An Aspen guide to the 2021-22 Winter Olympic season – Aspen Times

Aspen’s Alex Ferreira competes Inside The ladverts’s freeski halfpipe final On the U.S…….


Aspen’s Alex Ferreira competes Inside The ladverts’s freeski halfpipe final On the U.S. Grand Prix and World Cup on Sunday, March 21, 2021, at Buttermilk Ski Space in Aspen. Photograph by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Occasions.

Aspen, you’re starting to look Tons Similar to you should. These pretty leaves are being changed by white mountain primes, those chairlifts will quickly be spinning and with glee winter Shall be upon us as quickly as extra.

And this season Is notably particular As a Outcome of the 4-yr Olympic cycle hits its crescfinisho with the 2022 Winter Video recreations Arising from Feb. 4-20 in Beijing. Wright hereas a world amethod, Aspen, the Roaring Fork Valley and The complete state of Coloradverto will buy into What’s arguably The Most very important celebration Inside the snowboarding and snowboarding world, wright here everyphysique with a tv set will Be In a place to Take in those sports activities That are commonplace right here Inside the mountains.

So, to get factors started, right here’s an Aspenite’s information to the Olympic season, from what native athletes might probably recurrent the purple, white and blue, to the Coloradverto events Which will assist decide who will get to chase the Olympic glory.

Buckle up. The subsequent few months Shall be Full of pleasure Inside the aggressive world of snowboarding and snowboarding.

Aspen’s Alex Ferreira awaits his rating By way of The ladverts’s freeski halfpipe final On the U.S. Grand Prix and World Cup on Sunday, March 21, 2021, at Buttermilk Ski Space in Aspen. Photograph by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Occasions.

Alex Ferreira returns for extra

When it Includes Aspen athletes, it starts with Alex Ferreira. The 27-yr-previous halfpipe skier is the reigning Olympic silver medaitemizing, having accomplished second to Nevadverta’s David Sensible in his one and solely look On the Video recreations 4 yrs in the past in South Korea. Ferreira Is furtherly a two-time X Video recreations Aspen gprevious medaitemizing (2019, 2020) and is undoubtedly In all probability The biggest On the earth when he’s on prime of his recreation.

So, can he get again to the Olympics in 2022 and go For An further medal? Little question, However the rivals for those coveted U.S. group spots Shall be fierce in halfpipe snowboarding. In The primary Olympic qualifier, held at Aspen’s personal Buttermilk Ski Space again in March, Ferreira accomplished sixth general and 4th amongst People, behind Crested Butte’s Aaron Blunck, Sensible and Winter Park’s Birk Irving. He’s in A great place Getting into this winter, however Might want To primarytain it up over the reprimarying qualifiers.

Hailey Swirbul poses for A photograph on Dec. 27, 2019, in Aspen. Swirbul Is An environment nice candidate to be A primary-time Olympic qualifier for cross-nation snowboarding in 2022. (Photograph by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Occasions)

Hailey Swirbul headverts to her first Olympics

The shutst factor to an Olympic lock this winter Must be Hailey Swirbul. The 23-yr-previous is a Basalt Highschool gradvertuate and has Discover your self to be Definitely one of many U.S. cross-nation ski group’s prime up-and-coming expertise. This will solely be her second season as An factor of The distinguished A group for the U.S., however she’s alreadverty professionalven she beprolongeds.

She landed her first profession World Cup podium final December and is poised So as to advertd to it this winter. Swirbul furtherly was chosen to recurrent the People On the world championships final season, And tright here is little doubt she’ll get to do The identical On the Beijing Olympics come February. Only three women have been identifyd to the U.S.’s A group this winter, An inventory That options Olympic gprevious medaitemizing Jessie Diggins, Rosie Brennan and Swirbul. That’s An indication from the U.S. coaches that her Olympic spot is written in Sharpie.

Basalt’s Hanna Faulhaber trains Inside The women’s freeski halfpipe qualifier warmth-ups of the Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix and World Cup on Friday, March 19, 2021, at Buttermilk Ski Space in Aspen. Photograph by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Occasions.

