Held at Hovden Skisenter in Norway, the 2016 Association of Freeskiing Professionals Nor Freeski Cup Finals turned out to be an awesome freeskiing competition that included riders from all around the world. Click here now for the final results of this great event!
Shaping up to be a spectacular event along the course of the 2016 Association of Freeskiing Professional tour, the Nor Freeski Cup was a really fun time and represented one of the AFP Bronze Events of the 2016 season. Held at the Hovden Skisenter, or Hovden Alpinsenter depending on phrasing and spelling, the Hovden facility turned out to be an exceptional platform for hosting one of the coolest big air freeskiing events of 2016. Hovden Skisenter is a world class resort in Norway, and as a result the Nor Freeski Cup definitely attracted a lot of Norwegian and Scandinavian professional freeskiers.
While there were mostly Norwegian and Scandinavian professionals competing at this elite freeskiing big air competition, there were some pros who came in from other areas, but for the most part this was a mostly Norway and Finland dominated competition. When it comes to ramp and jump design, many resorts around the world certainly pride themselves on having the ability to create nearly flawless jumps, kickers, and gaps. Constructing these kinds of massive jumps and gaps is not a crude practice, on the contrary, it is a precise endeavor involving accurate calculations and projections.
Any problems or inconsistencies in a jump formation and construction can lead to serious injuries or other emergencies, since the freeskiing athletes competing are depending on the consistency and predictability of the jumps and gaps they are competing on. When it comes to the Hovden Skisenter in Norway, their jump, ramp, and gap construction crews are among the best in the world. Even a passing glance at the Hovden ramp setups reveals a true pride in their craft, as the ramps they design have a polished, streamlined, and even stylized form that commands respect among the world of professional freeskiing.
The Association of Freeskiing Professionals was definitely wise in their selection of the Hovden Skisenter as the host for the 2016 Nor Freeski Cup on December 17th, 2016, and it would have been difficult to select a better location for such a massive freeski competition. For the benefit of freeskiing and big air skiing fans all over the world, the exciting conclusion and final rankings of the 2016 Nor Freeski Cup at Hovden Skisenter will be presented below.
1st Place – Men’s Big Air Freeski – Petter Ulsletten:
Achieving a major first place victory at the 2016 Nor Freeski Cup, Norwegian freeskier Petter Ulsletten had an absolutely fantastic performance at this competition. Although Petter has had a strong career with the Association of Freeskiing Professionals over the last few years, his win at the Nor Freeski Cup was actually his only first place finish to date with the AFP. With this in mind, it is easy to understand why Petter would be so stoked on this win. The AFP generally breaks down into three competitive categories, which are Halfpipe, Slopestyle, and Big Air.
Petter’s first place win at the Nor Freeski Open big air contest certainly boosted his AFP Big Air ranking by quite a bit, and he is now sitting at a total of 1,176.47 Big Air points with a league ranking of 29th. With regard to Petter’s Overall Rank, he sits currently at 199th in the entire AFP with a general points total of 1,367.59 points. Ulsletten was truly on his game at the 2016 Nor Freeski Cup, clearly feeling right at home on the massive big air jump designed by the professionals at Hovden Skisenter in Norway.
Knocking down some seriously daunting tricks at Hovden, Petter Ulsletten was able to successfully stick a switch triple cork, a Rodeo 5, and a modified Lincoln Loop to end up securing the first place victory at the 2016 Nor Freeski Cup. Given the amazing momentum and confidence displayed by Petter at this prestigious AFP season finisher event, we can only expect great things from this phenomenal freeskiing professional heading into the 2017 competitive season.
2nd Place – Men’s Big Air Freeski – Birk Ruud:
Hailing from Stabekk, Norway, the young freeskiing professional Birk Ruud was able to clinch the second place finish and the mid-level podium ranking at the 2016 Nor Freeski Cup at Hovden Skisenter. Birk Ruud is truly an amazing force to be reckoned with in the Association of Freeskiing Professionals, not only for his impressive skillset, but also because of his astoundingly young age of only sixteen years old. Although there may be many sixteen year olds around the world who demonstrate impressive skills in the realm of freeskiing, not very many can actually compete at this kind of professional level.
For this reason, Birk Ruud is positioned to become a true mainstay in professional freeskiing, in spite of the fact that he has yet to actually bring home a first place victory at an Association of Freeskiing Professionals competition. With that being said, he has had a range of impressive finishes during his time competing in the AFP. Those include, but are not limited to, a second place finish at the 2016 One Hit Wonder big air event, third place at the Nor Freeski Championships, and a fourth place finish at the Fridge Festival AFP big air event.
