Soar Leads U.S. in Tremblant World Cup
Hannah Soar led the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team at Canada’s Mont Tremblant on Saturday with a personal-best single moguls result, finishing sixth in the FIS Freestyle World Cup.
The event took place on the classic Flying Mile course with Perrine Laffont of France taking the win for the women, bringing her winning streak to four. Yuliya Galysheva of Kazakhstan took second and Anastasia Smirnova of Russia was third.
Conditions were great in Quebec with cold temperatures keeping the snow hard. Hannah, who hails from just a few hours south of Tremblant in Killington, Vermont, used that hometown feeling to make it to her first single moguls super final. She advanced her speed, skiing and jumping throughout each round with only a minor bobble in the super final keeping her off the podium.
Showing the strength of the U.S. women’s team, Jaelin Kauf also snagged a top-10 finish, taking ninth place. She brought her new trick—a cork 7—to the competition in finals, which she has been working hard on throughout the six-week World Cup break.
“She's just starting to bring the cork 7 into top-to-bottom runs and the coaching staff said ‘it’s now or never,’” relayed U.S. Freestyle Ski Team Moguls Head Coach Matt Gnoza. “She’ll reflect back on this day in weeks to come and be glad she took that step. She may not see the results right away, but it’s a step in the right direction for her to continue to be one of the top competitors on the World Cup tour.”
15-year-old Kai Owens crushed her first World Cup, qualifying for finals and eventually finishing 11th. “It was an awesome intro to World Cup skiing for her,” said Matt. “We’re really excited about that. Being the youngest competitor to ever start for the U.S. and then to qualify for the finals—it was fun to watch Kai grow as an athlete and a competitor today. She handled it like a pro.“
Tess Johnson finished 12th, showing that her progression is continuing, throwing a 360 mute grab in both the qualifying round and finals.
“All in all, it was a really exciting day for the women’s team,” said Matt. “We didn’t end up with a podium, but having four team members in the finals was really cool—one of being them a rookie in her first World Cup. They’re moving in a good direction into Calgary and Deer Valley. I think today was about growing as athletes with a vision for the future with all the new tricks.”
Mikael Kingsbury of Canada won the competition for the men, thrilling the Canadian home crowd, with Ikuma Horishima of Japan finishing second and Benjamin Cavet of France third.
The U.S. men also had a solid day. Jesse Andringa led the Americans, qualifying sixth into the finals with a cork grab to a cork and eventually took 16th place.
“Jesse's qualifying run was super impressive,” said Matt. “It was really exciting to see him ski with that confidence and like he really belongs on the World Cup. I expect good things from him in the weeks to come.”
Brad Wilson skied in his first World Cup of the season and finished in 17th—only one spot off of finals. World Cup rookies Alex Lewis and Nick Page also competed, snagging 29th and 31st place, respectively. “They’re just grinding it out, learning how to compete at this level,” said Matt of the rookies. “They each had little mistakes, but take out their mistakes and they both had phenomenal runs with very competitive times. That elusive final isn’t as far away as they think. They’re working hard, learning from every opportunity they get and pretty soon we’ll see it come to fruition.”
Rounding out the U.S. men, Dylan Walczyk was 35th, Kalman Heims 38th and Tom Rowley, who is coming back from a back injury he sustained in December, finished 42nd.
Next up, the World Cup tour makes a stop in Calgary on Saturday before it comes to the home of the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team: Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah.