Two-time Winter X Games 15 Gold Medallist, Bobby Brown is set to defend his Volkl NZ Freeski Open title, and with most of the world’s top freeskiers competing this year, the event promises to again be one of the year’s best contests. It was last year’s event that further propelled Brown’s ascension into becoming one of the world’s most dominant slopestyle skiers, and after training at Snow Park NZ for the last week, Brown isn’t about to let go of his title without a fight.
Rider: Bobby Brown, 2009 Volkl NZ Freeski Open Credit: Camilla Stoddart
Noticeably absent from the field will be top dual threat, Jossi Wells, who is still recovering from injury. However, another Wells family member is set to challenge Brown as Byron Wells, along with a field composed of Russ Henshaw, Elias Ambuhl, Gus Kenworthy, Henrik Harlaut and Manuel Manca, hope to deny any repeat showing by Brown.
The slopestyle qualifiers will get underway Thursday, August 5th, at Cardrona Alpine Resort with the finals scheduled for Friday, August 6th.
Saturday, August 7th will see the Halfpipe finals with another list of “who’s who” in the world of freeskiing including defending champion, Taylor Seaton, who is freshly recovered from last season’s injuries, as well as NZ national team members Byron Wells and Lyndon Sheehan, and AJ Kemppainen who is currently ranked third overall in the world of freeskiing.
With last year’s slopestyle and halfpipe contests proving the need for at least one double flip variation, will we see further progression to unnatural doubles in slopestyle or switch doubles in the pipe? Several of the skiers have been preparing these moves, so it will be interesting to see how the training plays out during the event. Stay tuned for a preview of the contest later in the week.
Here’s a video from last year’s event: