THREDBO RESORT, AUSTRALIA – After being crowned the Association of Freeskiing Professional’s Overall World Champion at the end of the 2010-11 ski season, Telluride-bred freeskiing wonder Gus Kenworthy is right back in the saddle to start 2011-2012.
Kenworthy landed at the top of the podium in both the slopestyle and the superpipe events at the New Zealand Winter Games in August, trouncing such freeskiing luminaries as American David Wise and New Zealand’s Jossi Wells with strong back-to-back performances that laid a solid foundation for this professional skier’s burgeoning season.
Kenworthy then went on to secure one of nine spots in the One Hit Wonder Down Under event, an online video ski competition in which he stands to win a hefty 10,000AUS cash purse.
According to Kenworthy’s dad, Telluride’s Peter Kenworthy, his son’s recent triumphs bode well for this prevailing skier’s rapidly approaching competitive season.
“It was a really good confidence booster – when you win something that big, it’s a big enhancement to your attitude,” Peter Kenworthy says of his son’s two victories in New Zealand.
Gus’s Winter Games feat proved an especially sweet success, considering Kenworthy almost didn’t make the trip Down Under. One of his sponsors fell through at the last minute, and his dad says he wavered briefly about making the long, expensive trip. But he stepped off the plane, strapped on his skis, and went on to win a rail jam, taking a $1,500 prize, and immediately paying for his plane ticket.
He then stomped an impressive run at the 100% Pure New Zealand halfpipe competition, battling harsh weather and low visibility and coming out ahead of the pack to take gold. He carried that momentum into the following day’s slopestyle event, telling ESPN: "I tried to use the momentum from yesterday's event and really come into today's slopestyle as eager as possible. Training went well this morning and the weather was great, so everything was in place for me to do what I needed to do."
Following those back-to-back victories Kenworthy launched into the New Zealand Open competition, floating to a third in the superpipe event. Then it was off to Australia to take a stab at a 10,000AUS cash purse in the One Hit Wonder Down Under online video contest.
Nine invited riders from around the globe had four days in early September to get their best trick on film, working with skier/cameramen Tim Myers on Thredbo Mountain Resort’s end of season mega-jump; a 100-foot, four-story-high Charles Beckinsale-built behemoth. The tricks have been uploaded to the web where the public can vote for their favorite “One Hit Wonderous” trick, at www.onehitwonderevent.com. Online voting will continue for the next three weeks to determine the winner of the 10,000AUS cash purse.
Vote for Gus!