Kenworthy wins AFP title. Again

Geoff Jansen

Gus Kenworthy competing at Whistler last weekend en route to his third AFP overall title.

Gus Kenworthy is the kind of person you want to see win things. He's polite and he works hard. But, if you're any of the other guys skiing on the Association of Freeskiing Professionals World Tour, you're probably sick of seeing him on the podium. He's won the AFP overall title for the past three years in a row, which is as long as they've been giving out the award. Last week at the AFP World Championships at Whistler, Kenworthy won the slopestyle contest, placed second in big air, and took home the overall title, which is given to the skier who earns the most points in AFP-sanctioned slopestyle, big air and halfpipe contests throughout the season. Kenworthy is, by the numbers, the most well-rounded freeskier on the planet. Now, going in to the first year that halfpipe and slopestyle skiing will be in the Olympics, he's not giving it a rest.

Congrats on the overall title. Why do you think you've been so consistently dominant?
Some of it is obviously hard work, but it's just really difficult to do everything. Your body gets sore when you're at a contest and you have slope qualifiers in the morning and then pipe qualifiers that afternoon or something like that. I think skiers like Jossi [Wells] and I have been good about reserving our bodies to compete exactly when we have to and saving energy whenever we can. When I have a busy weekend with an event, a lot of energy goes into planning which practices are the most important.

I'm trying to make the U.S. team for both pipe and slope. I think I can do it, but it's going to be really difficult.
Gus Kenworthy

Most skiers nowadays don't compete in more than one discipline. But you do.
It's so technical now that it's a lot easier to focus on just one event. If you're a slope guy, you're just skiing slope, if you're a pipe guy, your focus is new tricks, getting on the airbag. I've definitely split my time heavier to slope, I ski slope all the time, I ski pipe when I get the chance. I need to get better at it though. It's definitely my focus going into next year.

Yeah, about next year…
I'm trying not to think about (the Olympics) as much as I can, but of course it's on my mind all the time. I'm trying to make the U.S. team for both pipe and slope. I think I can do it, but I think it's going to be really difficult. The slope team is so stacked and pipe is crazy, too. None of the spots have been given out yet, but I'd definitely say there are two allocated for Torin [Yater-Wallace] and David Wise, and then there are only two more spots at a maximum and there are so many guys.

How do you work on that?
I'm going to Mammoth next month for a U.S. training camp. They've got a private jump and pipe, so I'm going to work on a couple of pipe tricks. Then I'll come back to Whistler, where the U.S. Freeskiing Team has a house for the summer, then probably go down to New Zealand for a World Cup event.

Brett Wilhelm/ESPN

"I want to come out really strong next year," says Gus Kenworthy.

Are there some things that come easy to you and some things you have to work a little harder on?
I think rails come easy to me. Growing up in Telluride we never had big jumps, but we always had a ton of rails. I only started skiing pipe when I came to events, because slope events would fill up really quickly, but they'd offer a package for pipe and slope so I'd just sign up for that and I'd be like, 'I paid for it, I might as well do it.' So I learned a couple tricks and put together a run. Now I love it, but it's definitely what I'm weakest at.

So what are you working on this summer?
In pipe I've done a lot of tricks that I wish I could land consistently in my runs. I've done a double 1260 and a switch double, but I just don't train them enough to comfortably throw them in a run. So I want to do that. And of course I'd like to have a right side double so I can stand up with David and those guys who have really technical runs.

What happens if you get a week off?
Beach. I mean, I was going to say skateboard or jump on the tramp, but if I do get some time off, I'm going to really want to take it off.

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