Stratton Mountain's Mac Forehand wins Crystal Globe
SILVAPLANA, Switzerland — As he approached the winner's podium, Stratton Mountain School junior Mac Forehand couldn't help but smile.
Taking his place at the top of the podium, he high-fived and fist bumped Canada's Max Moffatt and Switzerland's Andri Ragettli, his podium mates, who could not have been more proud of what the high school student had just done.
At just 17 years old, Forehand had done something never done in Stratton Mountain School's history, claiming the Crystal Globe and overall FIS Freestyle World Cup title, while still enrolled at SMS.
His effort Saturday at the final World Cup event in Silvaplana, Switzerland, put the finishing touches on a magical season for Forehand.
"It was a real honor to be at the top of the podium with this group of World Cup athletes," Forehand said. "The World Cup at Silvaplana may be the best slopestyle competition that has ever gone down in my opinion — the course was amazing, the weather was perfect and I'm hyped how everything worked out."
"We are so proud of Mac," said Stratton Mountain School Headmaster Christopher G. Kaltsas. "His achievement is unprecedented in the history of our great school. Huge congrats to Mac, his coaches and his wonderful family."
As Forehand prepared for his run to start, he looked out at the beautiful Swiss mountains, a last-second calming moment, before the real work began.
The first rail approached and he hit it perfectly with his skis. A transition over to the next one, seamless as he readied for the first jump.
The first jump. No issue.
The next rail. A flawless grind.
Forehand was in the zone on this day and nothing was going to keep him off that podium.
The final three jumps were no issue for the SMS standout, as he flew through the air putting down move after move.
The final rail passed and he all he could do now was wait.
When the final scores came in, it became clear what he had just done.
Forehand finished the slopestyle World Cup season with 247 points, besting the second-place Moffatt, who had 213 points.
He also holds the US Grand Prix title in slopestyle, following his first World Cup Victory at the Mammoth Mountain slopestyle Grand Prix in early March. Before that, Forehand claimed fourth in slopestyle at the FIS World Championships.
Forehand first landed on the World Cup podium this November with a second place finish in Stubai, Austria, and followed it up with a fifth-place finish in Font Romeau, France, in January.
Last year, he won the Junior World Championship title in Big Air in Cardrona, New Zealand.
This past May, Forehand was named a member of the US Freeski Team's Rookie slopestyle contingent. While he was also invited to compete in the X Games in Aspen this winter, he suffered a shoulder injury and could not attend.
That injury wasn't going to define the rest of his season though. He recovered quickly to send his season out on a high note between World Championships, the Grand Prix and now the Crystal Globe.
"Mac is very driven and focused when he is skiing," said SMS Freeski coach Keith Shipman. "After seeing him win the NorAm cup last season we were ecstatic about him getting a spot on the World Cup Tour, and then this season he takes the crystal globe. He is unstoppable."
Forehand has trained with the Stratton Mountain School Freeski program since 2015, which is around the time that his family made the full-time move to Winhall. Before that, the skier was a member of the Stratton Winter Sports Club. His sister, Savannah Forehand, is also a graduate of the SMS Freestyle program.
On Saturday, Forehand's family watched on proudly as he made his final World Cup run of the season and later stood atop the World Cup podium.
"With the help of the Stratton Mountain School community, both coaches and teachers, Mac has been able to achieve his goals while continuing to get a great education," said Forehand's parents, Ray and Ann Marie Forehand. "We know that this was Chris Kaltsas' vision for the school when he became headmaster, and it has been amazing to watch 17-year-old Mac achieve his goals and many more over the past few years. Even more exciting was to watch Mac as he accepted the Crystal Globe, as the number one slopestyle skier in the world. We are extremely proud."
"I didn't think I had a chance to podium this year, never mind take home the Crystal Globe," Forehand said. "I want to thank my coaches and teachers at SMS and the US Ski and Snowboard Team for supporting me all year long."
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