Stage set for Deer Valley moguls extravaganza
Deer Valley (USA) - The FIS Freestyle World Cup tour returns to one of the most storied venues in skiing this week for back-to-back-to-back nighttime competitions under the lights at the Deer Valley Visa Freestyle International in the state of Utah, USA.
Deer Valley is marking its 20th anniversary of hosting international ski competition this year, with the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Winter Games, the 2002 and 2011 FIS Freestyle Skiing World Championships, and 16 seasons of World Cup competitions to the resort’s credit including this week’s events.
With moguls competitions ready to hit Deer Valley’s always perfect “Champion” run on Wednesday and Thursday nights, and aerials competition at the “White Owl” jumping venue slated to close things out on Friday, Deer Valley is set to once again deliver a freestyle bonanza this week.
Cox and Kingsbury lead moguls charge
Last weekend’s winners in Calgary are also tops on the World Cup standings, as Australia’s Britt Cox and Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury once agin roll into Deer Valley as the top athletes in the moguls world.
Cox’s return to the top of the rankings came after something of a disappointing showing in China’s Thaiwoo resort back before the holiday break, where she was held off the podium in back-to-back competitions for the first time in nearly two years and relinquished the yellow leader’s bib for the first time since the first competition of last season.
In Calgary Cox looked composed and completely in control, skiing smooth and strong on her way to her second consecutive win at the venue. With a win and a third-place performance last season at Deer Valley, expect Cox to be very much in the mix come time for competition on Wednesday and Thursday.
Others to watch out for this week on the ladies’ side include Perrine Laffont (FRA) and Justine Dufour-Lapoint (CAN), who both come into Deer Valley fresh off of their first podiums of the season in Calgary, as well World Cup third overall Yulia Galysheva (KAZ) and fourth overall Andi Naude (CAN), both of whom looked strong in Calgary but made critical mistakes in the super final.
And, finally, the host US squad will be strongly represented by a slew of young and ever-improving ladies, lead by current World Cup second overall Jaelin Kauf. Kauf has a win and a runner-up so far this season, as well as two third-place finished in Deer Valley captured over the past two seasons, while Morgan Schild, Tess Johnson, Keaton McCargo, and Olivia Giaccio have all skied strongly at points so far this season.
Kingsbury on the cusp of history once again
For the men, Kingsbury comes into the biggest World Cup stage of the season in Deer Valley on the cusp of another incredible milestone in a career that is overflowing with them, as his next victory will put him ahead of US legends Hannah Kearney and Donna Weinbrecht and into sole possession of the most moguls World Cup wins of all time.
Throw in the fact that Kingsbury is a perfect four-for-four so far in 2017/18 and riding an ever-growing record of 11-straight victories dating back to last season, and it becomes clear that we’re watching one of the greatest athletes in skiing at the peak of his abilities, with just one month ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Korea.
Kingsbury has 12 career starts in Deer Valley, with seven victories and three runner-ups for 10 total podiums on the Champion course, and all signs point to him adding to that total this weekend.
Behind Kingsbury on the World Cup leaderboard is Dmitriy Reikherd, the just-turned 29-year-old from Kazakhstan who has been pushing Kingsbury hard this season and has three runner-up results to show for it. In Calgary on Saturday Reikherd stepped up his game once again, forcing Kingsbury to do the same in turn and resulting in both athletes registering their highest scores so far this season.
With only two career podiums in his 12 attempts at Deer Valley, Reikherd doesn’t have the DV pedigree that some other skiers boast. However, so far this season he has skied like a man on a mission, and it would be no surprise if it was once again him and Kingsbury battling for top spot this week.
Behind the top two it’s Matt Graham (AUS), Jaewoo Choi (KOR), and Marc-Antoine Gagnon (CAN) rounding out the top five, though only Graham, with a runner-up and two third-place finishes, has any podium results to show for himself so far in 2017/18.
The top-ranked US athlete coming into Deer Valley is Troy Murphy, who sits ninth overall and has scored the lone US men’s podium this season with a third-place finish at the first Thaiwoo competition back in December. However, Brad Wilson had a strong competition in Calgary to earn a sixth-place result and has been trending upwards since the start of the season. A Deer Valley local, Wilson would love to add to the single podium he scored at the resort back in 2013.
- Full Deer Valley World Cup program
- TV Exposure
- Ladies’ moguls World Cup standings
- Men’s moguls World Cup standings
- Deer Valley competition website
- Teaser video
- Deer Valley data page (live scoring, results, and other info)