Stevenson, Forehand lead American 1-2 finish in men’s ski slopestyle at Grand Prix

Colby Stevenson reacts after one of his runs during Saturday’s men’s freeski slopestyle final at the U.S. Grand Prix in Aspen.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Ski & Snowboard.

Utah’s Colby Stevenson led an American 1-2 finish in the men’s freeski slopestyle finals of the U.S. Grand Prix and World Cup on Saturday at Buttermilk Ski Area in Aspen.

Connecticut’s Mac Forehand finished second to start off the U.S. Olympic team qualifying process strong for the 2022 Winter Games hopefuls.

“Came out and landed some runs. First and second, couldn’t be happier,” said Stevenson, who also won slopestyle silver at the world championships last week in Aspen. “To get the win and be the top American here today, one step closer to the Olympics. Obviously that’s one of my goals. So stoked.”

The 23-year-old Stevenson scored 91.40 on his third and final run to run away with the win on Saturday. Forehand, 19, scored 86.60 on his first run and let that carry him through to the finish line. Swedish standout Henrik Harlaut finished third with 84.46 scored on his second run.

“I’m just so grateful to put a run down first run,” Forehand said. “I didn’t have the best practice, so I was just stressing so much before my first run. To put my first run down felt amazing. So much weight off my shoulders.”

Neither Stevenson nor Forehand have been to the Olympics, but find themselves as frontrunners to make the U.S. team after the first qualifier. The remainder of the officially unannounced qualifiers will take place next season leading up to the 2022 Winter Olympics in China.

Colby Stevenson competes during Saturday’s men’s freeski slopestyle final at the U.S. Grand Prix in Aspen.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Ski & Snowboard.

Just off the podium in fourth on Saturday was Norway’s Sebastian Schjerve (82.27). In fifth was Utah’s Alex Hall (82.04), a 2018 Olympian who has been strong these past few weeks in Aspen. He won bronze to Stevenson’s silver in slopestyle at worlds, a contest won by Switzerland’s Andri Ragettli.

California’s Cody LaPlante was the fourth American to compete in Saturday’s final, scoring 54.32 on his first run to finish in 10th.

Ledeux wins women’s freeski slopestyle contest as Americans finish off the podium

France’s Tess Ledeux won the women’s ski slopestyle contest on Saturday with 83.90, scored on her final run to hold off Great Britain’s Kirsty Muir (81) and Russia’s Anastasia Tatalina (78.55).

The 20-year-old Tatalina has had a breakout two weeks in Aspen, her big air win at world championships putting her onto a major podium for the first time. Now she’s had two podiums in two contests. Muir, only 16, was sixth in slopestyle at worlds.

Ledeux, herself only 19, is among the best in the world and was disappointed in her performances at worlds, where she was fourth in slopestyle and seventh in big air. She’s a two-time X Games champion in big air.

Finishing fourth on Saturday among the women was Eileen Gu (74.91), ending her astonishing run of podiums here in Aspen. Between X Games (two gold, one bronze) and world championships (two gold, one bronze), she had been six for six until the Grand Prix.

The 17-year-old from San Francisco will likely represent her mother’s homeland of China in the upcoming Winter Olympics.

Montana’s Maggie Voisin was fifth (73.72), with fellow Americans Marin Hamill (sixth, 64.44) and Rell Harwood (seventh, 42.78) coming in right behind in the first U.S. Olympic team qualifier.

Russia’s Lana Prusakova was the eighth finalist, but did not start.

“More than anything, I’m just super grateful to be back skiing. Having knee surgery in August and back-to-back knee surgeries these past few years has been mentally really tough,” said the 22-year-old Voisin, who was fourth in slopestyle at the 2018 Olympics. “I just had to come out and ski for myself. Definitely have so much more potential and so much more to give, but I’m proud of myself in how far I’ve come. All these girls out here are just inspiring me to keep pushing.”

The World Cup slopestyle season will conclude next week with a contest in Silvaplana, Switzerland. It’s not an official U.S. Olympic team qualifier.

The U.S. Grand Prix in Aspen will conclude Sunday with the ski and snowboard halfpipe contests. There are no big air contests as part of the events this weekend in Aspen.