The Winter Olympics is Colorado’s bread and butter, with some of the best powder and ice in the world to train for the international stage. In the spirit of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, we’re taking a look at some of our state’s bright and promising athletes. From our very own Southwest Colorado locals to the state’s up-and-coming freshest faces, here are several Colorado Olympains to watch out for this year.
Lucas Foster from Telluride (Snowboarding)
Telluride native Lucas Foster is competing this year as a part of the U.S. Olympic Snowboard Team, participating in the Snowboard Pro Halfpipe event. The 22-year-old grew up riding slopestyle, but transitioned into halfpipe more recently with patience and dedication. Having finished 3rd in the NorAm cup and fifth in a world cup, this is the first time the young newcomer will be riding in an international championship. In his spare time, he loves to cook and coaches skateboarding as well.
Kai Owens from Vail (Freestyle skiing)
Seventeen-year-old mogul skier Kai Owens had quite a remarkable journey back to Beijing. Adopted by a Colorado couple after being left orphaned in Beijing at 16 months old, she’s returning as an Olympian after becoming the youngest American to win a NorAm moguls competition and moguls rookie of the year at the World Cup awards. “My parents have done an incredible job of making sure that we know we’re well loved. I think it will just be really cool to go back there,” Owens told Associated Press before qualifications.
As of now, Owens has finished 10th in women’s moguls.
Birk Irving from Winter Park (Freestyle skiing)
Birk Irving, born in Englewood and now residing in Winter Park, previously won gold at the 2016 Youth Olympics when he was just 16 years old. Now competing in his first adult Olympics, he’s slated in the Freeski Halfpipe event starting February 17th. Irving descends from a family with a legacy of love for snow: his father works for ski patrol, his mother is a former alpine racing coach, and his sister also competes in halfpipe and slopestyle.
Nicole Hensley from Lakewood (Hockey)
Team USA’s beloved Women’s Ice Hockey team is facing off Team Canada once again for the gold on the 17th, and Lakewood local Nicole Hensley is their fearsome goalie. Born in Littleton, Hensley has been on the ice since she was seven years old, and is now gunning for her second Olympic Gold.
Alex Ferreira from Aspen (Freestyle skiing)
Pyeongchang Olympic silver medalist Alex Ferreira is a member of both the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club and Ski & Snowboard Club in Vail. A rare skiing talent, Ferreira recently won back-to-back events at Copper Mountain, and is ready to ski the halfpipe on the 17th.
Hanna Faulhaber from Basalt (Freestyle skiing)
Making her Olympic debut this year, 17-year-old Hanna Faulhaber was originally inspired to ski the Halfpipe after growing up watching the X Games in her hometown. The young Coloradan earned her first major podium by placing third at the Dew Tour recently. Catch her qualifying run on the 17th!