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Gus Kenworthy takes home first-ever Air + Style title for skiers [New Gallery]

Gus Kenworthy takes home first-ever Air + Style title for skiers [New Gallery]

 

Welp—after enduring many hours of rainfall here at Rose Bowl Stadium, in Pasadena, CA, the 2015 Air + Style LA ski big air finals have been cancelled; this afternoon’s qualifying results stand as final, and as such, Mr. Gus Kenworthy walks away with the first-ever Air + Style skiing title under his belt. Rounding out the podium are Alex Bellemare in second, and Vincent Gagnier in third.

Despite the rain-out this evening, the weekend will go down in the books as a great one. Air + Style not only made its first appearance here in the States, but skiers were included for the first time in the event’s 20+ year history. Saturday saw an absolutely massive crowd (40,000 spectators throughout the weekend); that day we witnessed 16 snowboarders competing on the big air setup, and we saw performances from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Diplo, Portugal. The Man, Phantogram, The Black Lips, Metz, Bad Things, In the Valley Below and Teenage Wrist. The top-name musical talent drew some serious numbers out to the park, and I’m certain a great many of them were laying eyes on high-caliber snowboarding for the very first time.

The same can be said for Sunday (great, in terms of growing recognition of our sport), but given the weather conditions, the crowd was quite a bit smaller. Still, many braved the elements, sporting umbrellas and ponchos. They witnessed one round of ski big air, plus music from Steve Aoki, The Flaming Lips, Edward Sharpe and Magnetic Zeros, Sleigh Bells, Cults, Deap Vally, Surfer Blood, The Black And The White and Tennis System.

Ski big air:

“It’s a bit of a bummer [about the rain],” said Gus Kenworthy tonight, “but it worked out great for me. I’m definitely stoked to take the win. Obviously, I don’t want to compete if it’s dangerous. I think we all knew going into [Round 1] that [a cancellation] was a possibility, so, it was important to do well in that qualifier. It would have been great to put on a show in the finals—I would have loved it—but it wasn’t able to happen, and again, I’m just so excited to take the win.”

Kenworthy skied his way to first with high scores awarded for a double cork 1080 tail and a double cork 1440 tail. He tells us he was hoping to do a triple cork in the finals. Yet, Kenworthy expressed elation at having been invited to join this prestigious event.

“Air + Style is without a doubt one of the coolest events I’ve ever been to,” Gus said. “The athlete hospitality has been incredible, the music has been insane—a bunch of great artists and really fun concerts to watch. The snowboarding was sick for us to watch yesterday… it’s literally been the coolest thing ever just to hang out here. Getting to ski is a bonus. Air + Style is an event I’ve watched for so many years and it’s an honor to be included. I’m hoping we put on enough of a show to be included in the other Air + Style stops around the world. To be out here, hanging with this crowd and skiing in LA, it’s fun.”

Kenworthy also shared thoughts on the grandeur of Air + Style.

“I do all the stadium big airs. I’ve done Budapest, London and freestyle.ch, and they’re always fun,” he explained. “But this one was on another level. We showed up here and the landing was twice as wide as we’re used to, the jump was way bigger, the scaffolding was way taller… the crowd for snowboarding yesterday was insane—like, the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen for a ski or snowboard event. This takes the city big air and just totally jacks it up. I hope we can do more of them.”

All in all, it was one heck of a production. Huge thanks are in order for Shaun White, for bringing this great event to the U.S. and also for opening the door for skiers to join. Additionally, huge thanks goes out to Snow Park Tech. and to the countless workers who constructed one of the most elaborate scaffolding setups in skiing history.

History:

First hosted in Innsbruck, Austria, in 1993, Air + Style is recognized as one of the most influential snowboarding events, period. Through the years, Air + Style has made its way from Innsbruck (1993-1999, and 2008-2013) to Munich (2005-2008, and 2011), Seefeld (2000-2005) and Beijing (2010-2014). To date, more than half-a-million spectators have witnessed the contests live. Legends like Terje Haakonsen, Shaun White, Kevin Pearce, Travis Rice and Mark McMorris have all been crowned Air + Style champs, and today, all A + S contests boast 6-Star status on the World Snowboard Tour—the highest ranking there is.

Jossi Wells, king of swag, weighs in on Air + Style LA.

In 2014, golden boy Shaun White became the majority shareholder of Air + Style Company, and he was quick to make moves. This season, Air + Style comes to the U.S. for the very first time; the action kicks off tomorrow from Pasadena, CA. Skiers have also been invited to the party—another first. For the two-plankers, the contest is certified AFP Platinum, securing it as one of the most prestigious events of the year.

Related: Photos: Air + Style LA is the “biggest city big air ever”

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