Kauf Second, Giaccio Third; USA Wins Dual Moguls Nations Cup
The mogul skiers of the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team battled it out Saturday one last time at the Dual Moguls World Cup Finals in Almaty, Kazakhstan to secure the discipline’s Nations Cup. Jaelin Kauf snagged another podium with a second place finish and Olivia Giaccio earned her third-career World Cup podium with a third pace finish.
Kauf dueled against teammate Hannah Soar in the Quarter Final and Giaccio in the Semi Final to make it to the Big Final against France’s Perrine Laffont.
“Today was good, really fun,” said Kauf. “Unfortunately, I did have to take out a few teammates.”
The battle for the top position pitted Kauf and Laffont together for one last time this season. Kauf had the advantage down the middle section but Laffont managed to cross the finish line first to take the win. “I was just trying to get to that top air first, make Perrine chase me a little. I focused on skiing my run and keeping it as clean as possible. She kind of snuck ahead on that bottom air and got me. I left it all out there, that’s all I can do.”
With this result Kauf ends the Dual Moguls season ranked third overall. “I am really stoked with that.”
Giaccio battled teammate Alli Macuga in the Small Final to take third. Giaccio has been knocking on the door of podium positions all season, so to end the tour on this note felt especially sweet.
“It feels really good, feels like a little bit of a relief in a sense to know that I can kind of break that barrier again,” Giaccio said. “It’s been tough throughout the season feeling so close yet so far. I’m thankful that I managed to make it happen. Big thanks to my coaches, to my family and my mentors for helping me push through run by run.”
Macuga’s fourth place finish marks a career best for the newly minted Rookie of the Year. It was a strong showing for the women overall, with five going two through six: Kauf (second), Giaccio (third), Macuga (fourth), Lulu Shaffer (fifth - a career best) and Soar (sixth). Tess Johnson finished tenth and Kasey Hogg finished twelfth.
On the men’s side Dylan Walczyk was the top American finisher in sixth place. The Americans met some heavy hitters in the quarter final round. Landon Wendler dueled against Sweden’s Walter Wallberg to finish the day seventh. Nick Page met Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury and finished the day in eighth. Cole McDonald finished 11th, Charlie Mickel 19th and Asher Michel 25th. Kingsbury won, Wallberg finished second and Australia’s Matt Graham took third.
Moguls finishes their competitive season at Waterville Valley Resort for U.S. Freestyle Nationals March 22-26.
Head Coach Bryon Wilson was proud to finish the tour strong and looks forward to the work ahead. “It was a really great weekend here in Kazakhstan,” he said. “Leaving here with four medals, and leaving with both Nations Cups in moguls and dual moguls is incredible.
“I am impressed with the development crew and excited where we’re headed as a team. It fires me up going into prep season! We’re going to take a couple days to finish off the season at Nationals, get a little breather, and then back to work this spring and summer.”