Winter sports are heating up: here’s who to watch
Park City has a lot of professional athletes. So many, it makes it nearly impossible to talk about the field of competitors in any one place without it becoming a phonebook. So, here is a very short list of Park City winter athletes to watch this season. These are just a small selection of Park City residents or former residents who are showing up this season. These are folks you might have gone to high school with, or see around the grocery store every once in a while between stints competing on the world stage.
Moguls skier Brad Wilson has been an athlete to watch for years, and this year’s no different. The 26-year old is currently ranked sixth in FIS World Cup moguls standings, and is a likely candidate for the U.S. World Championship team. At the last World Championships, in Seirra Nevada, Spain, he took second in dual moguls and fifth in moguls. Wilson has also competed in two Olympics. He placed 18th last season in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and 20th in Sochi, Russia, in 2014. Though he was born in Butte, Montana, he honed his moguls skills in Park City, training at Deer Valley with the Wasatch Freestyle Foundation. Canadian Mikael Kingsburry has a stranglehold on the Moguls World Cup rankings (with a commanding 958 points, compared with second-place Dmitriy Reikherd of Kazakstan with 529, and Wilson with 272.), but Wilson still has time to move up in the rankings, and perhaps surprise some of his opponents if he makes the World Championships.
Ski halfpipe specialist Brita Sigourney, who turns 29 in January, has lived in Park City for close to seven years. In that time, she’s been to the X Games six times, most recently placing second in halfpipe last season. She also took bronze in halfpipe in Pyeongchang, and sixth in Sochi before that.
In an interview with US Ski and Snowboard spokesman Tom Kelly, she described herself as a “weekend warrior” before coming to Park City.
This season, she’s making weekend warriors proud again.
She’s currently ranked sixth in the ski halfpipe World Cup rankings, and recently finished fourth in ski superpipe competition at Dew Tour in Breckenridge, Colorado.
Devin Logan was born in the Long Island community of Oceanside, New York, and grew up in West Dover, Vermont, but she’s settled in Park City. She also shreds, competing in both slopestyle and halfpipe events, which is rarity.
Logan took silver in ski slopestyle in the Sochi Winter Games, placed sixth in the 2017 World Championships in slopestyle and bronze in halfpipe. Recently, she took third in the ski superpipe competition at Dew Tour and is ranked eighth in the ski halfpipe World Cup rankings.
Though the name Brittney Arndt probably isn’t yet buzzing around kitchens in Park City, she is a native and an elite athlete.
The 20-year-old slider got her start through the Youth Sports Alliance’s Get Out and Play program, trained at the Utah Olympic Park, and has just joined the ranks of World Cup competitors.
After taking some time off in 2017-2018 season, she was named to the U.S. national team, and has risen to 12th in the overall World Cup standings. Most recently, she tied for 15th in singles luge in Calgary. She will compete at a World Cup in Koenigssee, Germany, on Jan. 5-6.
Arndt is one good result from qualifying for the World Championships in Winterberg, Germany, on Jan. 25-27, and will be competing for a qualifying spot in the subsequent races.
Williams needs almost no introduction. Born and raised in Park City, Williams is the current World Champion slopestyle skier after taking first in Sierra Nevada in Granada, Spain, in 2017. He will look to keep that title when the championship comes to his hometown in February. The 28-year-old is entering his sixth year on U.S. national team, is currently ranked 14th in slopestyle World Cup rankings, and took eighth in the slopestyle competition at Dew Tour.
Kauf was born and raised in Alta, Wyoming, but now lives in Park City. The 22-year old was poised for a podium finish going into the 2018 Winter Games, but finished just out of the super finals, taking seventh.
She also took third in dual moguls at the 2017 World Championships at Sierra Nevada in Granada, Spain. This season, she’s ranked second on the moguls World Cup circuit, nipping at the heels of Pyeongchang champion Perrine Laffont of France, who she split wins with at the VISA Freestyle International World Cup at Deer Valley last season. If she makes the World Championship team – which seems likely – look for her exuberant entourage when she competes at Deer Valley.
Though he wasn’t born here, Hall calls Park City home when he’s stateside. The former PCHS student is also the top U.S. competitor in both men’s ski slopestyle, and men’ ski big air.
Hall had a solid performance at Dew Tour last season, followed by a sixth-place finish in slopestyle at the Olympics. This season, he has earned his first big air World Cup win when he stood atop the podium in Modena, Italy, in November, and recently earned three top-three finishes at Dew Tour – in slopestyle, the team challenge and street style.
He’s ranked fourth in big air and sixth in slopestyle in the FIS World Cup standings.
The U.S. Aerials team
The entire U.S. Aerials team roosts in Park City, and quite a few of them have something to prove this season.
In 2017 the Americans were champions in the men’s and women’s aerials World Championships in Sierra, Nevada, Spain, meaning this season they can bring an extra competitor on each side (four per team, compared to three).
Among them, 2017 champions Jon Lillis and Ashley Caldwell will be searching to defend their titles on home snow at Deer Valley, especially after their Pyeongchang performances.
Caldwell separated her collarbone before the finals round, and took 17 overall. Lillis, still grieving for his brother who died in October, took eighth overall.
Lillis, 24, is currently ranked 10th on the World Cup circuit, followed by Mac Bohonnon in 11th, and Jon’s younger brother, Chris, in 12th.
Kiley McKinnon currently leads the women’s team. She finished 10th in Pyeongchang, and is currently ranked eighth on the World Cup tour. Caldwell is currently 13th, but will bring an extra level of intensity to the World Championships, as she is pioneer in the women’s triple jumps, and has proven her willingness to take big risks in pursuit of a gold medal.
How to watch:
The easiest way to watch the athletes compete is on NBC Sports and the Olympic Channel. Both broadcast a wide range of winter sports.
The moguls team will next compete on Jan. 12 in Calgary. The aerials team will compete on Jan. 19 at Lake Placid. The freeski team will compete at a World Cup in Font Romeu, France, on Jan. 12. The next halfpipe competition is the Laax Open in Switzerland starting Jan. 14. The luge team will compete in Koenigssee, Germany on Jan. 5-6.
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Dave Hanscom announced last month he was retiring as volunteer race director of the Wasatch Citizens Series after 30 years in the position.