17-year-old Maggie Voisin leads youth movement into women’s slopestyle

Voisin overcomes injuries in search of Dew Tour hardware

It had been a dream season. After grabbing a podium spot in her Dew Tour debut, the 15-year-old had won silver in her first X Games slopestyle with a calm switch 1080 that screamed veteran rather than teenage rookie. She had even been invited to take the last spot on the U.S.'s 2014 Olympic slopestyle squad.

That dream unraveled in a split second. Training on the Sochi course just days before the first-ever Olympic slopestyle, Voisin caught an edge on a rail, slammed into the metal, and broke her ankle—ending her medal bid before Opening Ceremonies.

Since, the Whitefish, Montana native has struggled to stay healthy, coming back from the ankle injury just to be felled by an ACL tear the following season.

Finally healthy and coming off a full season on snow, Voisin caught up with us to discuss Montana off seasons, slopestyle's youth movement, and the sport's mental tug-of-war.

"HONESTLY, I'M THANKFUL THAT I'VE LEARNED AT A YOUNG AGE HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF"

You're fresh off training camp at the Stubai Glacier with Team USA. What else were you up to this offseason?
I kind of decided I wanted to take most of my summer off. I returned to snow last year after my ACL injury and I got right back into it, so it was, "go, go, go." By the end of the season I just wanted to spend my time in Montana training a little, but spending time at home regrouping and rejuvenating and getting ready for this season. Nothing crazy.

You do live in Montana, so what does "nothing crazy" really mean?
I graduated high school this year, so I spent a lot of time with my friends. We have Whitefish Lake so I spend a lot of time on the lake and I was able to do a lot this summer that I wasn't allowed to do last summer because of my knee. A lot of wake surfing.

Plus, I live 30-40 minutes from Glacier National Park, so lots of hiking, spending time outdoors, and rafting. My dad is way into that.

How did time away from the snow get you stoked for snow this year?
I think it's important to take a step back from skiing and reevaluate what you need mentally and physically to prepare for the season. Going home is kind of my way of doing that.

You had an unfortunate injury at the Olympics three years ago, and then this ACL injury. Mentally, how do you get yourself back in the game?
I mean, being young, I realize that I still have so much potential. It's definitely been a learning curve and I definitely realize that everyone throughout their careers has ups and downs.

Honestly, I'm thankful that I've learned at a young age how important it is to take care of yourself and realize that when you're hurting, it's okay to take a step back. I think my injuries have made me that much more driven.

You're young, but not even close to the youngest on the scene this year. How does that feel to be surrounded by all this young talent?
It's super exciting to see. Thinking about those younger girls and how they feel, I can relate like that.

More than anything, it's exciting to see how many of these young girls like Kelly [Sildaru] are so talented and getting into it. The sport is growing, which, for females, is huge.

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Maggie making her way down the 2014 Dew Tour Slopestyle course. Photo: Crosland (click to enlarge)

Between the course changes and formatting changes, the Dew Tour switched things up this year. What was your initial reaction?
It's crazy. I heard all of these rumors that [Dew Tour] wasn't happening, that things were changing. So, to see something different happen with skiing—when we were headed down this one direction—to see an event doing something unique is going to be interesting.

It's going to be trial and error, but it's cool to see the changes in the course. The great part about our sport is that it's not defined in one specific way. There are so many ways to do it.

You've had good results with the standard formula over the last few years, are you worried about changes?
It's going to be interesting for everyone. I definitely realize that in general, I need to up my rail game. I've always needed to do that, but with this format rails are really going to be looked at.

It's a rail jam format, so there's no jumps in these [jib] runs. It's going to push me in a good direction to make my normal slopestyle run more technical.

It's the first big comp of the year, what's going through your head?
First event of the year, you have those nerves, those jitters. Obviously, being the first event, I want to do well, but I try and stay calm and not get too excited. I try and focus on the task ahead of me and remember I do this because I love it.