A brotherly love: Frisco’s Fagan freeski twins reach World Cup, Youth Olympics
Frisco-based identical twins part of U.S. slopestyle, big air team at Youth Olympics
In a youth sporting ecosystem rife with club teams and coaches, identical twins Kiernan and Deven Fagan were effectively each other’s coaches through childhood. Their freeskiing textbook was YouTube. And their practice ground was the backyard trampoline.
Back at their family’s home in Brownfield, Maine, the boys watched clips of their favorite American freeski stars, like Bobby Brown of Breckenridge and Tom Wallisch. They’d then go outside to their trampoline and reenact the moves to the best of their abilities, dreaming of the World Cup and Youth Olympic stages they are now on as 17-year-old members of the U.S freeski program.
“I got them into competing,” their mother Erika said, “because I wanted them to compete against other people and not just each other, because they are competitive in all things. I was like, ‘You’ve got to compete against other people.'”
The twins’ brotherly love for park freeskiing led them to the biggest stage on which they could hone their skills together near their home: Sunday River Resort in Newry, Maine. There they took the tricks they taught each other on the trampoline to the biggest jumps Sunday River had.
Back at their home in Brownfield, the twins’ father, Patrick, used his snowplow to build jumps. On the nearby field, the family used PVC piping and plywood to build homemade rails and boxes to practice the kind of jib tricks for which the boys admired stars like Brown.
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“We just started progressing so much every day and trying new stuff every time we’d go out there,” Kiernan said.
Before the family decided to make the move from Maine to Summit County a few years back, the then 11-year-old twins got the chance to watch Brown at a competition at Sunday River.
It was around that time that Patrick and Erika decided it would be best to have Deven and Kiernan compete out west at top youth competitions, like the USASA Nationals at Copper Mountain Resort. During this transition from smaller competitions in Maine to bigger youth competitions, the boys say they still were each other’s coaches.
Yes, they attended the Windells ski camp out of Oregon, but until Kiernan was selected to the U.S. slopestyle and big air pro team in May and Deven was selected to the rookie team, they say they were each other’s coaches. That includes a couple year’s back when Deven won his age group at USASA Nations and Kiernan took third. It was then the Fagan family realized a full-time move to Frisco was in order to make the most of the opportunity the twins had earned for themselves.
“When they got to these other comps, they always wanted to win,” Erika said. “But they really wanted to beat each other. ‘Who got it dialed first? Who had the better trick?’ That’s just every day. They’ve pushed each other and pushed each other and pushed each other.”
Now living in Frisco full time after several years of seasonal residency, Kiernan and Deven are skiing with the heaviest of international hitters on the World Cup scene. Kiernan earned his way onto the pro team for 2019-20, alongside accomplished names like Olympic medalist Nick Goepper, thanks to multiple podiums in FIS World Cup competitions last season. And Deven earned a spot on the U.S. Rookie Team after winning the Nor-Am Cup last season and finishing in third and fifth in big air and slopestyle, respectively, at last spring’s FIS Junior World Ski Championships in Sweden.
Come Jan. 19 — a day after they turn 18 — Kiernan will compete in the men’s freeski slopestyle medal round at the 2020 Youth Winter Olympic Games in Laussane, Switzerland, on the heels of a World Cup this week in France with Deven. Deven also might compete in Laussane, as he is the first alternate for the U.S. team. When in Switzerland, the boys will have double-cork 1620s as their go-to tricks in both slopestyle and big air. They also say they are feeling good about their both-way triple corks in the competitions.
These are tricks they say they honed together as a twosome, from the backyard trampoline in Maine to leaning on the bigger competition stages and jumps in Colorado. And now with the elite coaching of the U.S. program, who knows what the future holds with the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games on the horizon.
“And we still coach and push each other now,” Kiernan said. “Till this day, we are doing the same thing.”
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