Whitefish’s Maggie Voisin ready for X Games
WHITEFISH — Whitefish’s Maggie Voisin grew up wanting to go to the X Games. Because Slopestyle skiing wasn’t added to the Olympics until 2014, the X Games was the pinnacle of her sport.
She has since gotten to do both.
Voisin has earned an X Games silver medal, been to the Olympics and skied all over the world (including at Fenway Park in Boston) for the past four years.
And she’s only 18 years old.
Even as one of the top U.S. skiers, she still gets excited for the X Games. She’ll compete there for her fourth time this weekend in Aspen, Colo., where she’s entered in the Big Air competition Saturday and the Slopestyle competition Sunday.
“There’s just something about the energy there and the vibes. It’s an event, but everyone there is just so excited. It’s different,” Voisin said. “The nerves are different. There’s something about it that makes it so special.”
Voisin earned her first X Games invite in 2014 for slopestyle skiing, an event that combines rails and jumps for skiers to demonstrate tricks.
As a 15-year-old, she discovered the day she arrived in Aspen for the 2014 X Games that she had been selected as the youngest member of the first U.S. Slopestyle Olympic team. Voisin admits she thought about maybe taking it easy because of the Olympics just weeks later.
“My first day of practice, I got up there and it just like clicked. It’s crazy,” she said. “I’ve never been so in the mood and in the moment skiing in a competition before.”
Voisin finished second and became the youngest person to medal at the X Games until that time.
However, at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia, she suffered a hairline fracture to her ankle during a practice run and was unable to compete. Then, in December 2014, she tore an ACL and missed the rest of the 2014-15 season.
She returned for 2015-16 and placed fourth at the X Games, second at the Olympic test event in South Korea and earned a few other top-five finishes.
With the Olympics just over the horizon and the season underway, Voisin is eager for another competition cycle.
“Obviously, I’m focusing on (the Olympics), but I have so much to look forward to every year, every season, and every month,” Voisin said. “Obviously that’s a big impact, but through my injuries, it’s a good reminder to keep pushing through even when times seem hard. It’s a roller-coaster ride, but it’s a fun one.”
An early start
It hasn’t always been about competitions and travel, though. Voisin began skiing as a child at Whitefish Mountain Resort (known as Big Mountain back then) with her parents and brothers.
“I swore I was going to start them at 4,” Truby Voisin, Maggie’s father, said.
But she and her twin brother, Tucker, would get upset that their older brother Michael got to go and they didn’t. Toward the end of the season, he relented.
“So Maggie started skiing when she was 3,” Truby said, “but she was destined to start at 4.”
As a kid, she skied in her dad’s tracks on days at Big Mountain that felt like the snow was over her head. It was her brother and a friend who eventually convinced her to try freestyle skiing.
“I used to take her to Calgary to events when she was 13 or 14 years old and put her in the Open Pro division,” Truby Voisin said. “She got second and got her first paycheck — prize money — so she’s been a professional athlete at a very young age.”
Then when she was 14, Voisin went to Park City, Utah, to train.
“I just kind of decided that I was going to go down for a couple weeks and a family said that I could stay with them. I was going to train with them for just like a week before we left for this event,” Voisin said.
“It’s funny, one week ended up turning into months and then that’s kind of where it started. Ever since then, I’ve come back to Montana in the summers, but lived in Park City in the winter and kind of lived back and forth.
“My parents were just supportive through the whole thing. I think they saw that I had the talent and they definitely saw my love and passion for it. They never pushed me into anything, they just supported me. I’m obviously very grateful. Thinking back, you know back then I was like, ‘What? You can just leave me in another state, that’s easy,’ but you know looking back on it now, the fact that they allowed me to do that was, you know, huge.”
Soon she was skiing with people she had looked up to throughout her childhood, including Devin Logan and Kaya Turski.
“It’s funny now because they’re all my friends and we’re all so close and that’s who I ski against now. It’s kind of funny growing up they were all who I looked up to and now it’s fun that I get to compete with them,” Voisin said.
A busy schedule
This season began with a second-place finish for Voisin at the Dew Tour in early December. Over the next month, she’ll compete at both the X Games (in Aspen, Colo. and Oslo, Norway) and the first of five Olympic team qualifying events.
In spite of her injury in Sochi, Voisin made the most of her experience.
“The fact that I was a part of the first ever U.S. Olympic Slopestyle team; I forget how big that is,” Voisin said.
“I can’t even describe to you the feeling of walking into that stadium. It was unbelievable. We had those goofy Ralph Lauren outfits, but once everyone got together, you’re like, ‘OK, this is kind of cool.’ The whole thing, it was just such a surreal experience,” Voisin said. “I can’t believe it’s almost been three years. It still seems like yesterday. It’s crazy.”
She hopes to be a part of the team to represent the U.S. next February in Pyeonchang, South Korea — not just to be there, but to compete this time.
However, she hopes her impact is felt in more than just the medals and finishes she achieves. She hopes her legacy is as “a role model people can look at and be like, ‘Wow, she really loves what she does.’”
And even though she spends about half the year in Utah and traveling around the globe for competitions, she continues to return to her roots in Montana.
“That’s the one thing about coming home for me and coming home in the summers. It’s my place to kind of come back and be 18 and come home and have my mom take care of me and my dad take care of me,” Voisin said.
She is still a teenager, after all.