Some of Telluride’s homebred stars reached new heights in 2011, with local skiers and riders leaving their mark on results’ lists in nearly every on-snow discipline. From mogul-crushing Joe Discoe’s regular appearance on World Cup podiums to Gus Kenworthy’s attention-grabbing finishes in the freeski world to the Kearney brothers’ up-and-coming careers as some of snowboarding’s best and brightest, local athletes gave their home mountain much to be proud of as they made a name for themselves in some of their sports’ highest-level competitions.
Ridgway native Joe Discoe is no stranger to the freestyle spotlight: He won legitimacy as a true contender in the sport of mogul skiing in 2010, when he became the U.S. National Champion. He wasted no time in 2011, promptly posting his best-ever career World Cup result as a member of the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team with a sixth-place finish to start the New Year. He followed that up with a spectacular showing at the 2011 U.S. Freestyle National Championships in men’s Dual Moguls, winning the gold and becoming a two-time National Champion, in two disciplines, in the process. Thanks to three top-ten World Cup finishes in 2010, he’s pre-qualified for the World Cup tour this winter.
Gus Kenworthy also proved his mettle in 2011, snagging a Dew Tour podium to start the year and moving on to his X-Games debut – which found him surprising the field with his second-place finish in the slopestyle qualification round. He crashed in the finals, but that didn’t crush Kenworthy: He went on to qualify for the finals at the European X-Games slopestyle event, then clawed his way into the top ten at the first-ever FIS Slopestyle World Championships – establishing himself as one of the skiers at the forefront of the fast-developing evolution of slopestyle skiing. He strengthened his already durable reputation by winning the One Hit Wonder Down Under event over the summer, taking home a considerable cash purse. Kenworthy, who wound up as the Assn. of Freestyle Professionals' Overall Tour Champion, was named to the inaugural U.S. Freeskiing Slopestyle Pro Team in November.
The Kearney brothers, Harry and Hagen, wowed the snowboarding world in 2011, first with 17-year-old snowboarding phenom Harry upsetting the field at the illustrious Mt. Baker Banked Slalom event with his snag of first place. Older brother Hagen then caught the attention of U.S. Snowboard Team Coach Peter Foley this December, landing a spot to compete in the Telluride World Cup boardercross (SBX) event.