Joining Kenworthy on the list of 10 athletes nominated to the landmark team are AFP Slopestyle Tour Champion Bobby Brown, World Championship gold medalist Alex Schlopy, World Championship bronze medalist Keri Herman, X Games gold medalist Sammy Carlson and Dew Tour winner Tom Wallisch.
“It's a big step in developing our U.S. Freeskiing program by establishing the Slopestyle Pro Team,” said U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing Director Jeremy Forster. “The sport has progressed incredibly and this is a part of our commitment to supporting the riders in pursuit of their Olympic goals in 2014.”
Slopestyle skiing, in which athletes are judged on runs in which they perform tricks on a series of jumps, rails, boxes and other features of a manmade slopestyle course, was incorporated as an Olympic sport in July.
On the women's roster are Keri Herman (Breckenridge), who took X Games slopestyle silver last season, World Championships team member and Dew Tour winner Ashley Battersby (Park City), X Games bronze medalist Grete Eliassen (Salt Lake City), AFP Overall Tour Champion Devin Logan (West Dover, Vt.) and World Championship team member Meg Olenick (Aspen).
Team coach for the group is Evan Raps, newly hired U.S. Freeskiing Slopestyle Pro Team Coach, a former competitive freeskiing athlete and X Games medalist who is a key pioneer of the freeskiing movement.
“Freeskiing has really ignited growth with kids which is being recognized by the industry and companies which want to affiliate with newschool events,” said USSA's Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer Andrew Judelson. “Brands like The North Face, Visa and others have been quick to recognize the excitement that's going on in parks and pipes as the sport makes its way to the Olympic stage.”
The slopestyle skiing season kicks off for athletes with the 2012 Winter Dew Tour in Breckenridge, on Dec. 15.
2012 U.S. Freeskiing Slopestyle Pro Team Nominations (birthdate; hometown):
Bobby Brown (06/05/1991; Denver, CO)
Sammy Carlson (01/11/1989; Hood River, OR)
Gus Kenworthy (10/01/1991; Telluride, CO)
Alex Schlopy (07/25/1992; Park City, UT)
Tom Wallisch (07/22/1987; Salt Lake City, UT)
Keri Herman (08/16/1982; Breckenridge, CO)
Ashley Battersby (01/27/1988; Park City, UT)
Grete Eliassen (09/19/1986; Salt Lake City, UT)
Devin Logan (02/17/1993; West Dover, VT)
Meg Olenick (12/30/1987 Aspen, CO)