Alex Ferreira holds up his gold medal at the foot of the superpipe after the Men’s X Games Ski Halfpipe Finals on Sunday January 26, 2020.
Kelsey Brunner/Aspen Times file

After winning the X Games Aspen in back-to-back years in 2019 and 2020, injuries became a burden for Aspen’s Alex Ferreira. The homegrown halfpipe skier still did enough to make last year’s Olympic team by winning bronze in Beijing, but it was agony.

“For the first time in a long time I feel healthy again. I’m going to the X Games healthy, which makes me very happy,” he said ahead of this year’s contest at the Buttermilk Ski Area. “X Games is our Super Bowl and I’m really looking forward to being healthy and able to play my best. The skiing was fantastic. I finally feel like skiing for me and I’m loving it more and more and I ski well which makes me super excited.”

Two years ago he had surgery to fix some nerves in his neck. Last season he struggled with a bad ankle sprain and a bruised knee. He skipped X Games Aspen 2022 to recuperate ahead of the Olympics, a difficult decision for someone who views his hometown event as the pinnacle of the sport.

Now he’s healthy and ready for Sunday night’s men’s halfpipe ski finals to wrap up this year’s X Games Aspen.

“It’s just nice to wake up every day and be able to get out of bed to start with. Being able to ski at my highest level is absolutely icing on the cake,” said Ferreira. “The Olympic Games were spectacular. I’m so thankful to walk away healthy and walk away with another medal. For me, bronze was gold considering I wasn’t sure I would even be able to drive considering the injury I had, so I’m very grateful for that. My summer was great.”

Ferreira, who also won Olympic silver in 2018, has competed three times this season so far. He finished fourth in both the Copper Grand Prix and the first of two World Cup competitions in Calgary last weekend. But after missing the podium twice, he finally broke through and won the second World Cup competition in Calgary on January 21, his first World Cup win since the 2021 Copper Grand Prix.

“Fourth place is a brutal position. I haven’t been there much in my career and now I know how it feels. And that’s enough for me,” he said. “It’s super good to be on top of the podium. It’s nice to ski the way I want to ski. It just flowed.”

Ferreira, 28, feels better than ever. He also feels he still has a lot to bring to the sport and plans to be among the top athletes in halfpipe skiing for as long as possible. He has already secured a place in the US national team roster for the World Cup later this winter.

But first he returns to the X Games – an event he has never had enough of.

“I was talking to the father of an old friend of mine and he said, ‘I think you’re doing better Alex.’ And I think I’m getting better too, and I think that’s what keeps the motivation and the spark going,” Ferreira said. “The novelty has certainly not worn off. Maybe the nerves have died down a bit, or at least now I understand how it all works, which is great. But the novelty definitely hasn’t worn off. I’m looking forward to the competition. Aspen is my hometown. X Games is our Super Bowl of skiing. It’s just so cool to do it in front of my hometown and my friends and family and give it my all.”

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