MOSCOW, Russia – The U.S. Freestyle Ski Team moguls athletes will close out the 2015-16 season this weekend with a dual moguls city event in Moscow.
This is the first-ever moguls event to be held on scaffolding, set up just outside Moscow’s city center. The same venue was used for an aerials World Cup back in February. The top 24 athletes in the current World Cup standings will compete, with 10 U.S. athletes looking to improve their standing before season’s end.
The U.S. team is coming off a strong weekend in Tazawako, Japan, with podiums from Brad Wilson of Butte and Tom Rowley of Long Beach, New York, and two top 10 finishes for Mikaela Matthews of Frisco, Colorado.
Rowley is currently leading the U.S. men in the World Cup standings in 10th and Matthews is leading the women in fifth. Wilson has competed just once this season, coming back from injury last week to win the Japan World Cup moguls event.
While the World Cup aerialists have become familiar with competing on scaffolding at events in Beijing and Moscow, the set up is new territory for the mogul skiers. Matthews found the new atmosphere a bit intimidating at first, but began to feel more comfortable throughout training on Thursday.
“The scaffolding structure is visually intimidating, but once I put my skis on and step into the start gate, it feels surprisingly normal,” said Matthews. “There are certainly some features in the course that stand out compared to a “normal” course – the top air is quick, the bottom jump transition is really long, and the whole course is very short. But the course skis really well and it turned into a fun and productive day of training. I am excited to see how big the crowd will be cheering for us on Saturday.”
The dual moguls competition begins at 6:50 a.m. MST with women’s and men’s qualification rounds. Finals will begin at 9 a.m. MST. Live scoring is available via FIS Freestyle.
Team USA’s other entrants in the men’s event with Rowley and Wilson are Jeremy Cota of Carrabassett Valley, Maine; Joe Discoe of Telluride, Colorado; and Dylan Walczyk of Rochester, New York. Bryon Wilson of Butte didn’t accumulate enough points to advance to the Moscow meet. Injuries stalled his season.
Matthews’ teammates on the U.S. women’s contingent are Nessa Dziemian of East Hempstead, New Hampshire; Ali Kariotis of Tiburon, California; Jaelin Kauf of Steamboat Springs, Colorado; and Keaton McCargo of Telluride.