Watch: Deven Fagan skis to first World Cup podium at Mammoth Mountain slopestyle
Taylor Gold finishes runner-up in men's snowboard halfpipe
FRISCO — A week after the world’s best men’s slopestyle skiers competed on the sport’s biggest stage at X Games Aspen, Frisco resident and 18-year-old Deven Fagan on Friday topped most of them en route to his first World Cup podium.
Skiing what he described as perfect conditions at Mammoth Mountain in California, the Maine native landed two high-level runs to finish in third place at the Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix International Ski Federation World Cup.
After he landed his second and final run — which he capped with a switch double-cork 1440 with a blunt grab — Fagan for the first time experienced the nerves of being on the bubble in a World Cup competition.
After scoring a 87.05 on his last run, Fagan joined fellow up-and-coming U.S. skier Colby Stevenson as athletes on the bubble of the podium with just a few skiers remaining. For Stevenson, who held onto second place with an 88.86, this was an encore performance from last week’s X Games, where the Park City resident won Best in Show thanks to his gold medals in slopestyle and knuckle huck.
But Fagan proved he can ski with the world’s best as he dodged one American and international star after another — names like Olympic medalist Nick Goepper and X Games gold medalist Alex Hall — to end up on the podium.
“I almost was more stressed sitting at the bottom in third place than actually doing my run because I was in third and obviously wanted to hold third place and get the podium,” Fagan said. “There were a few more guys to go, two X Games gold medalists, a lot of X Games medalists. It was definitely stressful waiting at the bottom to see if their run would be better than mine to bump me out.”
Fagan landed on the podium behind Stevenson and Grand Prix champion Andri Ragettli of Switzerland (90.28). He did so by landing a run through the upper rails portion of the course that included a jump off a lip to a 450 onto a down rail, which Fagan skied backward off of. On the second rail feature, a flat-down rail, Fagan landed a switch 450 onto the rail and a frontside 270 off the rail.
Skiing backward into the third and final rail feature, Fagan landed an unnatural 270 onto the rail, pretzeling a 450 out of the rainbow rail for a forward landing.
From there, Fagan hit the course’s mirrored side-hit quarter-pipe at skier’s right, tweaking out a double-cork 1080 mute grab while keeping plenty of speed. Skiing forward into the penultimate jump, Fagan executed an unnatural double-cork 1260 with a mute grab. Then on the course’s money-booter final jump, Fagan seamlessly landed backward after holding the blunt grab through the double-cork 1440.
Reflecting on his run, Fagan said he thinks the Mammoth judges appreciated his line through the second and third rail features as well as the huge air he was able to achieve and land on the side-hit transition in the middle of the course.
Fagan’s identical twin brother Kiernan — who won gold and silver medals at last week’s Lausanne 2020 Youth Winter Olympics in Switzerland, a competition for which Deven was an alternate — finished in 14th place with a score of 59.75. Despite that, the U.S. Pro Team member Kiernan, who podiumed at a World Cup last year, was eager to celebrate the big moment with his brother, who is on the U.S. Rookie Team this year.
“It was definitely cool to compete in finals with him,” Deven said. “He wasn’t able to land his runs as clean as he wanted. He was definitely hyping me up at the top so I could do good.”
Following the competition, the Fagan brothers plan to drive to Los Angeles Saturday for some celebratory skiing before driving back to Frisco and stopping for some fun days out on the hill in Park City.
As for Deven, Friday’s result goes a long way in helping his cause to join his brother on the U.S. Pro team next year. With one more World Cup podium, Deven will earn his spot.
Taylor Gold soars to second
Riding high on his X Games Aspen men’s snowboard session gold medal last week, Steamboat Springs native and Breckenridge resident Taylor Gold rode to runner-up at Friday’s men’s snowboard superpipe Grand Prix final at Mammoth Mountain.
Gold earned second place with a score of 89.20 on his first run through the 193-meter Mammoth pipe that featured a huge McTwist on his first hit into a powerful 1260, spinning to his board’s front side and grabbing the tail on his second hit.
Without Australian star Scotty James competing, Gold was the best American on the day behind Grand Prix champion Yuto Totsuka (97.20). Other top Americans were Chase Josey of Idaho (fourth, 84.50), Longmont native and Dillon resident Chase Blackwell (fifth, 77.40), Ryan Wachendorfer of Vail (eighth, 71.40) and Winter Park native and Frisco resident Jason Wolle (10th, 31.20).
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