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  • Tess Johnson

Ruka & Thaiwoo World Cups

Wow that was a crazy month. I'm so happy to be home after a long month on the road competing in Ruka, Finland and Thaiwoo, China for the first three World Cups of the 18-19 season! Overall, the trip was a success with some of my best results to date.

In Ruka, I got my first singles podium in the form of a first place! It was one of the most fun days competing I have ever had. I wasn't concerned with the results once throughout the day, and I don't think I stopped smiling. I remember thinking a lot about Bindu, my teacher that recently passed away, and I felt like I was skiing for him. It was almost as if I was skiing with him. I also got to ski in super finals with my teammate Jaelin Kauf, who I am extremely close with. I remember riding up the chair together for super finals and telling her how we gotta go all out for 1 & 2. It really didn't matter who ended up on top, I just wanted to stand on the podium with her. She ended up skiing to a 5th place, but we both left everything we had on the course. Skiing with her that night was just so much fun, and after my 3rd place run, the first thing I did was hug Jaelin. She might have been even happier than me that I got a podium!

Our women's team is so strong right now. I'm honored to be apart of such a spectacular group of girls, and our camaraderie is unbeatable. I think our friendship is what's encouraging our good results, which is really special. At the bottom of the course, we cheer our lungs out for each other (the men's team too), and I can say with utter sincerity that I want them to do just as good or better than me. We push each other to be the best we can be, and because of this I can feel a USA podium sweep coming soon. Although we are still a young team, we are growing stronger everyday, learning from ourselves and each other.

In China, my results were not quite as outstanding. I unfortunately got very sick from the food, so I didn't feel like myself the whole week. I, however, persevered and did the best I could. On singles day, it wasn't enough, and I finished just outside finals in 19th. I was pretty disappointed in myself despite the circumstances, but after about 20 minutes I moved on and cheered on Jaelin who won both singles and duals day! Duals went much better for me, I felt physically healthier and was ready to get redemption. In the round of 8, I went against Olympic Champion and World #1 Perrine Laffont, and crashed badly off top air. I am so grateful to walk away injury free (save for a few scratches on my face), but simultaneously disappointed again because I know I can beat Perrine. It'll just have to wait until next time.

In the meantime, I'm home for the holidays getting some much needed rest and recovery. It feels great to be home with my family, skiing powder on Vail Mountain. The World Cup tour resumes in early January in Calgary, Canada (one of my favorite courses) and I'm looking ahead to 2019! I'm currently ranked 5th apart of the 1st ranked team in the world, and I can't wait to see what the rest of the season has in store.

Happy Holidays!



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