Q&A: Darian Stevens' Comeback
Darian Stevens grew up in Missoula, MT, where she began as moguls skier at a tiny mountain called Snowbowl with a desire to be a racer. Now, she’s a killer freeskier on the rookie team with a few solid results under her belt, and she’s thirsty for more.
After a few breakout performances in the past few years (including a podium at a 2013-14 Grand Prix), she was invited to the 2015 X Games for the first time—a huge honor for the 18 year old. But during training, Stevens threw a switch 9 and landed in the backseat, blowing out her knee. Now she is rehabbing at the Center of Excellence in Park City, UT, living with her best friend and teammate Jess Breda and striving towards her huge goal: the PyeongChang Olympics. We sat down with Stevens and asked her about her life, injuries, the recent U.S. Freeskiing trip to Mexico and…a few random questions, too.
U.S. FREESKIING: How did you end up as a freeskier?
DARIAN STEVENS: I actually wanted to be a racer when I was younger, but my dad wouldn’t let me. So, I started doing moguls when I was 10. I did it for 4-5 years, but realized I liked the jumping part, not the moguls. I used to travel to mogul comps and they’d have slope comps at the same time, so I’d do slope, too. My local mountain didn’t even have a park.
I started doing some Rev Tours when I was 14, got invited to do a Grand Prix and did pretty well. That’s when my mom realized freeskiing was all I wanted to do. She let me go to Park City and join U.S. Freeskiing. She knew there wasn’t anything in Montana that could help me with slopestyle.
U.S. FREESKIING: You’ve had a tough couple of seasons with injuries.
DS: I got hurt at X Games this season, which was a big bummer. I’m six months out of surgery now and am recovering really well. I just don’t want to rush it. In the long run, it won’t change anything. This season, I want to come back from this injury strong and feel good. I’ll do some Grand Prixs this season in January or February, but I won’t compete any earlier than that.
U.S. FREESKIING: A group of U.S. Freeskiing teammates went down to Mexico this summer for service work. Tell us about your trip.
DS: Yeah! I went to Mexico this year to build a house for a needy family. I didn’t really know what I was getting into before I was going. But it was probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Crazy to see how just two days of our time can make such a big impact on people’s lives.
U.S. FREESKIING: You have a pretty tight team.
DS: All of my best friends are on the team—Julia Krass, Jess Breda, Maggie Voisin, Emilia Wint, Zoe Kalapos [snowboarding], Morgan Schild [freestyle]. I live with Jess, but we’re always at each other’s houses and travel together during the winter.
U.S. FREESKIING: What are your major goals?
DS: Olympics. I missed the [Sochi] Olympics by one spot. Now I’m taking it one year at a time.
I definitely think when I’m done competing, I’d want to do some film work. I’d love to get in the backcountry. If I can do something on a park jump, I think I can do it on a backcountry jump. There aren’t many girls that send it like that. I’m hoping I can get a touring set up pretty soon. I have some friends that compete in backcountry events and I think that could be super cool. I grew up skiing moguls. I can definitely ski. People think, ‘Oh she just skis park; she can’t ski.’ That’s not true.
U.S. FREESKIING: Rapid fire questions now—favorite sport to watch?
DS: Football. Philadelphia Eagles are my team.
U.S. FREESKIING: Celebrity crush?
DS: Liam Hemsworth
U.S. FREESKIING: Biggest pet peeve?
DS: Slow drivers.
U.S. FREESKIING: Go-to coffee drink?
U.S. FREESKIING: Puppies or kittens?
DS: Puppies. I have two dogs at home named Gus and Charlie.
U.S. FREESKIING: Favorite food?
DS: Pizza. Or steak.