EMERGING Australian aerial skier Laura Peel has captured the first podium finish of her career, finishing a surprise third in the opening round of the World Cup aerial competition.
The 22-year-old was as surprised as anybody when she secured the third placing behind Ukrainian winner Olga Volkova and American Emily Cook.
Peel was delighted by her performance in the new competition format which is based on a qualifying round, a first final from the top 12 qualifiers, with the top four then going into a super final to determine podium places.
The Canberra skier fought back from eighth place in qualifying to win the first final with the most difficult jump in her repertoire, a double twisting double somersault, and advanced to the super final.
With the new rules not allowing her to use the same jump again, Peel opted for her simpler routine in the super final which opened the way for the Ukrainian and the American to finish higher in the medal round.
“It was awesome to finish third but I wasn’t really expecting it,” Peel admitted.
“I never expected a podium at all this season.
“I still need to increase the level of difficulty to go further but it was an awesome result.”
Peel now travels with the rest of Australia’s aerial team to Lake Placid in the United States to compete in the season’s second round next weekend.
In other World Cup results over the weekend, Katya Crema achieved a career best World Cup result by finishing seventh in the ski cross event in Les Contamines, France.