Canadian skiers opened the 2015 FIS World Ski and Snowboard Championships in Kreischberg, Austria with a bang.
The Canuck men made an impression in the dual moguls event on Jan. 19, rolling away with all three medals after Mikaël Kingsbury, Philippe Marquis and Marc-Antoine Gagnon took the top three spots.
Kingsbury, of Deux-Montagnes, Que. has finished no lower than second in seven of his last eight FIS races dating back to last season.
Kingsbury said in a release that the triumphant trio had been angling for such domination for awhile, and was impressed that they pulled it off on such a stage.
"You know being a world champion is crazy, but what's even better is being on the podium with two of your best friends and teammates. We've been talking about a sweep for a long time with the three of us. I think it happened at the right moment here at the World Championships. Other than the Olympic Games, there's no other place that this could be bigger. We're very proud. I'm at a loss for words," Kingsbury said.
Kingsbury took down Marquis 20-15 in the final, while American Sho Kashima crashed out in the bronze final to hand the bronze to Gagnon.
Montreal's Justine Dufour-Lapointe scored silver on the women's side, with American Hannah Kearney taking the gold 29-6 in the final. Her sister and defending world champion Chloé finished fourth after falling 18-17 to Kazakhstan's Yulia Galysheva.
Justine Dufour-Lapointe became a world champion the day before, though, scoring the moguls gold.
Dufour-Lapointe, the Olympic gold medallist, scored an 87.25 to get the best of Kearney, who posted an 85.66.
"My plan was simple. I wanted to find balance between speed and technique. I stayed calm and focused during the day. I was really in a zone. To get the Olympic gold medal and now the World Championship gold medal is a dream come true. I've grown so much since the Olympics and learned a lot. That experience helped me here," she said in a release.
Sister Maxime was fourth, scoring 80.92.
On the men's side, Kingsbury was unable to repeat as world champion, as he was edged 86.89 to 86.54 by France's Anthony Benna to settle for silver. Gagnon was fifth.
WMSC skiers dominate Team B.C. selections
The Whistler Mountain Ski Club will be well represented at next month's Canada Winter Games in Prince George.
WMSC skiers took six of the first 10 spots announced after the second team selection race at Red Mountain Resort in the West Kootenays.
The club scored four of the five men's spots, with Kasper Woolley, Kyle Alexander, Asher Jordan and Alexander Valentin named alongside Vernon's Gavin Donald.
As for the women, Ella Renzoni and Katie Fleckenstein made it alongside Kristina Natalenko and Frances MacDonald of Grouse Mountain Tyee and Big White's Brooke Lukinuk.
Woolley left no doubt as to his spot on the roster, medalling in all three races — winning giant slaloms on Jan. 17 and 18 after taking silver in the Jan. 16 slalom won by Jordan.
Jordan also placed second in the second giant slalom after Alexander had taken silver in the first.
As for the ladies, Renzoni won the first giant slalom and took bronze in the second. Fleckenstein won silver in the slalom.
WMSC also won the club points title, with its 65.63 score besting Grouse Mountain Tyee by nearly 15 points.
For complete results, visit www.bcalpine.com.
WMSC members shine in Idaho
Max Peiffer ended up at the top of the heap at the FIS Western Can Am Open at the Schweitzer Mountain Resort near Sandpoint, Idaho earlier this month.
In the slalom on Jan. 11, Peiffer bested fellow B.C. Ski Team member Sam Mulligan by 0.47 seconds over two runs to secure his first win at the Keurig FIS level. Peiffer posted a blistering 42.08 seconds in his first run to put himself in prime position heading into his second attempt. His two-run time was one minute, 25.55 seconds.
"It was a good run. I was feeling pretty nervous at the top of the second run, but I'm happy to have it click in slalom, to have it all come together," Peiffer said in a video interview on the BC Alpine website.
Local Kyle Yates also hit the podium with a third-place finish while Sam Kirshenblatt (ninth), Alex Gershon (10th), Max Kirshenblat (11th), Griffin Renzoni (13th) and Kole Harle (15th) all made the top 15.
Riley Seger scored gold on Jan. 13, posting a combined 1:45.77 to take the men's giant slalom over Mulligan's 1:46.38.
Peiffer was just off the podium in fourth, Kyle Yates was 10th, Cooper Yates 12th, and Sam Kirshenblatt 13th.
On the women's side, Stefanie Fleckenstein nabbed a pair of gold medals, winning both the slalom on Jan. 11 and the giant slalom on Jan.12.
Fleckenstein ended up catching Prince George's Alix Wells on the second run to share first spot with a 1:27.46 time.
"The second run definitely had my blood pumping and I'm really happy to share the win with Alix," she said in a video interview on the BC Alpine website.
WMSC's Rae Swette was fifth and Mikayla Martin was ninth.
The giant slalom ended up being a 1-2 showing for WMSC, as Martin jumped all the way up to take silver, exactly a half-second behind Fleckenstein's winning time of 1:40.33.
Martin then took gold on the final day of competition, Jan. 13, scoring a two-run time of 1:50.66 to best Haley McKercher's 1:51.44 in the giant slalom. Swette won the bronze while Laura Swaffield was 11th.
Full results are at www.bcalpine.com.
Yurkiw silver in Italy
After competing in the FIS World Cup since 2007, Canadian skier Larisa Yurkiw wrangled up her first-ever medal on the loop.
The Torontonian placed second in the downhill in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy on Jan. 16, posting a time of one minute, 9.68 seconds, just 0.15 seconds off the winning pace of champion Elena Fanchini.
Yurkiw had knocked on the door already this season, but was just a sliver off the podium at the season-opening downhill in Lake Louise.
In another downhill on Jan. 18, Yurkiw placed 24th with a time of 1:41.74. American Lindsey Vonn captured the gold with a time of 1:39.61. Vonn won the super-G with a time of 1:27.03 the next day to become the all-time World Cup wins leader with 63. Yurkiw did not finish the first run.
Meanwhile, Whistler's Broderick Thompson was the top Canadian in the men's downhill in Wengen, Switzerland on Jan. 16.
Thompson finished 26th with a time of 1:39.80, 0.07 seconds ahead of fellow Canuck Tyler Werry. Switzerland's Carlo Janka won the gold with a time of 1:36.42.
With those times holding for the Alpine combined event the same day, Werry jumped to 26th and Thompson slipped to 30th. Janka took the gold once again.
In the men's downhill on Jan. 18, Ben Thomsen was the only Canadian to finish, placing 29th with a time of 2:39.18. Austria's Hannes Reichelt set the benchmark with a winning time of 2:36.14. Former Whistler Mountain Ski Club member Manuel Osborne-Paradis, Thompson, and Werry did not finish their runs.