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Snow stars Scott and Baff shine in Europe

Australian aerials skier Danielle Scott and snowboard cross rider Josie Baff have struck World Cup gold at the start of the European winter sport season.

December 5, 2022
By Ian Chadband
5 December 2022

Veteran Danielle Scott and teenager Josie Baff have continued Australian winter sport athletes’ spectacular start to the European season by striking World Cup gold.

Sydneysider Scott, the experienced 32-year-old three-time Olympic freestyle skier, won the season-opening aerials event in Ruka, Finland, for the fourth World Cup final triumph of her career on Sunday.

Meanwhile, in the French resort of Les Deux Alpes, Baff, the 19-year-old Jindabyne prospect raced to her first global victory in the snowboard cross, outpacing her opponents in the four-racer final for the breakthrough triumph.

Their victories followed Olympic champion Jakara Anthony’s season-opening moguls victory on Saturday at the same Finnish venue where former world silver medallist Scott was to earn a convincing victory 24 hours later.

Scott’s 99.05-point run put her in a class of her own, well clear of Canada’s silver medallist Marion Chenault (90.59) and Kazakhstan’s bronze winner Zhanbota Aldabergenova (80.04).

Laura Peel, the 2020 and 2021 overall World Cup aerials champion who’s so often outshone her compatriot Scott, had been heavily fancied to take the Ruka crown but had a bad day, finishing 11th with a score of 70.11.  

“I can’t stop smiling. It’s been a really good day, making it through each round as number one,” said Scott, who also began last season with a victory at the same venue.

In France, Baff was left almost speechless after taking her first World Cup victory in just her eighth race, and she had to fight off the challenge of 16-year-old French phenomenon Lea Casta before asserting herself at the end of the race for the maiden win.

The event had been put back a day because of heavy wind and snowfall but Baff took the tough conditions in her stride.

“I’m very overwhelmed right now, I still can’t believe it’s happened,” said the ever-improving 2020 Youth Olympic champion, who didn’t even make the quarter-finals at the Winter Games in Beijing earlier this year.

After a late surge, Baff ultimately took a comfortable victory from her French pursuers, silver medallist Chloe Trespeuch and Casta, who, remarkably, took bronze in her first-ever World Cup race.

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