The Canadian Freestyle Ski Team put an exclamation mark on another strong season with six athletes claiming medals in the FIS World Freestyle Ski Championships at Ruka, Finland this week.
Leading the way was Jennifer Heil of Spruce Grove, Alberta, who won the womens dual moguls competition, and Steve Omischl, the mens aerials world champion. Heil is the overall World Cup champion for the past two years, but this was her first world championship medal.
It wasnt an easy day, as Heil faced one strong opponent after another before starting in the gates against reigning world champion Kari Traa of Norway.
"Im so excited I was able to dig deep," said Heil, who was disappointed with her earlier fifth place finish in the single moguls. Heil has been competing all season with a broken thumb, and was exhausted after a schedule that included 10 competitions in 12 weeks. "I had to work really hard to turn the pace around."
Whistlers Sylvia Kerfoot continued her amazing comeback from a concussion this season with a sixth place finish. She was knocked out of medal contention in the round of eight by Aiko Uemura of Japan, the bronze medal winner, but proved her skills earlier by defeating Austrian star Margarita Marbler in the round of 16.
Stephanie St-Pierre and Elisa Kuylowicz finished out of the finals.
In the mens dual moguls, Toby Dawson of the U.S. defeated Sami Mustonen of Finland for the gold, while overall World Cup moguls champion Jeremy Bloom was third. Dale Begg-Smith, a former Whistler skier who is competing for Australia, was fifth, while Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau of Drummondville, Quebec and Marc-André Moreau of Chambly, Quebec were seventh and eighth.
The day before, Moreau, 23, finished a close second to Nathan Roberts of the U.S. in the single moguls, while Dale Begg-Smith was third.
This was Moreaus first world championship appearance, and the best result of his career.
"Its the biggest thing Ive ever done in my life," he said. "I pushed the gas and I held it together."
Teammates Warren Tanner of Grimsby, Ontario and Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau were sixth and seventh.
In the womens single moguls, Jennifer Heil was fifth, Sylvia Kerfoot eighth and Stephanie St-Pierre ninth.
"I really hoped for a podium, but I cant be disappointed with my weekend at all with sixth and eighth," said Kerfoot. "The level of skiing was incredible, you couldnt make one little mistake if you even wanted to be in the top-10. Theres little things here and there to work on, but Im feeling really confident."