PARK CITY, Utah. — Familiar faces graced the podium peaks at the 2021 FIS Intermountain Healthcare Freestyle International Ski World Cup at Deer Valley Resort Thursday, with Perrine Laffont (FRA) and Mikael Kingsbury (CAN) no strangers to this event’s elevation and no strangers to its fans.
Laffont, 23, who was born the same year this event debuted, beat out her competitors with a score of 83.23 and a time difference of eight hundredths of a second. USA athlete, and Vail, Colo. native Kai Owens, 17, placed an impressive 4th. Those two were bookends to Japanese teammates Anri Kawamura in 2nd place and Kisara Sumiyoshi in 3rd.
USA’s Tess Johnson and Hannah Soar came in 8th and 9th respectively in this event, leaving their fellow county-mate Jaelin Kauf firmly in 3rd place in the Women’s Moguls World Cup standings.
The rest of the women’s field was rounded out by athletes from Kazakstan, Switzerland, Australia, Great Britain, Canada and Germany.
In the men’s competition, Mikael Kingsbury (CAN), 29, won with a score of 88.10 and a time difference of .61 seconds. Second place went to Frenchman Benjamin Cavet and 3rd place was Matt Graham of Australia.
USA’s Dylan Walczyk, 28, grabbed an exciting 7th place in the event followed by the next American result by 24-year-old Jesse Andringa in 10th.
Team USA competitors Brad Wilson and Nick Page, both with personal ties to Park City, are in 7th and 8th places, respectively, in the race-within-the-race that is the Men’s Moguls World Cup standings.
Fresh powder Thursday made for extra work among course workers, and a pandemic-driven lack of spectators has taken some of the fun out of the P.A.’s job. But while the announcing is in a “Just the facts, ma’am” style this year, respect for this well-loved venue is evident among athletes and teams.
Other nations braving the Covid travel tests to participate included Sweden, Italy, Korea, Kazakstan, Great Britain, Switzerland, Japan and Finland.
Friday sees events contested in the discipline of Dual Moguls, with Saturday’s highlight being the high flying, terrifically twisting Aerials.