PARK CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The FIS Freestyle World Cup competition flies back into Deer Valley this week, and these moguls and aerial skiers couldn’t be happier.
“Deer Valley is by far the best event we have every year on the World Cup circuit,” said 2-time Olympic aerialist Ashley Caldwell. “I love coming here. Not only do we have the best training site, but we have the best atmosphere. And that atmosphere is what we call home field advantage.”
“Deer Valley is by far, like if you were going to envision the perfect mogul course, this would be it,” said Olympic hopeful moguls skier Troy Murphy. “It’s steep, big jumps, under the lights, and the crowd is just like a sea of people. So, it’s pretty amazing and we’re really lucky to be here.”
This is the 20th year Deer Valley has hosted a World Cup event, and with the Winter Games just one month away, Olympic bids are on the line. But these athletes are ready for that kind of pressure.
“There is more anxiety, more pressure this year,” Caldwell said. “But I also do triple backflips for a living, so I should be used to the anxiety and the pressure.”
The United States has won two Olympic gold medals in aerials, and three in moguls. USA’s best chance at Olympic gold in moguls next month in South Korea is 21-year old Jaelin Kauf from Wyoming, who recently just won her first World Cup title.
“My confidence has just boosted,” Kauf said. “I know I’m capable of putting down that run to win it. So, coming into Deer Valley, I just have to have that mentality that if you ski your run, if you put down that same run, you can win it or be on the podium again.”
The moguls races are slated for Wednesday and Thursday, with the aerial competition slated for Friday night.