U.S. Aerial Skier Chris Lillis Wins Bronze at World Cup in St. Moritz, Switzerland

Julia Schneemann | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Men’s Podium aerials
St. Moritz World Cup Aerials Men’s Podium: 1st Dmitro Kotovskyi, 2nd Noe Roth, 3rd Chris Lillis. Picture: FIS Ski Website

Last week Sunday, March 5, saw the FIS Aerials World Cup in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Present from Team USA were Derek Krueger, Quinn Dehlinger, and Christopher Lillis for the men and Kaila Kuhn, Karenna Elliott, Megan Nick, and Winter Vinecki for the women.

Chris Lillis qualified in first place for the finals with an impressive Back-Double-Full-Full-Full jump, Quinn Dehlinger qualified in fifth place while Derek Krueger qualified in 11th place.

Dehlinger mid air
Dehlinger mid-air in St. Moritz, Switzerland. | Picture: Julia Schneemann

In the first final, Lillis placed third and Dehlinger fourth, meaning they advanced to the Super Final, while Krueger narrowly missed out, placing eighth. It was set to be an incredibly exciting Super Final as the three top-placed men Dmitro Kotovskyi, Noe Roth and Chris Lillis had shown extremely difficult jumps in the previous runs with degrees of difficulty of 5 and above.

Ukrain’s Kotovskyi took home the victory, stomping his Full-triple Full-Full to score 136.76 points. It is his second win of the 22/23 season and his fourth podium, putting him 2 points ahead of Switzerland’s Roth, who blew everyone’s mind with a Double Full-Double Full-Full, the most difficult trick he has shown in the World Cup ever, scoring 133.11 points. Third place went to Team America’s Lillis, who came with the most technically difficult trick on the day, a Double Full-Full-Double-Full — a jump not seen in competitions since the 2022 Olympics in Beijing — but his landing form was slightly off, giving him a final score of 128.00 points.

Laura Peel Danielle Scott
Double-Podium for the Flying Kangaroos, with Danielle Scott in first place and Laura Peel in second. | Picture: Danielle Scott Instagram Page

From the women, Kaila Kuhn qualified in fifth place from the qualifiers, while Karenna Elliot, Megan Nick, and Winter Vinecki qualified in 10th, 11th, and 12th place respectively. Canada’s aerials specialist Marion Thenault failed to qualify for the finals due to a poor landing in the qualifying round. From Team USA only Winter Vinecki advanced in third place from the first final round to the Super Final round.

With her strongest competitor, second-ranked Marin Thenault, out of the way, it was Danielle Scott’s time to shine. The number one ranked aerial skier from Australia played it conservatively, qualifying with a relatively safe jump, a Double-Back-Full-Full, into the Super Final in second place behind her teammate Laura Pell Peel who went into the Super Final in first place with her beautiful Lay-Tuck-Full.

The “Flying Kangaroos” — as the Australian Aerials Team is called — were untouchable on Sunday and Scott, who had claimed Silver at the Bakuriani 2023 World Championships, stomped a flawless Back-Double-Full-Full to take home the victory, while Laura Peel went for the most difficult jump of the day, a beautiful Lay-Full-Full. Unfortunately, her landing was not perfect, or she would have one-upped her teammate with the only triple jump on the day. Instead, Peel had to settle for second place. Third place went to Bakuriani’s Gold medallist, Fanyu Kong from China, who scored 92.00 points for her Back-Double-Full-Full. Winter Vinecki’s Back-Full-Full was unfortunately not difficult enough to beat the Chinese, and the American missed out on a podium.

Danielle Scott
Australian Aerial skier Danielle Scott at Corviglia, St. Moritz, Switzerland. | Picture: Danielle Scott Instagram Page

With only one competition to go and Danielle Scott 92 points ahead of Marion Thenault, it looks like the 22/23 Aerials World Cup title will go to Australia. Even if Thenault wins in the next competition, the Aussie athlete would only need nine points to beat the Canadian.

In the men’s title however, anything can happen with only two points between Kotovsky and Roth. Lillis is unfortunately more than 100 points away from third place and not a contender for the World Cup title.

The final decider will be the Aerials competition on March 19, 2023, in Almaty, Kazakstan.

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