The 2018/2019 moguls World Cup rolls into one of the most historically important venues in freestyle skiing this weekend, with a big day of competition hitting Calgary’s WinSport Canada Olympic Park this Saturday.
The FIS Freestyle World Cup competition was first held in Calgary back in 1981, with the first moguls competition being held on the challenging Calgary moguls pitch in 1987, just before of the Calgary 1988 Olympic Winter Games.
Then, at the 1988 Games, Freestyle made its Olympic debut as a demonstration sport, with moguls, aerials, and acro competitions laying the foundation for Freestyle to become the overwhelmingly popular Olympic draw that it is today.
Saturday’s competition in Calgary will be also the tenth consecutive World Cup event after the tour came back to the WinSport Canada Olympic Park in 2010.
While looking at the favourites the Calgary course is one that has been kind to the host Canadians, historically speaking, with both the Canadian ladies and men placing at least one athlete on the podium in every one of the past nine seasons of competition at the venue.
In the men’s competition the current World Cup leader and the 2018 Olympic Champion Mikael Kingsbury will be looking for his eighth victory in Calgary, where he has only missed out on top spot of the podium once since his first victory there in 2011, when he finished second behind Australia’s Matt Graham back in 2017.
Kingsbury is rolling into the new year with victories in all three competitions so far in the 2018/2019 season, and it’s hard to imagine him not once again in a push for top spot on the podium this weekend in Calgary.
But looking at some other big names in Calgary, keep an eye on Ikuma Horishima (JPN) - the only athlete who was able to beat Kingsbury last season - as well as Benjamin Cavet (FRA) and the veteran Dimitriy Reikherd (KAZ).
And, of course, the 2017 winner from Calgary Matt Graham will try to show his best, as well as the Swedish duo of Walter Wallberg and Oskar Elofsson, who both have placed on the podium already this season.
Things are pretty interesting over on the ladies side with Jaelin Kauf (USA) having just a five point advantage in the ranking over the 2018 Olympic Champion and the last year’s World Cup winner Perrine Laffont (FRA).
Kauf wrapped up 2017/18 with back-to-back victories in Thaiwoo, taking the leader yellow bib from Laffont, setting up a 2018/19 season that seemed destined to feature more tight battles between the pair and which has certainly delivered in that regard thus far.
Aside from Kauf and Laffont, also watch out for Yulia Galysheva (KAZ), Jakarta Anthony (AUS) and Tess Johnson (USA), who close out ladies current top-5 rankings, in that order.
And, finally, on the Canadian squad with Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe who, despite a slow start to the season so far, have always performed well in Calgary in front of the home crowd.
Action in Calgary gets underway with men’s qualifications on Friday at 12:25 LOC, followed by ladies’ qualifications on Saturday at 11:00. Men’s and ladies’ finals are scheduled for Saturday at 13:30.
Canada - same-day delayed on CBC Television at 3:00 pm ET, CBC Sports Streaming at 9:25 pm ET, and ETA (time to be announced)
China - CCTV
Asia/Pacific - nexe-day delayed on Eurosport 1 at 8:00 am
Europe - live on Eurosport 1 at 21:30 CET
Finland - live on YLE Areena at 22:25
France - next-day delayed on L'Equipe at 9:50
Italy - delayed on Rai Sport + on 14/01 at 15:45
Poland - live on Polsat Sport News at 21:30 CET + next-day re-run at 20:00
NBC - same-day delayed on NBC Sports Gold at 9:30 pm ET.