Professional freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy, 21, has been on a hot streak the past few years, blowing up almost every contest he enters, be it a slopestyle, halfpipe, or big air event. He's averaging around 50 contests per season, training with the U.S. Ski Team for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, and trying to squeeze enough time to shoot his own solo film project. He recently won the 2013 Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) World Skiing Invitational (WSI) at the 18th Annual World Ski and Snowboard Festival in Whistler, BC, and took second at the Red Bull Playstreets urban slopestyle competition in Bad Gastein, Austria, as part of the Red Bull Signature Series (airing again on May 4 at 2 a.m. EST on NBC Sports Network).
It's safe to say that Gus is pretty nomadic. He even got rid of his apartment last year and started showing up early for contests, then sticking around to see the sights before jumping off to the next one. "I love getting to a new city and just walking around for a few days to get a feel for the area," he says.
Although he spends the summer chasing snow in places like Austria, British Columbia, and New Zealand, Gus says some of his favorite ski town haunts are fun all year round, even in flip-flops. Here's a wrangling of Gus's offseason recommendations.
"I love Aspen," Kenworthy says. "It's really ritzy and kind of glamorous, but it's also outdoorsy and active with plenty of cool people." Aspen has plenty of fine restaurants and plush hotels, but there's no place where you can't come in kicking snow or mud from your boots. Everyone is into the outdoors scene here, with loads of mountain biking and hiking trails leading to mountain vistas and lakes just outside town. Gus even used to go to hockey camp there. He often finds himself eating Mexican at the Cantina, but his absolute favorite spot in town is The Hickory House, where he goes for Combo number 2 with a 1/2 rack of ribs and smoked pork with sides. This is a gargantuan meal, so come hungry.
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