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2023-24 Freestyle Season Highlights

By Ryan Odeja - Stifel U.S. Ski Team
April, 15 2024
press conference
Chris Lillis speaks at a press conference at Deer Valley. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard).

The Stifel U.S. Freestyle Ski Team had the chance to leave a long-lasting mark on the freestyle world this year, an opportunity they took and ran with. Three continents, 11 World Cups and 23 events made it one of the most physically demanding seasons in recent history, but the team went in with a vision and came out to a shift in the U.S. freestyle landscape. 


The season started with the moguls and aerials teams together in Ruka, Finland. Ruka has become a familiar starting point for the teams as they often spend weeks training just below the Arctic Circle leading into the World Cup season. This home base was the perfect place for U.S. aerials star Winter Vinecki to compete a triple for the first time, becoming one of the only women to do so on this year's circuit. This was just the beginning of what would become the most dominant season of her career. She went on to win three individual World Cups and helped lead the U.S. to a team win in Changchun, China. On top of competing triples consistently, Vinecki also perfected her doubles technique to make her hard to beat in all aspects of the sport. Vinecki finished the season second overall, only 42 points behind Danielle Scott of Australia. 

Chris Lillis, a veteran in the aerials world, was also part of the winning team in Changchun. In addition to the team win, he brought home two podiums, one of which happened the day prior in Changchun, and was in the top five in four of his six individual starts. Lillis ended the season with a third-place finish in Almaty, wrapping the year third overall. 

This season brought an incredible group of rookies to the scene. Connor Curran made his presence known quickly in his first full season on the World Cup circuit. In just six individual starts, he made his first super finals, earned his first top 10, top five and first podium. His first podium came at the Super Bowl of freestyle skiing: Deer Valley, where he finished second in front of the hometown crowd. At only 19 years old, Curran has shown great promise and will prove to add necessary depth to the men’s team moving forward.

Another name to remember is Karenna Elliott, who first came to the team three years ago. She has worked her way up the NorAm and national ranks, and this season was her first competing on the World Cup circuit full-time. Going into the 2023-24 season, Elliott’s best World Cup result was 12th - a number that she would improve immensely. Throughout the season, she earned her first top 10 result, made her first super finals, earned her first top 5, her first podium, and rounded it out with her first-ever win in Lac-Beauport, Canada. She ended the season ranked sixth in the world. Elliott’s determination and positive attitude have set her up for success, and she will play an integral role in the women’s team going into the World Championships year. 

Tasia Tanner was out of competitions for the better part of the last two seasons recovering from a trove of injuries. Tanner went into this season with no expectations and just wanted to put down clean jumps and have a bit of fun along the way. With a calm mindset and low pressure, Tanner achieved her best season and results yet, with two top fives. She rounded out her breakout season by winning the prestigious FIS Rookie of the Year Award at World Cup Finals in Almaty, Kazakhstan. 


The U.S. moguls season was nothing short of historic. From the first event of the season, the team came out swinging. In Ruka, Finland, Elizabeth Lemley kicked off the incredible year for the team, finishing second in moguls alongside teammate Olivia Giaccio in third. Lemley would go on to have one of the most exciting seasons of her career. Lemley earned an additional World Cup podium, two Youth Olympic Games gold medals and finished things out with a podium at the U.S. Championships. 

Olivia Giaccio had the season of a lifetime with consistent performances, personal bests, and never-before-done’s across the board. Following her first podium of the season in Ruka, she earned two more back-to-back third-place moguls finishes. Giaccio earned a new personal best dual moguls result, finishing second in Alpe d’Huez alongside Alli Macuga. On top of her consistent results and technical ability, Giaccio stepped up the game this season with her tricks. Giaccio became the first woman to compete a cork 1080 in a winning World Cup run, all in front of the hometown crowd in Deer Valley. Over the season, Olivia stepped on the podium nine times and finished third in the moguls, dual moguls and overall season standings. 

Alli Macuga was another force to be reckoned with on the circuit this year. Coming off of her rookie season, where she was presented the 2023 FIS Rookie of the Year Award, Macuga was ready to continue making waves. During a training run the day before the first World Cup, Macuga broke her hand; however, she didn’t let this hinder her season. At almost every competition, Alli earned new personal bests, earning her first career podium in Alpe d’Huez, finishing third, and her first moguls podium in Almaty, landing in second. Macuga made it obvious how much talent she possesses and her ability to grow over a season. 