Though he has not yet secured a major first place victory while competing in the AFP, he still has many impressive finishes and highlights, with a promising record so far. In spite of not finishing in first place yet, he is still ranked 40th overall in the AFP, with a solid Big Air ranking of 9th with a total of 2,376.67 Big Air points according to AFP rankings. Birk definitely excels in the Big Air category, and this seems to be his competitive preference within the AFP, but he is also doing quite well in Slopestyle as well with a current rank of 76th and total Slopestyle points count of 1,635.54 overall.
Birk Ruud was another professional freeskiing athlete to get very comfortable with the big air jump design at Hovden Skisenter while competing there in the 2016 Nor Freeski Cup, and he was able to throw some seriously impressive airs. Even though most of the time freeskiers will execute a Misty 540, Birk was ambitious enough to stick a Misty 720 at this competition, which certainly helped him out toward the end of achieving a second place finish. Given his young age, Birk Ruud is definitely a freeskiing professional to watch closely heading into the 2017 season.
3rd Place – Men’s Big Air Freeski – Eirik Moberg:
Rounding out the podium in third place at the 2016 Nor Freeski Cup, Eirik Moberg of Nedenes, Norway executed some amazing tricks and was certainly well deserving of his third place status at this event. Nearing twenty years old,. Eirik Moberg has been competing in the Association of Freeskiing Professionals for a few years not, and definitely has quite a bit of achievement to show for it. Although he has secured a variety of successful finishes and performances at different events will competing in the AFP, Moberg is another freeskier with the AFP that has not yet been able to secure a first place win. Considering the fact that he has been competing with the AFP since January of 2013 this may seem a bit surprising, but he has been able to secure two other podium finishes and one fifth place finish throughout his career thus far.
Eirik Moberg definitely specializes in Big Air competition, given that his current Big Air ranking within the AFP stands at 37th with a total of 900.04 points in that category. He is also doing fairly well in Slopestyle, but has not competed very much, if at all, in the halfpipe category. His performance at the 2016 Nor Freeski Cup, and subsequent third place podium finish, represents a well timed and necessary rankings boost for the young freeskiing professional. Eirik Moberg was by no means overly conservative at this big air competition at Hovden Skisenter, but he did more or less stick to the more tried and true tricks and combinations in order to avoid wipeouts, bails, or other score killers.
One of the most visually stunning maneuvers that Moberg was able to pull off at Hovden was a flatspin combination, where he was able to make his body entirely horizontal while at the same time running a nearly flawless vertical rotation. That trick alone was likely enough to put Moberg into contention for third place, although some of his other more conventional spin combinations were also major contributors to his podium finish at the 2016 Nor Freeski Cup. Given that Eirik has not had a first place finish yet, perhaps with this morale and ranking boost from a third place finish at the end of the 2016 AFP season we can expect a potential first place victory from him in the 2017 season.
4th Place – Men’s Big Air Freeski – Robert Andre Ruud:
One of the older finalists at the 2016 Nor Freeski Cup, twenty-one year old freeskiing professional Robert Andre Ruud was able to secure a solid fourth place finish at this end of season AFP event. Having already competed in the Association of Freeskiing Professionals for about five years now, and having been a professional for the last three years, Robert has so far enjoyed quite an illustrious career with the AFP. He has, over the course of his career to date, secured an impressive three first place victories so far, with one additional third place podium finish, and a variety of fourth and fifth place finishes in major events.
His three first place victories were all involved with Nor Freeski National Championships, with two of them being in the Slopestyle category and one being in the Big Air category of the AFP. Currently, Robert Andre Ruud is ranked at 28th place within the Big Air category of the Association of Freeskiing Professionals, which is quite a solid ranking considering the hundreds of athletes competing for top spots in this regard. His Big Air points total after the 2016 Nor Freeski Cup at Hovden Skisenter stands at 1,184.37 points, and his overall AFP ranking is now at 204th. In this way, Robert’s Big Air ranking is definitely the most impressive aspect of his competitive career at the moment, and indicators are showing that he is gravitating toward this aspect of the sport more than Halfpipe or Slopestyle.
Pulling off multiple successful flair combinations at the 2016 Nor Freeski Cup, Robert Andre Ruud was able to execute multiple spinning back flips in order to boost his scoring with the judges to the level of a fourth place qualification. Additionally, another bread and butter trick combination for Robert Andre Ruud at the 2016 Nor Freeski Cup was the switch double cork, which is always a spectacular combination to throw when an athlete wants to rack up points without being so ambitious that they risk a major error or fall.
Robert was also able to work in a brilliant 540 Rodeo into his performance at this Association of Freeskiing Professionals big air competition at Hovden Skisenter, and that really put him over the top in terms of sufficient scoring totals for fourth place. This is a seasoned professional who has already paid his dues in the AFP, and he certainly deserved the fourth place ranking at the 2016 Nor Freeski Cup. We can expect major rankings improvements for Robert Andre Ruud in the 2017 season, if he continues along with the trend of performing more exclusively in Big Air ranked events.