PARK CITY, Utah (February 10, 2019) – Canada’s Mikaёl Kingsbury won his second World Championships title of the weekend, and France’s Perrine Laffont took the women’s dual moguls title. However, in the company of thousands of spectators and yet another snowstorm, U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo.), Bradley Willson (Butte, Mont.) and Tess Johnson (Vail, Colo.), were the clear crowd favorites, taking two silvers and a bronze, respectively, at the 2019 FIS World Championships dual moguls competition on Saturday night at Deer Valley Resort. The U.S. trio did not disappoint the hometown crowd, delivering stellar performances through four extremely close competition heats.
“Tonight was incredible. I mean I am so exhausted from this week, but I skied as hard as I could tonight and I’m really proud of my skiing and myself,” Kauf said. “I’m stoked to be on the podium with both Brad and Tess.”
Kauf prevailed in a U.S.-versus-U.S. face-off with Johnson in the women’s semi finals. But then Johnson went on to an unexpected win in the battle for the women’s bronze against Kazakhstan’s Yulia Galysheva, gold medal winner of Friday night’s World Championships individual women’s moguls competition.
“It feels like nothing I’ve ever felt before standing on the podium here tonight,” said Johnson, who’d been on the World Cup podium just once before Friday night. “I’m on cloud nine and I don’t think I’m ever going to come down. I just had the most fun tonight amd skiing against my best friend and teammate, Jaelin, was more than I could ever have dreamed of. To end this on the podium, I’m just so grateful.”
In the women’s gold-medal run, Kauf stayed neck and neck with the 2017 dual moguls World Champion, France’s Perrine Laffont, to the finish. But Laffont completed a more technically difficult trick off the course’s first jump and won her second World Championship gold. Laffont’s victory brought tears to her eyes, emotions she expressed in the finish area.
“I was very tired this morning, and was disappointed about yesterday’s judgement,” said Laffont, who took the bronze Friday night. “I didn’t really want to compete today, I felt like I had no more energy this morning. But my head coach was there to push me on every single run and told me to try to do your best and enjoy the moment in front of this crazy crowd.”
Wilson faced Canadian freestyle skiing super power, Mikael Kingsbury, the men’s gold medal winner from Friday night’s moguls competition. Though Wilson definitely gave Kingsbury, who is the most accomplished mogul skier of all time, a run for his money by crossing the finish line first, the competition ended with Kingsbury winning his fourth World Championship gold medal.
“I kind of have no words now because my goal all season was to win the world championship and now I did it,” Kingsbury said. “The guys were skiing so fast today. I wasn’t the fastest in the red, but I know I was the cleanest skier and they rewarded me. Unbelievable.”
“Kingsbury and I have had some really good duals in the past,” Wilson said. “He’s won the majority of them and every time he’s just able to throw down his best run when he’s with me. It’s frustrating, you know, I need him to make just a little bit of a mistake, but of course I couldn’t expect it. He’s just an incredible an skier and an incredible dude.”
Hands down, the most mind-blowing performance of the evening came during Japan’s Daichi Hara’s semi finals run against Wilson. Hara lost control as he approached the red course’s second jump causing him to send his trick much higher than is considered typical. Hara then pulled off an astounding double back flip, presumably to dump some of his speed, and then crashed on at the bottom of the course. Despite the spectacular crash, Hara was apparently unhurt and went on to win the bronze final round against Sweden’s Walter Wallberg.
While Saturday night’s competition drew some of the largest crowds of the 2019 FIS World Championships to date, dual moguls still has not been added to the Olympic program by the International Olympic Committee. “I think duals should definitely be an Olympic event,” Wilson said. “You could use the same athletes, it wouldn’t cost anything to house those athletes. You can use the same venue, it would be very easy to throw out there. And it’s an incredible spectator sport. It’s what people want to watch and we want to ski it.”
Perrine Laffont (FRA)
Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo. USA)
Tess Johnson (Vail, Colo. USA)
Mikaёl Kingsbury (CAN)
Brad Wilson (Butte, Mont. USA)
Daichi Hara (JPN)
About the 2019 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle & Freeski World Championships
More than 1,400 athletes from 40 nations are competing in 28 World Championship medal events from February 1-10. Solitude Mountain Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon hosted snowboardcross and skicross. Park City Mountain in Park City is the site of parallel events, halfpipe, slopestyle and big air. Deer Valley Resort is the site for moguls and aerials.