Ferreira and Faulhaber double down on halfpipe podiums at Calgary World Cup
Aspen’s Alex Ferreira and Basalt’s Hanna Faulhaber added to their already stellar seasons with a pair of podiums each over the weekend at a World Cup halfpipe skiing competition held at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.
Ferreira, the reigning Olympic silver medalist, made it four podiums in four events so far this winter by taking second in both of the Canadian contests. The first competition, held Thursday night in sub-zero temperatures, included a 94.80 from Ferreira, not quite enough to keep up with Canada’s own Brendan Mackay, who scored 97 on his third and final run.
Mackay also won the second halfpipe contest on Saturday night — held in gusty winds that challenged the skiers — his 93.40 holding off Ferreira’s 90.40. Two different Canadians took third each day of the Snow Rodeo, with Simon D’Artois taking bronze on Thursday (94.40) and Noah Bowman bronze on Saturday (88).
“I’m just absolutely excited to be on the podium sharing it with some great guys — Brendan Mackay and Noah Bowman are skiing out of their mind and I’m super grateful and thankful to be up there with them,” Ferreira said Saturday in a U.S. Ski & Snowboard news release. “The pipe was a bit of tough conditions, especially with the wind tonight, but we all hung in there and we got it done and we’re all healthy and that’s all you can really ask for.”
Aspen’s Cassidy Jarrell also made finals for both events, finishing 10th on Thursday and ninth on Saturday. Finland’s Jon Sallinen, who has trained out of the Roaring Fork Valley, was sixth on Thursday but fell short of making finals on Saturday.
Faulhaber made it three straight podium finishes going back to her bronze at Dew Tour last month. The teen was second in Thursday’s halfpipe competition, scoring 92.80 to winner Eileen Gu’s 96.80, while Canada’s Rachael Karker was third (90.20). Faulhaber then finished third on Saturday (88.60), with Karker coming in second (89.40) and China’s Gu again earning the win (92.80).
Notably not competing in the women’s halfpipe competition in Calgary was Estonia’s Kelly Sildaru, who like Gu will be among the gold-medal favorites come the Olympics next month.
While the Calgary events were part of the World Cup schedule, they were not official U.S. Olympic team qualifiers. That said, should any roster picks come down to a coach’s decision, the results could be factored into the equation.
Ferreira, 27, is likely headed to his second Olympic Games, while Faulhaber, 17, seems all but assured of going to her first. She also recently was invited to compete in her first X Games later this month at Buttermilk.
“It’s unreal to be honest. I still can’t believe it’s happening,” Faulhaber said in the news release about her podium streak. “It’s always been a dream of mine and I’ve looked up to these ladies forever and to be competing and to be on the podium, it’s just unreal.”
The U.S. Grand Prix continues with the final Olympic team qualifier this coming week (Jan. 6-9) at Mammoth Mountain in California. The U.S. teams for halfpipe and slopestyle/big air for both skiing and snowboarding should be announced soon after the contests. The Winter Olympics begin Feb. 4 in Beijing.
There also was a snowboard slopestyle component to the Calgary World Cup. The single men’s contest was won by Canada’s own Sebastien Toutant (86.86), with Norway’s Mons Roisland coming in second (84.50) and North Carolina’s Luke Winkelmann in third (83.20). Just off the podium in fourth was Canadian superstar Mark McMorris (81.96), while Colorado’s Chris Corning finished 22nd.
Winning the lone women’s contest was Japan’s Kokomo Murase (77.58), followed by Japan’s Miyabi Onitsuka (77.18) and Canada’s Laurie Blouin (75.73). Wisconsin’s Courtney Rummel was the only American woman to compete, finishing 18th.
After Mammoth, many of the snowboarders will head to Laax, Switzerland, for a World Cup (Jan. 13-15) before the select few will come to Aspen for X Games from Jan. 21-23, the final competition prior to the Olympics.
Hilaree Nelson, one of the world’s most acclaimed big-mountain skiers, went missing on Monday while in Nepal on an expedition in Mount Manaslu.
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