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Countdown to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games

2021 Freestyle World Championships Team Announced

By Lara Carlton
February, 17 2021
Hannah Soar, Kai Owens, Tess Johnson
Kai Owens (first), Hannah Soar (second) and Tess Johnson (third) celebrate the first-ever American sweep of a dual moguls World Cup competition Feb. 5 at the 2021 Intermountain Healthcare Freestyle International at Deer Valley Resort. All three are set to compete in World Championships in Kazakhstan in March. (Steven Earl - U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

U.S. Ski & Snowboard has named 16 athletes to represent the United States at the 2021 FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships in Kazakhstan March 8-11. 

The 2021 iteration of Freestyle World Championships was originally scheduled to take place in Zhangjiakou, China, as well as serve as test events for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. However, due to COVID-19 health and safety measures implemented by the Chinese health authorities and government, those events were cancelled. The Kazakhstan Ski Association is putting in an enormous amount of effort to host this major event on short notice. All stakeholders involved feel confident that as experienced World Cup organizers, they will hold a successful World Championships. 

“Losing the 2020-21 Freestyle World Championship and Olympic test events in China this season was a blow, but we are grateful for FIS and the Kazakhstan Ski Association’s willingness to relocate and still provide the competition opportunity,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard Freestyle Director Jeremy Forster. “This season has been like none other and I am incredibly impressed not only at the resilience our athletes have shown, but the success they have achieved on the World Cup level.” 

Shymbulak Mountain Resort will host both aerials and moguls competitions. The resort is one of the most modern resorts in Central Asia and has a rich history of hosting sporting events. Shymbulak played host to the 2017 Winter Universiade and has hosted Freestyle World Cup competition in 2020 and 2019. Immediately following World Championships, Kazakhstan is also scheduled to host aerials and dual moguls FIS World Cup Finals.

The U.S. Freestyle World Championships Team boasts an impressive roster of World Championships medalists as well as up-and-coming talent. 

For moguls, double World Championships medalists Jaelin Kauf and Brad Wilson, as well as youngest American Freestyle World Championships medalist Tess Johnson will lead their team of eight. Hannah Soar, Kai Owens and Nick Page, all who have podiumed in World Cup events this season, will make their World Championships debut. Dylan Walczyk will make his fourth World Champs appearance. Jesse Andringa earned his first World Championships team spot, but unfortunately due to an injury sustained at the 2021 Intermountain Healthcare Freestyle International, is unable to compete. Alex Lewis will round out the men in his first World Championships appearance.

2017 Aerials World Champion and World Record Holder for hardest acrobatic trick ever landed by a woman Ashley Caldwell will make her fifth World Championships appearance. Caldwell leads a deep field of women, who have collectively been on a podium streak in 2021, in Kaila Kuhn, Megan Nick (2021 marks her first World Championships team) and Winter Vinecki. Veterans Chris Lillis and Eric Loughran will chase World Championships hardware for the second time in their careers. Justin Schoenefeld and Quinn Dehlinger will make their World Championships debut. 

2021 U.S. FREESTYLE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS TEAM
(Name; hometown; club; birthdate; past World Championships Teams)

Moguls
Women

  • Tess Johnson (Edwards, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 6/19/00; 2019)
  • Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo.; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club; 9/26/96; 2017, 2019)
  • Kai Owens (Vail, Colo.; Ski and Snowboard Club Vail; 8/16/04)*
  • Hannah Soar (Somers, Conn.; Killington Mountain School; 6/4/99)*

Men

  • Jesse Andringa (Boulder, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 12/15/97)** 
  • Alex Lewis (Carlisle, Mass.; Killington Mountain School; 11/16/99)*
  • Nick Page (Park City, Utah; Wasatch Freestyle Foundation; 8/1/02)*
  • Dylan Walczyk (Rochester, N.Y.; Ski and Snowboard Club Vail; 6/25/93;2013,2017,2019)
  • Brad Wilson (Butte, Mont.; Wasatch Freestyle; 6/5/92; 2013, 2017, 2019)

Aerials
Men

  • Chris Lillis (Pittsford, N.Y.; Bristol Mountain Freestyle Team; 10/4/98; 2019)
  • Justin Schoenefeld (Lawrenceburg, Ind.; Elite Aerial Development Program; 8/13/98)*
  • Eric Loughran (Pelham, N.H.; Loon Mountain Freestyle; 12/4/95; 2017, 2019)
  • Quinn Dellinger (Cincinnati, Ohio; Elite Aerial Development Program; 6/8/02)*

 Women

  • Ashley Caldwell (Ashburn, Va.; Elite Aerial Development Program; 9/14/93; 2011, 2015, 2017, 2019)
  • Kaila Kuhn (Boyne City, Mich.; Park City Ski and Snowboard; 4/8/03; 2019)
  • Megan Nick (Shelburne, Vt,; Elite Aerial Development Program; 7/9/96)*
  • Winter Vinecki (Gaylord, Mich.; Park City Ski and Snowboard; 12/18/98; 2019)

*Denotes first World Championships team
**Sidelined with injury, but met team criteria

COMPETITION SCHEDULE
2021 FIS Freestyle Ski World Championships
Shymbulak, Kazakhstan

Monday, March 8
Moguls

Tuesday, March 9
Dual Moguls

Wednesday, March 10
Aerials

Thursday, March 11
Mixed Team Aerials