Pro skiers Alex Ferreira, Cassidy Jarrell chip in at AVSC Glacier Camp
Alex Ferreira got a text from Eric Knight, who runs the freestyle program at the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, asking him if he’d like to help out with the annual Glacier Camp the AVSC hosts at Buttermilk Ski Area each June.
Ferreira didn’t have to think long.
“Absolutely I do. There is nothing quite like giving back,” he said. “It’s a good feeling and it’s fun to be around the kids and they really motivate me, honestly. They are good and they are just so happy to be skiing and it reminds me of when I was a little kid and just wanting to ski as much as I could.”
Ferreira, Aspen’s 2018 Olympic silver medalist and pro skier who won X Games gold in that same Buttermilk halfpipe in January, gave a few hours Thursday to the same club he grew up in on the penultimate day of the camp.
The four-week camp, in its seventh year, started June 3 and hosted more than 100 kids over that time. The club, with help from Aspen Skiing Co., is able to pack the halfpipe with snow, which holds through the month of June and enables young skiers and snowboarders to continue with on-snow training. They set up boxes and rails, have an air bag to jump into, and earlier this month even had a short moguls course.
“It’s been great. This has been our busiest summer yet,” Knight said. “We probably had more snow features this year than we’ve ever had before and the skill development has been unbelievable. So many kids got their first flips, their first 720s, their first 360s. Some kids even had their first real jumps and were sliding rails and boxes for the first time.”
Having Ferreira in attendance was quite a bonus. Also there Thursday was Cassidy Jarrell, another professional halfpipe skier from Aspen who will be a rookie on the U.S. Ski Team this coming season. Unlike Ferreira, who had moved onto bigger things before the Glacier Camp was started, Jarrell grew up attending the camp before transitioning to more of a coaching role this summer.
“It’s great for the kids. They worship those guys,” Knight said. “Cass spent the last six years as just one of the campers training on it, and now as a U.S. team member he’s giving back to the kids.”
The skiing world is headed into a bit of a lull after this week, but it won’t last long. While winter finally seems a long way away here in Aspen, many will be off to camps in places like Mount Hood, Oregon, only a week into July. Jarrell said he’ll head to New Zealand in August with the first World Cup contest of the season set for Sept. 6-7 in Cardona.
Jarrell continues to work with Aspen legend Peter Olenick and is coming off his best season as a professional, making numerous World Cup and Nor-Am Cup finals. The 19-year-old is eyeing World Cup podiums next season and believes being on the U.S. Ski Team should help.
“It opens up a lot of resources. And having Peter and the U.S. team at the top of the pipe will be a pretty big game-changer,” Jarrell said. “I have a super good connection with Peter, so it’s always nice. It’s nice to have someone who has been through all this stuff that you’re about to do.”
As for the 24-year-old Ferreira, he’s certainly enjoying the good life. He said his X Games gold medal hangs above his bed and greets him each morning when he wakes up. He’s filling his time by golfing, playing pickleball and taking some online classes through Colorado Mountain College. Through one of his sponsors, he’s even going to compete in a Spartan race next month in Utah.
Ferreira is enjoying summer while he can, but it’s difficult not to think about winter.
“Best day of my life every day. I just continue to be grateful and I will forever remember that moment. It’s so, so beautiful to know it’s been accomplished,” Ferreira said only feet away from where he won his X Games gold medal. “Being home is the most beautiful thing in the world. It’s so beautiful in Aspen and it’s just a lot of fun. The fun kind of never stops.”
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