As the moguls World Cup tour broke for the holidays after its first three
competitions of the season, an obvious trend was apparent. North Americans know how to bump.
U.S. and Canadian skiers have combined to take 14 of 18 podium spots
this season, setting an exciting stage as only four more stops remain before the World Championships in February at Deer Valley, Utah.
American Olympic gold medalist Hannah Kearney and world champion
Patrick Deneen drew first blood with season-opening wins in Ruka, Finland Dec. 11.
“It is a good omen to have two more people on top,” said U.S. moguls
coach Scott Rawles after Deneen bagged his first career World Cup win
and Kearney earned her 11th. “We worked hard all summer, and everyone
Canadian Olympic silver medalist Jennifer Heil and teammate Kristi Richards joined Kearney on the podium in second and third in Ruka and again
a week later in Beida Lake, China, at the inaugural World Cup moguls
event in the country.
“I qualified first after some shaky training,” said Kearney. “But I am proud
to be the first victor in China.”
A dual moguls event was sandwiched between Ruka and Beida Lake in
Meribel, France, on Dec. 15, and two non-North American victors emerged.
Kazakhstan’s Yulia Galysheva and France’s Guilbaut Colas struck back
with the wins. Both were flanked on the podium by Canadians and Ameri-
cans as Kearney took second ahead of Justine DuFord-Lapointe in third.
Deneen, in second, was joined by Olympic bronze medalist Bryon Wilson
The Canadians were helped out in large part by the breakout performances of Mikael Kingsbury and DuFord-Lapointe, both just 16 years old.
After getting his first World Cup starts last January, Kingsbury stepped up
to his first podium with a second-place result in Ruka then gave himself an
early Christmas present in Beida Lake with a victory.
Canadian veteran Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau joined his young teammate on the Beida Lake podium in third and couldn’t have been happier. “Mikael has everything a mogul skier needs: jumps, speed and the
right mindset,” said Rousseau, 31, who has announced he will retire after
Worlds this season. “He proved it today and now I can leave the national
team this year with the knowledge that it’s in good shape for years to
DuFord-Lapointe, who finished fifth in her first World Cup in Ruka, decided her second Cup contest wasn’t too soon for the podium as she claimed
third place in Meribel.
“I’m really stoked, I actually can’t quite believe it right now because it
came so fast,” said DuFord-Lapointe, who hails from Montreal. “I think I
did so well because the course looked a lot like what I’m used to in Quebec, icy and small moguls. So, I just fought really hard and did my best.”
The U.S. is happy to get one of their own back in Sho Kashima, who
missed most of last season including the Vancouver Games with a knee
injury. The 21-year-old had his career best season in 2009, landing in
eighth place in the overall standings. He is looking to bounce back before
Worlds at home and started with a ninth-place performance in China.
“He’s doing great” says U.S. moguls coach Garth Hager. “He’s right in the
mix, back to his old air plan and performing well.”
The season resumes Jan. 15 in Mont Gabriel, Canada with a dual moguls contest.
Kearney, coach Scott Rawles and Patrick Deneen celebrate in Ruka, Finland.
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