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Giaccio, Kauf Go One-Two at Deer Valley

By Leann Bentley - Stifel U.S. Ski Team
February, 1 2024
Jaelin and Olivia
Olivia Giaccio and Jaelin Kauf celebrate going one-two in Deer Valley. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard - Dustin Satloff)

Giaccio First, Kauf Second at Deer Valley

On the first day of competition at the 2024 Intermountain Health Freestyle International at Deer Valley, Stifel U.S. Freestyle Ski Team athletes Olivia Giaccio and Jaelin Kauf went one-two in the moguls competition, with three of their teammates in the top six, including Hannah Soar in fourth, Alli Macuga fifth and Kasey Hogg sixth. Nick Page finished fifth. 

On a challenging weather day, that started with rain then transitioned to snow, Deer Valley Resort welcomed the best moguls skiers in the world back to the infamous Champion course, the 2002 Olympic venue, for what many call the “Super Bowl of Freestyle Skiing.” 

With qualifications kicking off in the afternoon, the top 16 athletes advanced to the finals. On the women’s side, that included nearly the entire U.S. roster, led by Giaccio, Kauf, Soar, Lemley, Macuga, Hogg and Tess Johnson. 

In the women’s final, all the women were throwing down impressive tricks despite the heavy snowfall and variable course conditions. After the first run in finals, the U.S. women made a statement going into super finals with five out of six super final positions: Giaccio, Kauf, Soar, Macuga and Hogg. 

The highlight of the evening came with the final athlete descending onto the course. With a roaring crowd, filled with friends, family and steadfast moguls fans, the atmosphere was electric, cheering on Giaccio through the bumps. On the second hit, Giaccio threw a cork 1080, and landed perfectly to win the competition. It was the first time in history a woman won a competition with that trick. It is also Giaccio’s first win since the 2021-22 season, where she took home a victory in Ruka, Finland. 

“It was just incredible. That was my first Deer Valley podium,” said Giaccio. “To do it under the lights with my friends and family, seal in with a win and to get the first (women’s) moguls win with a 1080 in the run was incredible. Something I’ve dreamed of.”

Kauf, who landed in second place, secured her 33rd career World Cup podium and celebrated with her teammate. “This is such an incredible event. It’s all of our favorite every year. We look forward to it every single year,” said Kauf. “So stoked for all of our girls to be skiing so well and so stoked for Olivia for getting that win today!”

For the men’s race, Park City local Page led the men, finishing in fifth place. It was a redemption story for the accomplished Page, who has World Cup wins under his belt but had a tough time on his local hill last season and did not make finals. This year was different, sending it into the finals and throwing a cork 1440 on his final hit to thrill the crowd and take fifth. “I’m happy, really happy,” said Page. “After a poor performance last year, I definitely wanted to come back with some vengeance this year. It really felt like everything came together. And landing that 14 in front of the home crowd was pretty cool. I could hear the cheers right when I finished and it was electric.”

In the finals, similar to the women, the U.S. men stacked it into the round of 16. Landon Wendler eighth, Charlie Mickel 10th, Cole McDonald 11th and Dylan Walczyk 13th. 

The Intermountain Health Freestyle International continues Friday with an aerials event Friday night and dual moguls Saturday.