Before Alex Ferreira threw down a 1440 in the superpipe to win his second straight X Games Aspen gold medal last month, he spent hours training on the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club’s trampoline. And Chace Maytham had a front-row seat to the whole thing.
“I watched him do that run for five months straight before X Games, just preparing,” Maytham said Wednesday. “I saw how focused and dedicated he was to learning that trick and putting together one of the best pipe runs ever done. It really rubbed off on me how hard you have to work to learn those huge tricks.”
Maytham is trying to follow in Ferreira’s footsteps. A 2019 graduate of Basalt High School where he starred as a football player, the 18-year-old Maytham decided to put his full attention toward halfpipe skiing this year in order to chase down his lifelong dream of competing at X Games.
He’s trained most of his life with AVSC, but never had the time to fully commit to skiing until after he graduated from Basalt.
“Being a multi-sport athlete, it’s always been tough for him to really give skiing the focus that he wants to,” said Greg Ruppel, AVSC’s head park and pipe coach. “That worked out really nice for him this fall getting to hang around Alex and do a lot of trampolining, some workouts with him, and just kind of pick up Alex’s mindset and his approach to competition, because I think that’s probably one of the most valuable things Alex has to really teach a newer athlete like Chace.”
Ferreira, the 25-year-old Aspen native and former AVSC athlete who won Olympic silver in 2018, lives near Aspen Highlands and often trains down the street at the AVSC clubhouse.
It was there he befriended Maytham and decided to take him under his wing, which was a big boost for the former Longhorn. The two spent hours training alongside each other in the fall and both happen to be taking classes at Colorado Mountain College.
“He’s been fantastic. He always asks me how a contest went or I’d send him a video of my run and he’d critique it in a different way a coach can do, because it’s coming from another athlete,” Maytham said of Ferreira. “I’m young and I still have a lot to go, but I still feel like I have a lot to catch up on and that’s why I wanted to take this year and really dedicate myself.”
Maytham will compete Saturday in the Aspen Snowmass Freeskiing Open, a Nor-Am Cup event that could pave the way for future starts in World Cups, if not even bigger events such as X Games. The contest is held on the X Games venue at Buttermilk Ski Area.
This will be Maytham’s fourth time competing in the freeski open, his best finish coming last year when he was 12th in the halfpipe. He has a handful of other Nor-Am Cup starts, including earlier this winter at Copper Mountain, but is still chasing that breakthrough performance.
He said having so much more time to train this winter has made this year’s freeski open at Buttermilk feel more promising in regards to making finals or even getting on the podium.
“I’ve never been on the podium here and this year I feel I actually have a good shot,” Maytham said. “Now that I have so much more time to ski and train and really dedicate myself, it’s become my life. I wouldn’t say I was so committed when I was younger, but realizing now this is it, I kind of left all my friends, in a way.”
Maytham isn’t quite doing 14s like Ferreira, but did say he’s close to adding a double-cork 1260 to his arsenal, a trick he plans to have competition-ready by the end of the season. Between Saturday’s freeski open in Aspen and another Nor-Am competition in Canada next week, this is an important time frame for Maytham to keep his skiing dreams alive for next season.
If it all falls into place, Maytham has hopes of getting his first World Cup start next fall in New Zealand. Of course, like any local skier, the ultimate dream would be making it to X Games, a feat Maytham sees as possible over the coming years. He’s come so far in only a few months this season that he’s optimistic that trend will continue into the winters ahead.
“Right when I graduated I knew I wanted to pursue skiing and pursue it more professionally than what I’d done,” Maytham said. “Before I can even remember, my dream was I wanted to be in X Games. I had the opportunity to go to a university and do that, but I was really, ‘This is my shot, my one shot.’ I would rather put my full effort into skiing, because growing up I never really had a full ski schedule.”
The men’s ski superpipe qualifier for the Aspen Snowmass Freeskiing Open is scheduled to start at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, with finals slated to follow directly after.
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