Alex Ferreira started this year’s FIS World Cup season the same way he ended last year’s: standing on the top spot on the podium.
Ferreira, 23, of Aspen, Colorado, won the men’s halfpipe skiing competition Friday at the FIS World Cup in Cardrona, New Zealand. The event is part of the Winter Games NZ. Ferreira won with a top score of 93.4 on his second run of the final. It was more than three points higher than second-place finisher Kevin Rolland of France, the reigning Olympic bronze medalist.
The previous day’s qualifying rounds had been called off due to poor visibility, so the skiers started Friday’s competition with qualifying. Ferreira stood in first place after that round with a score of 92.6. His first run in the final scored 91.8, which would have been enough for the title, but Ferreira went even bigger on his second run and had what judges called the most complete run of the day, according to a story on the FIS website.
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“I’m just super happy to land it,” Ferreira told the site. “I was just going for big air and good clean grabs, just good smooth skiing, something for the spectators.”
Canada’s Simon D’Artois finished in third place with 88.6 points. Three other Americans finished within the top 10, led by 2014 Olympian Aaron Blunck in fourth. Hunter Hess finished seventh, and 2016 Youth Olympian Birk Irving was eighth.
The U.S. women missed the podium but had the next three spots as Olympian Annalisa Drew, Carly Margulies and Maddie Bowman finished 4-5-6. Bowman won the first Olympic gold medal in women’s halfpipe skiing at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. Fellow Olympian Brita Sigourney was 10th.
Ferreira ended last season with a first-place finish at the world cup halfpipe event in Tignes, France, for his first major podium of the season.
The halfpipe skiing world cup schedule now takes a break until December, when it comes to Copper Mountain in Colorado. The next slopestyle skiing world cup is in November in Austria.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.