Maggie Voisin qualifies for U.S. Olympic freeski slopestyle team

Maggie Voisin

Four years ago, a 15-year-old Maggie Voisin was set to make her Olympic debut. Then a broken ankle in Sochi changed those plans.

Despite the injury, Voisin managed to walk in the Opening Ceremony. But she was unable to compete.

Next month, Voisin will have a chance to finish what she started. The Montana native has once again qualified for the U.S. Olympic team in freeski slopestyle.

Voisin placed second at the U.S. Grand Prix at Snowmass, the third of five selection events for the U.S. ski slopestyle team, to secure herself a spot in PyeongChang. She had already won an Olympic qualifier that was held last year, giving her the two strong results needed to automatically qualify for the team.

So far this season, Voisin has been using a variety of 900s in her runs. Her second-place run at Snowmass featured a right 900 and switch left 900 on the first two jumps, followed by an alley-oop left 900 off the banked kicker.

With Estonia’s Kelly Sildaru, the back-to-back reigning X Games Aspen slopestyle champion, out with a knee injury this season, the field in women’s freeski slopestyle is wide open for PyeongChang. Voisin is a contender for an Olympic medal this year, but one of her biggest obstacles for gold looks like it will be Norway’s Johanne Killi.

Fresh off a victory at Dew Tour last month, Killi kept the momentum rolling by taking the win at Snowmass.

Isabel Atkins of Great Britain finished third behind Killi and Voisin.

Voisin is the first skier to qualify for the slopestyle team. Up to four women and four men will be named to the team. Up to three women and three men can earn spots through automatic nomination, but skiers must get at least two top-three finishes during the selection events in order to be eligible.

So far, Voisin is the only woman to get two podium finishes. No other U.S. woman has finished on the podium even once yet.

With just two selection events left for the women, including another one at Snowmass on Sunday, skiers will need to finish on the podium at both events to get one of those automatic spots. Otherwise, the remaining spots on the team will be at the discretion of the coaches.

The men also had a qualifying event at the Snowmass Grand Prix. Switzerland’s Andri Ragettli took the victory, with a pair of Norwegian skiers, Ferdinand Dahl and Oystein Braaten, close behind.

The top U.S. result belonged to McRae Williams, who finished in fourth place and narrowly missed the podium. Williams’ run included a switch right double cork 1080, switch left double cork 1260 and left double cork 900 on the jumps.

Because one of the qualifiers that was supposed to take place last season was cancelled due to weather, this was only the second selection event for the men’s slopestyle team. The final three selection events will take place over the next eight days, with another one coming up tomorrow at Snowmass.

Sochi bronze medalist Nick Goepper is the only U.S. man with a podium finish so far during the selection events. A win at one of the remaining qualifiers would lock him into a spot on the Olympic team.

U.S. Grand Prix at Snowmass Results

Men’s freeski slopestyle
1. Andri Ragettli (SUI), 95.00
2.  Ferdinand Dahl (NOR), 94.60
3. Oystein Braaten (NOR), 94.20
4. McRae Williams (USA), 92.20
5. Fabein Boesch (SUI), 91.40

Women’s freeski slopestyle
1. Johanne Killi (NOR), 91.60
2. Maggie Voisin (USA), 89.00
3. Isabel Atkin (GBR), 87.80
4. Giulia Tanno (SUI), 82.40
5. Sarah Hoefflin (SUI), 79.80

U.S. Qualifying Standings

Men’s freeski slopestyle
1. Nick Goepper, 93*
2. McRae Williams, 72
3. Alex  Hall, 50
4. Gus Kenworthy, 40
5. Quinn Wolferman, 35

Women’s freeski slopestyle
1. Maggie Voisin, 180** (QUALIFIED)
2. Devin Logan, 90
3. Darian Stevens, 81
4. Taylor Lundquist, 52
5. Julia Krass, 40

*Has one top-three finish
**Has met minimum criteria of two top-three finishes

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