Parkite Nick Page top American finisher on men’s side in Deer Valley World Cup opener
It was quite the homecoming for Nick Page.
After growing up watching the annual FIS freestyle World Cup at Deer Valley as a kid, the 17-year-old moguls skier found himself atop Champion run Thursday evening with one goal in mind.
“I just wanted to make the finals,” Page said. “It’s my first season on the World Cup circuit so I came in here setting that as my goal. And then to not only make the finals but then finish where I did, it felt like I was finally breaking through a bit.”
Page was the top American finisher on the men’s side in the moguls competition at Deer Valley, bringing home 10th place for his best ever finish in a World Cup event. He finished the course in a time of 24.88 seconds — adding 14.38 points through the air and 44.5 points in turns for a total of 74.07.
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It was the fifth World Cup start for Page, whose previous best finish was 17th, which came in mid-December in China. So taking home 10th place in front of his family and friends meant a lot to the Parkite.
“I’ve been coming to this event since 2011 with my family, so to now be standing up top and knowing they’re down at the bottom watching me, it’s more than words,” Page said. “I’ve been working so hard so to finally get a top-10 finish, and at the run that I grew up on, hopefully it means good things are still coming because I can only get better from here.”
Finishing in 11th and 12th for the Americans were Jesse Andringa and Parkite Brad Wilson, respectively, both of whom made the finals. Andringa conquered the course in 22.94 seconds, the fastest time in the event.
“Obviously I didn’t get the finish I wanted. … But posting that time is a nice consolation prize,” said Andringa, from Vail, Colorado.
Wilson, who grew up competing with the Wasatch Freestyle program, said having another opportunity to race at Deer Valley, his home course, was one reason he decided to compete this season.
“This is everything to me, just being able to compete on this run where I grew up training, it means a lot and there was no way I could miss it,” he said.
Taking home gold in the men’s event was Japanese star Ikuma Horishima, finishing with a score of 89.17. He upset Canadian and world No. 1 Mikael Kingsbury, whose score of 87.37 was good enough for silver. It was the second World Cup in which Kingsbury, considered the “GOAT” of the sport, has finished second this season, while he’s taken gold in his other three competitions.
Rounding out the podium with a bronze medal was Swedish skier Felix Elofsson with 81.18 points.
Trio of American women make finals
While no American male advanced to the super finals, the American women fared better on the moguls course, with Jaelin Kauf (Steamboat Springs) and Hannah Soar (Killington, Vermont) advancing to the super final round.
Soar just missed out on making the podium as Jakara Anthony of Australia, the final woman to ski, knocked her into a fourth-place finish with a total of 75.88 points.
Kauf took home fifth place — and although she acknowledges she did as much as she could’ve, the crowd and announcers did not appear to agree with the judges’ score.
When her total of 75.86 flashed across the screen after cruising down the course in 27.71 seconds, the crowd emitted boos and jeers.
“I’m not exactly happy with how I finished, but I did the best I could and I’ll live with that,” Kauf said. “More than anything, just being able to see and hear my family and friends at the bottom of the run when I was at the top, it gives you that extra something to push more.”
American Tess Johnson qualified for the final, but her ninth-place finish didn’t allow her to advance to the super final. Still, she said just competing in the kind of atmosphere present at Deer Valley was more than worth it.
“This is the best course to race on and the best stop on the World Cup circuit,” Johnson said. “It’s always special knowing how many people are in the crowd supporting us and cheering us on. … Honestly there’s nothing like racing under the lights here that can be matched anywhere else.”
Perrine Laffont, of France, continued her unbeaten streak this season with 79.33 points, winning her fifth World Cup moguls event of the season. Anthony took second with 78.49 points, holding off Canada’s Justine Dufour-Lapointe, who finished third with 78.14 points.
The skiers will next compete in the dual moguls competition at Deer Valley on Saturday. The aerial skiing World Cup is scheduled for Friday.
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It’s going to be at least another month before Summit County’s high school athletes have any chance of getting onto the field again.