Basalt’s Hanna Faulhaber named to world championships roster for halfpipe skiing
Only 16, Basalt’s Hanna Faulhaber seems to understand what she’s getting herself into. The rising halfpipe skier notched another nice win at the U.S. Revolution Tour earlier this week at Aspen’s Buttermilk Ski Area, but the contests coming up are the ones she has her eyes on.
This includes the freeski and snowboard world championships, an event Buttermilk is set to host beginning March 10. An event Faulhaber was asked to compete in.
“The week before I got the call, there were kind of hints that I was going to get the call but still wasn’t sure,” Faulhaber said Wednesday. “Then I was actually at the bottom of the Buttermilk halfpipe when I got the call and it nearly brought me to tears. I was still kind of shocked and super excited.”
While U.S. Ski & Snowboard hasn’t officially announced its roster for the world championships, Faulhaber did confirm she would be one of four American women to compete in halfpipe skiing at the competition. She will join veterans Devin Logan and Brita Sigourney, as well as 22-year-old Abigale Hansen, on the four-woman squad.
Faulhaber should also get a start in the Grand Prix that Buttermilk will host immediately following worlds. That World Cup will also serve as the first U.S. qualifier for the 2022 Winter Olympic team.
“It’s exciting for sure. I love the Buttermilk halfpipe so much and it’s been riding probably the best it’s ever ridden,” Faulhaber said of getting to compete so close to home. “I get to sleep in my own bed. Can’t really complain. It’s just going to be a little sad there can’t be spectators there. But other than that it’s pretty perfect. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Like everyone else on skis, competitions have been few and far between for Faulhaber since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Prior to this week’s Rev Tour, her last comp had been the Calgary NorAm on Feb. 21, 2020, where she finished fourth as the top American. The contest before that had been last year’s Aspen Freeskiing Open, another NorAm event, which she won.
Still, Faulhaber hasn’t sat idly by. She was able to train at Mount Hood over the summer, spent time in her mother’s native New Zealand during their winter months, and got plenty of practice at a pair of U.S. ski team camps at Copper Mountain earlier this season. She’s added new tricks to her quiver and feels she’s progressed a lot since last winter.
That said, she was a little uncertain about her chances at Rev Tour, even though she easily won Tuesday’s women’s halfpipe skiing contest with a best-run score of 95.50. Kathryn Gray was second with 83.25 and Jenna Riccomini was way back in third with 74.
“It was just a lot of fun to be out there with all the girls again,” Faulhaber said. “I definitely had a feeling I could podium. I wasn’t 100% on first because going into the training days I hadn’t really seen any of the girls and I knew there were a few upcoming 14-year-olds who that was their first-ever FIS competition and I wasn’t really sure on what they were doing and how they compared against me.”
But Rev Tour was just a warm up. Now, the Basalt High School junior will take up her spot as the youngest member of the U.S. world championship foursome in two weeks at Buttermilk. Sigourney, 31, is the oldest member and Faulhaber liked to point out that she is half Sigourney’s age. Logan is 28 and has as much experience as any other skier on the planet in the bigger events.
Faulhaber will be taking her first turns on the sport’s biggest stage, and is equally as nervous about both competitions next month.
“I’d say worlds because it’s a more selective event for the U.S. And World Cup because it’s an Olympic qualifier. So a little bit of both,” Faulhaber said. “There are about eight girls (competing for the U.S. Olympic team) and I just got to keep training and keep progressing and possibly get a spot.”
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