Dufour-Lapointes go one-two, while Smyshlyaev takes first win
VOSS-MYRKDALEN, NOR – The first of back-to-back moguls events at the site of the 2013 Freestyle World Ski Championships saw a repeat of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games podium on the ladies' side and a first-time World Cup winner on the men's side to make for a memorable day that almost didn't happen in Voss-Myrkdalen, Norway.
High winds and snow overnight at the resort meant that crews and organizers woke up to drifted snow on the moguls course that was over a meter deep in some places, but a massive effort clean-up effort by some 40 builders and volunteers – including a complete re-build of the bottom section of the course – meant that competition at Voss was able to proceed as scheduled.
In the ladies' event the podium stacked up just as the world witnessed in Sochi, as Justine Dufour-Lapointe (CAN) and her sister Chloe stood one-two, followed by Hannah Kearney (USA) in third.
The Dufour-Lapointe sisters both put down solid super final runs, with Chloe scoring higher on her turns but Justine taking the edge in the jump and timing categories, earning her a score of 24.85 to Chloe's 24.52. Kearney had some mistakes in her super final run, missing the grab on her signature 360 mute and then losing form in her landing, and ended up with a score of 25.37 despite having the fastest time of the day.
The top Norwegian competitor on the day was Hedvig Wessel (NOR), who disappointingly missed out on finals because of a small stumble towards the end of her run to finish in 18th.
With her win, Justine Dufour-Lapointe reclaimed the yellow leader's bib in the back-and-forth battle with Kearney that has been going on throughout the 2013/14 World Cup season. With two events left and only 15 points separating the two ladies on the moguls leader board, it is anyone's guess who will be the last athlete standing come World Cup finals time in La Plagne.
On the men's side, it was Alexandr Smyshlyaev (RUS) taking the first victory of his career just a few weeks after winning an impressive bronze in front of his home crowd at Sochi 2014. In the process he edged Sochi 2014 gold medal winner Alex Bilodeau (CAN) and speedster Patrick Deneen, who finished in second and third respectively.
Smyshlyaev scored solidly in both his jump and timing scores but excelled in the turning section, registering the highest score of the day by nearly half a point to help him earn a win that puts on exclamation point on what has been the best season of the 27-year-old's career.
Despite his second place finish, Bilodeau still sits behind teammate Mikael Kingsbury on the World Cup rankings, though just by the barest of margins. With his fourth place finish on Saturday, Kingsbury has 710 points to Bilodeau's 699 in the moguls rankings, while in the freestyle World Cup overall rankings Kingsbury leads by only a single point, with 79 to Bilodeau's 78.
Deneen sits in third on the moguls rankings with 385 points, though there are several athletes within striking distance of his position.
Action from Norway continues on Sunday with dual moguls competition.
Full ladies' results can be found HERE
Full men's results can be found HERE
Moguls World Cup standing can be found HERE