X Games Aspen 2020 preview: Ferreira goes for repeat in men’s halfpipe skiing
If you’re looking for an Aspen local to watch this week at X Games, it’ll be in halfpipe skiing. Yeah, we’re talking about Alex Ferreira, who is back to defend his crown in the superpipe. But before we get to Sunday’s finale, there are some intense competitions set to go down in big air and slopestyle. Here’s what to look for in the men’s skiing competitions at X Games Aspen 2020:
Finals: Friday, 8:35 p.m.
2019 podium: Birk Ruud (gold), Alex Beaulieu-Marchand (silver), James Woods (bronze)
Norway’s Birk Ruud only has two X Games medals, but they are both golden. He won last year in Aspen and also won Norway’s big air competition in 2018 in his native land. Only 19, he’s certainly becoming a major player in the discipline and should be among the frontrunners again this week in Aspen.
Canada’s Alex Beaulieu-Marchand, who goes by ABM, is primed for a breakthrough. He won Aspen silver in both big air and slopestyle last winter and could very well get that first gold at Buttermilk on Friday.
Of course, the main name to know is Sweden’s Henrik Harlaut, who has six X Games gold medals (four in Aspen, two in Norway), five coming in big air. He’s the best big air skier on the planet despite a disappointing sixth-place finish in Aspen last year. Don’t be surprised to see him return to the top of the podium this week.
Finals: Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
2019 podium: Alex Hall (gold), Alex Beaulieu-Marchand (silver), Ferdinand Dahl (bronze)
Utah’s Alex Hall is coming off a monster season, winning slopestyle gold in Aspen last winter as well as big air gold in Norway. The 21-year-old from Park City will be a contender in both contests this week at Buttermilk.
ABM is back trying to finish what he came so close to accomplishing last season, and Norway’s Ferdinand Dahl looks to improve on last year’s bronze, which remains his first and only X Games medal. It’s a stacked competition that also includes mainstays such as Oystein Braaten, Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper, all proven athletes.
Finals: Sunday, 7 p.m.
2019 podium: Alex Ferreira (gold), David Wise (silver), Nico Porteous (bronze)
Last year’s X Games Aspen podium was the same as in the 2018 Winter Olympics, although this time it was Aspen’s own Ferreira topping Nevada’s David Wise. Ferreira’s gold last winter made him the first X Games champion from Aspen since Gretchen Bleiler and Peter Olenick both won in 2010.
So, can Ferreira repeat? It’ll be tough, as Wise, a four-time X Games Aspen champ and two-time Olympic gold medalist always has something up his sleeve. Crested Butte’s Aaron Blunck, the two-time reigning world champion who won X Games Aspen gold in 2017, shouldn’t be counted out. New Zealand’s Nico Porteous is only 18, but is a rising star with that Olympic bronze from two seasons ago.
Aspen’s Cassidy Jarrell remained an alternate for the event as of Tuesday night.
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Those opting for the spring, like Aspen and Basalt, will begin football practice Feb. 25 and start playing games March 11.