Aspen’s Ferreira takes bronze
January 30, 2015
Aspen freeskier Alex Ferreira put the exclamation point on Winter X Games 2015 on Sunday afternoon when he thrilled the crowd at Buttermilk with a bronze-medal performance in the Men's Ski Superpipe.
The 20-year-old freeskier, who started his halfpipe skiing in the same Buttermilk pipe, won X Games bronze for the second year in a row.
He's the only Aspen athlete to win an X Games medal the past two years.
When the finals started Sunday afternoon, the halfpipe was half in the sun and half in the shade as temperatures soared to the mid-40s.
The wet, damp snow on the sunny side slowed the speeds for the skiers in the halfpipe.
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But when the final run for the eight competitors started, the halfpipe was fully drenched in chilling shade.
Consequently, the three highest scores of the day — the three medal scores — all came on the final run as speeds increased exponentially.
Simon d'Artois won the last gold medal of the 2015 Winter X Games on his final run, giving Canada its first Men's Ski Superpipe gold in history.
The silver medal went to Kevin Rolland, of France, also for the second year in a row.
Ferreira was the first to post a huge score in the final round, right after defending champion and Olympic gold medalist David Wise recorded an 89.00 to vault into the lead.
Ferreira, cheered by his hometown fans, blasted a 91.66 to temporarily take over the lead.
D'Artois pushed him back when he posted his winning 93.99 score right after Ferreira's run.
Rolland followed immediately with a 92.33 for silver, giving bronze to the Aspen skier.
"This is so awesome," Ferreira said after the emotional roller coaster of Sunday's finals. He added that the shady conditions for the final run boosted the performances for the skiers.
"It was slow at the beginning," said Ferreira, the son of Mercelo Ferreira and Colleen Delia. "It got significantly faster (for the final run)."
Ferreria, who first started skiing at age 3, said the Buttermilk halfpipe is a special place for him. It's where he first skied in the halfpipe. Now, it's yielded two Winter X bronze medals.
"The first memory I have of being in the halfpipe at Buttermilk was with my best friend Torin Yater-Wallace, and we were like 8 years old," Ferreira said with a hearty laugh. "Torin had skied pipe a lot before that. He said I could do like a cork 900. He convinced me, and I landed the first one I tried."
Ferreira said that he and Torin hopped into the Buttermilk halfpipe.
"It was a sunny day. Just him and me. And his mom was there taking pictures," Ferreira said.
"There was this feeling, … like I felt so good after landing that first one," Ferreira said. "And we just kept skiing."
Yater-Wallace, the Olympian who would have been in the competition had he not suffered a concussion in a hard practice fall earlier in the week, came out Sunday to watch the superpipe finals.
"It's nice having him here with me," Ferreira said. "I'd like to say 'thank you' to the town of Aspen and the X Games for putting on a great event for us."
Veteran Tucker Hibbert added to his legacy with yet another gold medal in Snowmobile Snocross at the Winter X Games.
The 30-year-old Hibbert, who won his eighth national championship last season, won his eighth consecutive gold medal at Winter X on Sunday afternoon.
Hibbert, from Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, beat a star-studded field that included silver medalist Kody Kamm and bronze medalist Ross Martin.
Kamm is a 20-year-old snowmobiler from Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Martin is from Burlington, Wisconsin.
Hibbert collected his 13th Winter X Games medal Sunday, including his ninth gold.
Garrett Goodwin won the gold in Adaptive Snocross. Doug Henry won silver.
Jim Wazny picked up the bronze.