For number three on the KPAX countdown of the best sports stories of 2018, we travel all the way back to last February. Two slopestyle skiers captured Western Montana’s attention from halfway around the world.
Maggie Voisin and Darian Stevens competed in the Winter Olympics. Voisin earned a spot in January with a strong run in Aspen, and then became the first American to win XGames gold in slopestyle. The Whitefish native qualified for the Olympics as a 15-year old in 2014, but suffered an injury in practice and couldn’t compete.
Stevens just missed out on the previous games, but earned the last spot on the American team this time as a coaches choice. The 21-year old from Missoula rated fourth out of American women in the buildup to the Games.
Over in South Korea, Stevens came up short of the finals with a 17th place run. Voisin put it all together her final trip down the mountain, but settled for fourth place, just off the podium. But when she returned home, the 19-year old didn’t show any disappointment about the near miss.
“It’s obviously such an incredible experience,” Voisin said. “For me the journey leading up to my first Olympics and what happened. And that whole journey going into Pyeongchang has made it so much more memorable and so much more special for me.”
Voisin is currently the number two ranked slopestlye skier in the world. Stevens ranks 17th. Both have a very realistic chance to return to the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.