All Photos: Laura Austin
As far as snowboard contests go, there really is nothing like America's Next Top Pro Model. From the elite field, to the emphasis on freestyle versatility, to the rumors of performance enhancing snowboards, the ANTPM has been likened to the Tour Dé France of winter sports. If that is truly the case then an argument can be made that Austin Smith is ANTPM's Lance Armstrong with the difference being that the former actually fulfilled on his comeback hopes.
After sticking a frontside 360 to 50-50 on his fourth attempt, Austin Smith achieved strong points towards the overall title early on with a second place in the jib event. This set the stage for a flurry of podium appearances, including a third place result in the Spin To Win, second in Highest Halfpipe Air and another second in the Chinese Downhill. This meant that Joe Sexton, Bryan Fox, and Kyle Clancy needed to place in the Charity Auction to have a chance at unseating him. Despite a strong push by the Finn's in the final event and Chris Bradshaw's "Deal of the Century" Charity Auction antics, no one could shrink Smith's lead and when all the points were tallied, he became the 2011 America's Next Top Pro Model champion. With this victory, Austin is now tied with Lauri Heiskari as the winningest rider in America's Next Top Pro Model history, with them each now having more ANTPM titles than Shaun White, Danny Kass, Kevin Pearce, Michael Phelps, or Terje Haakonsen…combined!
In addition to the esteem associated with an ANTPM victory, Austin Smith is also having all of the Charity Auction proceeds–which totals $3550–donated in his name to his charity of choice, The Michael J. Fox Foundation.
SNOWBOARDER would like to thank everyone who helped make the 2011 America's Next Top Pro Model a success, including Matador by Jack Link's, The House Boardshop, High Cascade Snowboard Camp, Timberline, the participating media and of course, the riders themselves. Check out the October Issue of SNOWBOARDER for the full story in print and check out michaeljfox.org for more information on Austin's charity of choice.