With the conclusion of the 2012 AFP World Championships in Whistler, BC during the World Ski and Snowboard Festival, our re-booted season of Fantasy Freeride League has come to an end as well. The 12-event calendar offered the chance to be a part of the competition action, even if you couldn't make it out to X Games or wherever. While the season was far from perfect, and we'll be making adjustments to next year's system, we can look back on a storyline filled season.
For two-thirds of the season it looked like our friend Joss Christensen was going to take home the title. he looked unbeatable. And then, he was dethroned three weeks prior to the conclusion of the season. It looked as though Ignacio Cruz would have the legs to go the distance, but in a photo finish, it was our friend at Skullcandy, Amanda Schaefer, who ended up atop the 1,500-player pile. On the scoreboard is looks as though they are tied, but Amanda actually prevailed by a minuscule 0.15 points. We asked the champ a few questions.
DID YOU THINK YOU WERE GOING TO WIN GOING INTO THE LAST EVENTOF THE SEASON?
With the team that I had and my judge of talent, failure wasn't an option.
WHAT WERE YOUR STRATEGIES THIS YEAR, GIVEN ALL THE INJURIES AND HOW DIFFERENT THE ATHLETE POOLS WERE FOR THE FINAL THREE EVENTS?
I made very few changes to my team all year and luckily they almost all stayed healthy! It wasn't worth it to drop any athletes for single events they weren't competing in because they were all worth $50K. I was putting all my eggs in one basket at the end with WSI for sure.
HAVE YOU ANY ADVICE FOR PEOPLE PLAYING NEXT YEAR?
Don't get your hopes up, you're playing for second place.
WHO DO YOU THINK SOME OF YOUR FFL DARK HORSES COULD BE NEXT YEAR?
Oh man, it's really anyone's game! Henrik is always a threat having killed it so hard in the past. Schroy and Shay were creeping up with points this year, too. And athletes are always tough competitors 'cause they have the super inside scoop!
While he never had the highest Points-Per-Event total (that belonged to Kaya Turski, who didn't actually lose any event she entered), but Kenworthy managed to top the athlete standings with a whopping 934 points, 140 more than second place Devin Logan. For those of you who bet on Gus, it was a solid bet, as he competed in a staggering twenty events, scoring points in almost every one. Kaya and Tom Wallisch might have had a higher PPE, but no one produced like Gus. Not Devin (because she doesn't have big air), not Jossi Wells (he had a bummer early season) and not Joss Christensen (no X Games invite). Gus is the stand out buy that you needed on your team this year. Maybe even pick him up for next year.
Gus capping off his season with one last win at WSI Big Air. p: Shay Williams
Injuries are a part of the sport. Every year a couple people go down. ACL this, shoulder that… we get along. But this year was freakish, with names big and small, contenders and dark horses, all succumbing to one thing or another.
The knee injuries was the injury du jour, claiming LJ Strenio, Jen Hudak, Sammy Carlson, Simon Dumont, Grete Eliassen, Tai Barrymore, Tucker Perkins, Kevin Rolland, TJ Schiller, Brita Sigourney, Chris Laker, Megan Olenick, Kim Lamarre and Byron Wells. The pesky joint slowed down Peter Olenick, Russ Henshaw and Henrik Harlaut throughout parts of the season. Even David Wise's ACL tear in the second-to-last-event of the year cost him an AFP Halfpipe title.
JF Houle and Justin Dorey both saw significant time missed due to shoulder injuries. Joe Schuster clocked some couch time with an ankle injury. Dan Marion and Noah Bowman both missed time due to upper body injuries. Phil Casabon cracked some ribs at WSI, Devin Logan fractured her ankle late in the season. Duncan Adams broke himself off at Euro X.
With so many injuries, it no doubt wreaked havoc on some people's teams who were betting big on Carlson or Rolland to bring home some big points. All we can do is hope that next year is a little easier on the athletes bodies.
Maddie Bowman turned into the sixth highest scoring FFL athlete in part to her spectacular coming out season in women's pipe. The Tahoe-native was relative unknown coming into the season yet she put up more than impressive results, finishing second to grizzled pipe vet Rosalind Groenewoud in AFP Superpipe rankings. After missing out on Breck Dew, she turned in a second at TNF PPO at Whistler, she won the killington Dew, took silver in Aspen, third at the Snowbasin Dew Tour stop, third at the Grand Prix in Mammoth. A stumble at Euro X (sixth) only fueled her to take the win in Whistler at the AFP World Championships.
Sure the field was missing out on Brita Sigourney, Jen Hudak and the legendary Sarah Burke, but Bowman won't be overlooked going into next year's FFL.
Maddie and her first place tropy at Winter Dew Tour Killington. p: Dan Brown
With a nice long break before any major chunk of contests (save the Sammy Carlson Invitational in May), FFL will rest its rankings, as we improve upon the system for the 2012-13 season. Let us know your thoughts and ways to improve FFL for next year. And finally, we'd like to thank everyone for playing FFL and we hoped you enjoyed it. To check out the full results from the year, visit Fantasy Freeride Dot Com.