By Blythe Lawrence | Jan. 18, 2020, 9:44 a.m. (ET)

Caroline Claire competes at the FIS Freeski World Championships on Feb. 2, 2019 in Park City, Utah. 

 

Two weeks shy of her 20th birthday, slopestyle skier Caroline Claire has reason to celebrate: the 2018 Olympian took her first world cup podium finish of the season in ski slopestyle on Saturday in Seiser Alm, Italy, and it was a win. 

Claire, who hails from Edina, Minnesota, and is a product of Vermont’s prestigious Stratton Mountain School, finished third in Saturday’s qualification round in the Dolomites, but was able to tap into her best in the final, where she scored 86.13 points for the victory. 

The result put her nearly five points above second-place Johanne Killi of Norway, who scored 81.30, while Canada’s Elena Gaskill took third place with 79.68. Team USA’s Marin Hamill finished 10th.

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Claire has tasted success in Seiser Alm before: her only other world cup came at the same event in Seiser Alm in 2018, where the then-18-year-old made a splash with her slopestyle win.

In the men’s event, Colby Stevenson finished in third place, his first world cup podium appearance since March of 2019, when he finished second in slopestyle at the world cup in Silvaplana, Switzerland. On Saturday in Seiser Alm, Stevenson came in as the top qualifier but ended third behind Norway’s Birk Ruud and Switzerland’s Fabian Boesch after recording a score of 88.08 points. Ruud won with a score of 92.91, while Boesch recorded 89.78.

Stevenson’s success is made all the more startling by the fact that he overcame a nearly fatal car accident in 2016 when driving from Oregon to Utah. Stevenson fell asleep at the wheel and lost control of his vehicle, which rolled several times. Stevenson fractured his neck and skull, but escaped without the traumatic brain injury commonly associated with such accidents. He was able to return to skiing the next winter.

Blythe Lawrence is a journalist based in Seattle. She has covered two Olympic Games and is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.