2010-11 AFP Trophy Race: Men’s Slopestyle
Men's Slopestyle Title
Last year's Slopestyle title holder, Bobby Brown, currently holds a narrow margin over a number of skilled combatants, and it will come down to the final slopestyle showdown to see who will take it. The only wrench in the system is the JOI Big Air… A number of competitors have made rumored commitments to Jon's event in Sweden, thus disallowing them from garnering any more slopestyle points in Whistler. Bobby has made a commitment to Whistler's WSI, but 2nd place Russ Henshaw — shy 65.16 points — is likely headed to Sweden. Rumor has it that 3rd place Sammy Carlson — short 135.5 points — is only doing the Big Air at WSI, but that remains to be confirmed.
Fourth place Alex Schlopy, 6th place Elias Ambühl and 7th place Andreas Håtveit will most likely end up in Sweden, removing potential headaches to Bobby's title run. 5th place JF Houle and 8th place Phil Casabon are unknowns while 9th place Jossi Wells is currently injured. More than a deterrent to Bobby's title, all of the potential top 10 absences will open the door for some young guns to improve their all-important year-end AFP rank.
Bobby Brown: The Teen Heartthrob would certainly like to build on his marginal lead over Henshaw and co. His lowest counting score is currently 702, so a 7th place or better would give Bobby a boost. How much better will determine how much he can build on his lead, but given the history of his season — four podiums and two 4th place finishes — Bobby could be swimming in the points.
Russ Henshaw: Let's assume Russ comes to Telus and gives Bobby a run for his money. Russ' lowest counting score is 742.50. That means he'll need 5th or better to start grabbing some points. But say Russ wins (a very possible outcome) and Bobby doesn't make the podium (a less possible outcome), Russ would be your new Slopestyle champion. He's got some ground to make up, but if Russ shows up in Whistler, he could very well pull this one off.
Sammy Carlson: Sammy is a bit off the top, but he has the most to gain if he does well. Sammy needs a top 10 finish to start making moves, but would need a podium to close his current gap, assuming Brown and Henshaw don't improve their current situations. It's still unclear if Carlson will compete in slope, but don't count out the reigning X Games gold medalist.
While Bobby's lead is narrow, he might be a shoe-in based on what Henshaw, Carlson and the rest of the pack end up doing. If most of the top 10 is not competing in slopestyle, Brown will cruise to his second consecutive AFP Slopestyle title. If Russ or Sammy compete, Bobby could potentially be knocked off the top spot. I guess Bobby won't know if it's a throwdown or a victory lap until game day.
For all of the AFP Ranks, check out their World Rankings Page.
About the author:
Shay Williams is former Managing Editor of Freeskier Magazine. He now works with Monster Energy.