Editor’s Note: AVSC freestyle program director Eric Knight shared these thoughts at Alex Ferreira’s Olympic silver medal celebration at the Sundeck last spring upon his return home from Pyeongchang, where he competed in the men’s ski halfpipe alongside fellow AVSC alumnus Torin Yater-Wallace.
As the community celebrates the one-year anniversary of Alex’s silver medal with Alex Ferreira Day, we wanted to put his words into print. In the time since his silver medal, Alex has found time to give back to AVSC in countless ways, from skiing rails in the club’s backyard with kids to racing in this year’s Audi Ajax Cup.
We are grateful for his drive, humility and kindness and can’t wait to see where his career takes him next … especially now that he has an X Games gold medal, too.
About 15 years ago we had three young skiers enter the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club freestyle program.
They shared a strong friendship and a passion for skiing. Not like they loved skiing, but they lived it. After a full day on the hill with AVSC, they would go home and ski in their backyards into the night. They also had a burning desire to improve and progress each day. We called them ATM: Alex, Torin, Mikey. They were connected at the hip and rarely seen apart.
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It was clear from the beginning we had something special. It was like a perfect recipe for success: best friends, extremely supportive families, world-class facilities like X Games parks and pipes, a strong team of high-level older athletes for them to chase through AVSC programs, and world-class coaches to lead them, none of whom were more responsible, impactful and omnipresent as Elana Chase.
It’s funny — I always knew in my heart that Alex would be a champion at the highest level. He always stood out. He was such a polite, mature, fun-loving, thankful, hardworking, talented little kid that was always smiling.
We have a goal at AVSC to instill in our athletes our core values of commitment, teamwork and integrity. In my 20 years at AVSC, I have never seen an athlete who has embodied these core values more than Alex.
For years it has always bothered me when people ask: “Why hasn’t Aspen ever produced an Olympic medalist in skiing?” My response has been: “We’re working on it,” or “We’ve got a few on the way.”
Thanks to Alex, I’ll never have to answer that question again.
Alex will be a hero and an inspiration for years to come and is a reminder to us all that obstacles, adversity and bad luck doesn’t define us; our response to them does.
Hard work pays off! It’s been a joy and an honor to be part of your journey.
Clubhouse Chronicles is a twice-a-month, behind-the-scenes column written by the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club during the winter months. It runs in the Friday Outdoors section.