In 2015, Gus Kenworthy came out as gay, an announcement proclaimed on the cover of ESPN The Magazine. He is the first openly gay professional freeskier and one of just a few LGBTQ professional skiers in history. The few others’ stories might not be as familiar: Swedish alpine skier Anja Paerson, who came out as a lesbian in 2012 shortly after retiring from her racing career; and transgender and intersex downhill skier Erik Schinegger, whose professional career ended when he transitioned to live as a man.

In the long and lauded history of downhill skiing, we know of just three professional LGBTQ athletes. Why?

Kenworthy, who

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Powder

Powder10 min read
On The Rise
ON A 200-FOOT SIDE-STEP ABOVE AN ANCIENT SINGLE CHAIR, Nika Radjenovič traverses the apron of a jagged peak towering overhead. Mini cyclones swirl around her boots as she moves past limestone formations dusted with fresh snow. Shallow bowls of powder
Powder3 min read
The Last Will and Testament
The first priority should be to confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am actually dead by whispering the words “windbuff,” “free heli bump,” or “open bar” into my ear, followed by about two hours of CPR from an attractive female ski patroller or
Powder7 min read
Daughter Of The Columbia
THERE’S A MOMENT in Children of the Columbia, the latest joint from Sherpas Cinema, after Dane Tudor drops onto ferociously steep Wildcat Peak at Mica Heliskiing in British Columbia, where he turns into a funnel at high speed only to be eaten by his