Kuhn Fourth, Lillis Fifth in Ruka World Cup
The U.S. Aerials Ski Team has a strong showing at the first FIS Freestyle World Cup aerials event of the season in Ruka, Finland. Kaila Kuhn was the top American woman, finishing just off the podium in fourth place, while Olympic gold medalist Chris Lillis was the top man in fifth place.
The women’s team jumped well on a classic cold and clear evening in Finland, with all four women qualifying for finals. Both Kuhn and Winter Vinecki made it to the super finals, and Kuhn put down a strong jump to just miss the podium by less than 2 points. Winter Vinecki had a little trouble on her landing which bumped her down to sixth place. Olympic bronze medalist Megan Nick was seventh and Dani Loeb was 12th.
On the men’s side, Olympic champions Justin Schoenefeld and Lillis qualified for finals with Lillis moving to super finals. Lillis pushed the degree of difficulty throughout the night, but couldn’t quite find the podium to finish in fifth. Schoenefeld was eighth. In his first World Cup, 18-year-old Ian Schoenwald just missed qualifying for finals, finishing in 13th place. Connor Curran, Quinn Dehlinger and Derek Krueger also competed and did not qualify for finals.
Next, the aerials team heads back to the states for training and doesn’t compete again till the end of January. The moguls team heads over to Idre Fjall, Sweden on Monday for a moguls and dual moguls competition. The team has had success at the venue, including four podiums in 2021.