A day with Alex Ferreira: A Q&A with Aspen’s latest Olympic medalist
Birthdate: Aug. 14, 1994
Discipline: Halfpipe skiing
2018 Dew Tour gold medalist
2018 World Cup champion halfpipe skiing
2018 Winter Olympics silver medalist
2018 X Games Aspen silver medalist
2017 Dew Tour gold medalist
2016 X Games Oslo silver medalist
2015 X Games Aspen bronze medalist
2014 X Games Aspen bronze medalist
Aspen Times Weekly: Having grown up around Winter X Games, which Aspen is hosting for the 18th consecutive year in 2019, what comes to mind as your first memory of the iconic event?
Alex: “My first memory of X Games is Torin (Yater-Wallace), Mikey (Schumacher) and I skipping school, getting the bus, and taking the bus to Buttermilk. I didn’t tell my parents. I had to go. I’m pretty sure it was Tanner Hall, he was wearing yellow pants and a black jacket, and he came and did like the most beautiful cork 9 tail grab, and I was like, ‘That’s it. That’s exactly what I want to do. And Torin and I and Mikey were just so happy, waiting and watching, who is going to win? And it was a training day. It wasn’t even a contest day. I think that was my earliest memory. Skipping school, getting on the bus, and then getting a phone call later. That was when cellphones first came out. My mom is like, ‘Did you skip school? Where are you? They are wondering where you are.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I had to go ski. Had to see the guys at X Games.’”
ATW: How much did that experience of skipping class when you were in middle school inspire you to get to where you are now?
Alex: “That was the biggest thing. If I didn’t see it up close, right in front of my face, then I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. There is no way. We had a good group of friends that all enjoyed the same thing and all loved the same thing, and we were skiing together and also watching the events together. It was kind of a no-brainer.”
ATW: What is it about X Games Aspen that gets you so excited?
Alex: “There is the hometown thing, but even before that, it’s the Super Bowl of skiing, pretty much. It’s where it all started. It’s the best prize money, it’s the best vibe and feel, the best athletes, all the sponsors. It gives it this other aroma, this other energy, of just being a big deal. And it’s fun. Big deals are good. It makes you work really hard. It makes you dig.”
ATW: What would finally winning an X Games gold medal mean to you?
Alex: “Oh, the illustrious gold. It’s all I think about. No, I think that’s always the goal. The goal is to win and bring home the gold, especially in the hometown. I’ve been thinking about it since I was like 3 years old.”
ATW: Having won an Olympic silver medal last winter, do you feel like more of a celebrity this competition season?
Alex: “I do, yeah. I definitely feel a little bit more celebrity-like, but I don’t think it’s because of my results. I hopefully think it’s because of my personality. I’m just a person. I’m just like anybody. But I just train hard in skiing, and that’s what I love to do. Hopefully it’s my personality and my results, but mainly my personality.”
ATW: Would winning X Games mean more to you than the Olympics?
Alex: “I do feel X Games means a little bit more because when I was growing up and when I was first skiing and first getting inspired by halfpipe skiing, Olympics was never even in the discussion. It was not even a thought, really. So I’ve always looked toward the X Games. That was our Super Bowl. That was our Olympics. I think I still feel kind of that way.”
ATW: How much are you able to get out and just ride for fun?
Alex: “I probably do that five days a week when I’m home. I’m with my friends I grew up in high school or middle school. And that’s where we first really gained our love for skiing. So it feels only natural to be with those same people and doing what we love to do. Nothing has changed. All the medals and all the interviews, whatever it is, the core Alex has stayed the same. We do the same things. We go hike the bowl. We do Temerity. We go for a couple of cruiser laps. I’ll go ski Scarlett’s run with my mom. Nothing has changed.”
ATW: How have you learned to balance being both a ski bum and a professional at the same time?
Alex: “You know, I’ve never really considered myself a ski bum. I always tried really, really hard, and worked really hard just to achieve the top level of halfpipe skiing, or skiing for that matter. The ski bum lifestyle is definitely ingrained in Aspen, and I think it’s great. If you love skiing, and that’s all you care about, do that. But I choose to do it in just a little bit of a different way and kind of take myself more professionally. That’s just my decision.”
ATW: What are you listening to when you are out skiing?
Alex: “I listen to the Boss, Bruce Springsteen. He brings good energy into my life. I love that guy. Also a little Bon Jovi here and there, but also some deep house, like artists I don’t even know, but I listen to the beat and the tune and it clicks well.”
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Jazz Aspen Snowmass will hosts its annual June Experience and JAS Cafe concert series in-person this summer, releasing details and lineups Monday.