Meet Montana's Contenders
Montana is made for winter adventure, so it’s no surprise that three 2018 Winter Games competitors began their careers in the mountains of Montana! Maggie Voisin, Darian Stevens and Brad Wilson are looking ahead to Pyeongchang, but took time to share their experiences growing up in Montana and why they love skiing here. They also shared insider tips to enjoying winter in Big Sky Country like a champion.
Maggie: I truly can’t think of a better place to grow up, and I say that from the heart. In my home town of Whitefish, the activities all year round are endless. Growing up in Montana is something I will never take for granted and I think it’s a big part of the person I am today.
Darian: Missoula is awesome, and there’s really nothing like Montana. There’s just so many great things to do and experience, and I feel really lucky that I got to grow up here.
Brad: Growing up in Butte felt special. Obviously it’s the only place I grew up, but I’ve spent a lot of time in other parts of the world these past 15 years and over time I compare it to that small city, and I feel lucky and proud.
Maggie: I have been skiing for sixteen years now and I was put on skis for the first time at three years old! One of my first powder days ever was at this little mountain called Turner and is a memory I’ll never forget.
Darian: I started skiing when I was three, and I’m 21 now, so 18 years. I grew up skiing at Snowbowl, so it holds a special place in my heart.
Brad: I started skiing for fun on the weekends with my family at the age of four, we spent all of our time either at Lost Trail or Discovery. I started competing at eight or nine for the Lost Trail Freestyle Team. I'm 25 now.
Maggie: From what I can remember I have skied seven different mountains in Montana. My top favorite is of course Whitefish Mountain Resort!
Darian: Wow…I’ve skied so many! I’ve skied Snowbowl, Discovery, Great Divide, Bridger Bowl, Big Sky, and Lost Trail. A lot of these locations were for contests, but I’ve tried to ski around (the state) for sure. In addition to Snowbowl, I really like Big Sky because it’s an amazing mountain
Maggie: As of recent some of my most memorable moments on the slopes in Montana are when I do my annual “Ski with Maggie Day.” There honestly is nothing more special to me than going back to the place where it all started and being able to inspire the younger generation. Not only that, but I get inspired by the kids who come to ski with me and to see their love for skiing is always an amazing eye opener for me.
Darian: That’s a tough one…there’s just so many good ones. Every day in Montana is a good powder day for me! Everyone is always just super stoked to be on the slopes, the snow is great, and there’s obviously amazing terrain. That’s what Montana is known for.
Brad: That’s a tough one! My great competition memories would be at Snowbowl, they always put on the best events when I was a kid. But my greatest free skiing memories are always from Discovery and Big Sky. The powder days at Big Sky were tough to beat because the runs are so long and great pitch. But Discovery seemed like you had the mountain to yourself, and it is very steep, so you can get creative with your lines.
Maggie: When I’m not skiing, I would have to say my old favorite winter activity was ice skating; especially at Whitefish Lake when it would freeze in the winter.
Darian: Let’s see…I mean, I guess I don’t do much outside of skiing in the winter, but every once in a while I get to go snowmobiling in the area with my dad and brother; which is awesome.
Brad: Hunting was always so cool because there’s something about being in the mountains when no one is around. Whenever I was around, we never got anything, probably because I was way too loud as a kid. But I used to love going up into the mountains and walking through the snow. Also snowmobiling and ice fishing were a great way to spend the time.
Maggie: That’s a tough question to narrow down! The great thing about Whitefish is that it’s filled with endless options for food. Between fine dining to casual, cafes, sushi bars, and anything you can think of. Personally the best breakfast in Whitefish is hands down Swift Creek Café. In the afternoon Montana Coffee Traders has great quick and easy lunch options and not to mention the coffee is amazing too. I can’t lie I am a sushi lover so my favorite dinner spot downtown is Wasabi. Also, don’t forget if you’re in town to stop at Sweet Peaks Ice Cream. I have to admit they make the best homemade ice cream in the state of Montana!
Darian: Well, I’m usually skiing at Snowbowl with my family, so we go to the bar/restaurant there. They have the best pizza ever. I guess in Missoula, I really like Five on Black; that restaurant is nice, that’s like the one place I go to. The pizza at Snowbowl is life changing really; they have a wood fire oven and it’s just amazing.
