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Freestyle Skiers

Competition Corner: Hirscher Dominates in Italy, Career-Best Finishes for Bennett and Ford

American Jaelin Kauf wins back-to-back moguls gold in China.

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With the women’s speed events postponed, it was all about the men this weekend with four days of racing in Italy. Between the speed events in Val Gardena and the technical events in Alta Badia, two Americans earned their highest FIS World Cup finishes to date.

Three Americans Finish in Top Six in Val Gardena Downhill

Bryce Bennett, Steven Nyman, and Travis Ganong finished in fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively, during the downhill race in Val Gardena, Italy. It was Bennett’s highest-ever FIS World Cup finish. The winner, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway, beat Austrian Max Franz, by 0.86 seconds. Switzerland’s Beat Feuz was third. See’s full Val Gardena downhill and Super G recap here. 

The downhill races had a scary moment when Marc Gisin of Switzerland suffered a horrific crash on the Camel Hump section of the course. Ski Racing Media is reporting that he is in stable condition without serious injury, and he did not break his pelvis, as was previously reported

Marcel Hirscher Sweeps Alta Badia Races

Marcel Hirscher at Alta Badia, Italy
Hirscher during the giant slalom at Alta Badia, ItalyPhoto courtesy of Red Bull / Erich Spiess

Austria’s Marcel Hirscher is undeniably the best technical skier in the world right now, as he squashed the competition in Sunday’s giant slalom, finishing in first place by over 2.5 seconds. He also edged out Thibaut Favrot of France for his first ever parallel giant slalom gold medal. Tommy Ford of Bend, Ore. placed fifth in Sunday’s GS, which is the American’s highest FIS World Cup finish to date. Read’s full Alta Badia race round-up here. 

In related news, FIS has claimed Germany’s Stefan Luitz’s use of supplemental oxygen between runs during the Beaver Creek Birds of Prey GS as grounds for disqualification. The German Ski Federation can either accept the loss or appeal the disqualification, but it seems likely at this point that Luitz’s win will be stripped.

Jaelin Kauf Snags Back-to-Back Gold in China

During the FIS Freestyle World Cup stop in Thaiwoo, China, Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo.) won consecutive golds in both the individual mogul event and the dual mogul event. 

“My strategy was to just ski my run the best I could,” Kauf told U.S. Ski and Snowboard. “I was able to put down some solid runs during the moguls competition (on Saturday) and wanted to build on those. I knew I was the fastest yesterday and just played on that strength today. I’ve won back-to-back before so I’m really happy to have done that again! The competition was tough out there but I’m really happy I was able to ski my runs and land on the podium again!” 

On the men’s side, Canadian Mikael Kingsbury swept all of the men’s mogul events in Thaiwoo. Check out the full weekend’s mogul skiing results from China.