After a short, intense season with 10 World Cup dates and a World Championships in about 13 weeks, an exhausted Canadian Freestyle Ski Team returned home last week to compete in the Bell Canadian Freestyle Ski Championships.
However, with the development team, provincial teams and strong club team members in the field at Mont Avila, Quebec, the national team members picked it up one more time.
The single moguls event kicked off the nationals on Friday. Surprising no one, World Cup title winner and World Champion Jennifer Heil demonstrated why shes the best in the world right now with a strong run from top to bottom.
"Many of my friends, family and sponsors were here, so its just great to perform in front of them all," said Heil. "The motivation was to put on a great show."
According to silver medallist Stéphanie St-Pierre of Victoriaville, Quebec, Heil accomplished her goal. "She really made us look like crap," she joked.
Third place went to Whistlers Sylvia Kerfoot, who has improved with every performance this year, and placed sixth and eighth in the dual moguls and single moguls at the world championships.
In the mens moguls, the field was shocked by the performance of Alexandre Bilodeau, 17, of Rosemere, Quebec. Bilodeau, a member of the development team, was fourth after the qualifier, and nailed the win in the finals with a doubled twisting backflip.
Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau of Drummondville had to settle for second, but tipped his hat to Bilodeau.
"Im very happy with the way I skied, but hes such a great athlete with tremendous talent," said Rousseau. "We really believe he could be one of the best."
Chris Wong of Prince George finished third.
Marc-André Moreau, Canadas top mens mogul skier this season, decided not to compete on the icy and technical course to rest an ankle injury.
In the aerials contest the following day, Kyle Nissen of Calgary landed one of the best jumps of his career to take the gold medal. Warren Shouldice of Calgary was second, and Ottawas Jeff Bean third.
The 2005 World Champion, Steve Omischl, finished fourth after trying two new jumps, including a quad-twisting triple somersault with two twists on the last flip.
The womens title went to Torontos Veronika Bauer for the fourth consecutive year.
"It feels great," she said. "At the same time it feels really bad when I had a poor performance and still won."
Elise Pallard of Edmonton, a member of the development team, took the silver medal, while third place went to Melissa Prefontaine of Grande Prairie, Alberta.