Countdown To The Olympics With Jaelin Kauf
Q: What does the upcoming season look like building up to the Olympics in Beijing, China?
A: From our first World Cup on the first weekend of December up until the kickoff of the Olympic games we are going to be very busy between training and competitions. We have three different stops on the World Cup before Christmas for a total of five events and then we have four more days of competitions in January before the Olympics.
Q: In the simplest terms how do you qualify for the Olympics?
A: Based on all the World Cups, excluding dual mogul events, leading up to the Olympics they take your top two results. So obviously two wins is a guarantee. If you want to dive in more it gets a little confusing and complicated.
Q: How many frequent flyer miles are you going to racking up?
A: Hopefully a lot. I need quite a few to hit the gold membership for the season. It being still a pandemic they’ve tried to condense stops as much as possible to limit our travel. We travel to Finland on the 6th of November, and we are in Finland through the first week of December until we go to Sweden the second week of December. Then we go to France for a week. Then home for Christmas.
Q: How do you deal with over a month of being in Northern Finland and the very limited sunlight?
A: Definitely packing lots of games to occupy my time because that darkness will get to you. Lots of cribbage. Probably Settlers of Catan, maybe some spike ball. It would be sweet to get some mini ping pong going.
Q: Your Women’s Team is pretty loaded this year, correct?
A: We have six girls on the team who have World Cup podiums, and obviously have the ability to get more podiums, and win a world cup. So, it’s going to be very competitive for the four Olympic spots.
Q: Rewinding to the end of last season what has the last six months looked like in preparation for another Olympic run?
A: A lot of training. A lot of water ramping. A lot of strength workouts. Mostly just back and forth between Mt. Hood and training here in Park City. That was all jump-focused. Working on jumps on the water ramps and bringing them to snow at Mt. Hood. And we just finished up a two weeklong camp in Zermatt, Switzerland where we were able to get on a full course and start to put it all together.
Q: What are those jumps that you were working on over the summer?
A: I’ve been working on a back mute (backflip with a mute grab) and a cork seven (off-axis seven twenty). So, my goal for the season is to compete a back mute on the top air and the cork on the bottom air. The cork seven would be the new trick that I bring in.
Q: Let’s rewind to your first Olympics in 2018. How has that experience prepared you for this go-around?
A: Everything going into the last Olympics was new. My first Olympic qualification process, first Olympic experience, and all that. So going into this Olympics I definitely have an advantage there. I know what the whole process entails, what it feels like, what the first event feels like. What standing in the starting gate at the Olympics feels like.
Q: What is it like standing in the Olympic starting gate?
A: It’s pretty sweet, obviously. Knowing that everyone is watching. Everyone at home, everyone who has any interest in freestyle skiing is tuned in and watching you at that moment. It’s cool to know that you have that support system whether through the TV or in person. This year obviously will be through the TV, unfortunately. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime, hopefully twice or three times, opportunity. This is it. The Olympics is only every four years and it’s never guaranteed.
Q: In addition to the Olympics there are some other things up for grabs including two World Championships. What are some of your goals in addition to the Olympics?
A: My big goal is to be the best in the world. I want to take home that overall globe. Both the dual and single mogul ones at this point.
Q: How much Ice Cream have you been eating in preparation for this season? How many cartons does a professional athlete eat in a week?
A: One or two maybe.
Q: When will you be visiting us here at Targhee this year?
A: I’ll be there a few days at Christmas. Hopefully at the end of the season in the spring as well. We fly home from France on December 19th and are off again on the 27th so we have a short little window, but if we could get some powder days for Christmas that would be great.