Soar, Kauf Go 2-3 in Duals at Deer Valley
Hannah Soar led the U.S. in an incredible night of dual moguls World Cup competition with a career-best second-place finish on the Champion course at Deer Valley Resort at the 2020 Intermountain Healthcare Freestyle International. Jaelin Kauf landed back on the podium in third place after dueling teammate and friend Tess Johnson in the small final.
Champion lived up to its name and took no prisoners. After being skied for five days in a row the moguls were deep and unforgiving. Voted MVP by her team, Tess skied the biggest upset of the night, knocking out until-then undefeated Perrine Laffont (France) in the quarter final. This allowed for all three American women to compete in the semi-final. Tess then met Canada's Justine Dufour-Lapointe in her semi-final round but was unable to beat her. Hannah and Jaelin dueled it out during their semi-final round with Hannah advancing to the big final and Jaelin to the small. Jaelin and Tess dueled it out in the small final, where Jaelin skied to third. Hannah and Jaelin shared the podium with Saturday’s winner, Justine.
“Honestly I started out feeling pretty slow, my legs felt kind of like jello after skiing so many runs on Thursday night,” said Hannah as she caught her breath in the finish area. “For me sometimes it’s hard the second day after a day of success prior to come out and feel really great with my body. I feel like I did a great job and focused on the little things I needed to do to succeed today, as opposed to getting caught up in how I need to feel, or what I want to do by the end of the day. This is the second time I’ve dueled Jaelin and Jakara this year. It was great to get another chance. Jaelin is amazing! There’s nothing more than I would want than to be in the super final with Jaelin and Tess.”
“Sharing the podium with a teammate again makes it so much better,” said Jaelin. “It was so much fun skiing against Tess and Hannah tonight. From my perspective we had some of the best duals on the women’s side. It was fun to be a part of and I’m stoked to end up on the podium.”
“Obviously I would have liked to be on the podium today,” reflected Tess. “But looking back on my day I'm so proud of myself, and this is an incredible night in front of a home crowd. I'm just stoked I was able to put down some of my best skiing.” On besting the top woman Perrine, “I had a bit of a moment after that dual and I’m just really proud of myself, I’ve done it once before and I knew that I could do it again. She’s an incredible skier and I’m just honored to have the opportunity to push myself against the best in the world.”
The American women showed their might on the meanest course in freestyle skiing and they’re hungry for more. The #PowHERhouse is back! “I think a sweep is definitely coming pretty soon,” said Jaelin.
On the men’s side, in his first ever dual mogul World Cup start Kalman Heims laid it down and was the only American man to qualify for the finals. Advancing to the finals by just 38 hundredths of a second against Canada’s Elliot Vaillancourt, Kalman skied an impressive dual against France’s Ben Cavet and kept him on his toes the whole time. It wasn’t enough to advance to the round of eight, but Kalman posted a career-best in 12th place. “[This] was amazing,” he said. “It met and exceeded my expectations. Being out there, looking down at the crowd, I could hear everyone in both of my ears, it was incredible. I just listened to my coaches and put down some of the best runs I ever skied!”
Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury won his 61st World Cup on the Champion course, France’s Ben Cavet took second and Sweden’s Walter Wallberg rounded out the podium in third.
It was a rowdy competition with no shortage of carnage. On Champion, anything is possible and every run counts towards that podium. Jesse Andringa went head to head with Australia's Brodie Summers and finished the night in 20th, Dylan Walczyk finished in 23 after dueling Japan's Ikuma Horishima. Brad Wilson finished 27th and Nick Page in 28th. Madison Hogg, in her second World Cup start, finished 17th; sister Kasey Hogg finished 26th.
“It was a great night of personal bests in front of an amazing crowd,” said Head Moguls Coach Matt Gnoza. “I’m very proud of the athletes for their performances tonight.”
The greatest show on snow did not disappoint and the U.S. Moguls Team is energized for the next part of their schedule. The Team has a brief break to do some local training and visit with friends and family before they head overseas for two events in Tazawako, Japan Feb. 22-23.
HOW TO WATCH
Sunday, Feb. 9
3:00 p.m. - Intermountain Healthcare Freestyle International men and women’s dual moguls, Deer Valley, Utah - NBC