Winds up to 126 kilometers per hour forced an anti-climactic end to an exciting season for the National Canadian mogul team here, with the FIS World Cup final being downgraded from a dual event to a one-run single mogul competition.
On the bright side, Olympic Champion Alex Bilodeau earned his fifth win and tenth podium of the season; Simon Pouliot-Cavanagh of Quebec City earned his first FIS World Cup podium, a bronze; and, Mikael Kingsbury won the overall Crystal Globe in freestyle, and the discipline Globe for moguls for his exceptional performance this season.
Bilodeau scored 25.31 to easily best Patrick Deneen of the US at 23.48. Pouliot-Cavanagh was just behind was at 23.46.
After long delays getting up to the mogul course, the men’s field knew before they ran today that they would only get one run, “The weather was changing a lot but we knew that if 30 men could race our one run would count,” explained Bilodeau, “So I went for it with a big jump on the top to go for the win because I knew it was only a one run competition.”
The strategy paid off for the Rosemère, Que. native when he had posted the top score after exactly 30 athletes out of the 50-man field were able to start before the fog rolled in.
“I’m feeling really good about my skiing, [The win here] is a good way to start training for the summer and I’m feeling pretty confident,” said Bilodeau.
The three-time World Champion in dual moguls said he was also happy to win what turned out to be a singles event, “For me, sometimes people are asking me if I’m a better dual guy, I don’t believe that’s so, and so today I’m really happy to win a singles because it proves my point.”
On the women’s side, the downgraded event cost Justine Dufour-Lapointe a chance to grab the Crystal Globe from American Hannah Kearney. The Montreal native was just 36 points behind the reigning Olympic champion going into today’s competition, but her fifth place from the qualifications with a score of 22.31 put her firmly in second place overall with 640 points behind Kearney at 731 in the overall standings for the season.
“This globe means a lot to me. It’s my fourth globe but I’ve never fought as hard for anything as I did for this globe,” said Kearney. “Showing up in January after missing events, I didn’t know if it would be possible and I didn’t help myself when I missed finals in a few events. It was nerve-wracking all season passing that yellow bib back and fourth. I didn’t have any extra padding coming into today and with the weather, it was just another variable to add to the nerves.”
Unlike in the men’s, where the athletes were warned in advance that they would only have one run, at the time the women ran they thought their run was just qualifications for duals. And, as Dufour-Lapointe pointed out, “In duals qualification, placing really means nothing as long as you get in, then anything can happen.
“It’s a sad ending [to the season], because I really wanted to keep fighting and have a chance to win the Globe, but I had a great season and finishing second is not bad,” said the 18-year-old from Montreal, Que. “But you know, it’s kind of a good thing because I’m still hungry for competing. I learned a lot this season and I know my strengths and what I have to work on, like my jumps,” she added, alluding to the possibility that she might work on a new trick over the summer.