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Skiing

Maggie Voisin Shifts Focus to the Backcountry

The seven-time X Games medalist and Olympic freestyle skier hailing from Whitefish has been busy filming with production companies and plans to step back from freestyle competitions in 2024

By Maggie Dresser
Maggie Voisin skis in the Alaska backcountry with Teton Gravity Research. Photo by Nic Alegre

For the last decade, Whitefish-born professional freestyle skier Maggie Voisin has spent her winters in Park City, Utah training with the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team and has kept her winter schedule stacked with competitions that included the X Games and three Olympics.

But after a slew of injuries along with the loss of her brother shifted her perspective on her career, she planned to only ski in three competitions – X Games, Grand Prix at Mammoth and World Cup – last winter. For the remainder of the season, she planned to step back from competition and film with Good Company, a production company that was making a ski movie called Crescendo.

As she geared up for her first contest last January, she tweaked her knee. While it was only a minor injury, she wasn’t ready to compete in the upcoming X Games, and she wound up skipping her other two planned events as she recovered.

“I just let my body heal as much as I could,” Voisin said. “From there, I missed all of the contests I was planning on, and I could either change my filming plans and compete some more or I could forget about competing.”

Maggie Voisin filming with Teton Gravity Research. Photo by Nic Alegre

The 24-year-old stuck with her plan to film, and she spent most of the winter in Utah, which was having a record-breaking snow year.

One evening last February while Voisin was in Park City waiting to shoot with Good Company, she called her childhood friend Parkin Costain who was filming with Teton Gravity Research (TGR) in Jackson Hole’s backcountry at the time for the upcoming Legends in the Making.

While they were chatting on the phone, Costain invited Voisin down on a whim to ski with the TGR crew. She packed her bags, loaded her snowmobile, and drove north to ski, with no intentions of being filmed.

“They ended up filming me on that first day,” Voisin said. “I stayed for another two days and filmed.”

Costain, who grew up skiing with Voisin on the Whitefish Mountain Resort Freestyle Team, said he has been supportive of her as she branches out to the freeride world. As a kid, he remembers their competitive bond as they tried new park tricks together and he vouched for his childhood friend to the producers, who were receptive.

“She instantly blew everyone away,” Costain said. “Everyone said ‘wow, this girl knows how to ski.’ Maggie and I had that young bond on the freestyle team and she felt really comfortable and she was able to thrive.”

Voisin returned to Utah to film with Good Company where she was featured in backcountry booter segments that aligned more with her slopestyle background. Shortly after, TGR producers invited her to film in Alaska.

“I skied the biggest terrain of my life,” Voisin said.

Now considered a freestyle skiing veteran after landing on the U.S. Olympic Team at age 15, Voisin said this side of the ski industry is completely different for her.

After years of judged competitions on the slopestyle and big air courses, Voisin said she now has to think about other factors like avalanche conditions and skiing big lines instead of groomed, hard pack snow and park features.

“Alaska is on such a grand scale, which makes everything so nerve wracking and exciting,” Voisin said. “It was a crazy learning experience, and it opened my eyes to where I want to go with my career. The best thing was not being judged. When it comes to slopestyle, it’s a contest and it’s a judged sport. I felt like I got to ski for myself.”

Although Voisin is a dominant force in the freestyle world, she recognizes the different elements of freeride skiing and she’s learning to not only hone her backcountry skills but adjust to a different structure. Instead of training camps and scheduled competitions, now she follows the snow and plays things by ear.

While Voisin is still a U.S. Freestyle Ski Team athlete and she has no plans to retire from freestyle skiing anytime soon, she has decided to take this season off to focus on filming. She already has plans to shoot with Costain and TGR in 2024 and said she’s going to pour her energy into the backcountry.

“I’m excited to put my attention in that direction and see where I take my skiing,” Voisin said. “It’s fun to merge the two worlds – putting park tricks into backcountry skiing lines.”

Maggie Voisin, professional freeskier, three-time Olympian and a seven-time X Games medalist, from Whitefish, pictured in Kalispell on Oct. 5, 2022. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon