The world's top freestyle athletes went from rain at Cypress to fog in Japan as the World Cup tour resumed last weekend at Inawashiro.
The poor visibility forced organizers to cancel the moguls competitions on Saturday and run Sunday's dual moguls event without a qualifying run to seed competitors. The men's run was eventually cancelled about halfway through the program, while the women did a single run in the final.
Some 5,000 fans turned out to watch the competition, showing once again just how popular the sport of moguls is becoming.
Jennifer Heil's World Cup-winning streak ended, but she did pick up a silver medal - matching her Olympic performance - behind Aiko Uemura of Japan. Shannon Bahrke of the U.S. beat teammate Heather McPhie for the bronze medal.
Other solid results went to sisters Chloe and Maxime Dufour-Lapointe, who placed 10 th and 12 th respectively. Pemberton's Kristi Richards was 17 th .
Heil now has a solid lock on the overall title with 565 points. She is followed by McPhie with 466. However, there are still three moguls competitions remaining.
"It was a great run," said Heil. "It was very clean on such a challenging course. Aiko's run was aggressive with many errors. Mine was a little cleaner, but a second slower.
"It's the hardest course in the world by far, so I just kept it simple and did a technically strong run."
The mogul season continues this weekend in Are, Sweden.
Whistler freestylers top NorAm Cup
Whistler's Eddie Hicks earned his first gold medal at a NorAm Cup freestyle competition at Steamboat Springs in Utah last weekend, placing first in the men's dual moguls - while taking another step towards the national team.
"I had a feeling once I made the final that I could really make something happen," said Hicks, 21. "Through the earlier rounds I was really able to iron out my airs and determine the right line for me for the final. It was a super tough day with all those runs."
The gold medal put Hicks third in the 2009-2010 NorAm Grand Prix.
Hicks placed 19 th in the single moguls competition the following day.
On the women's side, Whistler's Chelsea Henitiuk had a solid weekend with a win in the single moguls and a silver medal in dual moguls, losing her final head-to-head against Heidi Kloser of the U.S. The contest could have gone either way until Henitiuk went off course in the middle section.
"I knew that Heidi was really fast and I had an awesome start," Henitiuk said. "But she pushed so hard through the middle I had to pull out. I'm still pretty happy because I took it to the limit and didn't hold anything back."
The overall moguls point winner, Mikael Kingsbury of Quebec, earned a start at an upcoming World Cup event in Spain.