The Canadian men proved their world mogul domination under the lights here tonight on the on the 2002 Olympic course with Mikael Kingsbury and Alex Bilodeau taking gold and silver and sharing the podium for the third time this season.
The win was Kingsbury’s fourth of the year and his 19th straight World Cup medal. He scored 25.78, just narrowly edging Bilodeau’s 25.60. Patrick Deneen of the US finished in third position with a score of 25.07.
“I’m very excited, to do a podium here and win, it’s the best feeling. It’s the best course in the world and I always look forward to this stop on the tour more than any other place. The course and the crowd and everything is just perfect here, so I’m just excited I won here again,” said the 20-year old who won last year’s Deer Valley mogul world cup and who leads the men’s tour standings.
The Deux-Montagnes, Que. native said the healthy competition he shares with teammate and Olympic Champion Bilodeau only makes him ski better. “Alex pushed me all day with his skiing, he was skiing super well and it was a good battle today. I know he wants to win and I want to win so we push each other to the max. It’s going to be interesting for duals,” he said, referring to Saturday’s dual mogul World Cup on the same course.
Rosemere, Que.’s Bilodeau, who has struggled with some inconsistency so far this season, was also thrilled with his performance tonight.
“For me it’s the first time this season that I showed my best skiing. I made a small mistake in the middle section, but other than that I’m really happy. I skied really well, Mik skied really well. I struggled in training with my top air [a double twisting back flip] but I stomped it in the final and super final, and my bottom air I’ve been working on for so long and it’s finally getting really consistent,” said Rosemere, Que.’s Bilodeau who performs a ‘cork 720’ on his bottom jump, a trick that is difficult to come into from high speed.
Bilodeau agreed that the Deer Valley course, complete with 2,000 screaming fans at the bottom, is his favorite on the tour, but he quickly added, “maybe after Cypress,” referring to his 2010 Olympic victory.
Phil Marquis from Quebec City finished fifth in the six-man super final with a score of 21.97 after just barely squeaking in to the 16-man finals in last position. “From 16th to top six is a huge achievement and I’m so happy that Phil was able to do that,” said Kingsbury of his teammate.
Simon Pouliot-Cavanagh of Quebec City and Marc-Antoine Gagnon of Terrebonne, Que. also made it to the finals finishing in 9th and 12th position respectively.
Cedric Rochon of St. Sauveur, Que. and PO Gagné of Montreal, Que. finished in 21st and 22nd position in the qualification round.
On the women’s side, three Canadians moved made it past qualifications, but none were able to advance to super finals. Audrey Robichaud, who suffered a concussion in a training fall last week in Calgary, finished in seventh with a score of 22.99 despite the fact that she wasn’t able to train on the course this week because of her injury. It was an impressive finish, and the best of the season so far for the Quebec City native who earned two World Cup podiums, including a win, last season.
“I wasn’t even supposed to ski today, but my head felt good and the doctor gave me the okay so I’m super pumped. Actually, I can’t believe what I did here today when I didn’t even ski a top-to-bottom on the course all week, I’m really excited,” said the 2006 Olympian.
It was an American sweep for the podium with Olympic Champion Hannah Kearney first at 25.54; Heather McPhie second at 23.85 and Eliz Outtrim in bronze position at 23.47.
Montreal’s Justine Dufour-Lapointe, who won last week’s competition in Calgary, landed in eighth at 22.95; she hangs on to the yellow bib as the women’s tour leader. Rookie Andi Naude of Penticton, B.C. was 12th at 21.69.
Chloé Dufour-Lapointe was 17th in the qualification round and her sister Maxime was 20th. Chelsea Henitiuk of Spruce Grove, Alta. was 22nd.
World Cup action continues all weekend with an aerials event here tomorrow. On Saturday it’s dual moguls in Deer Valley and halfpipe in Park City.