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Laffont and Cavet claim victories for France in Idre Fjäll
Benjamin Cavet spinning it off the bottom jump in Idre Fjäll © Nisse Schmidt/Agence Zoom

Straight from a thrilling start to the 2020/21 season in Ruka (FIN) last week, the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup got right back to business on Saturday in Sweden, where Perrine Laffont and Benjamin Cavet claimed big wins for France in the first of back-to-back competitions scheduled for this weekend in Idre Fjäll (SWE). 

While the anticipation period for the Idre Fjall competition was extended for several extra months after last year’s edition of the event had to be cancelled, the newest venue in moguls was finally able to celebrate its World Cup debut, as the single moguls competition went down in a huge way on Saturday. True winter conditions and a perfectly prepared course made for a perfect backdrop for what turned out to be an exciting showcase of the world’s best mogul skiing. 

In the women’s competition it was once again Perrine Laffont, who made it clear that she’s on a mission for domination once again this season, as she’s already opening up a sizeable lead atop the standings in her push for another crystal globe title. Coming into Saturday’s finals as the top qualifier, Laffont picked up off right at where she left things in qualies, setting the highest score once again in the first round of finals. With no stop to her momentum she went even harder in the best-of-6 round, and with a final score of 82.53 points she was able to once again grab the top spot of the podium.

It was the second win of the season for 22 year-old Laffont, and her third-straight dating back to last season. 

Second place on the day went to last year’s “Rookie of the Year” Anri Kawamura (JPN), who stormed to her second World Cup podium a year after her remarkable second-place finish at her World Cup debut in Ruka. Despite her young age, 16-year-old Kawamura has been a regular in the top-10 already in her career, and again in Idre she impressed with a trademark Japanese technique and flawless air tricks. Kawamura stepped her game up another notch on Saturday, however, and with a score of 80.61 points she wrapped up a day in a runner-up position. 

US athlete Hannah Soar rounded out the women’s podium in third place with 78.63 points. After finishing just off the podium in fourth already twice in her young World Cup career, Soar managed to finally break through in Idre and get her longed-for maiden spot on the World Cup podium. 

In the women’s moguls standing it’s Laffont who leads the way after two events, sitting in the first place with 200 points. Jaelin Kauf (USA) sits in second with 125 points, while Kawamura jumps into third place with 118 points. 

There were big things happening over on the men’s side of the events as well, where Dmitiry Reikherd (KAZ) led the way in Friday’s qualifications, with Ikuma Horishima (JPN) then pushing the standard up to another level in the first round of finals, before Benjamin Cavet played it ice cold on his last run of the day to grab his first World Cup victory since 2019.

In the final phase of the men’s competition it was all up to Ikuma Horishima, who was dropping as the final skier of the day following his best score in a round of 16. Known for his explosiveness and attacking style, Horishima didn’t hesitate much, but went all in while aiming for his second win of the season. This time the 2017 double World Champion from Sierra Nevada wasn’t able to stick it, however, coming with a big mistake just below the top kicker. Then the Japanese rider sent it massively off the bottom jump straight into the bump section where he couldn’t quite put it down to his feet, and thus leaving Cavet with victory for his tremendous run of 83.71 points. 

“It feels amazing,” said Cavet during the post-event interview, “I knew I was coming into this season on form. We trained a lot in France and then we came here to Idre in the fall so I know this course well, but it still feels good to get some revenge from Ruka last week. And it’s also the double win for our French team. Good times.”

As hard as it can be to imagine, one of the world’s best moguls skier over the last decade Benjamin Cavet scored just his career’s second World Cup victory in Idre, with his other top spot coming in Lake Placid in January 2019. This low tally of victories by Cavet as well as other skiers is obviously a result of Mikael Kingsbury’s domination in recents year, but now with the King of Moguls sidelined for at least the first three competitions of the season due to injury, the battle for the 2020/21 moguls crystal globe is truly up in the air for the first time in a decade. And, with Saturday’s win, Cavet has now put himself in a position to be challenging for the coveted trophy come season’s end. 

Second place on the day was Brodie Summers (AUS), who finished the competition in Idre with 81.84 points for his run in the best-of-6 round. Returning to competition this season after a lengthy recuperation from an ACL injury, Summer is quickly gaining momentum and confidence already this season after an injury-free off-season. After a sixth place finish in Ruka last week, Summers made a big step up in Idre, returning to the moguls World Cup podium for the first time since February 2017.

Behind Cavet and Summers, it was Nick Page (USA), who rounded out the men’s podium in third place with 81.28 points. In just his second season of World Cup action, the 18-year-old skier managed to make his first appearance in the finals last week in Ruka, before taking it to another level on Saturday in Idre to earn his career’s first World Cup podium and give the US team plenty to feel good about after day one in Sweden.

In the men’s ranking Horishima is still leading the way with 140 points after two competitions. Summers sits in second place with 120 points, while Cavet follows behind in third place now with 118 points.

The action in Idre Fjäll continues on Sunday, with the first dual moguls event of the season scheduled to go down at 11:00 CET.
 

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