Aspen’s Ferreira among Americans with chance to earn Olympic spot Friday | AspenTimes.com

Aspen’s Ferreira among Americans with chance to earn Olympic spot Friday

Aspen halfpipe skier Alex Ferreira is back in the Olympic hunt after winning Dew Tour last month, arguably the biggest win of his career.

A few more Americans could punch their tickets to South Korea Friday.

The first two of a total of 10 finals at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix in Snowmass this weekend will be Friday’s snowboard slopestyle competitions. In the men's competition, the person to watch is Summit County teen sensation Red Gerard, who just might be among the Olympic favorites. His spot on the U.S. Olympic team — the Snowmass Grand Prix is one of the qualifiers — is all but assured as this point. Gerard was second in qualifying on Wednesday, with only Japan's Hiroaki Kunitake besting him.

The real battle will be between fellow Americans Ryan Stassel and Chandler Hunt, both right on the verge of Olympic qualifaction themselves. They were sixth and seventh, respectively, in qualifying.

The women's snowboard slopestyle competition is also intense, with 2014 Olympians Jessika Jenson and Ty Walker looking for a return trip. Both are right on the U.S. Olympic team bubble as well and were the only two Americans to make finals. Missing from today's finals are Julia Marino and Hailey Langland, as well as Jamie Anderson, who opted not to compete this weekend as she is already qualifed for the Olymipcs.

Later in the afternoon will be the skiing halfpipe finals. The men's contest features rising local superstar Alex Ferreira, who was third in Wednesday's qualifer. He's coming off his win at Dew Tour and another podium would get him to the objective qualifying standards for the U.S. Olympic team. Ferreira was the first skier left off the 2014 Olympic team.

The chase for the four Olympic spots is wide open. Along with Ferreira, a podium by Aaron Blunck, David Wise, Taylor Seaton or Gus Kenworthy would get them to the two-podium standard as well. Notably absent from the final is Aspen's Torin Yater-Wallace, who was hindered by an injury during qualification. Yater-Wallace also has an Olympic-qualifying podium, a win last winter in Mammoth.

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In the women's ski halfpipe competition, American great Maddie Bowman looks to cement an already sturdy Olympic spot with another podium. Brita Sigourney, Devin Logan and Carly Marguilies would see their Olympic-team chances significantly rise with a podium as well. Canada's Cassie Sharpe, who finished first in qualifying, could steal one of those coveted podium spots from the Americans.

acolbert@aspentimes.com

Friday’s schedule

A look at Friday’s two finals events, which are best of three runs with the women and men alternating heats:

Snowboard slopestyle: 9:30 to 11:20 a.m.

Skiing halfpipe: 1 to 2:45 p.m.

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STARTING LISTS

(in order of starting position)

Women’s snowboard slopestyle

Name, Country, Bib No.

Jasmine Baird, Canada, 23

Klaudia Medlova, Slovakia, 18

Tess Coady, Austria, 10

Ty Walker, Stowe, Vt., 19

Sofya Fedorova, Russia, 14

Christy Prior, New Zealand, 22

Reira Iwabuchi, Japan, 9

Jessika Jenson, Rigby, Idaho, 13

Men’s snowboard slopestyle

Mans Hedberg, Sweden, 18

Tiarn Collins, New Zealand, 11

Emil Andre Ulsletten, Norway, 10

Chandler Hunt, Park City, Utah, 24

Ryan Stassel, Anchorage, Alaska, 5

Rene Rinnekangas, Finland, 15

Niklas Mattsson, Sweden, 17

Yuri Okubo, Japan, 34

Red Gerard, Summit County, 1

Kiroaki Kunitake, Japan, 12

Women’s skiing halfpipe

Carly Margulies, Mammoth Lakes, Calif., 12

Yurie Watabe, Japan, 6

Sabrina Cakmakli, Germany, 10

Ayana Onozuka, Japan, 3

Devin Logan, West Dover, Vt., 5

Brita Sigourney, Carmel, Calif., 11

Maddie Bowman, South Lake Tahoe, Calif., 9

Cassie Sharpe, Canada, 4

Men’s skiing halfpipe

Joel Gisler, Switzerland, 12

Gus Kenworthy, Telluride, 14

Taylor Seaton, Avon, 9

Kevin Rolland, France, 5

Birk Irving, Winter Park, 16

Mike Riddle, Canada, 13

Noah Bowman, South Lake Tahoe, Calif., 11

Alex Ferreira, Aspen, 1

David Wise, Reno, Nevada, 6

Aaron Blunck, Crested Butte, 3