A Week To Go

The first and only AFP World Tour big air event in Australia is set to take over Thredbo Alpine Resort with some of the world’s best Freeski athletes going head to head from Tuesday, September 8th.

Last year’s champion Elias Ambühl of Switzerland will return to defend his title on the biggest jump built at any Australian ski resort against Australian Olympian Russ Henshaw, who had back to back wins at the event in 2012 and 2013 before taking a break from local competition last year to prepare for his Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic campaign. Ambühl and Henshaw are arguably two of the best big air skiers in the world right now with sights set on gaining an early points lead on the 15/16 AFP season leader board.

2014 Winner Elias Ambuhl.
Elias Ambühl (SWI) wins 2014 with a clean triple cork 1440.

However neither will be without opposition from the strongest field of world ranked competitors the Toyota Big Air has seen since it was introduced to the international circuit in 2012. Ten out of the current top fifteen have secured a start including Team GB Olympian James ‘Woodsy’ Woods along with fellow Salomon Team member Oscar Wester and GoPro athlete Jesper Tjäder from Sweden. Last year’s runner up, Canadian Noah Morrison and Swiss wunderkind Jonas Hunziker both return as strong contenders but throw into the mix a slither of Australian’s – crowd favourites Jesse Houghton, Thomas Waddell and Sontimer team rider Ryley Lucas – all with a hometown advantage and this certainly becomes a space to watch.

One Hit Wonder competitor Sam Ruttiman naked and famous.Sam Ruttiman naked and famous, 2014.

So what can spectators expect to see? Above the Cruiser chairlift (valid Thredbo lift pass required) at the top of Merritts is an almost incomprehensible pile of snow which, over the next week, will be shaped by the terrain park team into Thredbo’s centrepiece. Since 2009 the jump, regarded by athletes as one of the best and biggest (often in excess of 100ft) on the planet, has played host to Australia’s first competition double cork, then in 2013 the Southern Hemisphere’s first triple cork as well as most recently the infamous “naked crash” that was reported by news outlets all around the world.

The 2014 Game Show.

The jump site being prepared.
The Thredbo terrain park team are busy, real busy.

Jumping is weather dependant and will conclude on Saturday September 12th with a unique “Game Show” format that will see skiers paired in teams to combine their tricks to complete the allocation amount of rotations in front of an X-Factor style judging panel. “Following the measured success of Sam Ruttiman's 100ft naked cork 7 last year, we are working hard to mould this elite competition into a melting pot of death stares, peer pressure and mind games among the world’s best big air athletes. It should be a lot of fun for the riders and make for some great spectating...” – Andreas Gloor, Event Director.

For those of you at home who like to play along, the OHW GoPro Challenge launches today. Whether it’s skiing down blue runs, hucking off kickers or having a snowball fight, show us how much fun you have in the snow by submitting a short GoPro clip for the chance to win a trip to Thredbo Alpine Resort and a GoPro HERO4 Silver camera, plus mounts and accessories. Entries are open now on onehitwonderevent.com under the ON THE MOUNTAIN tab until October 5th.

On Saturday night, Melbourne indie pop band Alpine will headline a night of live music in the Thredbo Village Square after the AFP big air presentation to mark the One Hit Wonder Mountain Festival Official after party.

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