Aspen freestyle skier Alex Ferreira wins World Cup event in New Zealand

Aspen’s Alex Ferreira opened the 2017-18 FIS World Cup season on a high note by winning the year’s first competition on Sept. 1 in Cardrona, New Zealand. The event was part of the New Zealand Winter Games.

The 23-year-old freestyle skier won the men’s ski halfpipe competition with a best-run score of 93.40, edging France’s Kevin Rolland, who scored 90.20. Canada’s Simon D’Artois was third with 88.60 and Crested Butte’s Aaron Blunck, the reigning Winter X Games gold medalist, was fourth with 87.20.

This was Ferreira’s second consecutive World Cup victory after he won last year’s season-finale in Tignes, France, back in March.

Ferreira, Blunck and Aspen’s Torin Yater-Wallace, who did not compete in the New Zealand competition, all are in position to earn a spot in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. Yater-Wallace won the first Olympic qualifier at Mammoth Mountain in February as well as the Olympic test event in South Korea later that month.

The 2018 Olympic Games take place Feb. 9 to 25. On top of again hosting the Winter X Games in late January, Aspen Snowmass will host a U.S. Ski and Snowboard Grand Prix from Jan. 10 to 14, which will serve as another Olympic qualifier.