Kauf Second; Strong U.S. Showing at Deer Valley
Jaelin Kauf earned her 22nd podium in her 70th World Cup start under the lights at the 2023 Intermountain Health Freestyle International at Deer Valley Resort on Feb. 2. Champion took no prisoners, winning a few more rounds than usual against the world’s best moguls skiers. A steep transition from the top air into a nasty middle section marked by what became known as “rogules” - rogue moguls - proved a challenge many could not overcome.
“The course was probably the toughest Champion course that I’ve ever seen, it was the most DNFs that I’ve ever seen [here],” commented Head Moguls World Cup Coach Bryon Wilson.
“I was so stoked I was able to lay down some really solid and speedy runs and keep it together,” said Kauf from the finish. “This is such a challenging course, it always is. It seems like it was a little more challenging this year for some reason. But I was focused on landing that top air and getting on my toes. I can handle little bobbles or hits in that position.”
Kauf’s Super Finals run earned her a score of 77.35 to end the night in second place, with a huge score in speed of 19.96. She shared the podium with winner Anthony Jakara (Australia) and Perrine Laffont (France) in third.
“Jaelin stepped up and skied super fast,” said Wilson. “She almost maxed out the speed points for this course. It was so impressive, so proud of her.”
Rookie and Park City local Dylan Marcellini in his third World Cup start made an impression on the Champion course with a fourth place finish, his career-first Super Finals appearance. “I really just came out here with no expectations and was just trying to ski my run as many times as I was able to,” Marcellini said. “I’ve been dreaming of this moment for years. To come out here and make Super Finals in my first-ever Deer Valley event feels unbelievable.”
Australia’s Matt Graham won for the men, Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury took second and France’s Benjamin Cavet rounded out the podium on third.
It was a strong showing overall for the U.S. on their home course. A record seven women made it through to finals. Olivia Giaccio qualified in third as the top American woman and had a strong start in her finals run, but got stuck in the middle section and DNFd, finishing the night in 16th. Hannah Soar made it through to the Super Final round, but the middle section won the run and Soar DNFd to end the night in fifth. Tess Johnson tied her season-best result with a seventh place finish. Alli Macuga finished the night in 12th, Elizabeth Lemley finished 13th, and Kasey Hogg made her first finals appearance to finish in 14th.
Kylie Kariotis finished 17th, Lulu Shaffer 22nd, and August Davis in her World Cup debut finished 24th.
Four men represented the U.S. in finals: Marcellini, Charlie Mickel, Nick Page and Dylan Walczyk. Walczyk finished seventh, Cole McDonald 13th, Charlie Mickel 15th, Nick Page 29th, Garrett MArley 34th, Peyton Billeisen 40th, Ryan Tam 42nd, Landon Wendler did not finish.
The 2023 Intermountain Health Freestyle International continues Friday with Aerials and Saturday with Dual Moguls.