Ferreira fourth in men’s halfpipe skiing at worlds; Porteous wins again at Buttermilk | AspenTimes.com

Ferreira fourth in men’s halfpipe skiing at worlds; Porteous wins again at Buttermilk

Aspen’s Alex Ferreira airs out of the halfpipe during the Freeski Halfpipe Finals at the 2021 Aspen FIS Snowboard & Freeski World Championships at Buttermilk on Friday, March 12, 2021. Ferreira finished in fourth place. (Mark Clavin/US Freeski)

Aspen’s Alex Ferreira finished just off the podium while New Zealand’s Nico Porteous matched his recent X Games triumph with a world championship gold Friday in the men’s halfpipe skiing final at Buttermilk Ski Area.

Ferreira, a two-time X Games champion and the reigning Olympic silver medalist, scored 84.75 on the second of his three finals runs to finish in fourth place. It’s his best finish at worlds, his only other appearance being the 2019 contest in Park City, Utah, where he was eighth.

“Definitely an extra treat. Like everyone else, it’s been tough with the competition season,” Ferreira said. “Not that many people have gotten the contest nerves out and I usually get them out with the first one or two contests. I’m still feeling them. I think it was awesome to do the contest today and I think everyone is having a great time.”

The 19-year-old Porteous again stood out in the Buttermilk pipe. He won his first X Games Aspen title in January thanks to back-to-back 1620s — that’s four-and-a-half rotations — a feat he matched Friday in his first run at worlds. He scored 94.50 on that run to set a high bar that nobody could get over.

Nico Porteous, Simon D'Artois and Birk Irving on the podium after medaling during the Freeski Halfpipe Finals at the 2021 Aspen FIS Snowboard & Freeski World Championships at Buttermilk on Friday, March 12, 2021.
Photo by U.S. Ski & Snowboard

This came after he broke his foot skateboarding only two days after X Games. His first day back in the halfpipe was the first day of worlds training in Aspen.

The win was the second of the day for the Kiwis, as fellow New Zealander Zoi Sadowski-Synnott edged American star Jamie Anderson in the women’s snowboard slopestyle contest Friday morning.

“To be honest, I didn’t expect to compete. But my foot healed well and everything went as good as it possibly can,” Porteous said. “My foot was feeling good. A little sore, but I was absolutely stoked. This pipe has been so good to me.”

Canada’s Simon D’Artois did his best to challenge Porteous, scoring 91.25 on his second run to eventually win silver.

Winter Park’s Birk Irving led the American contingent by winning bronze with a score of 89.75 on his first run. He crashed on his second run and did not start his third. This was Irving’s third time competing at worlds, his best previous finish having been fifth at the 2017 contest in Sierra Nevada, Spain.

“Just the level of skiing right now is so gnarly. It’s cool to be a part of it,” said Irving, who won his first X Games medal back in January. “Didn’t put down all the runs I wanted to, but for my first run to hold all the way through, with this level of skiing especially, is insane. So crazy to end up on the podium here and couldn’t be more psyched.”

Finishing fifth Friday was Crested Butte’s Aaron Blunck, who was chasing a third straight world title after he won in 2017 and 2019. Blunck scored 83.25 on his first run but couldn’t put down a clean run after that.

In sixth was Switzerland’s Rafael Kreienbuehl (71.50), in seventh Canada’s Brendan MacKay (54.75), in eighth France’s Kevin Rolland (49), in ninth Canada’s Noah Bowman (42) and in 10th was Nevada’s David Wise (30.75), the two-time reigning Olympic champion.

Most of the athletes are expected to also compete in the Grand Prix event at Buttermilk next week, which will serve as the first official Olympic qualifier for American athletes.

“It’s going to be a great contest for the Grand Prix,” Ferreira said. “Obviously I’m biased. I think Aspen is the greatest place in the world, so I’m excited. I think it’s going to be good.”


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