Competing on the same course that will be used in less than 12 months for the Games, the 18-year-old Australian Institute of Sport / NSW Institute of Sport athlete finished in seventh place, lifting his ranking by nine places to 15th in the world.
The event was won by Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury, followed by American Patrick Deneen and Canadian Philippe Marquis in third.
The result will provide Graham with the confidence of knowing that he is closing the gap on the top echelon of World Cup mogul skiers.
However, Graham is not allowing himself to get too far ahead of himself.
He is the first to admit that the coming year needs to be packed with hard work and ongoing analysis if he is to make a big impression at next year’s Olympics.
Graham gave his Australian supporters in the Sochi crowd something additional to cheer for when he firstly progressed to the 16 man finals as the 11th best qualifier in a high quality field of 60 athletes.
In the final he put down a solid run which saw him holding fifth place with just two skiers to go, scoring 23.16 points, which almost qualified Graham for the six man super final.
Unfortunately for the Australian, one of the remaining skiers was Kingsbury, the number one ranked skier in the world, and the top qualifier, Russia’s Alexandr Smyshlyaev.
Despite being pushed out of the round to contest medals, Graham was highly pleased with his performance.
“A couple of weeks ago in Deer Valley I was 10th and now I’ve stepped it up to a seventh. It’s pretty exciting,” he said.
“I’ve been focusing on putting down clean runs each competition. It seems to be helping me a lot, and trying to improve the quality of my skiing and jumps, not focusing on time.
“Tonight I thought my jumps were pretty solid, especially in the qualification. I did two really nice airs.
“Skiing wasn’t great but it was clean enough to get me into the finals.
“In the finals I tried to clean everything up with my skiing and my jumps. It seemed to work out pretty well.”
Graham is excited by the prospect of competing on the same course at the Olympics but he knows better than many that snow conditions can vary wildly from one year to the next.
“I really like this course. It seems similar to what we get back home so that has given me a pretty big advantage,” he added.
“Going into 2014, I’m trying not to get too over-amped with this result because next year the conditions could be icy and not suit me at all.
“I try to adapt to all conditions and putting down good ones.”
AIS / NSWIS athlete Britt Cox finished a creditable 14th after also qualifying for the final.
Cox said she was happy with the way she skied tonight after struggling to find form in Sochi training sessions leading up to this event.
“I’m really happy to have skied well overall today and to have figured out the course for next year,” Cox said.
“The course has been really slushy and like the snow back in Australia in the spring. So I guess that is a positive although we need to be prepared to expect the unexpected next year. It could be bullet proof ice or it could be like this again.”
In other Australian women’s results, Taylah O’Neill finished 24th and AIS / NSWIS scholarship holder Nicole Parks was 32nd.