Freeskiing Open offers showcase for skiers
Aspen skier Alex Ferreira, who just missed a berth on the U.S. Olympic Team, put the exclamation point on the 2014 Aspen/Snowmass Freesking Open last weekend.
The men’s and women’s ski superpipe finals wrapped up the freeskiing festival at Buttermilk.
Under brilliant, sunny conditions, Team Aspen/Snowmass athlete Ferreira took first in the superpipe finals for the men.
Cassie Sharpe, of Whistler, British Columbia, won the women’s superpipe, held in the pipe used for the Winter X Games.
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Ferreira was a third-place finisher in the 2014 Winter X Games in Aspen and came in second last year in the Aspen/Snowmass Freeskiing Open to Aaron Blunck, a 2014 Olympian from Crested Butte.
In fourth after his first run, Ferreira stepped up in his second run to take home the win on his home pipe.
“It was a really difficult contest, and I was happy to be a part of it,” said Ferriera of the 10th Aspen/Snowmass Freeskiing Open. “The level of riding out there … was insane.”
Ferriera won $5,000 for his first-place finish.
Brian Kish, a 23-year-old from Pittsburgh, Pa., finished second and won $2,500.
Kyle Smaine, 22, of South Lake Tahoe, Calif., was third. He won $1,500.
“I love the pipe. It gives great boost,” said women’s superpipe runner-up Jamie Crane-Mauzy, of Park City, Utah. “The judges were really rewarding style, and the whole comp had a great vibe.”
Third place went to Zyre Austin, 20, of Glenwood Springs.
In the superpipe best trick division, 23-year-old Taylor Seaton of Avon won for the men.
Meg Warrenerm, 16, of Sylvan Lake, Albert, won for the women.
After a third-place finish in last year’s Aspen/Snowmass Freeskiing Open, local Aspen/Snowmass athlete Matt Walker took first in the men’s slopestyle finals at Buttermilk.
Emma Whitman of Sun Peaks, B.C., defended her title for the second year in a row as first-place finisher in the women’s slopestyle finals. The Canadian competitors swept the women’s event this year.
“The jumps on this course are my favorite in the world. I had a great first run,” Walker said. “I am super-stoked to share the podium with great skiers like McEachran and Laker.”
Evan McEachran, 16, from Oakville, Ontario, finished second ($2,500).
Christopher Laker, 20, from Cincinnati, was third ($1,500)
Alex Hackel, a 17-year-old from Reading, Mass., won the best trick award.
The Aspen/Snowmass Freeskiing Open is considered one of the last stepping stones for athletes on their way to competing on the elite level. The men and women who have stood on the Aspen/Snowmass Freeskiing Open podium often move on to become familiar names like current Team USA competitors Torin Yater-Wallace, Joss Christiansen, Gus Kenworthy and Blunck.
Nikki Blackall, 18, of Barrie, Ontario, finished second to Whitman in the women’s slopestyle event.
Another Canadian, Shondar Charbonneau, an 18-year-old from Brockville, Ontario, was third.
The best trick award went to Taylor Lundquist, 20, of Park City.
The annual freeskiing open at Buttermilk attracts top skiers from throughout North American, including many who are in line for spots on the next U.S. Olympic Team.
Many also will compete in the 2015 Winter X Games in Aspen.
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