When Tristan Feinberg played his first World Cup final last winter at Buttermilk Ski Area, he finally had the proof he was looking for who showed he belonged.
The Roaring Fork Valley has a long and very present history of producing elite halfpipe skiers, and Aspen’s Feinberg has added his name to a list that already includes Alex Ferreira and Cassidy Jarrell.
“I just wanted to show Aspen who I was,” Feinberg said. “It was very rewarding for me. I’m not going to say that I grew up in the shadow of Cassidy and Alex. They all deserve to be where they are. It’s very special for me to be able to play in a field of people that I have watched since I was 8 years old on television.
18-year-old Feinberg has been on the doorstep of that next level for a few years now, and it looks like he’s finally arrived. Earlier this month, he was nominated for the United States Men’s Rookie Halfpipe Team. for the next 2021-22 season, his first foray with the national team.
Feinberg will join a deep and relatively local field of athletes vying for a spot on the 2022 U.S. Olympic team, a position he didn’t expect to occupy just a few years ago.
“It’s crazy to think that maybe I could go to the Olympics,” Feinberg said. “I don’t want to downplay my situation. I’m going to do my best and do whatever I can to make it to the Olympics and be a part of this team. But at the same time, it’s a learning experience for me just to have that experience at the next Olympics.
Feinberg will certainly be a long way from being a part of this squad, given his American competition. With Ferreira, the reigning Olympic silver medalist, and Jarrell, a booming name looking to make their first Olympic team, the men’s A team for next season will include Aaron Blunck of Crested Butte, Birk Irving of Winter Park. , Lyman Currier of Boulder and David Wise of Nevada. , the reigning double Olympic gold medalist, among others.
But Feinberg’s latest competition last season showed he was part of the conversation. On the snow at home during the World Cup and Buttermilk Grand Prix in March – the Olympic team’s first official qualifier – Feinberg qualified for his first World Cup final, eventually finishing 11th in a competition won by Blunck.
He was only seventh among the Americans that day, but just making the final was a big step for the Aspen teenager.
“One of the most important things I gathered when competing in Aspen was that I was comfortable,” said Feinberg. “I worked hard. In my head, I did not participate in this competition saying: “I have to go to the final”. I entered this competition thinking I should ski like I skied in Copper and just have to do my best and everything else will work out.
Feinberg saying he was “comfortable” in Aspen is marked with an asterisk. He had been dealing with a shoulder that had dislocated numerous times starting in the New Year and even made it reappear before the finals in Aspen. This led to surgery on April 1 and a calm spring in terms of training, but he expects to be ready to go this fall.
Like everyone else, Feinberg didn’t have many chances to compete last winter because of the coronavirus pandemic. His first competition was when the Revolution Tour stopped at Buttermilk in late February, finishing 10th, and he took third place in another Rev Tour competition just a week later at Copper Mountain. His third and final competition would end up being the Aspen Grand Prix, the fifth World Cup start of his young career.
Without a doubt, Feinberg’s performance at the Grand Prix probably has a lot to do with his nomination for the national team.
“It definitely opens a lot of doors,” Feinberg said. “It feels good. It’s definitely a step in the right direction. I don’t want this to get to my head too much. It’s really nice to be able to use the resources. I’m just going to try and adopt the same state. spirit that I have always had.
Feinberg spent many weeks training at the US Ski & Snowboard Center of Excellence in Park City, Utah, while recovering from surgery. Among his training partners is Jarrell, 21, who did not compete last winter after injuring his back before the Grand Prix.
Along with Jarrell, who is one of his best friends, Feinberg also admires the 26-year-old Ferreira, who has become one of the best halfpipe skiers in the world in recent years with his 2018 Olympic podium and back to back. Gold medals at the X Games Aspen in 2019 and 2020. Ferreira has competed three times this season, finishing fourth at the world championships in Buttermilk and sixth at the Grand Prix in Aspen. He finished seventh at the Aspen X Games in January in his quest for three bogs.
Feinberg works primarily with Carbondale ski icon Peter Olenick as a coach. Olenick has coached and mentored many aspiring skiers in recent years thanks to his PRO team, including Jarrell.
“You can’t just stop at a halfpipe and have an Olympic race. There are so many things that go into it. It’s a puzzle, ”said Feinberg, who is still looking to learn from his veteran teammates. “I’ve admired these guys since I was a little man. It’s really helpful because I can learn a lot from what they’ve done in their careers and being close to them and knowing them helps me a lot.