It hasnt been an easy season for Whistlers Sylvia Kerfoot, but alls well that ends well for the 27-year-old freestyle skier.
Kerfoot wrapped up her season last weekend with an eighth place finish in the final womens moguls event at Voss, Norway.
"Its been frustrating for me. I started this season on such a high note with a sixth place finish, and the next week I had a bad crash that took a while to get over," said Kerfoot. "In the last few competitions Ive felt more like myself out there, that Im skiing the way Im supposed to be skiing. Im really happy with the way I finished the season in the last few contests I went from 14 th to 12 th to 10 th to eighth, and I want to keep the momentum going."
The bad crash Kerfoot referred to happened in the second week of competition at Lake Placid. She landed her backflip iron cross too far back in her stance, hit a mogul, and crashed onto her back and head. She was briefly knocked unconscious in the crash, and spent a scary few hours waiting for the results from CT scans to find out if she injured her neck or head.
"It was kind of scary when they told me they were going to do the CT scans. It really gets you thinking, even if it was just a precaution," she said.
She returned to competition the following week and tried the backflip again successfully in Fernie.
"It was fine, but I think the concussion and the crash affected me mentally for a couple of weeks. I wasnt being as aggressive as I was in the first race. At Deer Valley (two weeks later) I went and did the same thing again, over-flipped and bounced sideways and missed the control gate. I did a little better on the second day, but I was really disappointed," she said.
Kerfoot started to feel her confidence come back in Japan. In the dual at Inawashiro, she was 20 th but moved up to 14 th in the single moguls event. The following weekend in Naeba, she moved up to 12 th .
"That was the fastest Ive ever skied, and the biggest jumps Ive ever taken in a competition. My turn scores werent that high, but it felt great to ski on the edge like that and I got a huge confidence boost," she said.
Her next event was at Sauze dOulx, Italy, where she clinched herself a spot in the world championships with a 10 th place finish.
"I needed a top-13 in Sauze dOulx but Id been skiing better and better, skiing with more confidence, so I knew I could pull it off," said Kerfoot.
The eighth place in Norway last weekend was the icing on the cake.
Kerfoot will be back in Whistler before leaving on March 7 to head back to Europe. Her first stop is a national team training camp at Tignes, France before the team heads to the Freestyle World Championships in Ruka, Finland.
Kerfoot hopes to make the top six in the championships, but says it will be difficult.
"Everyone in the world is skiing well right now, the women are doing really well and the men are skiing incredible," she said. "I think our womens team is strong enough to do well there. Jenn Heil took the womens title again, and every week we have multiple girls making it to the finals. I think our last World Cup was our worst this year because only two girls made the finals."
Jenn Heil finished her season with a fourth place finish, and finished the World Cup season more than 200 points ahead of her closest competition in the overall rankings. Because of her broken thumb a training injury before the season even started Heil had trouble just lifting the crystal globe this year.
The final win went to Aiko Uemura of Japan, followed by Margarita Marbler of Austria and Nikola Sudova of the Czech Republic.
In the standings, Kari Traa of Norway was second overall and Margarita Marbler was third.
In the mens moguls, Mikko Ronkainen of Finland broke American Jeremy Blooms six-event win streak. Bloom was second, however, and took the mens mogul title by the widest margin in freestyle history.
Third place in Japan went to Fredrik Fortkord of Sweden.
In the overall mogul standings, Dale Begg-Smith a former Whistler resident who is now competing for Australia finished second to Bloom. Nathan Roberts of the U.S. was third.