This season featured two domestic World Cup events for the first time since 2018, bringing the athletes back to the birthplace of freestyle skiing: Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. Across two days of moguls competition in Waterville, 18 U.S. athletes stood in the start gate, many earning their first World Cup starts. Skylar Slettene was one of those athletes, stunning the crowd by moving on to the finals in her first-ever World Cup appearance, finishing 14th. Jaelin Kauf and Hannah Soar, a Connecticut native, put on a show for the New England crowd, both landing on the podium on day one of the competition, and the U.S. women swept second-fifth place. On duals day, Kauf was back on the podium, this time alongside Giaccio. 

The most successful U.S. women’s moguls athlete is the one and only Jaelin Kauf, aka the fastest woman on the moguls circuit. Her determination, technical prowess and speed make her one of the greats in World Cups. In Idre Fjäll, Sweden, Kauf earned her eighth career World Cup victory in the dual moguls, an incredible display of perseverance and strength. Throughout the season, she earned 10 additional podium finishes, eight of which were in second place. One of Jaelin’s focuses this season was to keep her speed while implementing more complicated tricks. She accomplished this and more, perfecting her cork 7 while incorporating it into her moguls and dual moguls competition. Kauf improved upon her already impressive season last year to finish second in the moguls, dual moguls and overall standings for the 2023-24 season, just behind 2022 Olympic gold medalist Jakara Anthony. 

Nick Page also used the 2023-24 season to integrate new tricks into his skiing, blowing away the Deer Valley crowd by competing a cork 1440. On top of pushing the sport to new levels, Page is exact in everything he does. His season was highlighted by a second-place finish in Idre Fjäll moguls behind the one and only Mikael Kingsbury. Nick will admit that dual moguls is not his strong suit; however, you wouldn’t be able to tell based on his results this year. He landed on two additional podiums in Bakuriani, Georgia and Chiesa in Valmalenco, Italy, both in dual moguls. 

It was Dylan Marcellini’s first complete season on the World Cup circuit, and it was certainly one to remember. Despite a few rocky results, Marcellini became the hometown hero in Deer Valley. During the dual moguls competition, Marcellini took on veteran Page in the small final. Both athletes struggled in this run, with Page taking a fall and Marcellini almost skiing out, but in the end, Marcellini came out on top to earn his first World Cup podium, all alongside his teammate.

This season saw many other newcomers on the moguls scene. Kasey Hogg, Charlie Mickel and Asher Michel were all able to build their World Cup resumes this year, starting with the North American tour. In Val St. Come, Canada - her first World Cup start of the season - Hogg immediately impacted the sport of moguls, becoming the first woman to compete a cork 1080 in a qualification run. She went on to earn her best career finish the following day in duals, finishing 10th. With newfound confidence going into Waterville, Hogg put on a show for her hometown, finishing fourth in moguls and seventh in duals, two new personal bests. 

Michel made his first moguls World Cup start in Waterville, finishing 11th. He wrapped up the season at the Junior World Championships in Italy, where he put the pieces together to finish third in the moguls event. Mickel, a Park City native, dominated the NorAm circuit all year. He channeled his familiarity with the iconic Champion run at Deer Valley to earn his first moguls top 10 with his friends and family cheering in the crowd. Mickel and Hogg both won their respective NorAm overall trophies, securing themselves individual World Cup starts for next season. 

Team Success

In a year without a World Championships or Olympic Games, this season was all about building routines, executing consistently, and strengthening team culture. With seven wins, 40 podiums, and 150+ top-10 results, it's easy to see these athletes were successful. Both the moguls and aerials teams took home the World Cup Nations Cup, an award given to the nation with the highest number of points across all athletes throughout the season. 

Although there is no official off-season for these athletes, the summer will be spent rejuvenating with friends and family, along with dry land, team meetings, reflection, and travel across the world chasing snow.

This team is pushing the boundaries of what is possible in freestyle skiing and inspiring the next generation of skiers while they are at it. The world is watching for what they will do next.