One of the most exciting dual moguls competitions went down at Shymbulak Mountain Resort on Sunday, where USA’s Jaelin Kauf and Japan’s Ikuma Horishima claimed top spots in a thrilling day of action at the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup Almaty (KAZ).
For the second straight season the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup paid a visit to Kazakhstan’s prime ski resort at Shymbulak, located just 25 km south of the biggest city in the country - Almaty. And with a perfect course, the world’s best athletes on hand, as well as perfect blue bird skies and optimal spring conditions, the final day of this weekend’s freestyle action delivered a top-tier sporting show.
In the women’s competition it was Jaelin Kauf, who raced her way through into her first victory of the 2019/20 season, and doing so by going through some tough matchups against Chloe Dufour-Lapointe (CAN), Hinako Tomitaka (JPN), Perrine Laffont (FRA), and finally Jakara Anthony (AUS) in the big final.
“I’m exhausted, but super stoked with how the day went and landing on top of the podium,” said Kauf, “The sun being out helped to keep me motivated throughout the day, and I’m just stoked on having another dual moguls event. It always gets me going. Duals are always a lot of fun.”
Jakarta Anthony finished the competition in second place for her third top-3 finish in 2019,20, while Perrine Laffont rounded out the women’s podium in third place, after coming victorious against Kisara Sumiyoshi (JPN) in the small final.
Entering the competitions in Almaty, Laffont needed just one more solid resort to secure her third consecutive moguls World Cup crystal globe, and by adding another 60 points to her season’s tally, the 21-year-old Laffont clinched the title with three more competitions left in 2019/20.
The men’s competition was an absolute barnburner from start to finish, with some spectacular (but not serious) crashes, incredible speeds, and nail-biting head-to-head battles wrapped up with a matchup that all moguls fans have been waiting for all season long.
For the first time in 2019/20, the moguls World Cup leader Mikael Kingsbury (CAN), and the runner-up for top spot Ikuma Horishima met in a direct dual moguls showdown, which turned out to be the big final of men’s competition.
And on Sunday Horishima, one of the very few athletes who’s consistent pushed Kingsbury to step his game up in the recent years, was on a mission with his unparalleled technique and explosives on display throughout the competition. In the big final, Horishima managed to outscore Kingsbury, 88.01 to 84.66 points, and reached for his third World Cup victory of the season.
Kingsbury had to settle for second place on Sunday, while Laurent Dumais (CAN) completed the podium in third place, while winning the small final matchup against the fan favourite Dmitriy Reikherd (KAZ). It was also the second consecutive top-3 finish for Dumais, after he finished in third place in single moguls event last week in Tazawako (JPN).
The FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup will now travel to Krasnoyarsk (RUS), where the season’s tenth competition will go down on Saturday, March 7.