The biggest winner of the 2011 World Skiing Invitational was Colorado's Bobby Brown, who topped both the slopestyle and big air events to win $8,500 in cash (slopestyle) and a Chevrolet Cruze worth $24,000 (big air).
He also finished on top of the AFP's overall rankings to take bragging rights and a really nice trophy. The WSI also doubled as the Association of Freeski Professionals World Championship this year.
Kaya Turski, who hails from Montreal had a pretty good weekend as well with a win in the slopestyle worth $6,000, plus a second place finish in the big air worth $2,500 in cash and the $2,500 in prizing. And she came out of the weekend with an overall AFP title to her credit.
The AFP circuit is only in its second official year. It was created in order to rank pro events and athletes over the course of the season, rewarding consistency as well as victories in individual events. There are only a few platinum level competitions on the AFP calendar - basically the X Games and the Dew Tour - and this year Whistler was added to that list with over $125,000 in cash and prizes.
There were three events on the calendar this year, including a slopestyle on Friday - on a course that many of the athletes said was the best they've ever skied - a big air jump on Saturday night at the base of Whistler Mountain, and a superpipe contest on Sunday afternoon on Blackcomb.
While AFP status drew a lot more attention to the contests, Whistler also had the distinction of being the first major event since the International Olympic Committee gave the thumbs-up to ski halfpipe for the Olympics in 2014. As well, the sport of slopestyle is still being considered.
The highest-level terrain park on Blackcomb played host to the slopestyle competition on Friday, with a few modifications. The conditions for the competition were almost perfect, despite some fresh snow dropping on the resort overnight.
The men's podium was all-American, with Bobby Brown in front with a 94.8, followed by Utah's Tom Wallisch with a 93 and Colorado's Gus Kenworthy with a 90.2. (Kenworthy was easily the most talked about skier at the competition because of his skills, style and scary ability to learn new tricks in both pipe and slopestyle almost every week.)
Brown's winning run included a switch rodeo 900 Japan Air off the first jump, a 270 to 450 on the gap box, a misty 630 spin (one and three-quarter spin) off another box, followed by back-to-back cork 1080s spinning in both directions.
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