Soar and Page Hit Career Firsts in Sweden
Hannah Soar and Nick Page both earned their first Moguls FIS World Cup podiums in Idre Fjäll, Sweden, Saturday, with a pair of third-place finishes. This marks moguls’ second event of their 2020-21 season and brings the team full circle to where their 2019-20 season fell apart in the wake of forced COVID-19 shutdowns. After an uncertain prep period and limited days on snow, laying it down in Sweden feels especially sweet. “It’s good to see the hard work pay off,” commented Head Coach Matt Gnoza.
Qualifications ran Friday due to limited daylight in Scandinavia this time of year and six Americans qualified for Saturday’s finals. The PowHERHouse women of the moguls team had a strong showing with four women in the finals and two, Hannah and Jaelin Kauf, skiing in the super final round. The day was Hannah’s for the Americans and her back tuck to cork 7 super finals run landed her on the podium in third.
“The day started with Matt telling me I needed to get my stuff together and ski fast,” Hannah reflected. “Sometimes I struggle with pushing myself to that next step of maybe shaving a second off, maybe going a couple of feet higher on each air, you know, skiing more direct in the middle. These are the things that make a podium and pulls a run together to make it special. I knew if I wanted a podium I needed to rise up and do it.”
France’s Perrine Laffont won the event and Japan’s Anri Kawamura took second.
Kai Owens continues to prove herself against a strong field of women and finished the day in 12th. Tess Johnson improved from last week with a ninth-place finish and will look to keep climbing the rankings as the season progresses. Jaelin Kauf made a solid super finals appearance and ended with a fifth-place finish.
On the men’s side, Nick Page led the Americans with his first-ever World Cup podium in third place. It was also the 18-year-old’s first super finals appearance. “Today was awesome,” Nick said. “It was a whole weekend of firsts: first podium, first super finals, first time getting to ski in the top six. It was really fun being up there with all of the guys and it was just such a productive group. Everyone wanted everyone to ski their best and see where the pieces fell. I was just running through my three cues in my head: getting a flawless top air, ripping the middle, and pinning the bottom... and looks like I did it.”
“I watched Nick’s runs before my super final and it inspired me to do something special out there,” commented Hannah.
France’s Benjamin Cavet came in first and Australia’s Brodie Summers took second.
Brad Wilson had a strong showing, skiing fast and strong through the middle section to land him in fifth place. “That classic Brad Wilson speed through the middle section was absolutely unbelievable,” said Matt.
Olivia Giaccio made an impressive return to competition almost a year to date since sustaining a 2019-20 season injury coming in 21st. “The course was super fun and I feel like I managed it well and was able to adjust and put my stuff down [during official training],” she said. “I felt ready, mentally, and physically ready, and so I made the decision to step into the gate. I had a really really fun day and I was proud of my skiing and my jumping. I skied a bit slow but other than that it was an awesome experience to be back in the gate. I definitely did not expect to be back this early but I'm really glad to get another World Cup start under my belt. I’m really looking forward to continuing my trend upwards.”
The FIS Freestyle tour continues in Idre Fjäll with Dual Moguls. The men began dueling Saturday afternoon to cut the field down to 16 to account for limited daylight for Sunday. Both Nick and Brad will ski in Sunday’s event.
The moguls crew loves a Dual Day and the team is amped to go head-to-head with the world’s best. “What a better way to end [this] trip than some Duala action, which really always seems to get the most out of our athletes,” said Matt. “They love that head-to-head, beat-the-skier next to you approach. It should be fun.”
HOW TO WATCH
Sunday, Dec. 13
5 a.m. EST – Men’s and Women’s Dual Moguls, Idrefjäll, SWE – Live, Streaming Peacock Premium