Kuhn Fourth; USA Wins Aerials Nations Cup
The aerial skiers of the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team closed out their competition season under bluebird skies at World Cup Finals in Almaty, Kazakhstan on Sunday.
Three women represented the U.S. in finals: Kaila Kuhn, WInter Vinecki and Dani Loeb with Kuhn and Vinecki both advancing to the super final round. Kuhn performed full full in the first final round so as to have her higher degree of difficulty trick for Supers - double-full full - which earned her a score of 89.18. She held in third position until Australia’s Laura Peel wowed the crowd with her lay tuck full to win the event. Kuhn was the top U.S. finisher of the day in fourth. She ends the season ranked fourth overall - a career best.
“It got a little bit challenging today, the jump was a little soft so a bit of a journey for everybody to get used to,” Kuhn said. “I’m happy with my consistency this season. I ended up fourth overall this year, best so far. It was my first double-full full on this site, so I am happy to have put it to my feet.”
Vinecki performed double-full full to qualify into Supers, which left her with full full for her final jump. She earned 79.69 for fifth place. Dani Loeb finished 12th and Megan Nick 14th. Australia went one-two on the podium with Peel and Danielle Scott, respectively, and Canada’s Marion Thenault took third.
Chris Lillis and Derek Krueger both made finals appearances. Lillis stomped a full double-full full to qualify in second for the super final round. He called double-full full double-full - a quint - but had difficulty in his takeoff and didn’t have the room to complete five twists. He took it down to a quad to safely land to his feet. Aerial skiers must perform the trick they call prior to takeoff or it’s considered a DNF so Lillis unfortunately earned no score for his jump and finished the day in sixth.
Krueger finished tenth and Quinn Dehlinger 16th.
Switzerland went first and second with Permin Werner and Noe Roth, respectively, and Canada’s Emile Nadeau finished third.
The U.S. Aerials Freestyle Ski Team earned the Nations Cup, an impressive feat for a season with only six events to draw points from.
“It feels really good to be part of the team that's been so consistent this season,” said Kuhn. “To win the Nations Cup again, along with moguls this weekend, shows how hard we’re training and that all of it is paying off. I can’t think of a better way to end the season.”
“It is great to win the Nations Cup,” said Head Aerials Coach Vladimir Lebedev. “I’m glad the whole team is healthy and that we finished the season strong.”