SSWSC alumna wins moguls National Championships, closes season on top
Jaelin Kauf, the world’s fastest women’s moguls skier, is once again a national champion.
Kauf, who is a former Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athlete, traveled to Waterville Valley Resort in New Hampshire for the National Championships on Saturday, March 25, and Sunday, March 26, winning both the singles and dual moguls events.
Kauf said it was an awesome feeling to be a national champion once again. She had not competed in Nationals since 2019, when she won both singles and duals on the same Waterville Valley course.
“I think sometimes our teammates are our biggest competitors in a good way,” Kauf said. “We’re constantly pushing each other in training, in the prep season, in the World Cups during the season. We go up against each other in duals a lot of times at World Cups and it’s definitely a fun way to end the season.”
In the singles final, Kauf made it faster down the hill than anyone by over 2.5 seconds. She limited the deductions on her turns and took home first-place with an 85.91 run score, ahead of fellow SSWSC skier Olivia Giaccio in second.
Kauf followed that with another top finish in duals where she was pinned against Giaccio in the Big Final, earning 21 points to Giaccio’s 14.
There was a lot going through Kauf’s mind over the weekend. She focused on competing at her highest level while remaining cautious on the course.
“For me it was a little bit of a mental battle through the weekend,” Kauf said. “It’s not a World Cup and there was nothing major on the line other than bragging rights for us on the ski team. It’s not an event that I want to really push myself at and do something stupid and get hurt.”
Earlier in the week, the resort had some rain, which froze overnight and coated the course in ice.
The firm and slick course is less than desirable for competitors who now need to keep their speed in check and find the perfect distance to fly off the jumps. One misstep can lead to a DNF or an injury.
“The weather was all over the place,” Kauf said. “I think we got a little of everything minus the powder that everyone was getting back home. It made for a really challenging course and conditions. It rained for day one of training and then it froze solid for the rest of the event.”
It was a great season for Kauf who earned a top-four finish in all but one event of the new year, including two silver medals at the World Championships.
She said the second half of this season was the most consistent she has ever skied, and winning Nationals was the perfect way to close out the year.
“I had a lot of fun skiing, focusing on my strengths as a skier and pushing the speed and pushing the turns,” Kauf said. “Going into this year it was definitely my goal to consistently be the fastest skier starting in qualifications through the Super Finals and I feel I accomplished that.”
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240, email tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.
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