Ask a Pro: Gus Kenworthy answers 18 of your best questions
Last week, we called upon skiers to submit questions for Mr. Kenworthy. Gus selected a handful of his favorites to respond to, from the science behind magnets, to underwear preference, to Sochi stories and beyond. His answers are posted below. When you’re done reading, be sure to check out Gus’ brand spankin’ new edit from Breck Parks. His recently released 2013 season edit, part II, is pretty damn awesome, as well.
Gus’ A’s to your Q’s:
Steve Stepp: How do magnets work?
Hi Steve, good question! While I’m no archeologist, magnets are very easy to understand! Simply hold one up to any ferromagnetic material such as iron or nickel and watch as the invisible magnetic field forces the two things to stick together, or sometimes repels them apart! All magnets have a positive and a negative charge on either side and, as I’m sure you know, the opposite sides attract to one another.
Dan Chapman: When competing, do you tend to wear tight boxers to keep everything in place or do you like to wear something a little more spacious to have a bit of freedom, so you almost feel the air running through and around your area?
I’m not much of a boxers guy, I pretty much only wear boxer-briefs, when I’m skiing especially. You need that extra support, there’s nothing worse than overshooting or knuckling a jump and getting “ball bang.”
Woodrow Hoffmann: Gus, why are you so sick? Like, what’s the deal?
Sick as a dog, I’m mad ill. Literally ill, I’m taking Nyquil.
Michelle Burger: What is the most rewarding experience or moment about being a freestyle skier?
When I was younger I was a total ski nerd. I watched all the ski movies over and over again until I had memorized every trick in each segment and I completely idolized the guys that I was watching. TJ Schiller was my favorite skier growing up and it was a big moment for me when I got the chance to actually meet him and ski with him and tell him how awesome I thought he was. Now that I’ve established a name for myself in this sport, when kids come up to me and say those same things, it really makes me feel good about how far I’ve come. I’d say that’s probably the most rewarding part about what I do.
Kelly Zheng: What’s your favorite thing about your fans?
I seriously love my fans! I feel like I’m a pretty self-assured person but like everyone I get self conscious and feel insecure about myself. When I get a nice message, or a tweet or comment it really makes my day. I’ve had people draw things for me, make me things, send me handwritten letters and it always blows me away that I’ve somehow impacted them enough that they’ve spent their time to do something for me. It’s incredible. The worst is when people get intimidated by me because I think I’m a really easy going person. It sucks when I get a tweet from someone saying they just saw me but were too bashful to come say “Hey.” If you ever see me walking around please come introduce yourself, I love meeting my fans, and I promise I’m nice!
Emmie Carpenter: Soooo, Facebook says you’re too popular for me to add you. So I messaged you and maybe you can add me? Also, what happened to you using Vine!?
Hey Emmie, sorry about that! Before I had the option to make a page I used to just accept everybody that requested me until I hit the maximum number of friends, so now I can’t add anybody else. Honestly though, I can’t remember the last time I posted or used my personal account, so I would say you’d get more interaction out of me if you liked my page! As for Vine, I know, I need to start making some new ones. Got any good ideas?
Henry Cake Wilhelm: Other than yourself of course, who do you think is the best all-around skier in the world right now?
Hmm… That’s a tough one! I guess as far as all-around prowess I might go with Torin [Yater-Wallace]. Obviously his results speak for themselves in the pipe but he’s a boss on jumps and rails too and after growing up in Aspen I feel like he can hold his own in the powder too. There are a lot of guys I’m stoked on though, Bobby [Brown] and Tom [Wallisch] are two of my favorites to watch, the list goes on…
Annie Cameron: What’s one crazy thing that happened at Sochi that you have not told anyone about if there’s anything?
The food in the cafeteria was a little tough to stomach day after day so Joss and I probably ate about 100 cans of tunafish in the U.S. athlete lounge, ha!
