With the dawn of a new competition season upon us, it's time for an update on the AFP World Rankings, which have fluctuated following the first three events of the highly anticipated 2013/2014 season.
Earlier this Fall, Winter Games NZ, The North Face New Zealand Freeski Open and the One Hit Wonder Down Under all took place amidst the breathtaking vistas of Middle Earth and the Outback, where a talented field of slopestyle, halfpipe and big air competitors got a head start on the Olympic season.
Due to the brand spanking new 52-week rolling system (which you can read more about by clicking here), the days of the AFP World Rankings pushing the reset button and athletes having to start from scratch each summer are gone, so while it means that those who made the trip down under don't necessarily end up at the top of the pile, the extra effort to be there still has its rewards.
Thanks to back-to-back first place finishes at Winter Games NZ and The North Face New Zealand Freeski Open, 2013 AFP Men's Slopestyle Champion Nick Goepper is still sitting comfortably in the top spot, while the always consistent Russ Henshaw remains in 2nd thanks to his third place finish at Winter Games NZ and James 'Woodsy' Woods continues to hold down 3rd following back-to-back second place performances at Winter Games NZ and The North Face New Zealand Freeski Open.
Looking a little further down the list, McRae Williams has moved from 7th to 6th after placing fifth at Winter Games NZ, which bumps Alex Beaulieu-Marchand into 7th, and Henrik Harlaut has jumped five spots (from 14th to 9th) after scoring third at The North Face New Zealand Freeski Open.
On the Women's Slopestyle side of things, Tiril Christiansen has moved into 1st place thanks to her dual victories at Winter Games NZ and The North Face New Zealand Freeski Open, while Kaya Turski now rests comfortably in 2nd and her country women Dara Howell and Yuki Tsubota continue to round out the top four.
Moving on up is Jamie Crane-Mauzy and Maggie Voisin, who have each climbed one step on the rankings ladder (with Jamie in 4th and Maggie in 5th) due to their impressive showings at the New Zealand events.
In Men's Halfpipe, David Wise continues to hold down first place with Torin Yater-Wallace hot on his heels in 2nd, while Aaron Blunck has moved from 4th place to 3rd after placing second at Winter Games NZ and fifth at The North Face Zealand Freeski Open, bumping Mike Riddle into 4th.
Within the top 10, Alex Ferreira is now in 10th thanks to placing fifth and third at Winter Games NZ and The North Face Zealand Freeski Open respectively. Just outside of that, Taylor Seaton has moved from 15th to 12th thanks to his podium appearance (3rd) at Winter Games NZ, while New Zealand's Beau-James Wells reaped the benefits of his home court advantage to move from 20th to 17th thanks to his second place finish at The North Face Zealand Freeski Open.
In Women's Halfpipe, Maddie Bowman and Rosalind Groenewoud continue to lead the pack in 1st and 2nd, while Anais Caradeux maintains her 3rd place spot thanks to her first place finish at The North Face New Zealand Freeski Open.
Also worth noting is the return of Devin Logan who after being forced to sit out last winter due to a knee injury came back swinging in New Zealand, taking first place at Winter Games NZ to begin her climb back up the leader board from 54th to 40th. We'll be sure to keep an eye on her as knowing Devin, she won't be in 40th for long.
In Big Air, Henrik Harlaut, Gus Kenworthy and Vincent Gagnier continue to hold down the top three positions, with the only notable change in the top 10 being Russ Henshaw moving from 10th to 9th following his victory at the One Hit Wonder Down Under
In Men's Overall, Gus Kenworthy and Jossi Wells remain in 1st and 2nd place, while the impressive Aaron Blunck has moved from 4th to 3rd and Joss Christensen and Russ Henshaw each move up a spot to 4th and 5th respectively to round out the top five.
For the women, Jamie-Crane Mauzy, Keri Herman and Annalisa Drew have all moved up a spot into 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively, while 2013 AFP Women's Overall World Champion Tiril Christiansen has been bumped into 4th.
Stay tuned to afpworldtour.com for more updates on rankings following a host of events that take place next month (including the first stop of The North Face Park and Pipe Open Series, the Dew Tour and the first US Grand Prix), along with next week's inaugural update on the brand new social rankings.