Basalt’s Faulhaber, Lakewood’s Ladd win ski halfpipe titles at Aspen freeski open | AspenTimes.com

Basalt’s Faulhaber, Lakewood’s Ladd win ski halfpipe titles at Aspen freeski open

ASPEN FREESKI OPEN PODIUM RESULTS

Men’s Ski Halfpipe

1. Dylan Ladd

2. Tristan Feinberg

3. Jon Sallinen

Women’s Ski Halfpipe

1. Hanna Faulhaber

2. Jenna Riccomini

3. Ava Surridge

Men’s Ski Big Air

1. Troy Podmilsak

2. Quinn Wolferman

3. Rodney Koford

Women’s Ski Big Air

1. Skye Clarke

2. Jenna Riccomini

3. Megan Cressey

Men’s Ski Slopestyle

1. Richard Thomas

2. Konnor Ralph

3. Dylan Deschamps

Women’s Ski Slopestyle

1. Skye Clarke

2. Jenna Riccomini

3. Megan Cressey

Hanna Faulhaber could have gone to the World Cup in Calgary this week, but there is something to be said for staying close to home for a few extra days. It’s doubtful her competition felt the same way, however, after the 15-year-old Basalt High School student ran away with the women’s halfpipe contest at the Aspen Snowmass Freeskiing Open on Saturday at Buttermilk Ski Area.

“It’s a nice feeling,” Faulhaber said. “Just to be able to win a decently big event at home is pretty great. Just super hyped to compete up against all these girls in my hometown. It’s nice to sleep in my own bed.”

It was Faulhaber’s second time competing in the local Nor-Am Cup event. She took third last winter, her first season competing at the FIS level, behind winner Zoe Atkin of Great Britain and Utah’s Jeanee Crane-Mauzy. This time around, Faulhaber left little to doubt, topping 90 in each of her three runs in the finals to win by a landslide.

Her third and final run of 95.60 was far more than she needed for the win. Pennsylvania’s Jenna Riccomini, who trains out of Summit County, was second with 71.80 and Vail’s Ava Surridge was third with 69.40. There was no qualifier for the women’s halfpipe skiers as only eight entered the contest.

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“Not as much as that, for sure. Not even close,” Faulhaber said of feeling little to no pressure Saturday compared to her recent World Cup events. “I landed my run several times before practice. Had some difficulty a few times, but it didn’t really mess me up. So yeah, I felt pretty good about the whole thing.”

Faulhaber’s run Saturday at Buttermilk was almost identical to the one she put down two weeks ago at a World Cup in Mammoth. The U.S. rookie team member finished seventh in what was her first World Cup final appearance in only three career World Cup starts.

One reason Faulhaber chose to compete this week in Aspen opposed to go to Calgary for the final World Cup of the season was to chase down the season-long halfpipe crown in the North American Cup. With only next weekend’s Nor-Am contest to go, which happens to be back in Calgary, Faulhaber holds a slight edge over Atkin in the standings. Atkin was 10th in the Calgary World Cup and did not compete in the Aspen Nor-Am.

DYLAN LADD HOLDS ON FOR MEN’S PIPE TITLE

Lakewood’s Dylan Ladd had a similar decision to make as Faulhaber. He did choose to go to the Calgary World Cup, but did not make it out of Wednesday’s qualifying so hurried back to Aspen in time for Saturday’s Nor-Am. That decision paid off after he won the men’s halfpipe contest at Buttermilk, the second career Nor-Am Cup win for the 18-year-old U.S. rookie team athlete.

“It means a lot,” Ladd said. “I’ve been doing this comp for three or four years now, maybe five, and to finally take the top spot is amazing. It feels great.”

Ladd scored 89.40 on the first of his two runs in finals to beat Aspen’s Tristan Feinberg, who scored 86.80 on his second run, a slight hand drag derailing what was arguably the best run of the contest. Finland’s Jon Sallinen, who trains with the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, was third with 82.80.

Just missing the podium was 16-year-old Connor Ladd, Dylan’s younger brother. He was fourth with 81.40, scored on his second run.

“It’s fun. It’s also very competitive,” Dylan Ladd said of competing against his brother in finals. “We are staring at each other being like, ‘Hey, you are going to do good. But, I wouldn’t be mad if you slightly screwed up.’ But I always want to see him land a good run and he put a good one down today.”

FEINBERG CONTINUES RISE

Feinberg, 16, likely is the next star in Aspen’s heralded ski pipe dynasty, which currently includes two-time reigning X Games Aspen gold medalist Alex Ferreira and 20-year-old Cassidy Jarrell, who finished sixth in Friday’s World Cup in Calgary.

Feinberg also competed in that World Cup, but did not make it past Wednesday’s qualifying. It was only his fourth career World Cup start, his first coming last March in Mammoth. Saturday’s runner-up finish in the halfpipe was his best career Nor-Am Cup finish, besting the third-place he had in the Copper Nor-Am back in December.

“Good to come back here and put down a run and get second. Really cool,” Feinberg said. “I’ve been wanting to do well in this competition for a while and it felt really good to come back and do well.”

Feinberg currently sits in third in the season-long Nor-Am Cup standings in halfpipe, behind leader Andrew Longino of Canada and Sallinen. Dylan Ladd is currently fifth and Aspen’s Kai Morris is seventh with only next weekend’s Nor-Am in Calgary to go. Morris did not make finals during Saturday’s competition in Aspen, finishing 13th overall.

With the competition season all but over, Feinberg will soon return to the classroom — he attends high school in Park City, Utah, over the spring and summer months — while squeezing in as much skiing and filming as he can over the next couple of months.

The experience he’s gained on the World Cup the past two seasons certainly has him eyeing bigger prizes down the line.

“It’s definitely really cool competing with all those big dogs and then cool competing with Cass,” Feinberg said. “Trying to get up there one day and win those competitions. So it’s really cool to start dipping my toes into those competitions. It’s super cool. Good experience competing with everyone I was watching when I was younger at X Games.”

BIG AIR AND SLOPESTYLE

In Saturday’s big air contests at the Aspen Snowmass Freeskiing Open, it was Utah teen Troy Podmilsak who took the men’s title, followed by veteran Quinn Wolferman of Montana and Rodney Koford, also of Utah.

The women’s big air crown went to Canada’s Skye Clarke, who also had won Friday’s slopestyle contest. Riccomini finished second, giving her the silver sweep of all three events at Buttermilk, while Canada’s Megan Cressey was third in both big air and slopestyle to complete the identical podiums in both events.

Minnesota’s Richard Thomas, a U.S. rookie team member, won Friday’s men’s ski slopestyle contest, beating Montana’s Konnor Ralph and Canada’s Dylan Deschamps. Koford was fourth.

acolbert@aspentimes.com


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