Devin Logan’s Journey to the Top

Devin Logan pushes women’s freeskiing down the long, uncertain road ahead

When Devin Logan was 18, she had mountains and snowflakes tattooed on her arm. A year later, after a knee injury at a New Zealand competition ended her 2012 season, she added the words: “Don’t fear the journey.” Then, after the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, a compass with a quote from JRR Tolkien: “Not all those who wander are lost.” The tattoo artist, however, misspelled ‘wander’ and wrote an ‘o’ in place of the ‘a.’ Logan didn’t realize the spelling error until after the artist finished.

“One of my roommates was looking at it and said, ‘Yo…I’m sorry, but I think that’s spelled wrong,’” says Logan. “I waited like three to four months to get it fixed… At least it didn’t say, ‘Not all those who wander are last.’”

November; 45.3; Profile/Logan; Photo: Shay Williams
The inaugural Olympic silver medalist for women’s slopestyle, Devin Logan helped introduce freeskiing to a broader audience. PHOTO: Shay Williams

Last place is unfamiliar territory for Logan, 23, the most dominant freeskier on the U.S. women’s ski team. She took the inaugural silver medal for slopestyle at the Winter Olympics (Canadian Dara Howell took the gold) and her résumé includes five overall titles with the American Freeskiing Professionals, two X Games silvers, and many Dew Tour, World Cup, and Grand Prix podiums. Last season, Logan suffered a shoulder injury at the Dew Tour in December, but she still made a comeback to take first overall in the AFP season rankings thanks to consistent top five and top 10 finishes.

“We’re similar in that aspect. Put a foot in our ass and we’ll learn our shit.” —Chris Logan

A decade ago, Sarah Burke broke ground for women’s freeskiing, fighting for the right to compete and win equal prize money as the men; then Kaya Turski elevated the competition to higher ground with consistency in the way of seven X Games gold medals in slopestyle; and now Logan is leading the sport forward. With the weight of that responsibility, not to mention an exhausting schedule of 17 competitions last season, it’s worth asking: How much more can she do?

“She’s had a pretty dominant ski career already,” says brother Chris Logan, also a professional skier. The elder Logan broke out with Level 1 Productions in 2010 before going on to star in “The Big Picture” webisode series with Parker White.

“She has a lot more medals in both slope and pipe than most people have in one discipline,” says Chris. “I want her to enjoy herself. That’s the ultimate.”

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At 23, Logan has already been in the game—and winning it—for seven years. PHOTO: Shay Williams

When she’s not competing, Logan is with her family—including four siblings. She skipped the Nine Queens park event last season to spend Easter with her dad, Jerry, in her adopted home of Park City, Utah, where she’s a short commute away from Westminster College. (The U.S. Ski Team covers her tuition.) A couple times a year she flies to Baltimore, Maryland, to visit her boyfriend, a former speed skater who also competed in Sochi. They met two years ago at a U.S. Olympic Team event in New York.

“The whole ‘two Olympians dating’ thing gets played up,” says Logan. “That’s not who I am to play up that story. When we’re together, we eat pizza.”

A LONG ISLAND, NEW YORKER TURNED VERMONTER, Logan is the youngest of her siblings—her brothers Sean and Chris are two-thirds of “The Big Picture” (Sean films, Chris skis). After her parents’ divorce, when Logan was 6 years old, her mom moved to Vermont, where her children skied and signed up for competitions on the East Coast circuit. Mom figured if her sons were going to compete, Logan would as well.

“As kids we would just call out tricks and make fun of her if she didn’t do them,” says Chris. “She’s the type of person you can’t be easy on. We’re similar in that aspect. Put a foot in our ass and we’ll learn our shit.”

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Logan is Sarah Burke’s dream realized: recognition and opportunities for female freeskiers at the highest level. PHOTO: David Malacrida

Logan turned heads for the first time at 16 years old while standing on the podium in 2010 at the FIS Junior World Championships and the Aspen Open. The following year, she earned her first invite to the X Games in both slopestyle and halfpipe, winning the latter. She claimed the title again in 2012, a season that ended with 12 podium finishes.
Logan’s rise in slopestyle and halfpipe occurred at the dawn of freeskiing’s inclusion as an Olympic discipline. She joined The North Face team and became a recognizable face on the inaugural Olympic U.S. Freeskiing Team, introducing an obscure skiing discipline to the mainstream.

