What a day it has been at the FIS World Cup Finals in Moguls in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The two-day event in Central Asia’s largest ski resort consists of a Single Moguls and Dual Moguls event. After the Moguls events, the Aerials World Cup Finals will be held in Almaty.
Friday, March 17, 2023, saw the Men’s and Women’s qualifiers and finals. Only the top 30 ranked athletes were invited to attend, with the top four ranked athletes being seeded straight into the Finals without a need to qualify. This meant only 12 spots remained for the other athletes.
Unfortunately, Dylan Marcellini and Dylan Walczyk from Team USA did not make the Men’s Finals, while Cole McDonald and Landon Wendler advanced to the next round. Being ranked fourth in the world, Nick Page had an automatic qualification straight to the Finals.
On the Women’s side, all six female athletes from America advanced to the first final, with fourth-ranked Jaelin Kauf advancing with her automatic qualification. From the first final, only Jaelin Kauf, Hannah Soar, and Tess Johnson went to the second final. At the same time, Olivia Giaccio, Ali Macuga, and Kasey Hogg narrowly missed the final round of six.
From the first round of Finals, Nick Page and Landon Wendler advanced to the Super Final but missed out on a podium, finishing in fifth and sixth place, respectively. The podium went instead to Mikael Kingsbury from Canada, who won his seventh straight victory of the 22/23 season and, with this, also the Moguls Crystal Globe. Second place went to local Pavel Kolmakov, who showed a remarkable comeback from his disappointing run at the World Championships in Bakuriani, Georgia. It is the Kazakhstani’s first career podium. Third place went to Australia’s Matt Graham, making it his fourth podium of the 22/23 season. He is also the second-ranked for the season.
The Women’s podium was shared by France’s Perrine Laffont in first place and two Americans: Jaelin Kauf in second and Tess Johnson in third. Hannah Soar finished in sixth. The Women’s Crystal Globe for the season went to Jakara Anthony from Australia, who did not compete after a disappointing World Championships run in Bakuriani, Georgia. Third-ranked for the season Anri Kawamura from Japan also did not attend, as well as 2022 World Cup Rookie winner Elizabeth Lemley from America, who is ranked an impressive sixth for the season at only 16 years of age.
The 2023 World Cup Rookie of the year award went to America’s Ali Macuga in the women’s and Filip Gravenfors in the men’s group.
However, the most rewarding recognition for the U.S. Moguls Team’s strength came from the USA winning the Nations Cup. The U.S. has unrivaled strength and depth of Mogul skiers competing on the World Cup circuit.