Vail’s Tess Johnson takes seventh in Canada; clinches Worlds spot
MONT TREMBLANT, Quebec — Vail’s Tess Johnson bumped and soared her way to a seventh-place finish on Saturday at the women’s moguls World Cup in Mont Tremblant, Quebec, clinching her first appearance at the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships in Park City, Utah.
Worlds start on Friday and the moguls competition is Feb. 8.
Johnson, 18, was coming off a third-place finish in Lake Placid, New York, last weekend and was skiing with confidence.
“I was feeling really good, feeling hungry. I’ve had two third(-place finishes), and I was looking for second or first,” Johnson said — her other bronze was in Ruka, Finland. “This course is definitely unusual. It is a little more flat, and I didn’t know what to expect, so I’m happy with how I skied.”
France’s Perrine Laffont won the competition, followed by Australia’s Jakara Anthony and Canadian Justine Dufour-Lapointe.
However, Johnson is sitting in fifth place in World Cup points in moguls, and, more importantly, sits in second place in the discipline among American women, and the top three ladies in red, white and blue get an automatic invite to Worlds.
“I am really excited,” Johnson said. “I’ve never made the World Championships, and I’m thrilled to be on home snow.”
Johnson has been on the big stage already in her young career, competing in the Olympics last winter in South Korea — she finished 12th. Yet this is another big accomplishment.
Johnson is flying home Sunday for four days of R-and-R, before heading out west for a training camp for the championships.
While there’s the training camp, there’s also the mental side. Johnson is World Cup regular, yet Worlds poses an extra set of challenges because it’s a big stage.
“Every time, I ski, it’s an ongoing battle,” Johnson said. “I need to stay in the present, and not so much focus on the outcome. I need to control whatever is in my hands and not get too caught up in the outcome, otherwise, I ski poorly.”
Johnson is Ski & Snowboard Club Vail alumna and graduated from Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy last spring.
Rita’s two closest peers have climbed the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak 21 times each, but both of them have retired from mountain climbing.