PHOTO: Shay Williams
Maggie Voisin was America’s best bet for a medal in women’s slopestyle at the sport’s Olympic debut in Sochi, Russia, in 2014. She’d already claimed an X Games silver medal and won the AFP World Championships her rookie season. At 15, she was also the youngest American Winter Olympian since 1972. But during practice days before the event, she broke her fibula and couldn’t compete. “Maggie has learned how to handle the tough moments well,” says Skogen Sprang, the U.S. Freeskiing head slopestyle coach. “There are a few young women pushing the sport right now and Maggie is definitely one of them.” Now 17, Voisin, who hails from Whitefish, Montana, has her sights set on the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, where she’ll be a seasoned vet at the age of 19.
Injuries are no fun, but you learn so much about yourself. It makes you appreciate how important skiing is and how dedicated you need to be. It’s not always going to be up and up. There have to be some downs along the way, too.
When I was 12, I told my coaches, ‘I’m going to win an X Games medal someday.’ Two years later, I won a silver medal at my first X Games. I didn’t think it would happen that fast.
I never expected to go to the Olympics so soon, so I went in with no expectations. My grandma and my parents flew to Russia. On my third day of training, I bailed out of a rail and twisted my leg, fracturing my right fibula above the ankle. When I saw the X-ray, I turned white.
The next season back was my chance to prove myself. But in my first contest, I tore my ACL at the Dew Tour finals and was out for the rest of the season.
I’ve learned to play it smart and stay healthy. I have so many years ahead of me. I want to be able to ski for as long as I can.
I grew up near Glacier National Park, so I love hiking peaks in the summer. My dad has taken me rafting since I was little. I love dirt biking and camping. I’m not afraid to get dirty.
At 14, I left home and moved to Park City, Utah, to train for skiing. I never felt homesick. It felt like the right thing to do. My parents have always been supportive and trusted me and that set me up for success.
I drink my coffee black. Maybe with a little milk.
I’ve been cooking meals for myself since I was 14. I’m very independent. Sometimes, I feel like I can’t relate to people my own age.
Growing up, I was a tomboy. I was always chasing my twin brother and his friends around. I remember I was on this small box in the park and they were on the big one. I was like, ‘If they can do it, I can do it.’
Skiing is a lot better than going to high school every day. But when I was injured, I did get to go to prom. I had just gotten off crutches and out of my knee brace, but I wasn’t allowed to wear heels because of my injury. My prom date was tall and I’m five-foot-three, so I only went up to his shoulders.
I hate admitting it, but I’m gluten-free. When I travel to Europe, I fly with my own gluten-free bread.
We went to this Olympic test event in South Korea last winter. We ate Korean barbecue—how fun is it to cook your own meat on the grill? After Tiril Christiansen and Alex Bellemare won slopestyle, we went to karaoke in our hotel and they sang “We Are The Champions.”
I wish I knew more about baseball because we did a big air contest in Fenway Park in Boston. I’m not a Red Sox fan, but I couldn’t believe they fit a big air jump into a baseball stadium. The crowd went wild.
I have a fear of heights, so it’s nerve-wracking going up the big air scaffolding, standing a few stories high. But once you have your skis on and you’re looking down over the edge, that’s a sight I’m used to.