While events like the Olympics or X Games are all about judging who's the best at that point in time, athletes know that consistency counts. That's why sports like mountain bike slopestyle, pro snowboarding and pro skiing all keep score over the course of an entire season.
For the second year, this weekend's World Skiing Invitational will double as the Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) Championships, the last chance for competitors to pick up AFP points that count towards overall titles.
SlopestyleQualifiers April 19, Finals April 20
More than any other event, slopestyle really gets to the heart of progression in winter sports by testing athletes over jumps, rails, boxes and other terrain park features. The best skier needs to be good at everything to make it to the top.
The Nintendo Terrain Park on Blackcomb has been supersized for The Shred Show and AFP Championships, with cannon-style jumps, extra large tables, a gap onto a box with a drop and more.
All of the top skiers are here to lay claim to the title. American Tom Wallisch sits on top of the rankings with 5,273 points, but with 1,000 points up for grabs for first place a lot of riders are within striking range. Nick Goepper of the U.S. is closest with 4,957 points, with Bobby Brown in third with 4,820.
Andreas Hatveit of Norway is the only non-American in the top five with 4,518 points, followed by Gus Kenworthy — the overall AFP leader — with 4,456.
Canada has had a few issues with injuries this season, but there are two Canucks in the top 10 — Alex Bellemare is ninth and Alexis Godbout 10th.
On the women's side, Canada's Kaya Turski hasn't lost an event all season and sits on top of the rankings with 5,300 points. Devin Logan of the U.S. is second with 4,862, followed by Canada's Dara Howell with 4,384.
While the top-ranked athletes received invites to compete in the finals, the qualifiers are open and it's not unheard of for skiers to come out of nowhere and take prize money at the World Skiing Invitational.
In the men's open qualifier, 60 athletes will get two runs, with the top 10 advancing to the elimination round — the top three from each heat and the other four in the top 10. The qualifier runs from 10:45 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The elimination round is on Friday, April 20 starting at 10:45 a.m. There, the top 20 from the AFP rankings will take on the 10 qualifiers in a two-run best score format. The top 10 from that event, and the top 10 women, will move onto the finals at 1:45 p.m.
The men are competing for $15,000 in prize money — $8,500 for first, $4,500 for second and $2,000 for third. The women will compete for $5,500 — $3,000 for first, $1,500 for second and $1,000 for third.