Basalt halfpipe skier Chace Maytham takes big step by making Rev Tour final

Basalt halfpipe skier Chace Maytham poses for a photo ahead of the Aspen Freeskiing Open on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, at Buttermilk Ski Area. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

Chace Maytham had high hopes entering last year’s Aspen Freeskiing Open, but in practice leading up to the contest he suffered a concussion and was unable to compete. Then came the coronavirus pandemic, which forced many of the year-end events to be canceled, and his season was over.

So, entering the U.S. Revolution Tour contest this past week at Buttermilk Ski Area — which effectively took the spot of the freeski open this year — Maytham hadn’t competed in a year and his last memories were of getting hurt.

“I wasn’t sure quite how to prepare for it because I didn’t want that same thing to happen again,” Maytham said earlier this week, pointing out he also knocked a few teeth loose in a training crash only a few weeks ago. “But I made it to the comp and then I went out there and I had a run I wanted to do and it wasn’t the most technical one I could do, but I knew I could land it every time.”

The safer approach paid off for the 2019 Basalt High School graduate in Tuesday’s men’s halfpipe skiing contest, where he ultimately finished eighth in a field of 36. He was sixth with a score of 77.25 in his 18-man qualifier, a stacked heat that included New Zealand’s Miguel Porteous, Norway’s Birk Ruud and another local skier in Tristan Feinberg, all of whom made finals.

Porteous, the older brother of recent X Games Aspen halfpipe skiing champion Nico Porteous, ultimately won the contest over Ruud, a four-time X Games medalist who also won the ski big air and slopestyle contests this week at Rev Tour. Maytham hardly dazzled in finals, but it was a major step for the 19-year-old who continues to chase his World Cup dreams.

“It kind of opened the eyes of the coaches and the people who have the power to put me in a World Cup,” Maytham said. “It kind of opened their eyes and made my case a little bit better. That’s all I wanted to do was not fall, land a run and showcase my best skiing. It was huge for me to make finals.”

Maytham is one of a handful of local skiers to have joined Peter Olenick’s P.R.O. team, headed by the Carbondale skiing icon and former X Games champion. That group has spent a lot of time this year holed up at Copper Mountain for training, and Maytham believes that is paying off.

“That’s been a huge game changer in my ability and training wise,” Maytham said of working with Olenick. “Not only does he know a lot about the ski world and a lot of people in the ski world, which is good for connections, but he’s also been in that spot where he can tell you athlete to athlete. He knows what you’re feeling.”

Next on Maytham’s radar is another Rev Tour this coming week at Copper. The contest will more or less be identical to the one held at Buttermilk this past week.

There is a lot of unknown in regard to competitions after that, outside of world championships and the Aspen Grand Prix next month. Maytham is a sort of alternate’s alternate for the Grand Prix, but it’s highly unlikely he gets a start in the competition.

Lee, Wakushima wrap up Rev Tour with big air wins

The Aspen Rev Tour stop concluded Friday with the snowboard big air contests. On the men’s side, Korea’s Dongheon Lee won with a two-run combined score of 152.5, holding off Argentina’s Federico Chiaradio de la Iglesia (151.75) and rising American teen Lucas Ferry (150).

In the women’s contest, New Zealand’s Cool Wakushima took top honors with a score of 179.5. She also finished second in Wednesday’s slopestyle contest, won by Czech veteran Sarka Pancochova. Behind Waskushima on Friday was Japan’s Kanami Okuyama (162.5) and Wisconsin’s Courtney Rummel (141.75).

Now, Buttermilk will reset for the start of the world championships that begin March 10.