I’m sorry that it has been so long since I’ve sent out an update! As you may know, I have been traveling around the world, competing on the World Cup Tour since then. Throughout thIs time, I’ve traveled to Asia for several World Cups, scored my first World Cup podium, received the FIS Rookie of the Year Award and qualified for and attended World Championships in Spain! It has definitely been an amazing season thus far. For more details, read on…
World Cup Olympic Test Event in PyeongChang, South Korea
I left you all after my last update, where I finished 4th in duals at the Deer Valley World Cup. Because of my result there, I earned the opportunity to continue on the rest of the World Cup Tour.
The Monday morning following that event, I boarded a plane to South Korea to compete in the next World Cup in PyeongChang, South Korea, the site of next year’s 2018 Winter Olympics. I am thankful that I was able to experience the Olympic Test Event before the real thing comes around next year, as it gives me a level of familiarity with the venue and course that will be valuable in the time to come.
The qualifications for this World Cup were during the day, but the finals took place at night – my favorite time to compete. I placed 4th in qualifications, positioning myself in finals as one of the top qualifiers. Unfortunately, in Final 1, I made a few mistakes in crucial areas, thus earning a score that was not high enough to move on to the next round (13th place). Although I didn’t move onto the last round where only 6 competitors battle it out for podium spots, I learned that when I put my best run forward, I have the potential to be one of the top competitors in the field. Additionally, it was great to experience an event at the future Olympic site exactly 1 year out from the real deal!!
World Cup Olympic Test Event in PyeongChang, South Korea
Next Stop – Japan!
Because the singles event was the only event of the week in PyeongChang, we then traveled to Tokyo, Japan to rest and sightsee a bit before heading over to the next World Cup in Tazawako, Japan. Tokyo was such a unique and fascinating place, from its unbelievable food to its unmatched charisma. The girls and I explored one of the local fish markets, the streets of Harajuku, and Shibuya crossing, among other tourist attractions interspersed throughout our day. What struck me about Tokyo was its cleanliness and the friendliness of everyone who walks through the streets. It’s a place I would love to visit again!
From Tokyo, we traveled to Tazawako, the site of our next World Cup. The ski resort in Japan was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, with abundant fluffy snow, warm temperatures, decadent lodge food, and quaint Japanese hospitality.
On singles day, I again qualified at the top of the field (in 3rd). Unfortunately, due to a mistake on my bottom air, my finals run put me into 10th place. This fueled my fire for the duals competition that took place the following day.
My First World Cup Podium!
In duals, the brackets are set according to your current rank on the World Cup Tour. It is a make it or break it scenario where if you win your dual, then you continue on to dual your next opponent. If you lose your dual, your day is over. By the end of the day, the competition field is whittled down to the last 4 athletes standing. On this particular day in Tazawako, I focused on competing my run as best as I could, executing each aspect to the best of my ability.
My determination that day was what set me apart, as I traveled through each round (5 total) to eventually find myself as one of the final 4 athletes left standing in the competition. This focus solely on the execution of my run aided me in my final two duals; the first of which, I unfortunately lost to teammate Jaelin Kauf. However, my day wasn’t finished yet. I was consequently in the running for either a 3rd place podium spot or a 4th place finish. In that last dual of the day, I knew that no matter what, I wanted to stand on the podium.
To get to this point, I had dualed and won against two Dufour-Lapointe sisters — Justine (2014 Olympic Gold Medalist and #3 in the world) and Maxime (#9 in the world), who are veterans on the World Cup Tour. My final dual of the day was against the third Dufour-Lapointe sister, #4 rank in the world, Chloe Dufour-Lapointe (last year’s overall World Cup Ladies Moguls Champion).
The Small Final Dual, for 3rd & 4th Place, against Chloe Dufour-Lapointe
I put all of my focus and energy into this dual. My focus paid off as I was victorious and found myself on my first World Cup podium – 3rd place. To make it past all 3 sisters in the same day and to step on to the podium at the end of the day was truly an amazing experience. In this day, I proved to myself that I could truly become the best in my sport and that all of my hard work does pay off.
3rd Place Dual Moguls – Tazawako World Cup
Dual Moguls Podium – Tazawako World Cup
Women’s Dual Moguls Podium – Tazawako World Cup
World Cup Finals – Thaiwoo, China
After the Japan World Cup, we traveled to a small, newly-built ski resort in Thaiwoo, China for the final World Cup of the season. This destination is slated to be the 2022 Winter Olympics venue. On the first singles day, I made finals again, finishing 14th. On duals day, I also made finals, but crashed in the round of 16 against Justine Dufour-Lapointe.
Looking back on my World Cup experience, I learned a lot concerning the improvements I can make going into next year in order to compete at my very best. Mainly, this includes consistency from run to run – skiing my best run each time is absolutely imperative – I firmly believe that top results will come.
FIS Rookie of The Year
At the the World Cup Finals in Thaiwoo, the FIS Rookie of the Year award was presented. One of my main goals for this season was to earn this award, which is based on 50% results and 50% attitude, presented to a first-year athlete on the World Cup Tour. At the World Cup Finals event in Thaiwoo, I was given this award. This World Cup tour has definitely been a roller coaster ride for me, with many ups and downs, and to come away with this award is a huge honor. This has been a year to remember!
2017 FIS World Cup Rookie of the Year
World Championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain
In China, I was also given the exciting news that I was one of the 4 athletes from the United States who qualified for the World Championships that would take place the following week in Sierra Nevada, Spain. This was also a huge honor, as this event is situated at the tier just below the Olympic Games! After 3 valuable days at home where I got to spend time with my family, I boarded another plane to Spain for a week, where I competed in singles and dual moguls against the best in the world. I performed well in singles, making finals again and finishing 15th place. On duals day, I unfortunately lost my first dual. Although it was a disappointing end to my week at World Championships, I was extremely grateful to be a part of this event and it was a valuable experience to have moving forward into next season!
One More Event – Junior World Championships in Valmalenco, Italy
I will compete in one more event this competition season — Junior World Championships in Valmalenco, Italy in the beginning of April. Attending this event will be a pleasure, as it is the first time I will be a part of the Junior Worlds Team representing USA. Participating in this event has been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember. At Junior Worlds, all the top “juniors” (19 years and younger) in the world battle it out for the title of Junior World Champion. I am aiming to execute my best skiing thus far and end my season with a bang!
However, first I traveled to Sun Valley, Idaho, to watch my brother, Frankie, compete in his first Junior Nationals. Supporting my brother and cheering on all of my mogul skiing friends from around the country has been an enjoyable experience.
My Brother, Frankie, Competing at Junior Nationals
Thank you all for your continued support! This season has been quite the rollercoaster ride and I’m honored to have you all along to experience it with me!
All the best,