“I’m more proud of the person she’s become. She’s maintained being herself throughout all the craziness.” —Shannon Wilson

Two years after earning the Olympic spotlight, Logan continues to represent the U.S. in both slopestyle and halfpipe, and sometimes she throws down in a Big Air event, like she did last February at Fenway in her native New England. Her eyes are focused on the next Winter Olympics, the 2018 Games in South Korea.

“I’m proud of everything she’s doing,” says older sister Shannon Wilson, 32. An academic advisor for student athletes at Stanford University, Wilson also lends educational advice and mentorship to Logan. “I can remember when we were first fundraising for her to go to New Zealand with the U.S. Team. It was a family push. Everyone was on board. We had our friends supporting the cause. We’re so proud of her. I’m more proud of the person she’s become. She’s maintained being herself throughout all the craziness.”

Following the Sochi Olympics, Logan visited Wilson and her husband, whose son was born three days before Logan won Olympic silver. “She just sat on our couch for a week,” says Wilson. “She’s a goofball. She’s hardworking, and she’s levelheaded. She still has her head on her shoulders and she easily couldn’t. She could have done a lot of things, but she’s stayed true to who she is. That’s what our parents instilled in us.”

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The youngest of five siblings, Logan was pushed by her family to be the skier she is today. PHOTO: Shay Williams

ONE NIGHT LAST SPRING, at the end of a packed and meticulous season-long competition schedule, Logan nursed a beer at a kitchen table in a rented house in South Lake Tahoe, California, and listened to her freeskiing teammates argue over who could beat up the other one in a fight. Lyman Currier rapped from his encyclopedic brain of hip-hop lyrics. Others ate pizza and talked about summer plans. After a run of 17 contests starting at December’s Dew Tour and ending in Tignes, France, Logan and her teammates were kicking back at Maddie Bowman’s invitational at Sierra-at-Tahoe, a superpark event called Recess. Though Logan is the more versatile skier, her TNF teammate Bowman has dominated the halfpipe in recent years, winning Olympic gold and the last four X Games.

Sierra’s long-held reputation as a downhome and funky ski area was an adjustment for Logan and her competitors. The ladies waited at the top of the course, looking around for a coach or a starter to tell them to drop. Logan cruised the course with ease, throwing mellow grabs over the features. Her skiing was quiet—her hard work paid off. She grabbed every trick with clean style and landed soft. She comfortably aired over a left hip-like rock gap, grabbed her skis in a mute, and sailed to the landing.

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Family members say Logan is a goofball who has managed to stay true to herself despite worldwide attention. PHOTO: David Malacrida

Despite her prowess in the air and on the course, Logan’s professional career is not without its challenges. “It seems like every year someone is on the chopping block,” says brother Chris. “For Dev, for me, for a lot of skiers, it’s very much a ‘What have you done for me lately?’ relationship with sponsors.”

Following the Olympics, Logan and longtime ski sponsor Armada failed to reach an agreement to renew her contract. Logan is working with Swiss ski company Faction and hopes to sign long-term before the upcoming winter.

Later that night, Logan and I sat in old wooden chairs to share drinks and stories. Three days of on-hill activities were over and Logan, frankly, just wanted to chill. She was looking forward to seeing her boyfriend, and she debated whether to buy her brother’s snowmobile to ski more in the backcountry, something she plans to do after she retires from slopestyle and halfpipe. At the moment, she has no timeline except to listen to when her body or head says it’s time to quit. Whenever that may be, she’ll walk away as one of the most decorated female skiers in history.

“I want to be the best overall skier I can be,” she says. “I want to be that 60-year-old woman hitting a gap on skis and people are saying, ‘What the fuck?’”

The conversation landed on women’s skiing—how she and the rest of the women’s field are criticized for not bringing enough technicality or style as the men. How she is consistently asked, “What is the state of women’s skiing?” like she’s supposed to give a State of the Union address.

She shrugged the question off and recognized the progress they’ve made. Logan is Sarah Burke’s original dream realized—to compete in two sports recognized at an Olympic level and to travel the world with some of the same opportunities as her male counterparts.

Beers nearly emptied and with the sun setting, I asked Logan, “Where do you see the future…”

Her eyes widened as if I led her to the edge of a cliff only to push her off with the most typical question in the world asked of female skiers.

“…of men’s skiing going?”

She let out a hearty laugh, rubbed her palms together, breathed a sigh of relief, and grinned before diving in.

She took her last sip of beer.

“I think they need to cool it with all those triples.”

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