Olympic silver medalist Alex Ferreira came into this year’s Winter X Games with four medals in six appearances competing in men’s superpipe skiing, but he’d never left with gold.
That changed on Thursday night in Aspen, Colorado – Ferreira’s hometown.
Ferreira commanded the top spot from the very first run. Opening with a score of 90.33, he went into his third and final run guaranteed of getting at least a silver medal with only two-time Olympic gold medalist David Wise left to ski. Ferreira ended up besting his own score with a run that included a right side double cork 1260, left side double cork 1080, switch 720 and left double cork 1260, increasing his amplitude over his first run and scoring a 92.66.
He ended up needing it.
Wise, who had trouble with the landing on one of his double cork 1080s on both his first two runs, finally put down a clean and solid run with three doubles spinning in three different directions. He scored a 90.33 to win the silver medal, while 17-year-old Nico Porteous from New Zealand finished with 89.00 points for the bronze medal.
Ferreira and Wise highlighted a big first night at the X Games for Team USA athletes.
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In the women's big air snowboarding competition, two-time Olympic slopestyle champion and 2018 Olympic big air silver medalist Jamie Anderson ended her night with a bronze medal but also a nasty fall on her last run. Anderson was already the most decorated woman in Winter X Games history.
The field was missing such notables as 2018 champion Anna Gasser of Austria and U.S. Olympian Julia Marino. There were just seven riders, and for most of the jam session — in which riders have to spin at least once to the left and once to the right with the best scores counting — it was Anderson and Canada’s Laurie Blouin, an X Games rookie, jockeying for the top spot.
A 15-time X Games medalist coming into this year, Anderson was looking for her first gold in big air. She hit a cab double 900 and two frontside 720s on her first three runs and trailed Blouin by 10 points going into her fourth run. Anderson attempted a frontside 1080 but went down hard, smacking her face off the snow on the landing. After getting attention from the medical team she walked off on her own holding a cloth to her face, but that was the end of her night.
She remained in silver-medal position until New Zealand’s Zoi Sadowski-Synnott took over second on her third and final run.
Blouin and Sadowski-Synnott both posted final scores of 77.00, while Anderson scored 67.00.
U.S. Olympian Hailey Langland started the competition but dropped out after one run.
Women’s superpipe skiing was also held on Thursday. Two-time Olympians Brita Sigourney, who won the Olympic bronze medal in halfpipe in 2018, finished fourth, while 2014 Olympic halfpipe champion Maddie Bowman was fifth.
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.