Peak Performance ‘King of Style’ preview and picks

Posted By: The Ski Channel on November 19, 2009 8:31 am

With almost a month of constant hype, the Peak Performance King of Style is finally set to go down this Saturday November 22nd in Stockholm, Sweden. The event is a part of the larger LG Winter Jam festival, and audiences are expected to number between 15,000 to 20,000 people for the events. The contest will take place in Stockholm’s former Olympic Stadium, and admission to the event is absolutely free. As pretty much the last of the early-season city big air contests, these athletes are all desperately wanting that victory to ensure they start the season strong.

List of Confirmed Skiers

Jacob Wester – Sweden
Sammy Carlsson – USA
Jon Olsson – Sweden
Richard Permin – France
Smon Dumont – USA
Oscar Scherlin – Sweden
Tom Wallisch – USA
Christopher Frankum – Norway
Elias Ambühl – Switzerland
Phil Casabon – Canada
Kevin Rolland – France
Henrik Harlaut** – Sweden
Andreas Håtveit – Norway
Pekka Hyysalo – Finland
Gus Kenworthy – USA
Alexander Aurdal – Norway
LJ Streino – USA
Per-Christian Fosse** – Norway
Ian Cosco – Canada
Simon Ericsson – Sweden
Fridtjof Fredricsson – Norway
Ole Christian Mustad – Norway
Gaute Silseth – Norway
Kim Boberg – Sweden
Tim McChesney – USA

** will not be competing due to injury

A virtual tour of the LG Winter Jam arena:

Now that everyone is filled in on the details of this event, we can address some of the burning questions as we head into this eagerly anticipated event.

Top 5 Questions

1. With Norwegian stud PC Fosse going down training for the contest, how will the only recently added Tim McChesney and Kim Boberg fair in the weekend’s contest?

PC Fosse came seemingly out of nowhere with his KOS entry, and really wowed the public and the two judges. Unfortunately, as I said yesterday, his training in the Alps didn’t go as planned, as he suffered a major concussion and some minor hemorrhaging. As a result, Tim McChesney (one of my original picks for the video contest winners) was given a wild card entry at the last second to replace the injured Fosse. Additionally, Glacier 3000 Invitational Bronze Medalist, Kim Boberg, was slotted in after some of the invited riders couldn’t make it to Sweden.

Obviously we know Boberg has been keeping his A-game up as he just podiumed in the first real snow slopestyle event of the season. However, McChesney’s situation is a bit more murky. The Utah rider hasn’t been in the city big air contests this season, so it will be interesting to see how he holds up in what is more or less becoming a contest of the best “double.” McChesney could add a new element to the field though, as he is capable of some beautiful flatspin 1260s as his entry video shows.

2. Can one of the Swedes take it for the home country, or will another Norwegian be crowned champion?

Last year the now injured PK Hunder won the KOS contest, and took it home for Norway. With him unable to defend his championship, the time is now for Sweden to try and reclaim a victory for the host country. Both Sweden (5) and Norway (6) have almost the same number of riders (accounting for the losses of Norway’s Fosse and Sweden’s Harlaut) representing for their respective countries, so the numbers are pretty fair.

3. How has Jon Olsson’s race training regime affected his big air prowess?

For those of you who frequent Jon’s blog, you know he was extremely upset after his performance at the Barcelona Snow Show. Olsson skied well in the prelims, but could not put all the pieces together heading into the finals as he ended up in 6th place, outside the super finals round.

One has to wonder if Jon’s constant transitioning from racing gates to throwing double flips, is starting to catch up to him. No one will deny after seeing his heli shoot in “Eyes Wide Open” that Jon still has all his park skills when he locks in, but having to switch so frequently is challenging even for a world-class athlete like Olsson.

However, now with Jon competing in his home country of Sweden, and having his girlfriend Olivia there to cheer him on, I suspect he will have no problem this time around. I would look for an extremely focused and competitive Swede this weekend.

4. Who will fair better, the four video contest winners or the invited riders?

The four video contest invites were won by ian Cosco, LJ Strenio, Gus Kenworthy, and PC Fosse. As this article mentions, Fosse was replaced by runner-up Tim McChesney.

I think it will be interesting to see how these four riders who had to earn their spot with the contest will hold up against the prequalified riders. With the talent line between pro and amateur skiers increasingly blurred, I suspect at least one of those four will end up standing on the podium when it’s all said and done.

5. Australian Russ Henshaw has dominated city big air with his double cork 1260 mute, with him not being among the competitors this time around, who is the odds on favorite to step up for the win?

Russ Henshaw has clearly earned his coveted Red Bull Ski Team spot this year, as he has won nearly every big air contest he has entered so far this season. His double corks were unmatched in style by the other competitors, but Henshaw will not be in Stockholm for this event.

This opens the door for a new skier to take home the championship.

Just for fun, I now leave you with my running odds for who I think will win this weekend’s contest.

Sammy Carlson 4:1

Tom Wallisch: 5:1

Jacob Wester 6:1

Andreas Hatveit: 8:1

Elias Ambuhl: 8:1

Jon Olsson: 10:1

LJ Strenio: 14:1

Ian Cosco: 20:1

Gus Kenworthy: 35:1