A strong start to the AFP (Association of Freeskiing Professionals) big air world tour calendar with Elias Ambühl of Switzerland winning the gold ranked Toyota One Hit Wonder Big Air in Thredbo this week.
In what was the best display of big air skiing in Australia to date, the largest field of invited international and local professional athletes took to the 100ft jump feature manicured to perfection by Reuben Cameron and his team of groomers and shapers. Despite Cameron and his crew having to rebuild after three down days of solid rain, hail & lightning, One Hit Wonder veteran Byron Wells exclaimed “This may be the best jump I have ever hit” during practice.
After refining the format in collaboration with the athletes themselves, the new Game Show element consisted of 4 rounds of temptation with winning riders having to decide between taking the cash and bowing out or doubling or nothing their prize purse into the next round.
If encouraging style and creativity was the goal, then the Game Show rounds nailed it with the “X Factor” style judging panel awarding Round 1 (the 360 or less round) to Byron Wells (NZL), who went all out landing a flat 3 from the landing of the hip to the take-off of the step-up jump. After much jeering from the other competitors who wanted to see the kitty double for the next round, Wells took the cash and ran. In similar fashion Noah Morrison (CAN) pocketed the money from the 540 round, as did Salomon team athlete James “Woodsy” Woods (GBR) and Matt Walker (USA) with a textbook “720 double tail to truck driver” and a stylish as sin “rodeo 900” respectively to round off the four rounds of rotation progression.
Clearly aiming to please the females on the judging panel, Sam Ruttiman (CAN) played the game during round 3 with a naked “corked 720 nose”. The gamble didn’t pay off, failing to correctly account for the extra speed afforded by his aerodynamic Canadian physique and overshooting the feature. He walked away with substantial ice burn and a new GoPro Hero 3+ for his troubles. Bernie Rosow (USA) was also rewarded with everyone’s favourite POV camera after winning the Mr Energetic award along with Thomas Waddell’s (AUS) Man Up After Disaster accolade for opening up the jump after Jossi Wells (NZL) went down hard on the first attempt of the day. We are all wishing Jossi a speedy recovery.
With the fun out of the way, everyone had a fresh start to return for the always favoured traditional AFP gold big air event. The best out of two jumps format saw Elias Ambühl (SWI) dominate with a “triple cork 1620" (spinning 3 times over and 4.5 times around) sent all the way to the bottom of the landing. A special shout out the Redlands School fans spectating from the sideline going wild for the Swiss big air specialist. Stay tuned for the full Game Show and event recap episode coming to http://www.onehitwonderevent.com shortly.
Following a huge day on snow under perfect skies, athletes headed back down to Thredbo Alpine Village to party poolside with Panama, The Aston Shuffle & Miami Horror capping off a week of entertainment that was the One Hit Wonder Mountain Festival.
The AFP Gold Big Air Results:
1st. Elias Ambühl
2nd. Noah Morrison
3rd. James Woods
4th. Jonas Hunziker
5th. Thomas Waddell
6th. Ryley Lucas
7th. Matt Walker
8th. Alex Brown
9th. Oscar Scherlin
10th. Beau-James Wells
11th. Byron Wells