In frigid temperatures on one of the world’s longest and steepest mogul courses, the Canadian Freestyle Ski Team proved its fortitude by winning four medals at the FIS World Championships single mogul event here today.
In the women’s event Jenn Heil (Spruce Grove, Alta) added the title of World Champion in single moguls to her impressive résumé with a score of 24.35. The USA’s Hannah Kearney was second at 24.31 and Summerland’s Kristi Richards took the bronze medal at 23.71.
Heil, who announced last week that this will be her last competitive season, said, “I just tried to focus on coming out here and skiing, I love to ski and knowing it was one of my last runs this year I just tried to ski with all my heart, that’s what I really tried to focus on all day. Hearing Hannah’s (Kearney’s) score just before I went really motivated me to push it more and again, just to ski with all my heart.”
Heil’s win makes her the first mogul skier to win the ‘grand slam’ of freestyle titles, including: Olympic Champion; World Champion Single Moguls; World Champion Dual Moguls; World Cup Mogul Champion; World Cup Overall Freestyle Champion; and, FIS Rookie of the Year.
Richards said her accomplishment today in bitter -20 degree temperatures, fulfilled a dream, “My goal was to stand on the podium at Worlds, so here I am, mission accomplished, I can go home happy.” She added that she’s looking forward to Saturday evening’s Dual Moguls event, “I’m excited for duals, and I’m ready to open it up and go a little faster and take the technicalities out of the equation.”
Audrey Robichaud (Quebec City) finished finals in 10th position at 20.34. Chloé Dufour-Lapointe fell in her qualification run and ended the day in 22nd spot.
On the men’s side, a small error on his second jump put Olympic Champion Alex Bilodeau into silver position at 25.66, with Guilbaut Colas of France leading at 26.26. Eighteen-year-old Mikaël Kingsbury (Deux-Montagnes, Que.) won bronze at 25.57.
Bilodeau, who hails from Montreal, Que., said, “I wanted to have nice speed control for my top air and have it clean and then open the machine a little in the middle section… on my bottom air unfortunately I did a little mistake because my skis bounced together instead of crossing and that cost me.” Nevertheless, he was thrilled to be on the podium with the current leaders in the World Cup standings.
For his part, Kingsbury was over the moon, “I’m so happy, I can’t believe I can be on the podium. Being third in World Championships, it’s unbelievable. I have dreamed of this since I was like 12 years old, so it’s pretty big. Next World Championships, the goal will be to win it.”
Two other Canadian men also made finals, crowning an incredible day for the Canadian Freestyle program. Cédric Rochon (Saint-Sauveur, Que.) finished the day in 7th at 23.72. PA Rousseau (Drummondville, Que.) who has said this will be his last World Championships event, finished in 10th spot at 23.14.
In Slopestyle qualification action here, three Canadians move on to tomorrow’s 10-women finals. Kim LaMarre from Lac Beauport, Que. qualified in 2nd position, Kaya Turski from Montreal qualified 3rd and Jessica Warll from Collingwood, Ont. qualified 7th.