The 8th annual Toyota One Hit Wonder Big Air took over Thredbo Alpine Resort when 20 of the best freeskiers in the world broke skiing in one single day of competition. The first gold big air stop on the AFP world tour saw 17 year old US National Freeski Team member Alex Hall earn valuable early season points when he landed a world first Switch Triple Corked 1800.
On the only day of sun among a week-long window marred by inclement weather, the field was split into two heats where the top five of each heat progressed into the final. Accompanied by Swiss national team member Jonas Hunziker and Norway’s Klaus Finne, who after sitting on the bubble were given final wildcard spots, the 12 finalists battled out to a best of two run conclusion in the fiercest contested final seen in the Australian Snowy Mountains.
Norwegian teen sensation Birk Rudd came in a close 2nd with a Switch Corked 1620 (another competitive first) only slightly edging X-Game Gold medalist, Switzerland’s Fabian Bösch landing the same trick. Take a moment to let those top three tricks set in before sparing a thought for the judging panel. Rudd and Bösch, aged 16 and 19 respectively, meant that the podium was a coup for anyone over the age of 20.
Australia’s own and Sontimer athlete Ryley Lucas was the only Aussie in the all-international final and wrapped up 12th place having come from wrist surgery only days before the event.
The Toyota One Hit Wonder jump has become synonymous with introducing the skiing community with never before seen tricks. “it's the biggest jump on the tour and it's run by people who know how to create an atmosphere where progression happens. Every year we come down here just waiting to see the future of skiing go down on that thing.” – Returning athlete Evan McEachran (CAN), 10th place.
The skiers jump roughly 110-120 feet off a take-off that is 4 stories high. The feature is built to strict specifications with Thredbo Mountain Operations crews pushing snow 8 hours a day for 2 weeks leading up to Australia’s crown Freeskiing event. “The Toyota One Hit Wonder has always been about the skiers. We pride ourselves in working closing with the skiers and Thredbo Resort to create something spectacular to be part of and mind bending to watch” – Timothy Myers, Media Director.
After his successful campaign on his first trip to Australia, the 2016 Champion Alex Hall said "after this I’m going back to finish high school and hopefully graduate.” The world tour now heads to the Northern Hemisphere with the new generation warmed up and hungry.
Unfortunately, due to the weather, the crowd favorite and style orientated Game Show day had to be cancelled. Although spirits remained high when Ryley Lucas was appointed morale officer whose first order of business was to give away the would-be Game Show prize money on the “Mission Inflatable” obstacle course. Watch this space to see if 2017 sees the inclusion of the above as an AFP sanctioned event.
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