sunshine here in Whistler, the weather threatened to take a turn for the worse today with slightly overcast skies and a few snowflakes, but luckily Mother Nature decided to throw the competitors a bone by keeping things lovely for the last major contest of the season.
Up first was Men's Superpipe Semi-Finals, where 35 shred heads (including 30 pre-qualified athletes and the top five from Friday's qualifiers) gave it their all in a quest for one of the 15 sought after spots in finals, which were eventually awarded to Wing Tai Barrymore, Noah Bowman, Peter Adam Cook, Justin Dorey, Simon Dumont, Gus Kenworthy, Brian Kish, Thomas Krief, Matt Margetts, Dan Marion, Tucker Perkins, Mike Riddle, Benoit Valentin, Byron Wells and David Wise.
After Men's Semi-Finals were done, eight of the top female pipe skiers in the game took to the immaculate u-shaped monstrosity for finals, where Sarah Burke had some tough luck after bobbling on her back-to-back flairs to end up in ninth, a returning Megan Gunning placed eighth with a switch 5 in her run, Mirjam Jaeger put down a 5, 3 and switch 3 to take seventh, Manami Mitsuboshi landed in sixth with back-to-back 5's and a 7, the impressive newcomer Dara Howell (who will surely be one to watch as the years go on) scored fifth with a left 5, flair, right 5 and a 7, and the head-turning Maddie Bowman grabbed fourth with her usual brand of consistency and style.
In third place was Anais Caradeux, who has spent a lot of time on the podium this winter and racked up another one today with a 9, 5 and 7 in her run, while Devin Logan (another frequent podium dweller) stomped a 5 blunt to flair to 5 japan and a 7 at the bottom to take second.
And picking up the first major win of her career was Keltie Hansen with back-to-back 5's, a cork 9 and an alley-oop 3, who's victory today was both a long time coming and a sign of things to come.
It then came time for Men's Finals, where Noah Bowman, Wing Tai Barrymore, Matt Margetts and Gus Kenworthy placed 15th, 14th, 13th and 12th respectively after crashing on their various double attempts, Simon Dumont ended up in 11th after putting together two death defying runs but crashing on his last hits, Brian Kish took 10th with a switch 10 and three 9's, Benoit Valentin placed ninth after having some issues on the second of his two doubles, and Dan 'The Man' Marion scored eighth after tossing a double flair, back-to-back 9's, a flat 3 and a switch 7.
Mike Riddle was lucky number seven with a dub 12 (that he unfortunately landed a bit backseat on), a flat 3 and switch left and right 9's, and Peter Adam Crook took sixth with two 9's, a cork 5, a flat 5 and last hit 10, and then in a scary moment later on, knocked himself out after crashing hard in the super hit contest. Join us in wishing him all the best.
Fifth place went to Byron Wells thanks to his switch 10, flat 5 and left and right 9's, while Thomas 'Toto' Krief just missed the podium again in fourth with a dub 12, flat 3, switch 7 and back-to-back left and right 9's as well.
Obtaining the third place spot on the box was the always consistent David Wise with a flat 3, switch 7, right 9, dub 12 and alley-oop flat 5, while Tucker Perkins claimed second with a cork 10, switch right 7, 9, flat 5 and dub 12.
And after a long year of going for broke or ending up as a bridesmaid but rarely a bride, Justin Dorey made it all count today at the last contest of the year with a dub 12, flat 3, switch double cork 10 japan and right 9 blunt to finish off his season with a bang by claiming the top spot.
After finals wrapped up, it was time for the always entertaining and jaw dropping super hit contest, which was judged by the athletes themselves. And just like each and every year, the annual spectacle included some seriously progressive and mind blowing tricks in the pipe, including a switch 12 from Byron Wells, some attempted right side double cork 12's from David Wise, Simon Dumont launching 20+ foot dub cork 12's like it was a walk in the park, and Devin Logan holding it down for the ladies with an attempted alley-oop flat spin 5.
Simon Dumont sending it during the Super Hit contest.
In the end though, Sarah Burke took home the win amongst the women with a huge cork 10, and Gus Kenworthy blew everyone's minds with a down the pipe double flatspin 10 blunt to pick up $2,000 large.
Gus Kenworthy, en route to winning the Super Hit.
After the last official day of the 2010/2011 contest season was over, everyone happily made their way to the base of Whistler-Blackcomb for the awards ceremony, where in addition to the winners of Superpipe Finals and Super Hit picking up some oversized cheques, the Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) crowned their 2011 Men's and Women's Overall Champions...
2011 AFP Women's Overall top 3: Keri Herman (2nd), Devin Logan (1st), Dania Assaly (3rd)
For the ladies, Devin Logan's hard work in both slopestyle and superpipe this winter paid off as she was crowned 2011 AFP Women's Overall Champion, while Keri Herman took second with Dania Assaly just behind her in third.
2011 AFP Men's Overall top 3: Simon Dumont (2nd), Gus Kenworthy (1st), Bobby Brown (3rd...absent)
In the men's category, Gus Kenworthy deservingly took home the top honor after a stellar contest season where he excelled in slopestyle, pipe and big air, while Simon Dumont placed second and an absent Bobby Brown claimed third.
The good people at AFP will be facilitating the end of the competition season in style tonight with a massive blow-out party at Merlin's where things are sure to get buck wild, and then tomorrow we'll have a full update for you on the winners of the 2011 AFP Slopestyle, Superpipe and Big Air titles. But if you just can't wait to find out, then be sure to head on over to http://www.afpworldtour.com right now to check out the final updated standings from the 2010/2011 season along with all of the winners.
That's all from the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival here in Whistler, BC. Big thanks to the Association of Freeskiing Professionals and all of the staff at Whistler-Blackcomb and Watermark (especially Jess Smith, Kelly Williamson, Natalie Grether and Sue Eckersley, who all rule!) for putting on such an awesome and well-run event. It was a fantastic way to wrap up one hell of a great competition season.
Superpipe Finals Results
1) Keltie Hansen - 85.2
2) Devin Logan - 83.4
3) Anais Caradeux - 81.8
4) Maddie Bowman - 79.4
5) Dara Howell - 77.6
6) Manami Mitsuboshi - 70.4
7) Mirjam Jaeger - 68.0
8) Megan Gunning - 57.2
9) Sarah Burke - 38.0
1) Justin Dorey - 95.2
2) Tucker Perkins - 86.6
3) David Wise - 85.0
4) Thomas Krief - 83.8
5) Byron Wells - 81.8
6) Peter Adam Crook - 75.2
7) Mike Riddle - 68.2
8) Dan Marion - 67.6
9) Benoit Valentin - 64.4
10) Brian Kish - 64.2
11) Simon Dumont - 57.0
12) Gus Kenworthy - 52.4
13) Matt Margetts - 37.8
14) Wing Tai Barrymore - 36.8
15) Noah Bowman - 31.8
Super Hit Results
Women - Sarah Burke
Men - Gus Kenworthy