Canadian moguls team dominates in Calgary
Calgary, CAN - On Saturday the men and ladies of the World Cup moguls tour stared down one of the toughest courses in the world (made even tougher by some icy conditions) and, for the second week in a row, it was the host Canadian team walking away with five of the possible six podium spots up for grabs at the Calgary moguls World Cup.
This meant that after last weekend's historic podium sweep by the Dufour-Lapointe sisters Justine, Chloe, and Maxime in Val Saint-Come - the first such occasion of one family claiming all three places on a Freestyle World Cup podium - the Canadian ladies were back at it again in Calgary, this time with Chloe earning the victory, Justine second, and their 20-year-old teammate Andi Naude claiming third-place and the second podium of her career.
"Today this course was really hard," Dufour-Lapointe said after her win, "We started really early this morning, so I was scared it was going to be icy. But I managed today to do my runs and be technical and smart with my technique and hold on to the yellow bib, I really enjoyed it."
Justine Dufour-Lapointe had lead for the entire day up until the super final, putting down two exception runs on her way. However, dropping just before her sister in the super final, Chloe was able to clean up any small bobbles that had lost her points in the previous two rounds and ski a run as close to perfection as the monster Calgary course allowed.
At the end, the two sisters were separated by the barest of margins, Chloe's score of 77.42 only .18 better than Justine's 77.24.
"I wasn't thinking about beating Justine today," Chloe said of the narrow victory, "I was just thinking about what I wanted to correct, what I wanted to do in the final run. My two first runs there were some little things that I needed to correct and in this last run that's what I did. My 360 was clean, I landed nicely, and in the pitch section I kept my feet together and managed to by quick. That run was my most clean of the day and I did it in super final, so I'm really happy with it."
Fully five of Saturday's six ladies' finalist were Canadian, with 17-year-old Perrine Laffont (FRA) the lone exception. With her fourth place finish, the impressive young Frenchwoman now sits fourth-overall on the season.
For the men, Kingsbury did what he does like perhaps no one else in skiing, clinically assessing the challenges of the day and systematically attacking those challenges according to his strengths.
While his time was the slowest of all the competitors in the super final, Kingsbury more than made up for any points lost there with a level of poise and control that it seems no one can match. Throw in his trick combo - a back double full on the top air bump and an off-axis 1080 on the bottom, both landed solidly - and the result was a score of 81.63 for his third-straight win on the season and an incredible six-straight wins in Calgary.
"It's one of the toughest courses in the world, for sure, with tough conditions today, super icy," Kingsbury said of the day's challenges, "But I managed my competition well. This is my sixth year in a row that I win here, which is totally crazy. I just wanted to get to the bottom and do my double-full and my 1080. I knew I was the only one doing both of those tricks, so I knew I would get the highest score on jumps. My plan today was just to ski consistent and I did it, so I'm pretty stoked."
Kingsbury's teammate and good friend Marquis finally scored his first podium of 2015/16 after finishing fourth in both of the first two events of the season - both times knocked to that position by Kingsbury himself.
"I was glad Phil wasn't in third when I came down so I didn't have to kick him off the podium again" Kingsbury laughed, "I was stoked to see his run. But at the same time he's like any other competitor, and I wanted to beat him. I'm going to do my run anyway."
Along with Marquis, Endo also made a long-awaited return to the podium after a crash in Deer Valley just over a year ago knocked him out of competition for the remainder of 2014/15.
At the time of his crash, Endo was actually leading the FIS Freestyle moguls World Cup, and with his third in Calgary on Saturday it appears he's returning to the form that threatened Kingsbury's reign at the start of last season.
Benjamin Cavet (FRA) and Matt Graham (AUS) both continued their strong starts to the season with their respective fourth and fifth-place finishes, while Jimi Salonen (FIN) matched his career-best performance with his sixth-place result.
With their performances, both Chloe Dufour-Lapointe and Kingsbury retain their holds on the yellow World Cup leaders' bibs.
The FIS Freestyle moguls tour now moves to the most anticipated event of the season in Deer Valley, USA, for both moguls and dual moguls night competition on the Utah resort's famed Champion Run next weekend.