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Aerials Land Seven in Top Ten in Ruka

By Ryan Odeja - Stifel U.S. Ski Team
December, 3 2023
Dani Loeb and Kaila Kuhn after the aerials World Cup in Ruka, Finland
Dani Loeb and Kaila Kuhn after the aerials World Cup in Ruka, Finland. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

The Stifel U.S. Freestyle Ski Team aerials athletes kicked off the 2023-24 World Cup season this morning, Dec. 3, in Ruka Finland and landed seven in the top-10. 

Ruka is a newer stop on the aerials circuit, being added to the schedule consistently back in  2021. The team has been stopping in Ruka for preseason training for years and it has now become a familiar hill for the Stifel U.S. Freestyle Ski Team aerials athletes. The venue offers athletes to get comfortable with new tricks and try new jumps in competition as they enter a new season.

Chris Lillis led the American men and placed fourth among a strong field of competitors.

Next for the strong American team was Quinn Dehlinger and Derek Krueger, who finished in ninth and 11th in finals. Connor Curran finished 16th and Justin Shoenefeld 19th. Ian Schoenwald and Ashton Salwan of Park City Ski & Snowboard are racing out the men's side, finishing in 23rd and 26th, respectively. 

"It was one of my best starts to the season so far and I was happy with my performance" said Lillis. "A fourth place will hopefully be a stepping stone to making a run at the Crystal Globe. Next up I’m looking towards having a solid week of training before our next event in China!"

It was an exciting day for the women, with four making it to the finals. Dani Loeb tied her personal best World Cup result with a fifth place, and teammate Kaila Kuhn followed in sixth. Outside the super finals was Winter Vinecki in eighth and Tasia Tanner in 10th. However, aside from the results, the day was highlighted by Vinecki competing on the triple jump for the first time -  this is a skill that is rare in the women’s field. 

"I feel more confident in myself than ever as jumper and am having so much fun hitting the triple" said Vinecki. "I am eager to see what the rest of the season holds and beyond!"

Next up, the aerials athletes will head to Changchun, China for their next World Cup event Dec. 16-17.