Kauf, Soar podium to cap off World Cup at Deer Valley | ParkRecord.com

Kauf, Soar podium to cap off World Cup at Deer Valley

Cole McDonald leads U.S. men with 10th-place finish

American moguls skiers Jaelin Kauf and Hannah Soar compete against each other during Saturday night's dual moguls competition. Kauf finished second, while Soar placed third.
David Jackson/Park Record

For the second time in three days, American moguls skier Jaelin Kauf stood in the gate at the top of Champion with a chance to ski for a gold medal. 

Kauf and Perrine Laffont of France were the last two women standing in Saturday night’s women’s dual moguls World Cup event at Deer Valley Resort. Kauf flew down the first section of Champion like she had all week long and landed her first jump. However, she couldn’t hang on in a middle section that has challenged skiers this week. She veered to the side, and that ended her first-place hopes. 

Kauf settled for her second runner-up finish in three days, and teammate Hannah Soar joined her on the podium in third place on the third and final night of the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup’s stop at Deer Valley. Park City’s Cole McDonald led all American men in 10th place. 

“I was really hoping to take that top spot tonight, but really happy to be on the podium with my teammate, Hannah,” Kauf said. “Really fun to duel her, and (to) get two U.S. athletes on the podium is awesome for us.”

Kauf has developed a reputation for skiing at warp speed – she finished her super-final run on Thursday in 25.08 seconds when nobody else could beat 26.5 seconds – and Saturday was no different. She cruised into the round of 16, and Kauf advanced past Hinako Tomitaka of Japan and Maia Schwinghammer of Canada to make it to the semifinals. Kauf skied against Soar for a spot in the finals and a guaranteed medal. 

“Hannah was skiing so well tonight, it was really awesome to see her putting it all together and really pushing it in the middle,” Kauf said. “It’s just really fun knowing that we could both get on the podium. Kind of figured at that point when we were both up there skiing against each other that we both probably were going to because she was skiing so good tonight as well.”

“Getting to ski against Jaelin, it’s one of those times where I know that I’m going to need to bring my absolute best every time,” Soar added. “Although that’s challenging, it’s also a really great feeling to be in the gate and just know that you’re going to give it your all.”

Soar came up short against Kauf in a 24-11 decision, but Saturday night was still a win for her. She scored her first podium finish since February 2021, which was also at Deer Valley. Soar also finished fifth in Thursday’s moguls event. 

“Honestly, there were parts of me that just didn’t feel like I had it in me anymore to get through a whole Deer Valley night,” Soar said. “It’s a lot out there. It’s a lot of energy just from the crowd, and the course itself is really challenging. So, I was just really proud of myself to pull through and get a third place here with my teammate.”

Saturday’s dual moguls event was another strong performance for the American women’s moguls team. Seven U.S. skiers qualified for the finals, matching the record they set on Thursday. Park City skiers Alli Macuga and Kasey Hogg finished in 13th and 16th, respectively.

“We have a rockstar team,” Soar said. “It’s honestly incredible to get to be in those finals with all of my teammates. There’s no better feeling than that and just knowing how dominant we are and how supportive we all are of one another.”

McDonald was the sole American man to make it to the round of 16, where he squared off against Elliot Vaillancourt. The Parkite was edged out 19-16 to finish 10th. Fellow Park City skier Nick Page came in 19th. 

“It was a super close duel,” McDonald said. “Could’ve gone either way. It’s a little bit frustrating sometimes. Just one or two mistakes can end up being a podium or getting an eighth place. But that’s how the sport is, and that’s how moguls skiing goes. I’m feeling really happy, and it’s really fun to be down here with this crowd.”

The world’s best skiers had the opportunity to ski in front of an electric crowd at Deer Valley Saturday night. A packed crowd of 7,000 screaming fans gathered at the bottom of Champion to catch the action.

“This is the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen at Deer Valley in the past 10 years,” McDonald said. 

“At the top, we were just watching the line of cars coming from, like, Jeremy Ranch,” Kauf added. “You can see the line of cars coming through Kimball and just this mob coming up the hill. Even at the start of finals, there were still so many people coming up the hill. We were like, ‘They’re not all going to make it for the event!’ But it’s awesome. It’s so cool that moguls skiing brings out so many people, and they all seemed to love watching it, so we love that.”

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