Kingsbury wins another moguls gold in Calgary

Fading light, plummeting temperatures and a treacherous mid-course pitch didn’t stop moguls skier Mikael Kingsbury from winning in Calgary yet again.

Canada's Mikael Kingsbury (left) and Simon Pouliot-Cavanagh congratulate each other at the finish line

The Olympic silver medallist from Deux-Montagnes, Que., extended his World Cup win streak at Canada Olympic Park to five in a row Saturday.

Kingsbury’s 22nd career victory puts him back in contention to win a fourth overall World Cup title.

At just 22 years of age, Kingsbury is the most decorated men’s World Cup freestyle skier in Canadian history.

Kingsbury passed Canadian aerialists Lloyd Langlois and Alain Laroche with Saturday’s victory. He bettered moguls skier Jean-Luc Brassard’s record of 20 last season.

Kingsbury finished ninth in a dual moguls race in Finland last month to start the season. He recovered his form and confidence in Calgary where he first won in 2011.

“I know when I’m on it I can win every day,” Kingsbury said. “I just need to continue to ski well and continue to have fun. I know I’m going to be OK for the season.

“I’m extremely happy to start well again the season of 2015 and prove that I’m consistent on that course.”

His teammate Simon-Pouliot Cavanagh of Quebec City took silver for the best result of his career. Sho Endo of Japan was third and took the overall World Cup leader’s yellow bib from Canadian Phil Marquis, who didn’t qualify for the final.

Kingsbury trails Endo by 11 points in the overall standings.

Reigning women’s world champion Hannah Kearney of the U.S., claimed gold in women’s moguls. Montreal sisters Chloe and Justine Dufour-Lapointe took silver and bronze respectively.

The same women finished on the podium at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, this year, but in a different order. Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe claimed gold and silver respectively with Kearney taking bronze in February.

The 28-year-old Kearney, who beat Canada’s Jennifer Heil for Olympic gold in 2010, is expected to make the 2014-15 season her competitive swan song.

“I haven’t made it an official announcement where it turned into some weird farewell tour with the whole emphasis on my past and things I’d done before,” Kearney explained. “I’m still here to compete, but there’s a 99 per cent chance I’ll be retiring at the end of the season.

“My body felt really good at the end of last year and to be honest, the way the Olympics went it was hard to just hang it up after that. I still felt like I had something to prove. I know I don’t, but bottom line is I still enjoy doing it.”

Kearney and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe were tied atop the women’s overall standings 55 points ahead of Justine, whose run of gold in Calgary ended after victories the last two years.

“My point of view is it’s my first podium of the year,” the 20-year-old said. “It’s in my hometown, in Canada, so yes, I am happy.

“After the Olympic Games, you really understand that all of Canada supports you and that’s why I’m so grateful to compete here and say it feels like my hometown.”

Fresh snow overnight Friday provided material for well-defined moguls, but thickening cloud reduced visibility for Saturday’s afternoon’s finals. The skiers expended energy keeping their legs warm between runs as the temperature dipped below minus-20.

“The weather was cold today so this was a big challenge,” Chloe Dufour-Lapointe said. “We had a lot of runs and a lot of time where we had to stay warm.”

A steep drop between the first and second jumps toppled a few skiers and caused others to make mistakes. Kingsbury had a small slip in both runs prior to the six-man super-final, but made the correction in his final pass down the mountain.

“It’s pretty cold here and when you wait on top of the course, my legs weren’t as warm as in training,” he said. “It’s pretty quick between final and super-final and I knew where I made my mistake on an outside mogul.

“When it arrived, I knew where to put my feet and I didn’t make the mistake again.”

Andi Naude of Penticton, B.C., finished fifth, Audrey Robichaud of Quebec City was seventh and the oldest Dufour-Lapointe sister Maxime placed eighth among the women.

Moguls judging and scoring changed this season. Skiers are now scored out of a maximum of 100 instead of 30. Turns make up 60 per cent of the score, 20 is for jumps and another 20 for speed instead of the previous 50-25-25.

Kingsbury posted the top super-final score of 85.78 ahead of Pouliot-Cavanagh’s 82.92. Kearney’s winning total of 83.76 was actually lower than her qualification mark in the morning of 84.73.

“I’m really pleased with my skiing, but it’s unusual when you’re qualifying score is higher than your super-final score,” the American said. “That means I’ve got some good runs in me.”

The moguls team heads to Deer Valley, Utah, for moguls and dual moguls World Cups on Friday and Saturday respectively. The world freestyle and snowboard championships are Jan. 15-25 in Kreischberg, Austria.