Brad: I will never forget the cheese fries and the cookies they had at “Disco” (Discovery) I was always looking forward to lunchtime. Also, Big Sky used to have the greatest Ham and Cheese sandwiches. The best donuts I've ever had traveling the world are at Town Talk Bakery on Front Street in Butte. And a quick bite doesn't get better than Butte’s Uptown Pork Chop Johns.
Maggie: I would say one of the most beautiful places on earth, Glacier National Park.
Darian: Flathead Lake is a great spot to visit in the summer. It’s just undeniably gorgeous and there’s really nothing better than being out on the lake in a boat in the sunshine.
Brad: I basically grew up in Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and I won’t go to Montana without spending a few days fishing those mountain lakes. I would also recommend floating the Big Hole River in early summer.
Maggie: It’s true I have been to some incredible places all around the world but Montana seriously has some the best skiing around. They are some incredible hidden towns, mountains all throughout Montana that are quaint, have incredible terrain, full of great people and things to do!
Darian: The great thing about Montana is that it’s local; not a lot of people know about these locations. It’s having these small communities that are so stoked on skiing because the terrain is so awesome. Montana resorts are just laidback and people are doing it because they love it. You can have a more authentic experience. It’s also reasonably priced; you can come ski at a variety of destinations and not pay big resort prices. A lot of resorts aren’t like that. There’s big opportunities to ski, but you still feel like it’s local.
Brad: Ski areas are changing; they’re turning into a major business built to give a great first-impression and losing the local feel. My favorite thing about most Montana ski areas is they haven't lost that. They aren't too big, it seems like they haven't forgotten that skiing gives kids and families a chance to have fun together. It’s not about the bottom line, it’s more “You had fun skiing today? Great. I'm glad we could be a part of your amazing experience.”
Maggie grew up in the northwestern town of Whitefish near Glacier National Park, and fondly recalls her love for the beautiful Montana outdoors. Her first experience on skis was in Montana at only three years old. At only 19, her impressive competition history includes several podium finishes. In fact, she celebrated her 15th birthday on the podium at the Breckenridge Dew Tour; the first of five qualification events for the 2014 Winter Games. She went on to join the Women’s Pro Slopestyle-Freeskiing Team in 2014, but was unable to compete at that time due to a broken ankle during practice. Maggie is excited to be competing again and is looking forward to Pyeongchang. Even though Maggie has been traveling the world, she always loves to return to Whitefish to ski her favorite slopes at Whitefish Mountain Resort and enjoy everything her hometown has to offer. Her personal recommendations include a trip to Glacier and her favorite Montana-made treat at Sweet Peaks Ice Cream.
Darian grew up in the western town of Missoula near popular outdoor recreation spots like the Blackfoot River and Flathead Lake. Her skiing experience began in her Montana hometown when she was only three on the nearby slopes of Montana Snowbowl. Her love for the powder began there, and lead her to compete on slopes around the state before moving on to national and global events. She began competing in moguls, but made the permanent switch to freeskiing with a specialty in both half-pipe and slopestyle. Despite injuries while competing five years ago, Darian has refused to let anything hold her back. Today, at 21, she is excited to compete in her first Winter Games as a member of the 2018 Women’s Pro Slopestyle-Freeskiing team. While she spends most of her time skiing, Darian makes time to enjoy winter with family while snowmobiling and will recommend Snowbowl’s pizza as a must to anyone looking to have a “life changing” experience.
For Brad, skiing and competing has always been in the family, and he’s shared that experience with his older brother, Bryon. Growing up in the historic town of Butte, the Wilson brothers could be found at an early age watching more experienced freestyle skiers at the nearby Montana slopes of Lost Trail or Discovery. He began competing in moguls before the age of 10, and went on to several impressive podium finishes that placed him on the 2014 Men’s Mogul Ski Team. Even after a post-competition knee injury, Brad continued to train and compete around the world, and he looks forward to Pyeongchang. With a love for the outdoors and Montana, you’ll frequently find Brad hiking or fishing when he comes home to Butte. Because he’s always on the go, he recommends grabbing a delicious quick comfort meal at Uptown Pork Chop Johns when you’re in town.