Kaya Turski tops 2014 X Games slopestyle podium, five months off surgery
Five months (to the day) after undergoing knee surgery, Kaya Turski is back on top; this marks Kaya’s fourth slopestyle gold medal earned at X Games Aspen. Finishing second today was 15-year-old Maggie Voisin. Placing third, Canadian Kim Lamarre.
“It’s definitely been a long ride for me the past five months,” Turski said. “I feel like I’ve felt every emotion there is to be felt. It’s amazing to be back out here, skiing with these girls. Even in the past five months, the level is constantly progressing. It’s cool to have my Canadian team member, and one of my best friends up here with me, and Maggie, who’s 10 years younger than me… it’s awesome to see where this sport is going, and to be a part of it.”
As for how her knee is feeling, Kaya told us, “I’m feeling a few tweaks here and there, but overall, very stable.” Despite feeling good, and earning the win today, Kaya admits she and her knee will benefit from a bit of upcoming rest, prior to the Olympics.
In regards to Sochi, Kaya also explained, “What’s cool about our sport is that, because we’re so new to the Olympics, everyone is still so tight… it’s a tight knit crew. When we’re dropping in, we’re all rooting for each other, no matter what country we’re representing. That’s unique to slopestyle skiing, I think, and I really love that.”
Kaya Turski wins slopestyle gold, X Games Aspen 2014
Placing second was young Maggie Voisin, of Whitefish, Montana; her top-scoring run included a switch 1080. Earlier this week, we profiled Maggie as one of the most talked about, most talented skiers on the competition circuit of late; thus, her performance today comes as no surprise.
“For me, this year has been huge, this whole season has been crazy,” Maggie said. “I just want to keep having fun, and loving this sport. It’s super fun to come out with girls that I’ve looked up to… I’ve always watched X Games growing up, it’s such an honor to be on the podium.”
Speaking to the size and intensity of the X Games course, Maggie told us, “The first day I came out I was like, ‘Oh my, this is a big one.’ On the second day, I got my flow, I just had fun… it took some of that pressure off, and I was able to ride like I know how to. I ended up really enjoying the course. It was a fun challenge.”
Maggie becomes the youngest skier ever to medal here at X; that claim was previously held by Torin Yater-Wallace. Maggie is slated to compete in Sochi, as well, as part of the U.S. Olympic freeskiing team; she will be the youngest U.S. athlete to compete in the Games.
“Going into this season it wasn’t my main goal, but now that I’m done with X Games, I can just focus on the Olympics, said Voisin. “It’ll be really fun and I’m excited to show the world what our sport is about.”
Following the contest today, skiers took to Twitter to congratulate the rising star.
“Congrats Maggie! Killing it!” wrote Justin Dorey.
“@maggie_voisin is killing it!!!!” exclaimed TJ Schiller.
“Damn @maggie_voisin just did a switch 10 that was sick,” said Torin Yater-Wallace.
Maggie Voisin earns slopestyle silver, X Games Aspen 2014
Finishing third was Kim Lamarre. Kim earned kudos from the judges today thanks to a strong, smooth showing on the rails, coupled with ample airs through the jump line. Lamarre noted she was excited to have included a switch 7 in her run, and looks forward to taking that stunt along in her bag of tricks when she heads to Sochi next month.
Kim Lamarre earns slopestyle bronze, X Games Aspen 2014
Finishing fourth today was Canadian Dara Howell. After struggling on her first run, Dara bagged a decent score on her second go-round, and finished off the day with an outstanding third run. Her 84.00 was not quite enough to crack the podium, though. At risk of undermining the podium finishers’ performances, we elect to share a handful of the commentary that erupted on Twitter following the contest, in support of Dara. Additionally, some felt Maggie should have earned a win.
“Judges. Remember PAVED. Progression the very first one. @MaggieVoisin wins. 100%. @XGames,” said Byron Wells.
“WTF @XGames judging. Girls’ slope ski scores were all over the place. Throwing pillows at my TV,” lamented Anna Segal.
“Judging was pretty wacky out there today,” said Simon Dumont.
“Really wish progression was rewarded @XGames. @maggie_voisin @DaraHowell @guskenworthy and others all deserved better than that,” said Emilia Wint.
“@MaggieVoisin & @DaraHowell should be sitting in 1 & 2. If they keep awarding execution way over progression we’ll be seeing 5s forever,” added Gus Kenworthy.
“I am not gonna lie… I really didn’t get the judging on that one… trying to push back the sport or what???!!!!!,” chimed Maude Raymond.
And we could go on. Alas, the subjective nature of judging in freeskiing is up for discussion, once again. Regardless, we’ll close by extending huge congratulations to the top three finishers on a job well done. Controversy aside, one thing is for sure: the top five girls skied damn well today.
Results: 2014 X Games women’s slopestyle final
1. Kaya Turski — 91.33
2. Maggie Voisin — 90.00
3. Kim Lamarre — 85.00
4. Dara Howell — 84.00
5. Devin Logan — 83.66
6. Keri Herman — 78.66
7. Darian Stevens — 76.33
8. Yuki Tsubota — 75.33
About the author:
Henrik Lampert loves hot dogs, backflips, the Boston Bruins and Norway. Twenty-seven years old and a Massachusetts native, he's the Editor of Freeskier Magazine and Freeskier.com—a proud staffer since 2010.