By Andrew Mitchell
Although a mogul competition still remains before the Canadian
Freestyle Ski Team can announce its squad for the 2006 Winter Games, the big
picture got a lot clearer at Lake Placid this past weekend.
There were two moguls contest and an aerials contest up for
grabs, with a crowd of thousands cheering on the competitors. The Canadians
always have a lot of fans in Lake Placid, as it’s one of the main summer
training sites for the national team.
In the first moguls contest on Friday, Stephanie St. Pierre of
Victoriaville, Quebec came one step closer to locking her spot on the national
team with a silver medal performance, between Michelle Roark of the U.S. and
Kari Traa of Norway.
“It feels really good to get that medal,” said the 20-year-old
St. Pierre. “I was pretty frustrated after the prelims and in the final I told
myself I was going to show what I was capable of.
“The Olympic situation wasn’t causing me stress since I’m
ranked second for the spot. For me, I really wanted to prove to myself I could
win a medal before the Games.”
Four other Canadians qualified for the finals by finishing in
the top-16. Audrey Robichaud of Val-Belair, Quebec was sixth, Elisa Kurylowicz
of Manotick, Ontario was eighth, Jennifer Heil of Spruce Grove, Alberta was
ninth and Whistler’s Sylvia Kerfoot was 12
So far Heil is the only Canadian guaranteed a spot on the
Olympic team in moguls.
Meanwhile, Alexandre Bilodeau of Rosemere, Quebec showed why he
deserves to be on the team with a silver medal performance of his own, between
Whistler’s Dale Begg-Smith (now living in Vancouver and competing for
Australia) and Toby Dawson of the U.S.
It was Bilodeau’s second career World Cup medal, after winning
gold two weeks earlier. Prior to that the 18-year-old former aerials specialist
was known as a skier who impressed in training, but had trouble in
“I’m not too disappointed to drop a placing (to Toby Dawson) in
the final, things are going well for me,” he said. “My run in the final was
clean until the second air on which I went higher and further than expected.
That affected my timing down to the last bumps. Still, I’m delivering the whole
package when I compete. My airs, my speed, my skiing are all very strong right