In finishing the day with the silver medal, the 20-year-old Olympic Winter Institute of Australia/NSW Institute of Sport athlete joined an exclusive club of just three other Australian men - Adrian Costa, Dale Begg-Smith and Michael Robertson -who have pocketed a World Cup medal in moguls.
Graham’s superb performance is the first World Cup male mogul skiing medal since Begg-Smith was second in Sierra Nevada in March 2010.
Canadian Mikael Kingsbury won today’s event while Patrick Deneen from the United States was third.
With just a little more than a week before the World Championships in Austria, Graham’s breakthrough result could not have come at a better time.
And while the day belonged to Graham, Britt Cox and Nicole Parks also added to a brilliant day for the Australian mogul team.
Cox, who had a delayed start to the season, finished the day in 6th place after qualifying through to the super-final and Parks again showed that this season is shaping as her best ever by placing 14th after also making the finals.
The women’s was won by American KC Oakley, with Canadians Justine Dufour-Lapointe and Cloe Dufour-Lapointe taking second and third.
Understandably, Graham was thrilled by today’s result and he said that he has been working towards today for some time.
“I have been waiting a while for it and I felt that this year was going to be the year that I would get on the podium,” Graham said.
“To do it in front of a massive crowd, I could not be happier. Right now I’m just super happy.”
It was not just winning a World Cup medal that provided Graham with satisfaction. It was the way he fought back from the first two World Cups this season which did not go to plan.
Graham finished in 22nd in the season opener in Ruka and 13th in Calgary at the start of the month.
He had to again call on his determination today to turn a dream into a reality.
He recorded a 14th place in the qualification session, which was just enough to put him into the first final.
During his run in the first final Graham had to dig deep and recover from a small mistake in the bottom section of the course.
However, it was at that stage that he hit his straps, finishing F1 in 4th place and earning his way into the medal round.
With a “go for it” attitude and a refusal to be overawed by his more experienced and fancied opponents, Graham decided to use a cork 1080 on his bottom jump in the super final – the first time he has used this difficult jump in World Cup competition. And it paid off in spades.
“After qualifying I knew I had to fight my way back if I wanted to get in the top six. Once I was in the top six, I also knew that I could not make any mistakes if I wanted to get on the podium. That’s what I was aiming for and I think I executed it quite well,” he said.
“Making no mistakes has been the objective for a while.”
However, Graham is far from resting on his laurels and believes there is immediate improvement that can be gained by tidying up a few aspects and getting a little faster.
Graham has been “knocking on the door” of the podium for the last two seasons and today was his opportunity to burst through.
Graham has worked hard with coaches Steve Desovich and Jerry Grossi to improve speed, turns and jumps.
“Today was a bit of a confidence booster for World Championships next week. Hopefully I can execute the same again next week and come out on the podium once more,” he said.
In other results with Australians, James Matheson was 48th and in the women’s Madi Himbury was 20th, Jakara Anthony was 33rd and Roanna Humphries was 39th.
Graham, Cox and Parks will join the other NSWIS athletes in Utah tomorrow for duals moguls before the trio head to Austria for the World Championships.
Women’s World Cup moguls skiing, Deer Valley, USA
1. KC Oakley (USA), 2. Justine Dufour-Lapointe (CAN), 3. Chloe Dufour-Lapointe (CAN), 4. Nikola Sudova (CZE), 5. Maxime Dufour-Lapointe (CAN), 6. Britt Cox (AUS), 14. Nicole Parks (AUS), 20. Madi Himbury (AUS, 33., Jakara Anthony (AUS), 39. Roanna Humphries (AUS).
Women’s standings, World Cup moguls skiing
Chloe Dufour-Lapointe (CAN) 220, 2. Justine Dufour-Lappointe (CAN) 185, 3. Hannah Kearney (USA) 166, 4. KC Oakley (USA) 134, 5. Audrey Robichaud (CAN) 122, 6. Andi Naude (CAN) 114, 11. Britt Cox (AUS) 80, 18. Nicole Parks (AUS) 44, Madi Himbury (AUS) 11.
Men’s World Cup moguls skiing, Deer Valley, USA
Mikael Kingsbury (CAN), 2. Matt Graham (AUS), 3. Patrick Deneen (USA), 4. Jae-Woo Choi (KOR), 5. Sho Kashima (USA), 6. Philippe Marquis (CAN). , 48. James Matheson (AUS).
Men’s standings, World Cup moguls skiing
1. Mikael Kingsbury (CAN) 229, 2. Sho Endo (JPN) 156, 3. Philippe Marquis (CAN) 140, 4. Simon Pouliot-Cavanagh (CAN) 128, 5. Anthony Benna (FRA) 127, 6. Alexandr Smyshlyaev (RUS) 127, 7. Matt Graham (AUS) 109,