30th anniversary for Lake Placid as Freestyle World Cup gets back to business with MO

28 January 2015 20:37
Action from last season's Lake Placid MO World Cup
Action from last season's Lake Placid MO World Cup -

LAKE PLACID, USA – With a hugely successful Kreischberg 2015 World Championships in the rearview mirror it's time to get back to FIS Freestyle World Cup action, beginning with the classic Lake Placid moguls and aerials World Cup weekend.

This season marks 30 years since Lake Placid's Whiteface Mountain hosted its first FIS Freestyle event, and the resort has continued to welcome World Cup freestyle skiing back to its slopes in all but two seasons since that first visit, making it the longest-serving venue on the tour.

Moguls competition will get things started on Thursday, with the host US squad lead by Hannah Kearney looking to fare a little better than they did Kreischberg. While Kearney took home a silver in the single moguls and a gold in the duals to bring her career medal count to eight – the most of any Freestyle athlete, ever – the rest of the moguls squad was unable to mount the podium.

However, there are several positives for the US team heading into Lake Placid. Sho Kashima took fourth in the men's dual moguls at Kreischberg, and had a real shot at a medal before crashing out in his small final dual with Marc-Antoine Gagnon (CAN). KC Oakley sits fourth on the ladies' leaderboard, and claimed her first career victory on home soil in Deer Valley just a few weeks ago. And, in the US Freestyle development ranks, 17-year-old Morgan Schild sits second in the ladies' Nor-Am ranks after taking back-to-back wins at Apex Mountain, Canada.

Kashima's crash in his small final dual not only lost him a medal, it also played a huge part in what ended up being a historic Canadian sweep of the men's podium, with Gagnon taking bronze while his teammates Mikeal Kingsbury and Philippe Marquis took gold and silver, respectively.

That sweep – only the second ever in any event at the Freestyle World Ski Championships – capped off two days for the Canadians that saw their team take six of 12 possible moguls medals, with both Kingsbury and Justine Dufour-Lapointe leading the way with a gold and a silver each.

Perhaps not coincidentally, those two skiers also lead the respective men's and ladies World Cup standings as we near the midway point of the season.

Other notables heading into Lake Placid include the Australian tandem of Britteny Cox and Matt Graham. Cox claimed bronze in the Kreischberg single moguls competition (the first ladies' moguls medal for the Aussies in 14 years), while Graham sits in fourth on the moguls World Cup leaderboard after coming off a second-place performance at the Deer Valley event held just before the World Championships break.

Things in Lake Placid get going on Thursday with ladies' moguls qualifications at 09:50EST, followed by men's qualies at 11:35 and ladies' and men's finals from 13:30.