Devin Logan, a freeskiing celebrity, managed to recover from an injury and came back stronger than ever.
By Evan Johnson
Growing up on the slopes at Mount Snow, Devin Logan spent much of her childhood challenged to perform at the same level as her two older brothers. The effort has clearly paid off.
After attending Mount Snow Academy for three years, Logan’s debut onto the international freeskiing scene was explosive. In 2011 her first full competition season, she made her X Games debut at the age of 16 in both halfpipe and slopestyle, and collected her first X Games medal with a halfpipe bronze at the European X Games. Later that year, she capped her rookie season with the Association of Freeskiing Professionals Overall Champion at 17. In 2012, the West Dover native continued to dominate with 12 podium appearances, including two X Games medals, earning her another AFP Overall Championship title.
But in August 2012, Logan suffered a blown knee at a competition in New Zealand. She spent 5 months in rehab, and by April of this year, she was back on the hill, skiing gently groomed slopes before spending as much time on-snow as possible during the summer.
In May, she practiced rails at Mammoth Lakes before coming east for trampoline training at Waterville Valley, N.H., practicing her tricks and landing on an inflatable airbag. After regaining her air-awareness and her muscle-memory, she transitioned back onto the snow, practicing halfpipe in July at Whistler with the US Freeskiing Team.
After making a full recovery, she took first in halfpipe at the World Cup in Cardrona in August, her first competition since her recovery. The victory, combined with a fifth place finish in slopestyle, helped secure her a spot on the US Team. Her recovery puts her at the edge of qualifiers for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the first year freestyle skiing will be an Olympic sport.
Logan is presently skiing at Breckenridge and Keystone, developing new tricks and regaining comfort on snow before attempting to qualify for the Olympic team in a series of events in early December – the Dew Tour and the U.S. Grand Prix. She joins Gus Kenworthy of Telluride, Colorado as the other skier hoping to double-down on Olympic gold in both halfpipe and slopestyle.
Logan spoke with Ski and Ride Assistant Editor Evan Johnson from Breckenridge about her introduction to the slopestyle and halfpipe, her nearly career-ending injury, and the road to recovery.
Ski & Ride: Describe for me your style of skiing when you first were introduced to the sport.
DL: I started skiing at Mount Snow when I was two years old. When I was six I was put into the weekend freestyle program with my brothers. It kind of went on from there. I did moguls and big air growing up and just following my brothers around in the park. Then in seventh grade, I attended Mount Snow Academy and moved my interest over to halfpipe and slopestyle. Three years later and everything just kind of blew up on me. I started traveling the world and skiing.
S&R: Would you consider six to be an early start for freestyle?
DL: [Laughs] Yeah, that’s really young. I was traveling around with my brothers anyway and going to all the local events with them and I think my mom got sick of me bugging her so she kind of threw me into the program and had the coaches watch me.
It was a little bit intimidating because I was so young, but I always wanted to be doing the things my brothers were doing and I think they wanted another little brother, themselves. So they treated me that way and took me under their wing and made me progress a lot faster than I would have if I didn’t have them.
S&R: Clearly you progressed very well because you’re in the qualifying rounds and may be heading to Sochi.
DL: Yeah, hopefully. We have our Olympic qualifiers starting early in early December, the first one being the Dew Tour. We have five qualifiers to hopefully make the team before Sochi.
S&R: Until then, what have you been up to in Colorado?
DL: I’ve been out here for a week and I’ve been skiing at Breckenridge and Keystone Mountain, just getting back on my skis and trying to work on some tricks in the park. I’m trying to feel comfortable on my skis again before the competition season starts. It’s pretty mellow. Actually, after talking to you, I’m going up to Breckenridge. My brother actually lives out here now, so I’m going to be skiing park with him and trying to get all of my tricks back since I was injured last season. There’s a three-jump line here of smaller jumps and I’m working on getting all of my tricks back.
S&R: Last season, you were out because of an injury. Could you describe your recovery?
I got injured last August in New Zealand, so last season I was rehabbing a knee injury. I started to get back on groomers in April, so I skied groomers for about a month and a half. Then I tried to be on snow as much as possible this summer. I went to Mammoth Lakes to ski around on some rails with the US Ski Team and then in June I went back East because I grew up going to trampoline camp in Waterville Valley, N.H..
They have a trampoline set up and a summer dry-set up air bag. I went back there in June and did all my tricks into a bag just trying to get the muscle memory back and my air-awareness before I took my skis back on snow. I spent all of July in Whistler, BC, on the glacier with the US Freeskiing Team doing some halfpipe at Momentum Ski Camps.
I went to New Zealand to compete in my first competition since the injury, which went really well. I took first in the world cup halfpipe down there, which was a great confidence booster, being my first competition back. That was real nice heading into the season, but I also had to get a quota spot for my slopestyle. I ended up getting fifth in slopestyle. I was really excited about that.
I’ve been getting myself ready for competitions since then. I went back to Park City in September, training again in the gym to get strong and then in October I went back down to New Zealand for another spring training camp they held for the US and a bunch of other national teams for about ten days. And then I came back to Utah and now I’m here in Colorado.
S&R: After your injury last year, and having to climb back on that horse, so to speak, is learning these tricks like riding a bicycle? Does it all come back?
DL: There’s a little hesitation in the first run you do, just because you’re like, “Is my knee going to hold up?” But once you get the first one down, it’s just like riding a bike. It’s actually pretty sneaky, because I get the adrenaline rushes back with doing first tricks, feeling really good and excited. It’s always a little nerve-wracking doing the first one, but in my head, I just know I have the confidence and that I’ll land it. It’s just easy. I’m back and my body knows what it’s doing.
S&R: Moving into the qualifiers, what are some of the strengths you have going for you?
DL: I’m feeling pretty consistent in both halfpipe and slopestyle. I’m the only woman who competes in both so it does get pretty tricky and difficult trying to balance the two, but I feel that one helps me with the other. If I’m training for one, I’m getting some practice with the other at the same time. A 360 off a jump is a 540 in the halfpipe. One helps the other and I try to be the best overall skier I can be.
S&R: This is the first year that freeskiing will be featured at the winter Olympics. What are your thoughts as you move into the qualifying stage? What’s your mindset?
DL: Compared to snowboarding, I know Kelly Clark – we’re from the same town and skied at Mount Snow together – it’ be nice to have another Mount Snow native competing and hopefully get on the podium as well. I’m a little nervous. I think it’s mostly butterflies in my stomach, like an excited nervous. I feel pretty confident in myself, how capable I am in my events and I know I can pull through and get something done. I’m excited to get back on my skis and show everyone what kind of skiing I’m capable of.