Colorado trio claims top three qualifying spots in men’s ski halfpipe

Feb 19, 2018; Pyeongchang, South Korea; Aaron Blunck (USA) competes in the men's freestyle skiing halfpipe qualification final during the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games at Phoenix Snow Park. Mandatory Credit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY Sports

Three Colorado athletes, including the reigning world champion, sit atop the standings after qualifying runs in the men’s ski halfpipe competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Aspen’s Alex Ferreira had the top qualifying score through the first round of runs, a 92.60. The 23-year-old opted to play it safe on his second round, knowing his score was good enough to land him in the top 12 to advance to the medal round. Ferreira is competing in his first Olympic Games; he has four Winter X Games medals, two silver and two bronze, to his credit.

Ferreira’s close friend and the youngest medalist in Winter X Games history, Torin Yater-Wallace, 22, posted an 89.60 in his first run — good enough for second place after the first run. That score would hold up as the third-best overall run of the day, edging New Zealand’s Byron Wells by a point. Yater-Wallace, who calls Basalt home, has a FIS World Championships silver medal to go along with his four Winter X Games (two silver, two bronze) and four Winter X Games Europe (three gold, one bronze) medals in the superpipe event.

Aaron Blunck of Crested Butte, the seventh place finisher at the 2014 Sochi Games and 2017 World Championships gold medalist, needed both of his runs to post a qualifying score, but he made the most of run No. 2. Blunck, 21, threw down the top score of the qualifying round on his second run — a 94.40.

The trio of Coloradans will have the final three runs of the medal round, which takes place Thursday (Wednesday night in the U.S.). They will all be keeping a close eye on reigning Olympic gold medalist David Wise, who qualified eighth.

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