Jakara Anthony On Fire

Emma 22.03.2024

If you’re a holiday skier you’d be forgiven for despising moguls with a passion. Pesky bumps all over a perfectly decent snow run. They get between you and a pleasant route down to the chairlift for a few laps or to warming fireside for a relaxing gluhwein  – or two.

Whoever thought to deliberately line those bumps up in an orderly fashion, throw in a high wall of snow and mandate an air flip before more bumps has truly got an ax to grind. Then athletes started excelling on this thing they called ‘Freestyle Moguls’. Then along comes Jakara Anthony who blows everyone out of the water.  

“To be the best in the world without a doubt, takes talent but it’s a combination of intangibles that make you a 1%er. Desire to win, determination, organisation and work ethic. This is Jakara Anthony

 (Peter Toplavic, NSW Institute of Sports, Winter Sports Program Manager and Former Head Coach of Moguls).

This season Jakara earned the overall Freestyle Crystal Globe, as well as the Single Mogul Crystal Globe, which signifies her ranking as the number one athlete in those disciplines for the season.

Freestyle Moguls, or ‘Moguls’ is a timed event performed on a variety of downhill tracks where conditions can vary from slushy, icy, steep or rough. No two moguls courses are the same and every landing is slightly different. Adaptability is the name of the game and adaptability is something Jakara has perfected, along with her team of coaches who double as her psychologists, nutritionists and mentors. 

“Attention to detail. Jakara will keep working on the same thing over and over again until she gets it right”  Peter Topalavic

What goes on inside the mind of a 25 year old snow athlete from Barwon Heads, Victoria to push through challenging conditions, grueling travel and event preparation? “The mental side of competing is the most challenging for me” says Jakara, “it’s the part I find the toughest. There’s always pressure and fear of failure in racing so getting on top of the mental gymnastics is what can take an athlete to the next level. It’s much easier to put in the physical work (than the mental) because there’s an outcome. 

Jakara’s graciousness to give credit to her coaches and support team is incredible, given Jakara took out 14 victories over the Northern Hemisphere World Cup season from 16 starts. Peter McNeil actually remarked to other coaches that Jakara’s dual moguls are so good she would have made the final in men’s moguls too.  

“My technique is to turn everything into a strength and a lesson. My coach, Peter McNeil gives me technical tips, pointing out different things and makes suggestions on different skills. I’ve really developed a long way as an athlete with Pete and the team”.

“Jakara’s ability to strand in a ski boot was better than any athlete we’d seen”  

Peter Topalavic, talking about he & and Peter McNeil. 

The World Cup is a 4 month travelling circuit that concluded March 2024 with final races held in Italy and Jakara achieved victories at every location. An unbeatable, incredible season, surpassing the previous record holder, Hannah Carey from the USA with 11 wins. 

Most events run two events, the Single moguls event (a race against the clock solo) and the Dual (race against the clock next to another athlete). Athletes need a certain amount of tenacity to hop from country to country in a 4 month period. Crossing time zones, travel and competition days it sounds a little like a Contiki tour minus the dancing, they compete in Finland, Sweden, France, Georgia, Quebec Canada, USA (Utah and East Coast) , Kazakhstan and finish in Italy.  

On the podium Jakara hugs and cheers on her competitors from other countries and explains how the athletes become close friends on account of this lifestyle they share. “

“Mogul skiing is a special community and a small community. I’ve competed against some of the US girls since age 12 or 14 and we’ve grown up together. We spent  4 months on the road together. Pushing each other is a cool thing and it’s something we constantly do”.  

Focus is a huge part of her success and doesn’t allow herself to get distracted in the duals by the athlete next to her by physical presence or whether it’s an athlete she knows well. “ Sometimes I can see the competitor in my peripheral vision or I can hear them but at comp time , I focus on me, everything else (such as conditions) is out of my control. I just do what I need to do.

Selecting For 2026 Olympics

The Olympic games are a huge focus for athletes like Jakara and she claimed the Olympic gold medal at Beijing 2022, solidifying her status as one of the top mogul skiers in the world. Her exceptional performance and technical skills earned her the highest honor in the sport.

March 2024 marks the midpoint of a 4 year Olympic cycle, qualifying events starting July 2024 with the upcoming Northern Hemisphere winter, a massive tour with Olympic points up for grabs.  There is a final opportunity to qualify Dec 2025 to 3rd week in Jan 2026 then the top 30 for these two seasons (24/25 and 25/26) automatically qualify for the Olympic games. Usually a team consists of 8 males and 8 females in a World Cup competition but Olympics will take just the top 4 males and 4 females.  The Dual mogul event will make its debut appearance at the 2026 Olympic games.

Who knows when Australia’s knees got so swivelly and bendy, but as a nation we filled that maximum quota at the last two Olympic Games when many countries couldn’t! The aim for Australia is to fill that quota for Cortina 2026 and the body of coaches will move around to make sure this can happen as they are intimately knowledgeable about what the athletes are capable of.

As she continues to push her limits and inspire others, we wish Jakara well , and perhaps a good rest with some ice on the knees until she is next called to compete. We wish her every success, we’ll be watching from the fireside with a nice gluhwein.