PARK CITY, Utah – Darian Stevens first hit the slopes at Snowbowl as a 4-year-old, and she quickly showed she had a knack for it. Years of practice and competitions have now taken her from Missoula to the top of her sport, and a trip to the Winter Olympics.
Team USA officially selected Stevens for the squad Monday night. She had to sweat out a couple of days after she finished fourth in the qualifying standings after the last event on Sunday.
The American coaches had to decide whether they would take three or four slopestyle skiers to South Korea. When they settled on four, Stevens made the cut.
“I kind of don’t think it’s really hit me yet, but I am super excited,” she said from her training base in Park City, Utah. “It’s a really, really big weight off my shoulders, and I’m super, super excited to be picked for the Olympic team. It’s awesome.”
She finished just barely short four years ago, missing out on Sochi by only a few points. But after recovery from a knee injury and countless runs, the 21-year-old feels much more ready to compete for gold against the world’s best.
“I’ve been putting in so much hard work over the past four years,” said Stevens. “I think my skiing has come a really long way in the past four years. A lot of the tricks that I have now I was not able to even dream of doing in 2014.”
Stevens has never skied in South Korea, the site of this year’s games. She missed a training run a couple years ago due to injury. While she wants to bring home a medal, she’ll also make sure to enjoy every part of the trip to PyeongChang.
“Obviously everybody wants to do well. But the Olympics is more of like an experience, I think, than anything else,” added Stevens. “So I look forward to doing Opening Ceremonies and Closing Ceremonies and all of that cool stuff.”
Stevens met Maggie Voisin of Whitefish eight years ago. Now the two friends from Montana will compete against each other in slopestyle at the Winter Olympics.
The games in South Korea start in two weeks.