Kauf lands first World Cup win | SteamboatToday.com

Kauf lands first World Cup win

Days don't come much better for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club freestyle skiing program than Sunday.

Two Club skiers made the podium in a women's dual moguls World Cup event in Tazawako, Japan, and one of them, Jaelin Kauf, skied to her first career World Cup victory.

Olivia Giaccio finished third in the same event.

"I can't really describe how I'm feeling right now. I was just pushing the speed all day and trying to beat the other girls down the course," Kauf said in a U.S. Ski Team news release. "I wasn't expecting this to happen, but it's amazing, and I couldn't be happier."

The Steamboat Springs freestyle moguls skier is only in her second season skiing World Cup events and has already racked up two podium performances, including a third-place finish earlier this season in Deer Valley, Utah.

Recommended Stories For You

She hadn't ever had a day quite like Sunday, however.

She came into the event after a lackluster 26th-place finish the day before in an individual moguls event but overall has been skiing very well in the second half of the World Cup schedule. After that third-place finish in Utah, she was fifth last week at an event in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Sunday, she tore through the bracket. She actually ran into Giaccio in the semifinals, then advanced to the finals, where she edged out Kazakhstan's Yulia Galysheva.

Giaccio, who skied for the Winter Sports Club last winter, was 10th Saturday in the individual moguls event. She just missed the podium at the Deer Valley competition, losing to Kauf in the consolation finals to place fourth.

Sunday, she couldn't beat Kauf, sliding to the consolation finals, but there, she beat Canada's Chloe Dufour-LaPointe, the defending women's World Cup points champion.

"I was trying to win speed today, as best I could. I tried to ski clean, have big airs and just focus on each run," she said in the news release. "It's insane. I definitely didn't expect it, but I am super excited, and it's so great to share the podium with Jaelin. We skied together at Steamboat last year, so it's really special to share this with her."

The pair accounted for two of the women's team's six podium finishes this season. Kauf's win was the second for the U.S. women this year, after Morgan Schild won an event in Deer Valley earlier this month.

“Both Jaelin and Olivia skied with great composure today,” U.S. coach Matt Gnoza said. “Their runs were technical, and they stayed focused on their skiing, winning those duals where they were the underdogs. They both ski aggressively, charge through the middle section and go big on the bottom air. It was some great skiing.”

The U.S. skiers will stick in Asia to wrap up the World Cup season. They'll travel to China for two men's and two women's events. The World Championships also loom March 8 and 9 in Sierra Nevada, Spain.

Australian Britteny Cox is the overall World Cup moguls leader, comfortably ahead of French skier Perrine Laffont. McCargo is the top U.S. skier in those standings, in sixth. Kauf is in seventh and Giaccio 13th.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9