Alex Ferreira collected a Winter X Games medal that will stay right at home in Aspen.
The Aspen native superpipe skier — who fell just short of a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team — was all the way back in sixth place in the men’s ski superpipe finals after the first two rounds Friday night.
But the 19-year-old skier put together a dazzling final run at Buttermilk that yielded Winter X bronze.
Defending X Games gold medalist and U.S. Olympian David Wise, of Reno, Nev., won the 2014 gold in ski superpipe with a high score of 92.00.
French skier Kevin Rolland was next at 88.66.
Ferreira’s final-run 85.33 score produced Aspen’s first hometown medal in the Winter X Games this year.
“I fell on my first run. I was super-stressed,” Ferreira said. “Then, I fell on the second run, and I thought, ‘Oh my God.’”
After usually scoring his best on his first run, Ferreira faced a one-run challenge Friday night.
“I decided I was just going to ski, and that’s what I did,” Ferreira said with a brilliant smile.
He said the crowd of his hometown supporters really helped him win a Winter X Games medal.
Ferreira carried the mantle for Aspen after fellow Aspenite Torin Yater-Wallace opted out of the finals to continue to recover from a serious injury suffered earlier in the season and prepare for the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics.
Coming off the broken ribs suffered in training last month, Yater-Wallace was the final qualifier for the finals from the early eliminations Wednesday night.
“After only a week of being back on snow, I decided to give my body a break in order to be ready for Sochi,” said 18-year-old Yater-Wallace, who started a scholarship in his name last year at the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, where he got his competitive start.
“I am disappointed I won’t be competing (in the X Games superpipe final). But this is what my body needs in preparation for Sochi,” said Yater-Wallace, who finished second to David Wise in the 2013 Winter X Games.
“I will be returning to the X Games next year with a plan to win a medal,” said Yater-Wallace, a crowd favorite and acknowledged teen heartthrob.
“Alex winning a medal is like a dream come true,” Yater-Wallace said of his fellow Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club product. “I couldn’t be happier for him.”
Aspen will have a shot at another Winter X medal when Gretchen Bleiler competes in the women’s snowboard superpipe – her final event ever in the Winter X Games. She will retire from competition at the end of the season.