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Kauf, Giaccio, Wendler Podium in Almaty Dual Moguls

By Ryan Odeja - Stifel U.S. Ski Team
March, 9 2024
Landon Wendler on the podium
Landon Wendler on the dual moguls podium in Almaty, Kazakhstan. (Andrey Kulagin).

The Stifel U.S. Freestyle Ski Team moguls athletes wrapped up their time in Almaty, Kazakhstan, with today’s dual moguls event, where Landon Wendler earned his first World Cup podium alongside teammates Jaelin Kauf and Olivia Giaccio. 

At only 216 meters long, today’s course was one of the shortest the athletes raced this season. The short course led to athletes taking more risks in an attempt to take out their opponents, leading a few to lose their composure and ski outside of the control gates. 

The U.S. athletes started their show right off the bat in qualification, where all 12 Stifel U.S. Freestyle Ski Team moguls athletes advanced to the finals. The team avoided dueling against each other in the early rounds, leading to their success. 

Landon Wendler led the way for the U.S. men, taking out impressive opponents, including Matt Graham of Australia and Julien Viel of Canada. Wendler faced off with the greatest mogul skier of all time, Mikael Kingsbury of Canada, in the semifinals. He kept his composure and advancing to the small final, where he finished third, his first career World Cup podium. Wendler’s previous personal best in duals was seventh, which he earned in Almaty this time last year. 

“It means the world to finally stand on the box with people who I have looked up to my whole career,” said Wendler. “As well as all of the hard work and dedication to finally make my dreams come true. I couldn’t have made that dream come true without my parents coaches and friends.” 

Nick Page also advanced to the quarterfinals, finishing eighth, followed by Dylan Walczyk in 10th, Cole McDonald in 12th, and Dylan Marcellini in 16th. 

On the women’s side, we witnessed the familiar sight of Jaelin Kauf and Olivia Giaccio side-by-side on the podium as they finished second and third overall. Kauf took on overall moguls World Cup Crystal Globe winner Jakara Anthony in the big final. The results were as close as you can get, with Anthony winning 18-17. In the small final, Giaccio went head to head with teammate Tess Johnson in another close win of 18-17. The U.S. women swept second-sixth place, with Johnson in fourth, Hannah Soar in fifth and Alli Macuga sixth. Advancing to the round of 16 included Kasey Hogg, finishing 14th, and Elizabeth Lemley in 15th. 

Next up, the team heads to their final World Cup of the season in Chiesa in Valmalenco, Italy for dual moguls World Cup finals Mar. 16.