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Local freestyle skier Hanna Faulhaber considers it an ‘honor’ to return to the X Games

Hanna Faulhaber (second from left) waves at a press conference
Kaya Williams
Aspen Public Radio
Hanna Faulhaber (second from left) waves at a press conference with fellow X Games athletes Scotty James, Zeb Powell, Megan Oldham and Alex Hall at Buttermilk Mountain on Jan. 26, 2023.

Basalt freestyle skier Hanna Faulhaber may have a 2022 X Games bronze medal and a 6th place finish at the 2022 Beijing Olympics under her belt, but that doesn’t mean the 18-year-old is totally adjusted to the reality of participating in what she considers her “dream competition.”

Faulhaber said it’s still hard to put words to her feelings one year after her X Games debut and just two days before her second go-around.

She’ll be competing in the women’s ski superpipe for the 2023 X Games on Saturday night from 5 to 6 p.m.

“I still haven't quite wrapped my brain around being here and actually competing,” Faulhaber said at a press conference with several other athletes at Buttermilk on Thursday.

Faulhaber considers it an “honor” just to compete in the games she’s been watching since she was a pint-sized spectator in a purple onesie staring up at the venue from the crowd. As one of the youngest competitors in the field, she’ll be skiing alongside some more seasoned athletes who she said have been both stars and sibling figures in her eyes.

“They're definitely my older sisters and brothers and it's just so great to have that experience after absolutely fangirling over them,” she said.

Faulhaber is one of eight athletes on the women’s ski superpipe roster for Saturday night in a lineup that also includes the most decorated female skier in X Games history Kelly Sildaru and two-time Olympic gold medalist Eileen Gu.

“Last year to get the medal was just kind of a cherry on top, and hopefully we're able to do that again, but even if I get 8th place, I'm just gonna walk away with the biggest smile on my face,” Faulhaber said.

Another local freestyle skier, 28-year-old Alex Ferreira, is slated to compete in the men’s ski superpipe on Sunday night at 6:30 p.m.

All events are free to attend; ESPN and ABC will also broadcast programming on TV, and livestreams will be available on YouTube and Twitch.

Kaya Williams is the Edlis Neeson Arts and Culture Reporter at Aspen Public Radio, covering the vibrant creative and cultural scene in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley. She studied journalism and history at Boston University, where she also worked for WBUR, WGBH, The Boston Globe and her beloved college newspaper, The Daily Free Press. Williams joins the team after a stint at The Aspen Times, where she reported on Snowmass Village, education, mental health, food, the ski industry, arts and culture and other general assignment stories.