Joss Christensen double cork 1260s his way to the podium
With the Whistler weather moving in and out like an Anchorage tide, the last major slopestyle event of the year went down on Blackcomb Mountain. The AFP World Championships, a platinum-level event and the last chance for competitors to earn AFP points, plays host to today's slope, tomorrow's big air and Sunday's halfpipe event.
Thirty men qualified for today's semifinals, with 10 moving into the afternoon finals, while 11 women made it to finals, teeing up to throw down on the fast, highly technical course.
TJ Schiller, who's primed and almost ready to get back into the action himself after a knee injury, and Reed Speedman of Shit Skiers Say fame, laid down the oral soundtrack from the VIP area as the skiers dropped in.
From Henrik Harlaut's forward nose butter double cork 1080 to Alexis Godbout's 270 screamin' seaman off the cannon box, the action hit hard all day. "This is probably the best contest ever," commented AFP's Content Manger Brian Schroy while enjoying fresh-BBQ'd ribs and salmon. The good vibes continued as the sun dipped in and out, and the field threw down on one of the more unique courses of the season.
The course set off with three rail options into a jump, followed by two more rail options (both elevated) into a classic Whistler channel gap, into a standard jump and ending with a rarity these days, a quarter pipe. The distance between features was short, demanding the utmost balance and readiness.
Anna Segal took the top ladies prize with a solid, technical run, which included two 7s, a perfectly executed flat 3 and a backside 270 out of the canon box—stomped. Emilia Wint took second, while local Yuki Tsubota pleased the Whistler crowd with a third.
For the men, Joss Christensen found himself in third place with a switch lip 270 on, double cork 1260, switch on front 450 off the rail into a back 450 out of the cannon into a switch right 1080 over the channel, switch double 1080 on the jump and switch right 720 on the QP. In second was James Woods with a switch tails over 270 on, front 270 out, switch right double cork 1080 octo grab, switch on pretzel 630 off the flat rail, forward on front 4 japan off the high bar, left double cork 1080 over the channel, right double cork 1260 over the jump and switch 5 japan in the pipe.
As good as Joss and James' runs were, at the end of the day it was Gus Kenworthy who stood high atop the podium, a place he's become accustom to during this amazing season he has had. His run—lip back 270 out to switch right double cork 1080 japan, 450 on 270 off the high rail to left double cork 1260 mute over the channel, switch left dub 9 japan over the jump and a biggest-hit-of-the-day left 9 blunt on the quarter pipe—was unmatchable. His perfect landings and fluid air sense not only earned him today's first place finish, but also secured him at the top of the AFP Overall standings for the second year running.
Tom Wallisch, who threw a fantastic double backflip after sketching out on his second run, secured the overall AFP Slopestyle win with his fifth place finish.
The World Ski and Snowboard Festival continues to roll on tomorrow with the always-popular big air event in the Village. The last major halfpipe event of the season goes down on Sunday. Stay tuned to Freeskier.com and follow us @Freeskier for the latest from Whistler.
2. James Woods
3. Joss Christensen
4. Russ Henshaw
5. Tom Wallisch
6. Bobby Brown
7. Torin Yater-Wallace
8. Noah Morrison
9. PK Hunder
10. Henrik Harlaut
2. Emilia Wint
3. Yuki Tsubota
4. Ashley Battersby
5. Eveline Bhend
6. Dara Howell
7. Emma Dahlstrom
8. Annalisa Drew
9. Keri Herman
10. Devin Logan
11. Rose Battersby
Willie Borm gets his daily double in.
For more information on the AFP and its rankings, visit their website.