With a crowd of U.S. supporters cheering her on, Schild finished her run in 29.69 seconds and earned a score of 81.27 to beat out podium regular Justine Dufour-Lapointe, of Canada, and Australian Britteny Cox, the top-ranked women's mogul skier in the world. It was the second World Cup victory of Schild's career.
"Just to come out here at Deer Valley and put my run down," she said, "my old skiing run, fast and big airs, it feels amazing right now."
After nearly two years away from the sport she loves, Schild is clearly relishing her opportunities on the mountain.
She put herself back on the map — and back on the podium — last month, earning a third-place finish in Lake Placid, N.Y. Still, Schild felt she had room to improve.
"I knew that I wasn't skiing my best," she said.
On Thursday night, Schild was the last female skier to make her run. At the top, she waited as Russia's Marika Pertakhiya was being attended to after a fall at the finish.
As she waited, Schild stayed loose by cracking jokes with U.S. teammate Troy Murphy, who later finished fifth in the men's final as the world's No. 1 moguls skier, Canadian Mikael Kingsbury, reclaimed his spot atop the podium after a second-place finish here last year.
Then she pointed her skis downhill.
"I love this course," she'd say at the bottom. "I hadn't trained this in two years, so it was kind of just like muscle memory. Nerves came back. I saw the big crowd here and it's always exciting; it gets you pumped up."
Schild can still recall the exact date she tore the ligament in her knee while training for a competition in Italy — and all the pain she felt as she waited to get back up again.
"It ate me alive, honestly," she said. "I just wanted to be back with my teammates because they're family to me. The girls' team has just become so close this year that I felt left out. Those are my sisters.
"And to be reunited and to be on the top [of the podium] is insane."