Words by Jeff Schmuck
The 2015/2016 AFP World Tour officially kicked off this past weekend in Cardrona, New Zealand with the first competition of the season, The North Face Freeski Open NZ. The event, which was ranked Silver, consisted of Men’s & Women’s Halfpipe and Slopestyle and a respectable field from all over the globe. Here’s a short but sweet look at how it’s altered the AFP World Tour Rankings…
The North Face Freeski Open NZ Men's Halfpipe Podium: Beau-James Wells (2nd), Taylor Seaton (1st), Soshi Utagawa (3rd). Photo by NZ Skier
In Men’s Halfpipe, Taylor Seaton picked up the win for his fifth podium finish at The North Face Freeski Open NZ, which has allowed him to hold it down in 12th. Just behind him in second was the multi-talented (and always smiling) Beau-James Wells, who stays in 22nd, while Soshi Utagawa rounded out the podium in 3rd to stay in 126th.
The North Face Freeski Open NZ Women's Halfpipe Podium: Ayana Onozuka (2nd), Janina Kuzma (1st), Saori Suzuki (3rd). Photo by NZ Skier
On the ladies’ side of things, Janina Kuzma kicked off her season with a bang by claiming victory on home turf, which keeps her in 2nd behind current leader Ayana Onozuka, who placed second, while Saori Suzuki remains in 40th after taking third.
The North Face Freeski Open NZ Men's Slopestyle Podium: Jossi Wells (2nd), James Woods (1st), Elias Ambuhl (3rd). Photo by Bean Read
In Men’s Slopestyle, James ‘Woodsy’ Woods emerged victorious for the second year in a row, which keeps him in 4th (behind Joss Christensen, Bobby Brown and the 2015 AFP World Tour Slopestyle Champion McRae Williams), hometown hero Jossi Wells is up 23 spots to 35th after scoring second, and Elias Amnuhl stays in 14th after nabbing the third and final step on the podium.
The North Face Freeski Open NZ Men's Slopestyle Podium: Jackie Kling (2nd) & Keri Herman (1st). Photo by Bean Read
And in Women’s Slopestyle, there were only two women in the field, with Keri Herman taking the top spot, which has allowed her to jump from 31st to 20th, and Jackie Kling remaining in 101st after placing second.
On the Overall Rankings, the only significant changes to report are Taylor Seaton ascending from 30th to 20th (thanks to winning Halfpipe and placing 9th in Slopestyle) and Keri Herman bumping herself from 15th to 6th (thanks to winning Slopestyle and placing 6th in Halfpipe.
That’s all for now from the AFP World Tour, but stay tuned for another quick update after the second event on the calendar, Winter Games NZ, goes down in 10 days.