Kai Owens claims second World Cup podium of the season
17-year old was third in the Alpe d’Huez dual moguls
With a third-place finish at the Alpe d’Huez World Cup dual moguls on Saturday in France, Ski and Snowboard Club Vail’s Kai Owens earned her second World Cup podium of the season and the third of her career. On Dec. 4, she earned her first singles World Cup podium with another bronze finish.
Owens knocked out Hannah Soar in the round of 16 before taking down Canada’s Maia Schwinghammer in the round of eight. In the semifinals, she was defeated by Australia’s Jakara Anthony, who had knocked out Tess Johnson in their previous round’s matchup. Anthony would win the competition, her second World Cup victory of the weekend. Russia’s Anastasia Smirnova, who knocked out Jaelin Kauf in the semifinal, would go on to place second.
“This was a very challenging course today. Every run, athletes had to ski every mogul; it was relentless,” U.S. Freestyle Team Head Mogul Coach Matt Gnoza told U.S. Ski and Snowboard’s Lara Carlton.
“Athletes had to ski more technically and put their skis on edge a little more, which is hard to do in duals when it’s you versus someone else and you want to be down the course first.”
Kauf beat Owens to the line in the small final, but because she didn’t quite stick her bottom landing, the Vail local was rewarded with the podium spot.
“I feel like I finally got back to skiing like myself,” Kauf told Carlton.
“It’s been a struggle this year to get in the right mindset, but I just went out today and did my best to ski my run.“
Alpe d’Huez was the final stop on the World Cup in 2021. After a brief holiday break, the team will descend upon Tremblant, Canada, Jan. 7-8, for two days of individual moguls competitions.
“The team is eager to get some rest, but they’re also eager to get going again,” Gnoza told U.S. Ski and Snowboard.
“All of them are hungry to build on the progress they made (this block) and continue to do the things they need to do to keep climbing the results sheet. This is a group of relentless workers, and it was great to see their hard work pay off.”