USA Podium Sweep at Snowmass Halfpipe
David Wise (Reno, Nev.) led a USA podium sweep in the Visa freeski halfpipe at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix to punch his ticket to South Korea for the 2018 Olympics. Local boy Alex Ferreira (Aspen, Colo.) finished second in front of the Snowmass Mountain crowd and Aaron Blunck (Crested Butte, Colo.) was third.
The defending Olympic gold medalist from 2014, Wise put down a massive first run, establishing his dominance with a 95-point score. No one could touch him, though Ferreira came close with a 93-point run on his final run through the pipe. Blunck put down a killer first run with a 91.20 score, but crashed hard on his third run and limped down the course.
“I’m on cloud nine,” said Wise. “Honestly, the level of skiing right now is the highest I’ve ever seen it - halfpipe skiing is insane. The guys who are getting fifth and sixth today would have been on top of the podium two years ago, so that just speaks to the level of skiing. It’s a huge honor to be out here shredding and to be able to sweep the podium with Alex Ferreira and Aaron Blunck is as good as it gets.”
While Wise clinched his qualifying spot for the freeski halfpipe team, both Ferreira and Blunck made objective Olympic criteria with a second podium in an Olympic qualifier. Both will look to lock in their spots at Mammoth Mountain next week, where the official U.S. Olympic Team will be named.
Brita Sigourney (Carmel, Calif.) captured her first Olympic qualifying podium in the women’s halfpipe, taking second place behind Cassie Sharpe of Canada.
“I’m so stoked,” said Sigourney. “I haven’t podium since like 2015, so this came at a crucial time and it feels really good to be back up there.”
The Toyota U.S. Grand Prix freeski events at Snowmass Mountain continue with slopestyle finals on Saturday and a freeski slopestyle Olympic selection event Sunday. The final Olympic qualifying event takes place Jan. 18-21 at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain, where the U.S. Olympic Teams will be named.
Men's and women's freeskiing