MISSOULA – The Winter Olympics start in South Korea in 40 days. A few Montanans will hope to make the trip. One took some time away from training to make a stop in her hometown Friday night. Slopestyle Skier Darian Stevens held a fundraiser in Missoula.
A great crowd showed up at the Missoula Children’s Theater to support the local star, eat some food, bid on donated items in a silent auction, and watch a FACTION Ski Movie. Stevens mingled with her fans and signed autographs. The proceeds will help with travel costs for her and her family as she tries to earn a ticket to her sport’s biggest stage.
Stevens came close to making the last U.S. Olympic team as a 17-year old. She admitted the stress and pressure felt overwhelming during her first chance on the big stage while also attending high school. But now the 21-year old is experienced, confident and hopeful she’ll be South Korea bound very soon.
“It’s what everybody wants to get to. I’m definitely trying to go to the Olympics. It’s been a dream of mine since I can remember,” said Stevens. “So I’m hoping to make it happen. I’m pretty happy with how I’ve been skiing lately. I upped my run this year, and I’ve been landing it consistently. And I’m really stoked on that. And I’ve got more tricks in the bag that I’m ready to toss out. So I feel pretty good.”
After a couple events, Stevens currently ranks third in the Olympic qualifying standings, only one point behind second place. The U.S. could bring three or four women to South Korea, so Stevens is in a great position with three qualifying events left in January.
Whitefish native Maggie Voisin leads the same slopestyle standings by a healthy margin, and is a safe bet to make her second straight Olympic team.