Gus Kenworthy took a major step toward making his second Olympic team on Sunday.
The 26-year-old won a U.S. Olympic selection event for ski slopestyle, the third of five qualifiers for the men’s team.
Up to four men can earn spots on the slopestyle team for PyeongChang. Kenworthy is in great shape for one of those spots after today’s win at the U.S. Grand Prix at Snowmass. The same is true for Nick Goepper, who finished second behind Kenworthy at this event and second at a qualifying event last month in Breckenridge.
One skier in danger of missing the team is Joss Christensen, the reigning Olympic gold medalist in this event. Christensen tore his ACL last year and just returned to competition this week.
Snowmass hosted two sets of slopestyle qualifiers over the course of the week – Christensen did not make the final in either. He currently sits 15th in the U.S. rankings.
Kenworthy is the only U.S. skier attempting to qualify for the Olympic team in both slopestyle and halfpipe. While he now looks like a good bet to make the slopestyle team, his prospects in halfpipe are shakier.
In order to automatically qualify for the Olympic team, skiers need to have at least two podium finishes during the selection events. Three of Kenworthy’s halfpipe teammates – David Wise, Alex Ferreira and Aaron Blunck – have already met that criteria. Kenworthy has just one podium finish in halfpipe so far.
Next week, Mammoth Mountain will host the final two selection events for men’s slopestyle and one final selection event for men’s halfpipe.
In halfpipe, Kenworthy may be able to move into one of the three automatic qualifying spots if he finishes on the podium. But if he doesn’t, then he will have to hope he’s added to the team as a discretionary selection.
In slopestyle, Kenworthy and Goepper can become the first men to qualify for the team. Both skiers, along with Christensen, were part of a historic U.S. podium sweep in slopestyle at the last Winter Olympics.
U.S. Grand Prix at Snowmass Results
Men’s freeski slopestyle (Contest #2)
1. Gus Kenworthy (USA), 95.40
2. Nick Goepper (USA), 93.60
3. Evan McEachran (CAN), 92.20
4. Quinn Wolferman (USA), 91.60
5. James Woods (GBR), 90.80
Women’s freeski slopestyle (Contest #2)
1. Sarah Hoefflin (SUI), 89.60
2. Maggie Voisin (USA), 87.20
3. Isabel Atkin (GBR), 84.80
4. Julia Krass (USA), 84.00
5. Giulia Tanno (SUI), 79.20
U.S. Qualifying Standings
Men’s freeski slopestyle
1. Nick Goepper, 160**
2. Gus Kenworthy, 140*
3-T. McRae Williams, 79
3-T. Quinn Wolferman, 79
5. Alex Hall, 57
6. Willie Borm, 50
Women’s freeski slopestyle
1. Maggie Voisin, 180** (QUALIFIED)
2. Devin Logan, 90
3. Darian Stevens, 81
4. Julia Krass, 72
5. Taylor Lundquist, 65
6. Caroline Claire, 52
*Has one top-three finish
**Has met minimum criteria of two top-three finishes