Jaelin Kauf (left) skis to a dual moguls victory in Japan on Feb. 18. Kauf and the rest of the U.S. Ski Team moguls athletes will look to land more podiums at this weekend's World Cup finals. (Getty Images)
CHONGLI, China (Feb. 23, 2017) – This weekend, China’s Thaiwoo Ski Resort and Minsk, Belarus will host stops on the FIS Freestyle World Cup tour. Moguls athletes will compete in the final two competitions of the season Feb. 25-26 at Thaiwoo, while aerialists will fly high on Feb. 25 in Minsk.
As the last event of the season, the World Cup at Thaiwoo Ski Resort is the final opportunity for the U.S. Ski Team moguls athletes to add a few more podiums to the team total before the book on this World Cup season is closed and attention is turned to the 2017 World Championships. The team is coming off a successful weekend in Japan, where Jaelin Kauf (Alta, WY) took the win in women’s duals and teammate Olivia Giaccio (Redding, CT) was third.
In addition to being a new stop on the World Cup tour this season, Thaiwoo Ski Resort will also be a venue for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. Reports indicate that Thaiwoo has done a fantastic job preparing the mogul course for its World Cup debut and, with tight bumps, the competition will be fast and fierce. Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury and Australia’s Britt Cox are projected to claim individual World Cup titles. They each currently have 820 and 734 points respectively. U.S. athletes Kauf, Keaton McCargo (Telluride), Troy Murphy (Bethel, ME) and Brad Wilson (Butte, MT) will be looking to solidify their spots in the top 10.
Athletes inspect the mogul course at Thaiwoo Ski Resort. (Matt Gnoza/U.S. Ski Team)
Returning from a two-week break, aerials athletes will wrap up their World Cup season over the next two weekends. After stopping home for a training session at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City, UT, U.S. athletes are prepared to put down some strong jumps in Minsk. The team’s most recent podium was from Mac Bohonnon (Madison, CT) at the Olympic test event in PyeongChang, South Korea earlier this month.
With two competitions left, the World Cup titles on both the men’s and women’s sides are still to be decided. Bohonnon, currently sitting third in the World Cup standings, is 122 points behind World Cup leader Qi Guangpu. Second in the men’s standings is Belarus’ Anton Kushnir with 308 points. China’s Xu Mengtao leads the women’s standings with 340 points, followed closely by Australia’s Danielle Scott with 322 points. Ashley Caldwell (Ashburn, VA) and Kiley McKinnon (Madison, CT) lead the U.S. women in the standings, sitting fifth and eighth.
Competition at Thaiwoo begins on Saturday with moguls and concludes on Sunday with dual moguls. Finals for both competitions will begin at 1:30 p.m. local time. Saturday’s aerials competition in Minsk begins with qualifications at 9:10 a.m. followed by finals at 1:30 p.m. local time. Finals for all competitions are currently scheduled to be live streamed at www.nbcsports.com/live.
The FIS Freestyle World Cup for both moguls are aerials are in action this weekend.
Moguls athletes will compete in both single and dual moguls Feb. 25-26 at Thaiwoo Ski Resort in China.
Aerials athletes will compete Feb. 25 in Minsk, Belarus.
Thaiwoo is the final World Cup competition of the season for moguls and the overall World Cup titles will be awarded at the conclusion of the event.
Mikael Kingsbury (CAN) and Britt Cox (AUS) are projected to take home the moguls World Cup titles.
U.S. athletes Jaelin Kauf, Keaton McCargo, Troy Murphy and Brad Wilson are currently ranked in the top 10.
Mac Bohonnon is the top-ranked U.S. aerials skier, sitting third in the World Cup standings.
Other U.S. aerials athletes ranked in the top 10 include Ashley Caldwell, Kiley McKinnon and Jon Lillis.