With Gus Kenworthy being crowned overall AFP world champion, Nicky Keefer winning the ‘ruler of the week’ and the ‘best style’ awards at the Nine Knights and Mike Riddle claiming the FIS world halfpipe championship, another highly successful season has come to a close.
The competitive freeski calendar began in August with the New Zealand Winter Games. After the AFP World Championships in Whistler nine months later, the sport has indelibly changed with the Olympic debut on the horizon. No athletes seem better prepared for Sochi than Gus Kenworthy and Mike Riddle, both claiming World Championship titles after the long and arduous season.
This season Canadian Mike Riddle has been a tour de force on the FIS World Cup Circuit. With Gold at the US Grand Prix and The North Face Open in Copper, Bronze at the Olympic Test/World Cup in Sochi and Gold at the World Cup Finals in Sierra Nevada, Mike earned the World Champion Crystal Globe for Halfpipe. One of the very few athletes already qualified for Olympics, Mike has his eye on domination in 2014. With his weapons of choice the Punx 182 and Redster 120 Black, Mike Riddle could not be sitting in a better position nine months before the Winter Olympics.
During the X Games Aspen Gus Kenworthy gained the nickname ‘Triple Threat’, as he was the only athlete competing in Halfpipe, Slopestyle and Big Air. While most athletes choose to focus on one discipline, Gus charged in all three aboard the all new Overload 120 boot. He began his season with second place finishes at the Freeze Big Air in London and the Dew Tour Big Air in Breckenridge and then continued with a Silver medal in Halfpipe at the Sochi World Cup. By winning Gold at the SFR Halfpipe stop in Tignes, Bronze in Slopestyle at the European X Games and Gold at the AFP World Champs; Kenworthy stood on major podiums in every discipline. Gus claimed the AFP Overall World Champion title, for the forth year in a row, in front of teammate Jossi Wells, almost 3000 points ahead of the rest of the field! Gus also managed to dominate events not on the AFP circuit winning the Vars Tournament and placing second at Red Bull Playstreets…no other athlete had such an impressive season.
Back in the Game
Also competing in all three disciplines was Jossi Wells, who stood on the podium at the One Hit Wonder Big Air in Australia and the X Games Tignes Slopestyle while consistently placing in the top five in every discipline. Jossi’s 2nd place in Tignes marks his fifth X medal and his first X Games Slopestyle Medal since winning bronze in 2010. Second place in the Overall AFP World Championship standings marks a fantastic finish for the young Kiwi’s season. Riding the brand new nfamous ski in both Slopestyle and Big Air competitions, Jossi maintained his stylish approach to park skiing while dominating the competition.
100,000 View Club
Nicky Keefer of the infamous quad has been making a name for himself with crazy and unique online video edits over the past two years. His growing reputation for fluidity and style was most recently recognized with an invitation to Nine Knights in Livigno, Italy. This week long session aims to show there is more to park skiing than traditional competitions and the young American amazed everyone, walking away with two of the four awards of the event: ‘Ruler of the Week’ and the award for ‘Most Style’. What an amazing way to finish up the season! Congrats to the all the Atomic athletes and we look forward to seeing their amazing performances continue next season.