Lillis Third in Engadin
Aerialist Chris Lillis pulled out all the stops and landed a double-full full double-full, a quintuple twisting triple back flip, for a score of 128 to earn third place at the FIS Freestyle World Cup in Engadin, Switzerland on Sunday.
“It was a really solid day,” Lillis reflected. “A lot of the adverse weather conditions prevented me from performing the quint twist in Georgia [at World Champs]. So it was a lot of fun to put it down and put it in the super final. It was the biggest jump I’ve done all week. Part of me was a little surprised I was able to stretch it down and put it to my feet. This was one of the highest levels of aerial competitions I’ve ever been a part of.”
Lillis added the quint to his jumping repertoire ahead of the 2022 Olympic season, becoming the first American to land one in competition since the late Jeret “Speedy” Peterson. Although not a give in, Lillis always threatens the quint if he makes it into a super finals round. Lillis admitted performing the trick was not part of the original plan for his competition day. "The site is very tricky, very warm and windy,” he explained. “I didn’t know I was doing it until 30 seconds before my first finals jump. We decided to do the double-in in finals, so then knew it would be the quint for supers.”
Following Lillis’ high-flying, high-scoring jump the rest of the men’s field took the queue and broke out their own quints. “Until I did the quint, no one in the competition was planning to throw them as far as I know,” said Lillis.
Ukraine’s Dmytro Kotovskyi won the event by landing the hardest trick in aerial skiing, known as The Hurricane, for a score of 136.76. Switzerland's Noe Roth executed a beautiful double-full double-full full for a score of 133.11 to land in second place.
Quinn Dehlinger also represented the U.S. in the super finals round. He performed a double-full full full, flying high and sneaking his feet down to manage the landing, to earn a score of 93.21 - good for fifth overall. Derek Krueger earned a career-best result with an eighth place finish after executing a full double-full full in the first finals round.
Winter Vinecki was the top American woman, finishing just off the podium in fourth place. This marks her season’s best result and will be good momentum for her heading into World Cup Finals. Australia’s Danielle Scott and Laura Peel took first and second, respectively. China’s Fanyu Kong rounded out the podium in third.
Megan Nick performed a full double-full to earn a score of 75.78 in finals and was just edged out of the super final round, placing in seventh for the day. Kuhn and Elliott each performed full full in finals but did not make the super final round, ending the day in 11th and 12th, respectively.
Aerials will wrap World Cup competition at World Cup Finals in Kazakhstan March 19.