Johnson Fourth in Idre Fjäll
Tess Johnson led the Americans in the Moguls FIS World Cup in snowy Idre Fjäll, Sweden, Saturday, with a fourth-place finish.
“I’m really happy with how I skied,” said Johnson. “This was my first supers in three seasons and it feels incredible. I was just focused on my skiing all day, one run at a time. It had been snowing all day and the course was absolutely ripping. Each run was better and better. Staying the moment and focusing on the cues I know work for me gave me a ton of confidence [today] even in training runs.”
A fierce middle section combined with a top cork to bottom venom earned Johnson a score of 82.25. “When I'm focused more on the skiing and the process rather than the outcome, I can access that flow state more. A lot of athletes will know what flow state feels like, I was proud to access it each run. I think my skiing and scores reflected it. When I’m there (in that flow state) is when I have the most fun and the biggest smile on my face.”
Johnson was among four women to qualify for Finals and the only American to ski in the super final round. “Tess threw a hell of a punch in that final,” said Head Mogul Coach Matt Gnoza. “I am so impressed with her demeanor, her approach, her middle section. She’s an awesome athletic skier and to see that showing through now in December is really exciting. She’ll have some momentum moving forward.”
Johnson credits her mental preparedness in being able to ski at the level she did, and hopes to continue to do. “This is the first international World Cup we had sport psychologist Alex Cohen here, which was such a nice addition to our already incredible staff,” she said. “I wouldn't be the skier I am today without Alex, Riley, Bryon and Matt. It’s so cool to have that whole team here with me, and that’s partly what made today really special to me.”
Japan’s Anri Kawamura won for the women, Australia’s Jakara Anthony came in second, and France’s Perrine Laffont came in third.
Jaelin Kauf skied the fastest run of the day for the women in the first round of finals, smoking the field at 24.22 seconds. Combined with her top mute to bottom back X she earned a score of 79.4, missing a Super Finals appearance by just 0.05 points, and finished the day in seventh. Hannah Soar skied clean and technical, throwing a top cork and bottom truck driver, finishing in eighth place. Kai Owens had two impressive airs, but had a few small mistakes in the middle section and finished 10th.
Olivia Giaccio finished 21st, Morgan Schild finished 25th and Madison Hogg 35th.
Brad Wilson was the only American man to qualify for finals. He came rockin’ out of the start gates in typical Brad fashion but made a little mistake in the bottom air which made the difference in Super Final appearance and finished ninth.
Japan’s Ikuma Horishima won for the men, Sweden’s Albin Holmgren earned second and France’s Ben Cavet came in third. Noticeably absent from Super Finals and the podium was winningest mogul skier of all time Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury, who finished seventh.
Nick Page finished 18th, Dylan Walczyk 31st and Cole McDonald 48th.
Competition continues Sunday with the first Dual Moguls World Cup of the season. Five women qualified on Friday for the round of 16: Johnson, Soar, Kauf, Owens and Giaccio. Men’s qualifications go off Sunday morning. The Americans love a good duel, and with the heightened level of competition that comes from an Olympic year, mogul fans can expect the U.S. to come out fighting.