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Vermont Olympian Devin Logan Makes History With Women's Ski Slopestyle

Twenty-year old freeskier Devin Logan of West Dover will be making history this week as part of the first Olympic team in her high-flying sport. She’ll compete on Feb. 11 in women’s ski slopestyle, which, along with half-pipe skiing, is making its Olympic debut in the 2014 Games.

Logan has been in Sochi since the beginning of February. But she says she started feeling like an Olympian on Saturday, when her friend Sage Kotsenburg won the first gold medal ever in men’s snowboard slopestyle.

Vermonters In Sochi: Olympic Athletes, Events And Results >>

"After seeing the first event and seeing the first gold medal given out, I do feel like an Olympian," Logan says with a laugh. "It’s really real now."

Slopestyle skiing rose to popularity in the X-Games and Logan is thrilled to bring it to a bigger world stage. Slopestyle skiers tend to fly even higher than their snowboard counterparts while performing mid-air spins, somersaults and acrobatic tricks.

"We just want to make it look as good as possible, so that everyone else will see how much fun we have and our sport will grow in the eyes of the world." - Devin Logan

"We’re judged on the technical tricks we do," Logan explains. "And then on the difficulty of our tricks also, and amplitude — how big we’re taking the jumps. We’re also judged on the overall flow of our run, how smooth it was."

Logan loves the creativity and freedom of her sport. She says freeskiers get to choose their own paths over the obstacles and jumps.

"Which is fun because that’s how you see everyone’s personality come out," she says. "And that’s why no run’s the same and it’s all different. So that’s the really cool part about it."

Logan got her start in free skiing trying to keep up with her older brothers at Mount Snow, where her family skied almost every weekend.

"I started doing moguls and big air," she says. "And that kind of transformed when I was 12 or 13 to the half pipe and it just kind of grew from there."

Logan practiced her mid-air acrobatics on a trampoline.

"I’ve been to a lot of water ramping camps," she says, "just to learn what it feels like to do tricks on skis and land, to make our sport as safe as possible."

Like Olympic snowboard medalist Kelly Clark, who is also from West Dover, Logan attended Mount Snow Academy. She started winning medals at the age of 15. After winning the New Zealand World Cup Half Pipe in 2012, she had a fall that took her out of competition for a while. But she’s feeling great now. She’s had a chance to train at the Sochi Olympics’ Rosa Khutor Extreme Park and she and her teammates have worked with officials on some tweaks to make the course safer.

"I’m just planning to do what I do well and have as much fun with it as possible," she says. "I mean, we’re the first ones! We’re the pioneers here for the Olympics, so there’s not too much pressure built up. We just want to make it look as good as possible, so that everyone else will see how much fun we have and our sport will grow in the eyes of the world."

Logan will also spend her 21st birthday in Sochi, a few days after her Olympic debut. Whatever happens, she says, it’s a birthday she’ll always remember.

UPDATE: Devin Logan won the silver medal in the slopestyle competition.

Susan Keese was VPR's southern Vermont reporter, based at the VPR studio in Manchester at Burr & Burton Academy. After many years as a print journalist and magazine writer, Susan started producing stories for VPR in 2002. From 2007-2009, she worked as a producer, helping to launch the noontime show Vermont Edition. Susan has won numerous journalism awards, including two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for her reporting on VPR. She wrote a column for the Sunday Rutland Herald and Barre-Montpelier Times Argus. Her work has appeared in Vermont Life, the Boston Globe Magazine, The New York Times and other publications, as well as on NPR.
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