Forehand Claims First World Cup Win
At 17-years-old, U.S. Freeski Rookie Team member Mac Forehand (Winhall, Vt.) skied his way to his first-ever FIS World Cup victory, and second World Cup podium, of his career at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain on Sunday.
“I feel amazing, so hyped, I can’t believe it,” said Forehand. “After getting my first World Cup podium in Stubai (Austria), I was really hoping to break into the top-three again here at Mammoth on a great course. I am so happy to win, it feels crazy. Given we had some tough weather all week long, I tried to stay positive and look forward to the rescheduled competition. I would have been really bummed if it wasn’t able to go down. It was awesome that we were able to make it happen and the weather was perfect. I think the strategy today was just get speed and go big and I felt I was able to do that. I am headed to Silvaplana, Switzerland, next for the final slopestyle World Cup of the season and am going for the globe!”
Forehand has had himself quite a season earning the title of FIS Junior World Champion in big air in Cardrona, New Zealand, last August, and then followed it up with his first World Cup slopestyle podium in Stubai in November with a second-place finish. Forehand’s win moves him into the FIS World Cup slopestyle lead with one event to go. If that wasn’t enough, Forehand also was crowned U.S. Grand Prix National Champion. After a strong performance throughout the 2018-19 season, it’s hard not to speculate that Forehand will be climbing the ranks to the U.S. Freeski Pro Team next season.
Success among the young American freeskiers continued with a third-place finish from 17-year-old Kiernan Fagan (Brownfield, Maine). Fagan is also having a breakout season going two for two earning podiums at each slopestyle World Cups he’s competed in this season. Fagan earned a third-place finish at the Seiser Alm, Italy World Cup and another third-place at the Mammoth Grand Prix.
“I’m so stoked,” said Fagan. “I haven’t done any World Cups before this season, so two podiums at both slopestyle events competing against all the big dogs feels amazing. With a whole lot of waiting this week, I just wanted to focus on putting a run down and it all worked out. I got my skis waxed at the top to ensure I had speed and tried to ski aggressive. I would love to grab another podium at the Silvaplana to go three for three at all the World Cups I competed in this season.”
Fagan’s podium finish moves him into eight in the slopestyle standings with only two results on the year. Double-Olympic medalist Nick Goepper (Lawrenceburg, Ind.) finished sixth and teammate Colby Stevenson (Park City, Utah) finished 10th. Also, Ferdinand Dahl of Norway finished in second to complete the podium at Mammoth.
For the women, U.S. Freeski Pro Team member and Olympian Julia Krass (Hanover, N.H.) finished in fifth, moving her into fifth overall in the slopestyle standings. Krass also walked away with the title of U.S. Grand Prix National Champion. American Taylor Lundquist (Park City, Utah) finished right behind Krass in sixth. Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland topped the podium earning her second slopestyle World Cup podium of the season following a third-place finish at the Stubai World Cup in November. Johanna Killi of Norway finished second and Canadian Megan Oldham finished in third.
It has been a very strong year for young American freeskiers. In halfpipe, U.S. Rookie Team member Hunter Hess (Bend, Ore.) earned his first ever World Cup podium in Secret Garden, China and teammate Jaxin Hoerter (Breckenridge, Colo) earned top ten finishes at both the Mammoth Mountain, Calif. and Secret Garden, China World Cup. In slopestyle, Forehand and Eileen Gu both earned their first World Cup victories this season as well. It’s safe to say the U.S. Freeski Rookie Team is progressing quickly. Not to mention, young star Cody Laplante (Truckee, Calif.) will be returning next season to chase podiums. The future is bright for the U.S. Freeski Team.
FIS World Cup slopestyle competition will continue in Silvaplana, Switzerland March 29-30 where slopestyle World Cup Champions will take home the coveted Crystal Globe.
HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Thursday, March 14
12:30 a.m. - Toyota U.S. Grand Prix men and women’s halfpipe - Mammoth Mountain, Calif. - NBCSN**
Monday, March 18
7:00 p.m. - Men and women’s big air - Quebec, CAN - Olympic Channel-TV**
Sunday, March 24
6:00 p.m. - Toyota U.S. Grand Prix men and women’s slopestyle - Mammoth Mountain, Calif. - NBCSN*