The fourth dual moguls showdown of the 2019/20 World Cup season went down in Krasnoyarsk on Saturday night, where Perrine Laffont of France took the victory in the women’s competition, while Mikael Kingsbury of Canada stormed to top spot in the men’s event while securing his ninth consecutive moguls World Cup crystal globe in the process.
Continuing on the 2019 Winter Universiade legacy Krasnoyarsk’s Sopka Cluster venue hosted its first of two FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup events slated for this weekend, and Saturday evening’s dual moguls competition went down in style, with dozens of tight and thrilling matchups heating the atmosphere up on a cold Siberian night.
In the women’s competition it was Perrine Laffont who was back to her winning ways despite facing tough matchups from start to finish of the finals, including Haruka Ihara (JPN), Kisara Sumiyoshi (JPN), Hannah Soar (USA) and, finally, her biggest rival in the World Cup standing - Jakara Anthony (AUS).
Laffont had already secured her third-consecutive World Cup title last week in Almaty (KAZ), so in Krasnoyarsk she was skiing without any pressure and it showed in her effortless runs and top-level air package. Rebounding after missing top spot last week in Almaty, Laffont stormed to her eighth victory of the 2019/20 season on Saturday while showcasing her trademark clean and fast skiing with some big tricks on the jumps.
“The course was so fun today,” said Laffont, “I really enjoyed skiing it the last two days, it was soft and the bumps were perfect. I just tried to enjoy it and have fun, and that’s what I did in the end and I’m happy with the win.”
Jakara Anthony finished the dual moguls event in Krasnoyarsk in second place for her fourth top-3 finish in the campaign, while Jaelin Kauf (USA) rounded out the women’s podium in third place, after edging out her compatriot Hannah Soar in the small final.
Over on the men’s side it was Mikael Kingsbury who was also able to return to winning form after being forced to settle for second place last weekend. Kingsbury’s impressive win at the newest venue on the World Cup tour was his seventh victory of the season and, most importantly, the win gave him enough points to clinch his ninth-straight moguls World Cup crystal globe.
With just two more competitions to come after the one in Krasnoyarsk, and his closest rival this season Ikuma Horishima (JPN) eliminated in the round of 8, Kingsbury had mathematically claimed the title literally in the middle of the competition in Krasnoyarsk.
Similarly to Laffont, the pressure was off Kingsbury as soon as Hiroshima went out, but the Canadian stepped it up a notch anyhow, taking strong wins in each of his heats against Brenden Kelly (CAN), Sacha Theocharis (FRA), Bradley Wilson (USA), and Thomas Gerken Schofield (GBR) in the big final, with the victory on Saturday just being a cherry on top of what was another dominant season for the 27-year-old.
“After I realised I’m going to win the globe, it kind of released the pressure off my shoulder and I started skiing a bit better,” said Kingsbury, “This is one of the best venues I’ve competed in my entire career so I hope we’ll be coming back next year. It’s my third victory in three World Cup starts in Russia, so this place has been good to me. I’m very happy to be here today.”
Despite losing the final matchup against Kingsbury, Thomas Gerken Schofield finished the competition in Krasnoyarsk with his career’s best results, and his very first top-3 World Cup finish.
Third place on the day went to Bradley Wilson (USA), who won the men’s small final matchup against Ben Cavet (FRA), giving Wilson his first podium in World Cup in the 2019/20 season.
The freestyle extravaganza in Krasnoyarsk continues on Sunday, with the aerials World Cup season’s final event scheduled to go down under the lights at 19:00 local time.
The moguls tour, on the other hand, now moves over to Idre Fjäll (SWE), where the two final competitions of the 2019/20 FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup season are slated to go down next Saturday and Sunday, March 14-15.