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Double World Cup Event Weekend for Moguls in China

By Lara Carlton
December, 13 2019
Jaelin Kauf
Jaelin Kauf, "Queen of Thaiwoo," trains on the Thaiwoo course on Dec. 13 (Lara Carlton - U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

The double-World Cup weekend in Thaiwoo, China, is the light at the end of a six-week tunnel for the U.S. Moguls Team. Having spent the month of November and part of December in the polar night, skiing under sunshine and bluebird skies in Thaiwoo is a very welcome sight.

The Team has two shots at podiums this weekend with a Moguls World Cup on Saturday and a Dual Moguls World Cup on Sunday. There is a 15-hour time difference for friends and family back home in the Rockies, so that means you can catch all of the bumpin’ action Friday and Saturday nights.

Crisp days and clear nights have made the fresh man-made snow Thaiwoo course a beauty. It’s firm, but edge-able, and will favor those who are quick and direct in their skiing. A steep reentry from the top air to the middle moguls section could be the deciding factor between those who podium and those left off. “This event could easily be determined by miscalculations on that top air,” explains U.S. Ski & Snowboard Head Moguls Coach Matt Gnoza.

The team is in good spirits after two days of training and the much-needed refill of Vitamin D. Jesse Andringa is looking for redemption from Ruka and has been focused on keeping his feet underneath him and completing his runs. “The course is terrifying, but firm, which makes for a good competition,” he said. Alex Lewis, who grew up skiing Killington on moguls like these ones, is well-suited to the Thaiwoo course. His quickness works well here, watch for him as he hunts to keep cutting down his bib number. Nick Page has been working to take his jumps a bit bigger to make his presence known. “He’s setting the tone with a large top air, it’s looking really nice,” said Matt.

On the women’s side, the Queen of Thaiwoo, Jaelin Kauf, will look to defend her title. She’s podiumed four out of four times here in the past two seasons, three of which are wins – she won back to back in 2018. She’s attacking where others are backing off and is all systems ready. “I’m super excited, I love this venue and I love the course,” she said. Tess Johnson has been breaking down her run and building it back up over the two days of training. Her smile at the bottom of the course means she’s confident, and when Tess is confident, she gets results. Hannah Soar has two awesome days of training behind her. “She just needs to go out there and be the Hannah Soar that skis over 100 days at Killington,” said Matt. “As soon as she asks her skis to do something they do since she’s such a natural skier.” As usual, Olivia Giaccio has been grinding out the work, focusing on getting a lot of lift but not distance in her airs and stomping her landings.

It's shaping up to be a picture-perfect weekend and the Team is fired up. Thaiwoo marks the last stop in an over six-week travel period for the moguls crew and they look forward to coming home for the holidays. But not before they take on two competitions, including the first dual event of the season. 

U.S. Starters
Jesse Andringa
Olivia Giaccio
Tess Johnson
Jaelin Kauf
Alex Lewis
George McQuinn
Nick Page
Hannah Soar
Dylan Walczyk

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HOW TO WATCH 
All times EST

Saturday, Dec. 14
12:30 a.m. - Men and women’s moguls, Thaiwoo - Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold

Sunday, Dec. 15
12:30 a.m. - Men and women’s dual moguls, Thaiwoo - Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold