On Saturday, March 30, Mac Forehand a 17-year-old Stratton Mountain School student who lives in Winhall, Vt., launched down the slope in Silvaplana, Switzerland in the last World Cup slopestyle competition of the season.
As his sister, mogul skier Savannah, and parents, Ann Marie and Ray, watched, Mac spun effortlessly off the rails, threw huge airs, and landed like a feather before springing onto the next feature. For this event though, Mac skied conservatively. To win the overall World Cup all he had to do was put in a clean run.
When the scores went up, Mac had his worst slopestyle finish of the season: 12th. But it didn’t matter: over the season he had amassed enough points, 247 to second place Max Moffat of Canada’s 213, to take the overall trophy, the World Cup crystal globe in slopestyle. Colby Stevenson, of Portsmouth, N.H. placed second at Silvaplana, earning fifth overall for the season.
Caroline Claire, former teammate and sometime mentor at Stratton Mountain School, finished seventh in the event, earning eight place for the season, and the third best American on the circuit. Eileen Gu, of Squaw Valley, had the third highest points for the season World Cup slopestyle.
“She’s taught me so much, not just about skiing but life” Mac told Vermont Sports in an interview in 2017, when both made that magazine’s Junior Athletes of the Year. In 2018, Forehand was an overall Vermont Sports Athlete of the Year. “Mac Forehand isn’t just one of the best junior freeskiers in the country, he’s one of the best freeskiers period,” said his coach, Jesse Mallis, at the time.
The overall win capped off an amazing year for Mac, who grew up in Southport, CT and spent weekends at Stratton. He moved to Winhall with his family in 2015 so he could go to Stratton Mountain School and train at Mount Snow’s Carinthia terrain parks. There, his father, a principal in the design firm Forehand + Lake, redid a house (see The Freestyle Home) which became an instant gathering spot for Mac and his friends.
In August, 2018, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Rookie Team member won the World Junior Championships in big air, in Cadrona, New Zealand. By November, he had earned a World Cup podium, placing second in slopestyle at Stubai, Austria. In February, he was fourth in slopestyle at the World Ski Championships Then in March, he took the top honors at the World Cup in Mammoth, Calif., beating Olympic medalist Nick Goepper and a host of other top international talent.
All this, despite a setback. This year Mac got his first invitation to the X Games. But In January, Forehand cracked his shoulder blade while training. “He’d been really looking forward to competing in Aspen,” said his father, Ray. But four weeks later Mac (or Mac Attack as he’s sometimes called) was back at it.
“Mac is just really fluid. He’s got amazing awareness and it’s hard to describe but I’d call it grace in his moves,” said his coach, Jesse Mallis, in an interview with Vermont Ski + Ride. Mallis, who also coached Caroline Claire when she was at Stratton, helped former World Cup globe winner freeskier Devin Logan launch her career at Mount Snow.
What’s next? A week of skiing and photo shoots in the Alps with his sponsor, Faction Skis. Then, looking ahead to next season. With big air and slopestyle part of the 2022 Olympics, Mac Forehand has a lot to gun for.
“Yeah, I’m proud of him,” said his father, Ray, on Friday. “But mainly because he’s a nicer kid than he is a skier.”
Featured photo: Freeski Slopestyle finals 2019 Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain, CA
Photo: U.S. Ski & Snowboard