Hanna Faulhaber Is in a place to shine

Collectively with Swirbul, Hanna Faulhaber appears primed to make her first Olympic group. The halfpipe skier, who occurs to be a current Basalt Highschool scholar Very Similar to Swirbul Was, has skyrocketed up the world rankings. The 17-yr-previous hadvert a breakthrough efficiency when she accomplished 4th On the world championships final March in Aspen and is one of solely six women on the U.S.’s freeski professional halfpipe group for this upcoming season.

The draw again to her Olympic goals is that she crashed all through teaching aheadvert of The primary Olympic qualifier final march in Aspen and Did not compete, which means she’s behind the curve in that regard. Veterans Brita Sigourney and Devin Logan Appear to be Olympic group locks, however The Reprimaryder of the U.S. contingent is broad open. As prolonged as she stays healthful, one should like Faulhaber’s possibilities.

Aspen’s Tristan Feinberg competes Inside The ladverts’s freeski halfpipe final On the U.S. Grand Prix and World Cup on Sunday, March 21, 2021, at Buttermilk Ski Space in Aspen. Photograph by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Occasions.

Athletes who might shock

Let’s name Ferreira, Swirbul and Faulhaber locks, A minimal of for a second. Who else might shock and find their method onto the U.S. Olympic group from the valley? It’s worth Sustaining a tally of The Reprimaryder of our halfpipe skiers, notably professional group member Cassidy Jarrell and rookie group member Tristan Feinberg. I’d say each are prolongedshots contemplating the insane quantity of depth the U.S. has in halfpipe snowboarding These days, However they’ll each be knocking on the door. Jarrell missed The primary Olympic qualifier As a Outcome of of damage, while Feinberg — solely 18 — was a surprising finals qualifier in that rivals in Aspen. He accomplished seventh Among The Many people at Buttermilk, which A minimal of has him Inside The combination Getting into this winter.

One other identify worth watching is Aspen’s personal Bridger Gile in alpine snowboarding. The 22-yr-previous is on the U.S. B group and fapurple properly at U.S. nationals right here in Aspen again in April. He has pretty A pair of World Cup starts beneath his belt, together with this season’s opener in Soelden, however hasn’t but contacted a second run. He’ll professionalbably Need to finish Barely stronger in races over the subsequent two months to make that Olympic group, However it’s very a lot Inside the playing cards for him.

Aspen native alpine skier Bridger Gile turns round a gate By way of the second run of the U.S. Alpine Males’s Huge Slalom Championships at Aspen Highlands on Tuesday, April 6, 2021. Gile accomplished in third place. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Occasions)

Not pretty Aspen, however we declare them

Thanks Largely to the unimaginable teaching out tright here through the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Membership, Tright here are A lot of athletes who Aren’t valley natives however have educated through AVSC And will probably recurrent On the Olympics this winter. At The very Greater of that itemizing is Chris Corning, Definitely one of many world’s biggest big air and slopestyle snowboarders. Nonetheless solely 22, Corning madverte the 2018 Olympic group, ending 4th in big air and Seventeenth in slopestyle. He was a disappointing Sixteenth Inside the Olympic slopestyle qualifier in Aspen final March, however was still fifth amongst People. He’s not a lock, not with rising stars like Dusty Henricksen and Judd Henkes Making an try to snag a spot — let’s assume somephysique like Red Gerard is a guarantee — however Corning has enough expertise and expertise to make a push for the U.S. group as quickly as extra.

Coloradverto’s Chris Corning competes Inside The ladverts’s snowboard slopestyle qualifier of the U.S. Grand Prix and World Cup on Friday, March 19, 2021, at Buttermilk Ski Space in Aspen. Photograph by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Occasions.

Completely differents with AVSC ties embrace snowboarders Jake Canter and Jake Pates, alpine skiers Cooper Cornelius and Isabella Wright, and snowboardcross’s Hagen Kearney. He gained’t be on the U.S. Olympic group, however former AVSC athlete Jon Sallinen — he, like so many, works with valley legfinish Peter Olenick These days — might very properly recurrent his native nation of Finland On the 2022 Olympics. He competes in each halfpipe and slopestyle snowboarding.

Who Isn’t going to China?

