Kauf and Wilson Podium in Foggy Idre Fjäll
The U.S. Freestyle Ski Team finished out a strong weekend in Idre Fjäll, Sweden, with more Americans finding the podium on Sunday. Jaelin Kauf snagged second place and Brad Wilson third in a dual moguls event plagued by fog to close out the first segment of the 2020-21 FIS Freestyle World Cup Tour.
The fog led to long delays, but Jaelin didn’t let it bother her, securing her second podium of the season. “I’m really happy with it,” she said. “Especially with this fog and weather coming in, I’m just really happy the event actually went off and finished for the girls. I’m really happy with my skiing all weekend—just skiing really consistently and hitting the top air like I wanted to.”
Jaelin’s domination of dual moguls has been noticed on the World Cup, with Head Coach Matt Gnoza dubbing her “the queen of the duals.” Her speed is consistently impressive and her jumps are solid, which helped carry her to her 11th career duals podium.
Perrine Laffont of France took the win for the women with Anri Kawamura of Japan in third.
Tess Johnson finished just off the podium in fourth place and is proving that she’s a podium-caliber skier who is hungry for another top-three result. “This one has been coming for quite some time,” said Matt. “She’s one step closer to the podium that she’s bound to be getting in the very near future.”
Rounding out the U.S. women, Hannah Soar was seventh, Kai Owens was 12th—her best finish in a dual moguls World Cup so far—Olivia Giaccio 24th and Madison Hogg 27th.
The men’s event was a bit more complicated, as the fog refused to let up and visibility was at a zero, which resulted in the event organizers calling for the men’s big and small finals to be canceled. The big final skiers would tie for first and the small final skiers tied for third. This had never been done in a World Cup competition before and was a one-time ruling in order for the athletes to get results, especially during a pandemic-riddled season. While it was a disappointing conclusion, all four men skied down the course together and jumped the bottom air at the same time, which made for a nice show of sportsmanship.
Matt Graham of Australia and Ludvig Fjallstrom of Sweden tied for first with Jordan Kober of Canada and Brad Wilson taking third.
Brad was excited to secure his first podium of the season. “With this sport, we can ski through any weather except for fog—we haven’t figured out how to get through it,” he said. “As soon as I rolled in the gate it just came down—it was so socked in here—we thought maybe it was going to be a wash of an event. We’re stoked that they came up with something to get us the points that we deserved. I’m stoked!”
The course conditions in Idre Fjäll played well with Brad's ability to ski the fast line and competitive nature. “When there are dual moguls, there’s a different look in Brad Wilson’s eye and it was there from the start today,” said Matt.
Nick Page scooped up a top-10 result—his personal-best dual moguls finish—making it a stellar weekend for Saturday’s podiumer. “He’s going to enter our next World Cups with a really low bib number,” said Matt. “That was one of the goals for Nick to start the season and he’s right on top of that right now. Pretty exciting times for the mogul team!”
Dylan Walczyk finished 22nd, Alex Lewis 39th and Jesse Andringa 50th.
Next up, the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team heads back to the states for some much-needed time off and training after a six-week trip through Scandinavia. “I’m excited to see the sun and be home,” said Jaelin. “We’ve been in darkness for so long—and hopefully some powder skiing too!”