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Alex Ferreira wins first ski halfpipe event of season

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Six months after winning the final World Cup competition of the 2016/17 season, Alex Ferreira is picking up right where he left off.

Ferreira won this season’s first major freeski halfpipe contest, which was held at Cardrona on Friday as part of Winter Games New Zealand and also doubled as a World Cup event. His winning run, which included forward double cork 1260s in both directions, showcased the signature amplitude that has helped turn him into a legitimate contender.

A native of Colorado, Ferreira is one of many skiers who will be vying to make the U.S. Olympic team later this winter. (Qualifying, which got underway last winter, resumes in December.) The U.S. roster for freeski halfpipe is extremely deep, with reigning Olympic gold medalist David Wise, 2017 X Games champion Aaron Blunck, Torin Yater-Wallace, Gus Kenworthy, Taylor Seaton, Lyman Currier and Birk Irving among the other top hopefuls. Only a maximum of four skiers will make the team, either through direct qualification or a discretionary selection.

Of the U.S. skiers listed above, only Ferreira, Blunck and Irving competed in New Zealand. However, many of the top international skiers were in the field, including Canada’s Mike Riddle (the 2014 Olympic silver medalist) and France’s Kevin Rolland (the 2014 Olympic bronze medalist). Rolland ended up finishing second behind Ferreira at Winter Games NZ, and Simon d’Artois of Canada took third. Though Rolland had back-to-back double cork 1260s at the end of his run, he was only able to get in four tricks overall, while others, including Ferreira, were able to squeeze a fifth hit into their runs.

Four Americans in total reached the men’s final. Blunck finished fourth, Hunter Hess placed seventh, and Irving was eighth.

The women’s halfpipe contest was won by Canadian freeskier Cassie Sharpe. Estonia’s Kelly Sildaru landed in second, and France’s Marie Martinod rounded out the podium.

It’s a notable result for Sildaru, as the 15-year-old rising star has been dominating the slopestyle scene in recent years and was already pegged as the Olympic favorite in that event. Although she became the junior world champion in halfpipe back in March, she was relatively untested against top halfpipe skiers until now.

The top American was Annalisa Drew, who finished fourth. Carly Margulies (5th), Maddie Bowman (6th) and Brita Sigourney (10th) also cracked the top ten. Bowman is the reigning Olympic champion on the women’s side.

Men’s Freeski Halfpipe
1. Alex Ferreira (USA), 93.40
2. Kevin Rolland (FRA), 90.20
3. Simon d’Artois (CAN), 88.60
4. Aaron Blunck (USA), 87.20
5. Miguel Porteous (NZL), 86.80

Women’s Freeski Halfpipe
1. Cassie Sharpe (CAN), 91.00
2. Kelly Sildaru (EST), 90.20
3. Marie Martinod (FRA), 84.40
4. Annalisa Drew (USA), 82.80
5. Carly Margulies (USA), 81.00

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MORE: Joss Christensen must battle back from major injury to defend Olympic title

WATCH LIVE: Dew Tour Mountain Championships, 11 a.m. ET

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The stars of Sochi are back for the Dew Tour Mountain Championships in Breckenridge, Colo.

On Thursday, the men’s slopestyle skiers and halfpipe snowboarders go in their semifinals.

The fields include the U.S. trio that swept the ski slopestyle medals at the Olympics — Joss ChristensenGus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper — and Sochi halfpipe silver medalist Ayumu Hirano.

It starts with a preshow at 11 a.m. ET, followed by the competition, all on NBC Sports Live Extra.

WATCH LIVE — Dew Tour Mountain Championships, 11 a.m. ET

Live Extra will have further coverage of finals Friday (11 a.m. ET), Saturday (12:30 p.m. ET) and Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET).

NBC will have live coverage Saturday and Sunday from 1-3 p.m. ET both days.

Devin Logan halfway to Olympic freestyle skiing double

Devin Logan
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Devin Logan is going to Sochi, but she’s not done qualifying for the Olympics.

Logan won the fourth of five Olympic selection events in ski slopestyle, prevailing in Park City, Utah, with a score of 87.40 points. She edged Canadians Dara Howell by .40 and Kaya Turski by .60.

Turski, the 2013 world champion and three-time Winter X Games champion, competed for the first time since tearing an ACL in August, her third such injury.

Logan, 20, is also trying to make the U.S. Olympic Team in ski halfpipe, similar to what Shaun White is attempting in snowboarding.

The fifth and final Olympic selection event in women’s ski slopestyle is Saturday.

Keri Herman and Maggie Voisin are in best position to clinch the final two automatic spots but need to finish in the top three overall Saturday.

Two top-three results are needed for one of three automatic berths on the Olympic Team in ski slopestyle. Here are the Olympic selection standings, only counting those with top-three results.

Women’s Ski Slopestyle — Three automatic Olympic spots
1. Devin Logan — 200 (clinched Olympic berth)
2. Keri Herman — 160
3. Maggie Voisin — 160
4. Darian Stevens — 140
5. Grete Eliassen — 140

Shaun White crashes, clinches Olympic berth