As the the clocked ticked nearer to the scheduled start time and the heavily falling snow picked up in intensity as the day progressed, the unfortunate reality of the situation at the 2020/21 FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup final event of the season in Almaty (KAZ) made itself clear; there would be no grand finale to what had been another breathtaking season of moguls action.
With organisers, crews, and officials pushed to their limit in fighting a losing battle against the accumulating snow and low visibility, the difficult decision to cancel the race was made by the jury. Mother Nature would deny all moguls fans from witnessing an event that had all the makings of an epic to close out the season with highly anticipated dual moguls competition set to cap off an exciting couple of days at the venue in Almaty’s Shymbulak Ski Resort.
In the prize-giving ceremony under the falling snow in the finish area France’s Perrine Laffont get her hand on her fourth consecutive moguls World Cup crystal globe. The 22-year-old has been again a dominant force on tour in 2020/21 as she edged out second in the ranking Japan’s Anri Kawamura with 445 points to 270 points.
Laffont earned four victories in season’s five World Cup competitions, while also clinching the gold medal in individual moguls event just a couple of days ago at the same venue during the 2021 FIS Freestyle Ski World Championships. All in all it’s been another tremendous season for Laffont and obviously the future in women’s mogul skiing for Les Blues is bright for years to come.
Competing in her sophomore year Anri Kawamura took the runner-up position with USA’s Hannah Soar rounding out the women’s podium in third place with 250 points.
Over on the men’s side for the first time in 10 years, the moguls World Cup tour saw another overall winner than Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury, as the “King of Moguls” missed a fair portion of a shortened 2020/21 season due to his injury that he sustained in training back in December.
Taking advantage from Kingsbury’s absence in the first three competitions of 2020/21 campaign, Australias Matt Graham stormed through the season to clinch the moguls World Cup title, the first one for Australia since 2017 when Brittney Cox dominated the women’s tour.
In 2020/21 Graham recorded three top-3 spots including one victory in World Cup, while finishing the season with a total of 289 points and thus snagging the crystal globe. On top of that Graham also scored the World Championships silver medal in dual moguls events this past Tuesday and he will be heading home with a impressive collection of hardware from Kazakhstan.
France’s Benjamin Cavet finished the season’s in second place with 271 points for his fifth top-3 finish in the overall moguls World Cup ranking.
Sweden’s Ludvig Fjallstrom rounded out the men’s overall moguls standing in third place with 258 points for the first top-3 finish for a Swedish athlete in more than 10 years.
As the 2020/21 wrapped up in Kazakhstan, USA’s Kai Owens and Nick Page were handed out the Rookie of the Year awards, while USA topped the Nations Cups standing, for the first time since 2013.
With the World Championships as well as the World Cup well in the books now, it’s time to take a closer look at the young generation of freestyle skiers that will take their chances to compete for medals in just a couple of days from now at the Junior World Championships in Krasnoyarsk (RUS) held on March 16-28.