The FIS Freestyle World Cup event at Winsport’s Canada Olympic Park in Calgary went down in style on Saturday, with Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury reaching for his 60th World Cup victory, while France’s Perrine Laffont extended her winning streak to five competitions.
It was the 11th time that the FIS Freestyle Ski Moguls World Cup was back in action in Calgary at the venue with one of the richest history of freestyle skiing, where moguls made its Olympic debut back in 1988. Again this year, you could feel the Olympic spirit all over the place with athletes pushing it to the limits all day long, encouraged by enthusiastic fans cheering at the bottom of the course.
The weather conditions on Saturday were far from perfect, with strong wind gusts rolling in and out through Fitz's Freefall course. And despite causing a minor delay in the competition programme, Mother Nature decided to finally play along with the organisers, allowing world’s best athletes to showcase their fastest skiing and most technical air tricks.
On the women’s side Perrine Laffont continues to stay unbeaten so far in 2019/20 season, as the 21-year-old skier from France reached for her fifth consecutive World Cup win in the current campaign, and her very first win on the venue in Calgary.
Coming as top qualifier, Laffont couldn’t quite put down her trademark run in the round of 16, making it to the final top-6 in fourth spot. But then Laffont stepped things up on her last attempt of the day, impressing with her pace and flawless ride through the moguls for a final score of 81.22 points.
And despite best efforts from next competitors Viktoriia Lazarenko (RUS), Justine Dufour-Lapointe (CAN) and Yulia Galysheva (KAZ), Laffont would hold on to her top spot and finish the competition with another impressive victory, while moving one step closer to winning her third consecutive World Cup crystal globe at the end of the season.
“I’m happy that I managed to have a clean run in the super final,” said Laffont, “Finishing in fourth spot was not really what I wanted, so before dropping in I told myself to enjoy the run and have no regrets. And here we are now. My fifth win of the season so I’m happy.”
Second place on the day went to Yulia Galysheva, who finished the competition with 80.69 points for her third runner-up spot in 2019/20, while the local fans’ favourite Justine Dufour-Lapointe completed the women’s podium in third place with 79.94 points. It was also the second top-3 finish for Lapointe in the current World Cup campaign.
In the women’s moguls ranking Laffont keeps her perfect 500 points on the strength of her five wins. Galysheva sits in second place with 262 points, while Justine Dufour-Lapointe jumped in third place with 229 points.
Over in men’s competition the reigning Olympic and World Champion Mikael Kingsbury put another huge milestone to his record, taking his 60th World Cup victory in Saturday’s finals, which was also his fourth top spot so far in 2019/20.
“It is awesome,” said Kingsbury, “The course got better during the day and I actually changed my line. I was looking at the skier’s left line and I think it was skiing better. So I decided to change it and in the end it paid off.”
“That’s number 60, which is a huge milestone for me so of course I’m very happy,” Kingsbury added.
Coming straight off a big victory last week in front of his home crowd at Mont Tremblant, Kingsbury was back to his winning ways in Saturday’s finals in Calgary, showing his best skiing and posting the highest score of the day with 89.09 for his big final run.
In a decade of competing in Calgary, Kingsbury now has nine victories on the challenging Fitz's Freefall course at Winsport’s Canada Olympic Park.
"Calgary magic," Kingsbury said. "I always manage to pull it out at the right moment here. I like performing in Calgary and I like that course with the little pitch change. It helps my style of skiing. I know how to compete well here.”
Second place went to Walter Wallberg (SWE), who received 85.10 for his final run, while the veteran Dmitriy Reikherd (KAZ) rounded out the men’s podium in third place with 84.19 points, for his first top-3 finish this season.
In the overall moguls World Cup ranking, Kingsbury continues to lead the way with 480 points. Horishima and Cavet are sitting in respective second and third position with 365 and 256 points.
The FIS Freestyle Ski Moguls World Cup tour will now travel to Deer Valley (USA), where the single moguls competition is set to go down on Thursday, February 6 and the dual moguls event coming up on Saturday, February 8.