BOSTON — The Friday night lights shined bright at Fenway Park, and even though no American skiers reached the podium on the final night of Polartec Big Air at Fenway, the inaugural event at the hallowed baseball ground made for a memorable competition.
In placing sixth in the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup event, 2014 Olympic slopestyle silver medalist and Vermont native Devin Logan played up her New England roots and was one of the main cheerleaders to keep the 15,442 fans in attendance on their feet the entire night.
“I had such a blast,” Logan said. “Having a competition back on the East Coast and in Fenway was a dream come true. The crowd was insane. Being from New England, I just wanted to get everyone stoked on skiing and use the crowd’s energy in my skiing, so that's why every jump I would try to pump them up. The energy I got from them was like nothing else.”
Logan may not have nailed all her tricks off the 140-foot ramp set up in center field, but she brought out her best for big air, and her enthusiastic spirit was infectious as she would throw her hands in the air before and after every run, whether she nailed it or not.
“It's been a really long time since I’ve done rodeo 5s with some injuries, but happy I hung on in Fenway,” she said. “I did the tricks I wanted to do — not the best execution — but I was stoked to be here in front of this amazing crowd. So I’m happy.”
The only other American to qualify in the women’s big air final was 17-year-old Maggie Voisin — part of the 2016 U.S. Freeskiing Slopestyle Pro Team — who just edged out Logan for fifth, but cheered alongside her the whole time. Lisa Zimmermann of Germany nabbed first place (173.2), Sweden’s Emma Dahlstrom was a close second with 173 points and Norwegian Tiril Sjaastad Christiansen slid into third (160.8).
Added Logan, “You have to have fun at these things — especially it being the first one ever. This was so fun, and I hope to come back for more.”
Rounding out the men’s side for Team USA was McRae Williams — the only U.S. men’s qualifier — who landed just short of the podium in fourth place with 167.4 points, behind Canada’s Vincent Gagnier (185 points) and the Swiss duo of Andri Ragettli (183) and Jonas Hunziker (176.8).
“I’m happy to be the only American, and to get that spotlight was pretty cool for sure,” Williams said. “Just to be way up there (on the scaffolding) and looking down (at the crowd) — it’s something I’ve never really seen before. You’re almost like a rock star up there. We’re on TV a lot, but you can’t feel the energy like here tonight, it’s such a different experience.”
With multiple X Games medals to his name, the Park City, Utah, native took a different approach to Big Air at Fenway and had fun enjoying the once-in-a-lifetime moment, just like his fellow Americans.
“I really just went out there and had a blast,” he said. “Usually, I’m one to put a lot of pressure on myself, so tonight I just had fun, and to have all my family and friends here with me as well, it was a great night. To be showcased at such a big crowd it will bring more awareness to our sport.
“And it was really cool to almost have a taste of what it would be like to be a Red Sox player.”