Heather Deas: Who’s your favorite couple on Gossip Girl? What are your plans for the summer? And also what’s your middle name?
Hmm… I haven’t watched the show in years so I need to catch up! From the beginning I was a big fan of Dan and Serena, I guess. Summer plans are pretty mellow, gonna be hanging out in Denver with the pups for the beginning of the summer and then I’ll go up to Whistler and ride at Momentum for a couple weeks in July. Then in August and September I’ll probably go to New Zealand for a few weeks. My middle name is Richard.
Nevin Tarnowski: What was the one trick when you were progressing you had your eyes on for a while and were super stoked to get?
I feel like my first double back in 2009 was a pretty big deal for me but there wasn’t a whole lot of build up to it. It was a double rodeo 9, formerly the kangaroo flip, and I kind of just decided to try it during practice at the North American Open and ended up landed my first one. I had thought about it a lot and watched videos of Jon [Olsson] doing them over and over again but hadn’t ever been on a jump I felt was big enough to try one on until that event. It was a big step for me, definitely a confidence booster.
Brian Heinze: What is the worst trend in skiing right now in your mind?
I don’t really know.
Jordan Gaebel: What skiers are you influenced by and what skiers have the best style in your opinion?
I think I’m kind of influenced by everybody, anyone who I ski with or see do something sick. I don’t really think of myself as a “style guy” necessarily, but I try to do things my own way and try to make my tricks look as smooth and effortless as possible. Some people don’t like style, some people do, it’s frustrating sometimes because I feel it’s a very fine line between technicality and style and sometimes it can be difficult to embody both of those elements at the same time. I’m always working on making my tricks look better but I really think that style comes with confidence and I’m feeling more and more confident in my riding as I get older.
Phil Casabon has one of the best styles in my opinion, Torin, Jossi [Wells], Wallisch, Kai Mahler, Joss Christensen, Noah Bowman, [Alex] Schlopy, [Justin] Dorey… all of those dudes have sick style in my opinion. There are way too many people to keep listing everyone. Honestly though, Bobby is probably the biggest influence on my skiing, I ride with him all the time and even after years of skiing together I still freak out watching him take laps in a good park. He has a lot of confidence and just a really strong, powerful style.
Freddie Lewis: How long until you try some SSX Uber Tricks? By the way, your hair is so great. Vupps xx
Haha, I guess that depends what you mean by SSX tricks. I don’t ever see myself trying to take off my skis and put them back on in the air but I do have a few crazy tricks in mind that I want to try still! And my hair thanks you for the compliment, I kind of hate how curly it gets so when it’s a little longer I usually wear hats.
Eric Brundson: Why don’t you use Newschoolers anymore?
I still go on every so often and check things out, read through some of the threads and watch the top rated edits, I’m just a lot less active with posting.
Connor Skiftun: Gus, did you hook up with Miley Cyrus?
Connor, a gentleman never kisses and tells.
Paulina Hebda: What is your favorite song so far when you are competing?
I don’t really listen to music when I ski, definitely never when I compete. I love when there is music playing in the park so I can kind of hear it but it’s easier to tune it out. I need to be able to hear everything going on around me, I get disoriented if a song is too loud and drowns out my surroundings. Plus I want to be able to talk with the people that I’m riding with or hanging out with in-between runs at a contest.
Freddie Lewis: Do you moisturize?
Ha! No, afraid not. Sometimes I use sunscreen if that counts.
Kenzaburo Yamada: What is your most important thing when you ski?
My balaclava! I feel naked without it and when I look at old photos of myself when I used to ski without one I feel like it looks so dumb! Haha
Freeskier: Who would you like to nominate to star on the next edition of Ask a Pro?
About the author:
Henrik Lampert loves hot dogs, backflips, the Boston Bruins and Norway. Twenty-seven years old and a Massachusetts native, he's the Editor of Freeskier Magazine and Freeskier.com—a proud staffer since 2010.