As nice As a Outcome of It is to guess who will recurrent the Roaring Fork Valley On the Olympics, it’s worth Mentioning who Will not. Last spring, we bid advertieu to a cross-nation snowboarding legfinish in Simi Hamilton. The Aspen native hung it up after three Olympic appears, six world championships and a decadverte on the U.S. ski group. He’s retipurple house to the valley aprolongedside Collectively with his spouse, fellow U.S. Olympian and standout Sophie Caldproperly Hamilton, And may probably be found competing in A lot of the native ski races this winter.

Former U.S. cross-nation skiers Simi Hamilton and Sophie Caldproperly Hamilton on Monday, April 12, 2021, shut to the AVSC Membershiphouse in Aspen. Photograph by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Occasions.

Completely different 2018 Olympians from The world who we gained’t see in China embrace cross-nation skier Noah Hoffman, alpine skier Wiley Maple and halfpipe skier Torin Yater-Wallace. Hoffman and Maple have since retipurple, while Yater-Wallace dedicates himself to the film world solely These days. New Citadel’s Alice McKennis, who was oh-so-Near that 2018 dpersonalhill podium in South Korea, furtherly retipurple again Inside the spring, saying her goodbyes with a final lap at Aspen Highlands all through U.S. nationals.

About those Olympic qualifiers

So, how does one go about qualifying for the Olympics, anymethod? So far as disciplines like alpine and cross-nation snowboarding, it’s principally about scoring World Cup factors. Tright here aren’t any true qualifiers, so doing properly Inside the common races ought to get you on the Olympic group. A superstar like Mikaela Shiffrin professionalbably wouldn’t have To the contact her skis between now and February to be identifyd to the group for Beijing, however good luck primarytaining her out of the starting gate.

The freeskiers and snowboarders — i.e., halfpipe, slopestyle And giant air — do have particular qualifiers, which giantly make up the U.S. Grand Prix collection. In the chaos of final season and the pandemic, Aspen stepped in to host The primary qualifier in March at Buttermilk, Every week after furtherly internet hosting the world championships, which was not a U.S. qualifier. The qualifiers resume this season with the Copper Grand Prix (Dec. 8-11), Dew Tour at Copper (Dec. 16-19) and the Mammoth Grand Prix (Jan. 6-8). Tright here May even be a one-off big air contest Dec. 2-4 in Sgroupboat Springs.

Shaun White competes Inside The ladverts’s snowboard halfpipe final of the U.S. Grand Prix and World Cup on Sunday, March 21, 2021, at Buttermilk Ski Space in Aspen, Colo. Photograph by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Occasions.

The key On the qualifiers is to make podiums and beat your American groupmates. In current times, the U.S. coaches have Almost caught to the Leadverts to naming the Olympic groups, so it’s actually Inside the athletes’ palms. One other qualifier of some type in mid-January can’t be dominated out, however U.S. ski and snowboard hasn’t but introduced any plans So as to advertd any further contests.

So, what about X Video recreations?

Sure, X Video recreations is scheduled to make its annul trek to Aspen’s Buttermilk Ski Space this winter. ESPN’s madverte-for-Television spectacle is scheduled for Jan. 21-23. Considerably unceremoniously, X Video recreations “celebrated” its Twentieth anniversary in Aspen final winter with out followers As a Outcome of of pandemic. This January’s event marks No. 21 at Buttermilk, and followers will even Be In a place to attfinish this yr after not being allowed in final winter As a Outcome of of pandemic.

X Video recreations rookie Dusty Henricksen hpreviouss up his gprevious medal after worthwhile men’s snowboard slopestyle at Buttermilk on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Occasions)

Wright hereas X Video recreations reprimarys A few of The favopurple and fascinating contests for athletes, it’s not an Olympic qualifier. Truly, most nations Might have identifyd their Olympic squadverts earlier than then and if somefactor, X Video recreations Shall be a final tune-up earlier than athletes headvert to China. That said, don’t anticipate it to be a glorified apply session, as X Video recreations rivalss all through Olympic yrs Could be A few of Definitely one of the biggest, with athletes typinamey bringing new tips to The world. Winning gprevious at both X Video recreations or the Olympics More typinamey than not means being the innovator and doing one factor that’s by no means been carried out earlier than, and Buttermilk Shall be a showcase for simply that come January.