Vail’s Tess Johnson finishes 13th in World Cup
RUKA, Finland — Tess Johnson, of Vail, cracked the top 15 in her third World Cup start.
Johnson, 16, finished 13th in the World Cup moguls opener in Ruka, Finland.
The U.S. women’s moguls team started the season off with strong performances. Keaton McCargo (Telluride) led the charge with a third place finish, her first career World Cup podium.
McCargo has been a solid skier for the U.S. on the World Cup the past three seasons. After a slightly shaky run in qualifications, she turned it up and skied consistently throughout finals, landing just behind Australia’s Britteny Cox in first and France’s Perrine Laffont in second.
“I made a few mistakes in qualifications, but I put that behind me and went out there in finals and skied my run,” said McCargo. “I skied fast – I think that helped me out the most – and clean. I’m still sort of in shock, but it’s amazing to start the season off with a World Cup podium.”
The U.S. team advanced a total of five women into the final rounds, including McCargo, Mikaela Matthews (Frisco, CO), Tess Johnson (Vail, CO), Olivia Giaccio (Redding, CT) and Jaelin Kauf (Alta, WY). All five finished in the top 15, indicating a potential for more top performance this season. “I think today’s performance shows how strong our women’s team is and that we’re going to be out there being the best,” said McCargo. “I have no doubt we can do that this season.”
On the men’s side, Mikael Kingsbury (CAN) was once again a dominant force, securing his 34th World Cup win. Australia’s Matt Graham was second followed by Benjamin Cavet (FRA) in third. The U.S. men struggled to ski consistently and did not advance any skiers to finals. Brad Wilson (Butte, MT) was the top finisher in 18th.
“All the girls skied up to their potential in finals,” said head mogul coach Matt Gnoza. “We set a goal of having all six women in finals and we only missed that by one skier. Our men’s team underperformed today. They didn’t have their energy up, and maybe nerves got the best of them. I’m confident we can make the adjustments necessary to improve for the next event. They all have the ability to be there.”
FIS Freestyle World Cup action continues Dec. 17-18 with the aerials opener in Beida Lake, China.