U.S. Freestyle Skier Jaelin Kauf Takes Silver in World Cup Moguls in Deer Valley

This article originally appeared on Ski Mag

As night fell over the World Cup moguls course at Deer Valley on Thursday, the U.S. team had plenty of medal chances. If any of the seven women and four men in the Rounds of 16 at the Intermountain Healthcare Freestyle International Ski World Cup could squeeze into the top six and make the cut for the Big Final, they could vie for medals on home snow.

Also Read: How to Watch the 2023 Deer Valley Freestyle World Cup For Free

But nothing went as planned. The Champion course left a trail of disappointment as it chewed up Olympic medalists and hometown hopefuls. In the end, two Australians won the top prize. Jakara Anthony, outscored Jaelin Kauf of Wyoming by 2.8 points in the women’s event, repeating the pair’s 1-2 finish from the Beijing Olympics last year. Perrine Laffont, the 2018 Olympic champion from France, took third. Hannah Soar, the other American in the top six, slid out after getting caught in the back seat about seven turns after her first air.

Deer Valley women's mogul podium
The women’s medal podium at the Intermountain Healthcare Freestyle International Ski World Cup (l-r): Jaelin Kauf of the U.S. in second, gold-medal winner Jakara Anthony of Australia, and France’s Perrine Laffont in third. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Kauf, 26, said she had a blast in her 70th World Cup start. "It's such a special event," she said. "You can just feel the crowd up there. I'm so stoked I was able to lay down some solid, speedy runs and keep it together. This is such a challenging course. It always is."

Watch: Podium runs from the Deer Valley women’s moguls finals

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Immediately following the women's contest, Matt Graham of Australia edged out the king of the bumps, Canada's Mikael Kingsbury, by 1.7 points to deny the 30-year-old his 78th World Cup win. Even though Kingsbury outscored Graham on his two jumps, Graham's tighter turns and speed made the difference. Graham blitzed the 275-yard course (nearly the length of three football fields) in a blazing time of 22.56 seconds. Kingbsury wasn't too disappointed, though, because he extended his World Cup points lead, and the nine-time World Cup overall champ could be well on his way to a 10th title with four moguls events left in the season. Three-time Olympian Benjamin Cavet of France finished third.

Watch: Podium runs from the Deer Valley men’s moguls finals

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But the biggest U.S. story was the man in fourth place.

Dylan Marcellini, a 20-year-old rookie from Walnut Creek, Calif., was the only American to make the final--and it was only his third World Cup start. Thursday afternoon, he watched his teammate Nick Page fail to make the top 16. Later, he saw another Olympian from Utah, Cole McDonald, bobble in the penultimate round. Not even the reigning Olympic champion, Walter Wallberg of Sweden, made final six. But Marcellini did.

Dylan Marinelli
U.S. Ski Team freestyle rookie Dylan Marcellini landed in fourth place on a very challenging course at Deer Valley in only his third-ever WC competition. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

In front of a roaring partisan crowd in the medal round, Marcellini skied a bit conservatively, but managed to hold his line while two other competitors withered. Although the last three men of the night took the medals, Marcellini had made his mark.

"It feels unbelievable," he said. "I've been dreaming of this moment for years. To make super-finals in my first ever event [in Deer Valley], it feels unbelievable. I was 42nd last week, so it's a bit of an upgrade."

Already, Marcellini was looking forward to dual moguls on Saturday. "Should be fun," said the new hero. "I'll have some guys coming for my head.”

Watch the men’s and women’s aerial competition, taking place today at Deer Valley, for free on Outside Watch.

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