With next week’s Jon Olsson Invitational Big Air looming large, the AFP focus shifts to the Big Air riders who are in the hunt for the coveted title. Currently, Russ Henshaw is in first with 1900 points, Sammy Carlson in 2nd with 1870, Elias Ambuhl in 3rd with 1840, Bobby Brown in 4th with 1728 and TJ Schiller in 5th with 1680. Here are some scenarios that could play out:
-If Russ Henshaw wins JOI, which is rated as a Gold event, he’d take 800 points, replacing his 3rd lowest score (currently a 550 from both London Freeze and Frostgun), giving him an another 250, bringing his total to 2150. Even if Elias Ambuhl grabs 2nd his point total would only move to 1980.
-If Elias Ambuhl wins, his point total would jump to 2040. If Russ Henshaw gets 2nd in this scenario, he wouldn’t have enough points to take the lead and Ambuhl would win the title.
-Longshots would include TJ Schiller and Andreas HÃ¥tveit. If TJ Schiller wins and both Henshaw and Ambuhl get lower than 2nd place, Schiller could take the title. Alternatively, if HÃ¥tveit wins JOI, HÃ¥tveit would win the AFP Big Air crown.
The odds are looking good for both Henshaw and Ambuhl. Bets would go to Henshaw, who has won 3 events this year, but Ambuhl has an impressive resume, with a 3rd and couple 2nd places to his credit. Schiller took 2nd at Winter X Big Air and HÃ¥tveit also won King of Style, so the game could really go any way.
X Games Big Air Gold Medalist Bobby Brown will not be competing due to an injury sustained a few weeks ago, and 2nd place holder Sammy Carlson will not be competing either. Eight of the top 10 on the AFP list, will be competing in JOI, besides the aforementioned, Jacob Wester, Jon Olsson, Henrik Harlaut and Tom Wallisch. Other contenders are Simon Dumont and Jossi Wells. Also, the winner of the Swedish Open Slopestyle next week will be invited to compete in JOI. The past two year’s winners were Fridtchof Fredriksson and Kim Boberg.
To recap, If Henshaw or Ambuhl win, they win the title outright. If HÃ¥tveit or Schiller win and the other three do less, they would win the crown. So all eyes will be on the massive JOI step-down, on April 15th. The race is on.