Lake Placid hosts aerials World Cup 2017/18 season finale

18 January 2018 03:15
Aerials action from Lake Placid
Aerials action from Lake Placid -

Lake Placid (USA) - After an unforgettable Friday night showcase of some of the best jumping seen in recent memory last week in Deer Valley, the FIS Freestyle aerials World Cup stays on in the United States for the final two competitions of the 2017/18 aerials World Cup season, with back-to-back night events on Friday and Saturday, 19 and 20 January. 

Both competitions will start with qualifications at 14:40 EST and finish with finals under the lights beginning at 20:00.

One of the most important venues in Freestyle history, Lake Placid has hosted aerials, moguls, acro, and/or ski cross World Cup competitions in almost every season since 1985, with aerials events a part of every single one of those programmes. 

With so many storylines and so much history ingrained in the venue, the always-perfect Lake Placid aerials venue, and the last two opportunities available for the athletes of the aerials World Cup to qualify for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games happening on back-to-back nights, you can expect the highest level of competition to be going down in the Adirondacks this weekend.




Last week’s competition in Deer Valley resulted in a shakeup of the standings, as Xu Mengtao (CHN) and Maxim Burov (RUS) not only won the competition, but also jumped into the yellow bibs as the new World Cup leaders, with Xu overtaking Hanna Huskova (BLR) on the ladies’ side, and Burov climbing above Jia Zongyang (CHN) in the men’s standings. And, with both Xu and Burov putting in standout performances in what was an exceptional Deer Valley competition, few would argue that they deserve to be in their positions. 

That being said, both their World Cup leads are tenuous at best, with Xu only 29 points ahead of  second-place Huskova and 54 points up on third-overall Kristina Spiridonova (RUS), and Burov locked in an incredibly tight battle on the men’s side where the difference between his first-overall score of 226 and fifth-overall Maxim Gustik’s (BLR) total of 195 is just 31 points. With two competitions left to go, there’s still plenty to be decided before this season’s crystal globes are awarded in Lake Placid.

Last season’s competition in Lake Placid was a good one for the host US squad, with Mac Bohonnon taking second place on the men’s side, and Ashley Caldwell claiming victory in the ladies’ competition. After being unable to land an athlete on the podium last week in Deer Valley - despite a showstopping jump from Sierra Nevada 2017 world champion Jonathon Lillis in the first round of finals - expect Bohonnon and Caldwell to lead the way as the US team pushes hard to make amends in Lake Placid.

Others to watch out for on the ladies’ side include Kiley McKinnon (USA) and Danielle Scott (AUS), both of whom had victories earlier in the season but struggled last week in Deer Valley, as well as veterans Alla Tsuper (BLR) and Lydia Lassila (AUS), gold medallists at the Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, respectively, who are looking to round back into form in time for PyeongChang 2018 and another kick at the Olympic can.

On the men’s side, you can pick out any of the five athletes who finished behind Burov in Deer Valley as a “one to watch” in Lake Placid, as the level in Friday’s super final was absolutely top notch, with all finalists save for Lillis landing big, clean jumps. 

Current second-overall skier Anton Kushnir (BLR) was third in Deer Valley last week and the winner in Lake Placid last season, and has three straight podiums coming into this weekend’s competitions, making him a possible favourite. However, a return to form for three-time Lake Placid winner Jia, or a top-level jump from last year’s crystal globe winner Qi Guangpu, or a breakout performance from any number of other athletes who have proven themselves to be near the top-spot conversation this season, means that this one is a tough one to call ahead of time.