Bobby Brown and Ashley Battersby win WSI Big Air

April 24th, 2011 by

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Bobby Brown warming up for the night.


It looks like Bobby Brown can cancel his plane ticket outta Vancouver, he'll be driving his brand new Chevy Cruze home to Colorado. The Teen Heartthrob took to the skies tonight as he bested an international field to take home the WSI/AFP World Championships Big Air. Hot on Young Brown's heels were Henrik Harlaut and Vincent Gagnier, who took their first WSI podiums of the weekend. Ashley Battersby grabbed her second podium of the weekend as she topped the women's field in tonight's Big Air. Chasing Battersby was Slopestyle winner Kaya Turski in second and Anna Segal in third.

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L-r: Vincent Gagnier, Bobby Brown, Henrik Harlaut

An exhilarating night in the Whistler Village indeed as the women had a straight-to-finals, two-jump showdown while the men were culled from 25 to 10 in an all-night, big air extravaganza. As the sun set in the distance, the temperatures cooled, and the crowd gathered. Where the jump may have lacked in certain aspects, the crowd more than made up for it in enthusiasm and gusto.

The night began with the simultaneous runnings of Women's Finals and Men's Elimination alternating runs. Starting with the men, we can safely say that double cork 1260 is the new switch 1080 in big air competition. A number of standouts were throwing said trick: James Woods, Joe Schuster, JF Houle, Ian Cosco, Colby West… the list goes on and on. While many a perfect double 12s were happening, LJ Strenio was off dropping casual double cork 1620s, Gus Kenworthy put down a beaut of a double cork 1440 and Vinnie Gagnier was executing some sort of bio/wobbly 1260 octograb. But in the end, only 10 would move on: Byron Wells, Colby West, Tim McChesney, Joe Schuster, James Woods, Vincent Gagnier, Henrik Harlaut, LJ Strenio, Bobby Brown and JF Houle.

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Byron Wells, switch double rodeo 900

While many believed Gus Kenworthy would have qualified with his double cork 1440 (including Gus, hence the backflip on his second qualifying jump), he was on the outside looking in, ending in 11th. Tom Wallisch, after his double cork 1080, harkened back to the good ol' days with a banger cork 540 blunt. Pipe slayers Justin Dorey and Simon Dumont put down a number of double cork 1080s for the crowd, as well.

While the men were having their way with the jump in elimination, the women were having their way with it in the finals. Top girl Ashley Battersby, the first female to drop in for the night, brought the pain with her switch 720, which was good enough to hold up all night. Kaya Turski, who also found her second podium of the weekend, utilized the switch 720 as well to grab 2nd. Anna Segal took a different route to the podium, opting for a nice cork 720 on her second attempt of the night.

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The ladies and their champions.

While they didn't make the podium, the other ladies came out swinging as well. Maude Raymond put down a picture perfect switch rodeo 540, but couldn't land her rodeo 540 on her second jump. It took Devin Logan two tries, but she rode away from her rodeo 720 in the end. Keri Herman's switch cork 540s are becoming a sight to behold and Kim Lamarre was as solid as a rock, dropping zero spin after zero spin this evening. Sarah Burke was the only lady to put down the 900 while Anais Caradeux relied on her 360 and 720 tonight.

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Anna Segal in the shadows

After the women had finished for the night, the final 10 men took to a three-run final showdown. Byron Wells stuck with the switch double rodeo 900s that got him into finals, putting down two of three solid attempts. Colby West managed to put down one of this three double cork 1260s, but his usual energy and zest for the moment incarnated itself as multiple snow showers for the front rows of the crowd.

Tim McChesney stuck with his trust double cork 1260s for the entirety of the finals, stomping away all night. Joe Schuster, like McChesney, rode his double cork 1260 into the finals and stayed the course throughout all three jumps. James Woods was the only rider that threw three different tricks in finals: double cork 1260, switch double rodeo 1080 and switch double cork 1260. While it's unknown at press time which one gave Woodsy the highest score, kudos for keeping us all guessing.

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Vincent Gagnier in practice

LLJ Strenio kept wrapping up those double cork 1620s, unfortunately they weren't clean enough to have the judges bump him into the top three. JF Houle stomped one of his monster double cork 1260 tails, but they weren't as clean as the one that gave him the top qualifying spot earlier in the night. Vincent Gagnier's forward corking 1260 octo was good enough for third while Henrik Harlaut's stupid big double cork 1260 blunt amidst the fireworks took second place.

But in the end it was Bobby Brown who took his switch double misty 1260 to the bank. And not just the bank, the car dealership this time around. After falling on his first two attempts, Brown went bigger and stomped his third try, riding away, literally, with the win. "[Tonight] was sick, dude. It was unreal," exclaimed Brown. "Just went in, super mellow, trying to have a good time and it just worked out."

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Tom Wallisch, cork 540 blunt

"I'm stoked," Brown continued about winning the Chevy Cruze. "I'm not going to sell it, I'm going to go rally it… Just do it up!"

With the conclusion of this and the earlier JOI, the AFP Big Air race has been determined. Elias Ambühl has not surprisingly locked up the title for 2011, but the biggest move is in 2nd and 3rd. Andreas Håtveit has been bumped down to 4th place, replaced by Henrik Harlaut and Bobby Brown in 2nd and 3rd, respectively. For all the Big Air rankings and full tour results, visit the AFP World Rankings Homepage.

This leaves only tomorrow's Superpipe competition on the docket for the AFP World Championships at the World Skiing Invitational. While Kevin Rolland has the AFP title on lockdown, big things could happen in the Overall Championship realm, with Gus Kenworthy sitting roughly 50 points behind Dumont. Stayed tuned for the conclusion of the WSI and the AFP season tomorrow afternoon.

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2/3 of your emcee crew, Reed Speedman and Mike Douglas (TJ Schiller not pictured)

Men's Big Air Results:
1. Bobby Brown
2. Henrik Harlaut
3. Vincent Gagnier
4. Tim McChesney
5. James Woods
6. JF Houle
7. Joe Schuster
8. LJ Strenio
9. Colby West
10. Byron Wells
_ _ _ Finals Cut Off _ _ _
11. Gus Kenworthy
12. Simon Dumont
13. Tom Wallisch
14. Matt Margetts
15. Charles Gagnier
16. Aidan Sheahan
17. Yoshiya Urata
18. Joss Christensen
19. Dane Tudor
20. Justin Dorey
21. David Wise
22. Jacob Wester
23. Ian Cosco
24. John Spriggs
25. Phil Casabon

Women's Big Air Results:
1. Ashley Battersby
2. Kaya Turski
3. Anna Segal
4. Maude Raymond
5. Devin Logan
6. Keri Herman
7. Sarah Burke
8. Anais Caradeux
9. Kim Lamarre 

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About the author:
Shay Williams is the former Managing Editor of Freeskier Magazine. He now works full-time with Monster Energy, and continues to contribute to freeskier.com, offering insights re: the lives of his Monster athletes.