USA Makes It 2-for-2 in 2023 Moguls World Cup Finals, Winning Dual Moguls Nations Trophy as Well in Almaty, Kazaksthan

Julia Schneemann | BackcountryBackcountry | Industry NewsIndustry News
US Moguls Team
The US Moguls Team in Almaty, Kazakhstan. | Picture: FIS Ski Website

Saturday, March 18, 2023, saw the Dual Moguls event at the 2023 World Cup Finals in Almaty, Kazakhstan. A Dual Moguls event sees two skiers face off against each other, with seven judges awarding five points each. The elimination style format narrows competitors to the last four skiers, who will compete in a Big Final for first and second place, and a Small Final for Third and Fourth place.

Team USA had a staggering 13 athletes competing in the Dual Moguls at the 2023 World Cup Finals, seven women and six men, and would have had 14 if Elizabeth Lemley, ranked X, would have competed. Starters for America were:

  • Jaelin Kauf
  • Olivia Giaccio
  • Alli Macuga
  • Hannah Soar
  • Tess Johnson
  • Lulu Shaffer
  • Kasey Hogg
  • Nike Page
  • Cole McDonald
  • Dylan Walczyk
  • Landon Wendler
  • Charlie Mickel
  • Asher Michel
Ali Macuga
US Mogul skier Alli Macuga (front) in the Quarter Final run against Japan’s Yuki Kajiwara. | Picture: FIS Ski Website

Due to the large number of US starters, the American skiers had to face off against each other early on. In the Eight Final, Alli Macuga duelled Kasey Hogg, with Alli advancing, and Tess Johnson faced Lulu Shaffer, with Lulu advancing. In the Quarter Final, Lulu faced teammate Olivia Giaccio, with Olivia advancing to the Semi Final, while Jaelin Kauf faced Hannah Soar, seeing Jaelin advance to the Semi-Final. Jaelin Kauf and Olivia Giaccio faced each other while Alli Macuga was duelling the World Cup leader, Perrine Laffont.

Jaelin Kauf
Jaelin Kauf came second at the 2023 World Cup Finals in Dual Moguls. | Picture: FIS Ski Website

In the end, Jaelin Kauf battled the French skier for first place, with Kauf relegated to second place, while Giaccio battled Macuga for third place, and the more experienced Giaccio won the Dual. Rookie Macuga came away with fourth, a career-best. Lulu Shaffer finished in fifth, also a career-best, while Hannah Soar ended in sixth, Tess Johnson in tenth, and Kasey Hogg in twelfth.

“Today was good, really fun,” said Jaelin Kauf, “unfortunately, I did have to take out a few teammates.”

Perrine Laffont
France’s Perrine Laffont took home the large Overall Moguls Crystal Globe and the Dual Moguls Crystal Globe. | Picture: FIS Ski Website

On the men’s side, victory went to Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury, who also took home the Dual Moguls Crystal Globe for the leader of the 22/23 season. Second place went to Sweden’s Walter Wallberg and third to Australia’s Matt Graham. Dylan Walczyk was the top American finisher in sixth place. The American Mogul skiers faced some heavy hitters in the Quarter Finals. Landon Wendler dueled against Sweden’s Walter Wallberg to finish the day seventh. Nick Page met Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury and finished the day in eighth. Cole McDonald finished 11th, Charlie Mickel 19th, and Asher Michel 25th.

Dual Moguls
Cole McDonald (bib 7), Mikael Kingsbury (yellow leader bib), and Matt Graham (bib 5) looking down the Moguls course in Almaty, Kazakhstan. | Picture: FIS Ski Website

Head Coach Bryon Wilson was proud of his team, remarking, “It was a really great weekend here in Kazakhstan. Leaving here with four medals and leaving with both Nations Cups in moguls and dual moguls is incredible. I am impressed with the development crew and excited where we’re headed as a team. It fires me up going into prep season! We’re going to take a couple days to finish off the season at Nationals, get a little breather, and then back to work this spring and summer.”

The US has unrivaled depth in Moguls — especially women’s Dual Moguls, where half of the top 10 ranked women at the end of the season are American. The men’s Moguls ranking has an impressive three Americans in the top ten, more than any other nation.

US Moguls Team
The US Team with the Dual Moguls Nations Cup. | Picture: FIS Ski Website

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