Jaelin Kauf tallies another win to cap World Cup season
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — An up and down season that both included new heights for Jaelin Kauf and a few frustrating episodes of “almost” ended on a major upswing Sunday at the final freestyle moguls skiing World Cup event of the season.
Competing in a dual moguls event in Megeve, France, Kauf charged through the bracket — largely at the expense of her friends and American teammates — to win. It was Kauf’s third victory on the World Cup circuit this season and her fifth visit to the podium in the season’s nine events.
It was her fourth career World Cup win and eighth career podium.
Kauf, who trained in Steamboat Springs before making the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team, was the only womens skier this year to win more than two World Cup moguls events, and she capped that season, easily the best of her career, in style.
She beat fellow Steamboat Springs-trainee Avital Shimko in the first round of the 16-skier bracket.
She then moved past teammate Keaton McCargo, who had already knocked off another Steamboater, Olivia Giaccio.
Kauf trounced Germany’s Laura Grasemann in the semifinals, then Perrine Laffont in the final.
“This is an amazing way to end the season,” Kauf said in a news release.
She finished second in the overall season-long World Cup points race, behind Perrine, who didn’t win as many World Cup events but who stole the show in some of the biggest moments.
Perrine won the gold medal at last month’s 2018 Winter Olympics, then was good enough Sunday to lock up her advantage in the World Cup race. She finished with 607 points. Kauf, who led in the World Cup standings through the Olympics, wasn’t far behind in second with 561.
Kauf’s wins were spread across the World Cup calendar, but she fell short of maintaining that elite skiing in every event. She failed to qualify for the final round at the Olympics, placing seventh in her first trip to that event. She wasn’t at her best immediately after the Olympics, either, placing 22nd in the first event back, then 15th in the next contest.
Australia’s Britteny Cox was third in the World Cup standings with 467 points.
Vail’s Tess Johnson finished seventh, Keaton McCargo eighth, Morgan Schild 11th, Giaccio 12th, Mikaela Matthews 19th, Nessa Dziemian 36th, Shimko 37th and KC Oakley 47th.
“I am really happy with how far I came this year and what I was able to accomplish,” Kauf said. “I’m hungry for more now, but I couldn’t be more stoked with my season and where my skiing has come. I know I have a lot of work to do this summer to improve my skiing and jumping, but it really helps the confidence leaving the season on such a high note.”
The U.S. skiers will wrap up their competitive season this week at the U.S. Freestyle National Championships at Waterville Valley Resort, New Hampshire.
To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9.
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