Aspen Athletes Heading to the 2018 Winter Olympics
The Aspen area is proudly sending six local athletes to this year’s Winter Olympics. The 2018 Winter Olympics kick off Friday, February 9 in PyeongChang, South Korea. Halfpipe skiers Torin Yater-Wallace and Alex Ferreira, alpine skiers Wiley Maple and Alice McKennis, and cross-country skiers Simi Hamilton and Noah Hoffman will represent the United States at the Winter Olympic Games this month. Find out more about the athletes and how to follow their ride to the Winter Olympics XXIII below:
Halfpipe skier and Basalt native Torin Yater-Wallace first received recognition with a surprising silver medal win at the 2011 Winter X Games Aspen at the young age of 15. Since then he has gained five more X Games medals and participated in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Make sure to follow this young veteran’s journey on Instagram- @torinyw.
Chances are you’ve heard Alex Ferreira’s name recently as his career has been on fire this year! Ferreira been the most consistent pipe skier so far in 2017-18. He won both the season's first World Cup in Cardrona, New Zealand, and Dew Tour Breckenridge, and he has a pair of second places at Grand Prix comps. He recently won the silver medal in Men’s Ski SuperPipe at the X Games Aspen last month and shared the podium next to his longtime friend Torin-Yater Wallace. When asked about his first ever Olympic bid Ferreira replied, “I am honored to represent our beautiful town on the world’s biggest stage and even more elated to represent our beautiful nation. Go USA!” @alex_ferreira3
Aspen native Wiley Maple has fought hard for his spot at this year’s Winter Olympics. From a recent post on social media Maple told followers, “A year ago I was 11 months out of my fourth knee surgery, and that surgery, just like the previous three, had in my mind failed utterly. I was uncertain if I’d really ever be able to run, jump, dance play or ski again, let alone compete with the best in the world. At 11 months there was a turn, I forced myself to start using my body the way it evolved to be used -running- after a month there was a glimmer of light returning to my life... I was moving again, laughing again, living again! Then my back went out. I spent a month and a half in the most compete, constant, electric pain I have ever experienced trying to avoid my third back surgery. With no change, surgery was inevitable... a couple weeks later I was told I would not be named to the US Ski Team again. It’s been a hell of ride a ride so far, interested to see what happens next. Thanks to my parents, sister, family and second family @the_freakstagram Thank you! And thank you ALL so much for the support!” Wiley has earned three finishes in the top 30 this season, helping him achieve a spot on Team USA this year. Make sure to check out his Instagram for Olympic updates: @wcmaple
Alpine ski racer Alice McKennis grew up skiing Sunlight Mountain Resort. McKennis made her first Winter Olympics appearance in 2010, and unfortunately did not qualify for the 2014 Sochi Olympics due to an injury. Fighting back harder than ever this year, McKennis earned four finishes in the top 20 on the World Cup tour winning her a spot on the 2018 Olympic Team. A recent post on her Instagram states, “When I took this photo last year in Pyeongchang I figured it would be my last time in the finish area. I assumed my career was finished and that it was time to move on even though I knew deep down I still had a lot of fight left and even more potential. I was given another chance this season, and another chance to return to this exact finish area where I hope to reach some of my lifelong dreams and goals! Long story short I am so excited and overwhelmed to be named to the 2018 Olympic team! Its been a long journey since my first Olympics in 2010, a journey filled with broken bones, surgeries, victories, non-victories, and so many memorable and wonderful moments. Thanks to all that have supported me along the way and cheered me on no matter what.” Follow Alice and her journey to PyeongChang here.
This will be Aspen native Simi Hamilton’s third time competing in the Winter Olympics. Simi Hamilton is a two-time winter Olympian and has strong Aspen roots as his grandfather is a former president of the Aspen Skiing Company. This Colorado grown athlete is more than a US Ski Team athlete, he’s also a mountain biker, rock climber, and surfer. Keep track of Hamilton’s success here.
Aspen native Noah Hoffman is a cross country skier and 2014 Olympian. Hoffman credits his success to Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club, an organization that all of the above athletes joined during their adolescence. He is considered the country’s top distance Nordic skiers at just 28 years old. Follow Hoffman’s journey on Instagram: @hoffnoah
Photo credit: Images 1-3 Aspen Skiing Company, 4 alicemckennis.com, 5-6 usskiandsnowboard.org.