In most countries and most sports, a win at nationals is not that big a deal compared to your results on the international circuit. The nationals are a fun, low-pressure event to celebrate the season.
Not so for Canada's mogul title, as the national team boasts three men and three women in the top 10 of the world rankings, plus the reigning Olympic champion, two world champions, and the overall World Cup winner for the last two years running. A win in moguls is actually pretty significant given the level of competition.
At Val Sainte-Come, Quebec this past weekend, Canada's World Cup team took on a field of close to 80 skiers from across the country, and came out on top.
In the men's single moguls competition, Mikael Kingsbury — the World Champion and overall World Cup title holder for the past two seasons — defended his national title for the fourth straight year, while Philippe Marquis and Marc-Antoine Gagnon placed second and third out of 44 starters.
"It's cool to win the title to be the national champion, you know we're on the World Cup racing for Canada all year and now we have a chance to ski at home and see all the young kids," said Kingsbury. "I remember when I was young I loved to ski at nationals against all the World Cup guys, so now I'm on the other side and I'm just having fun, and it's a great title."
In the women's competition, Chloe Dufour-Lapoint — the world champion in dual moguls — placed first, edging out sister Maxime. Penticton's Andi Naude, named FIS's "Rookie of the Year" for her performances on the World Cup circuit, placed third.
Whistler's Nicola Halliwell, a member of the B.C. Freestyle Ski Team, also competed, placing 15th.
In the national aerials championships, Travis Gerrits — fresh off his best season yet with a silver medal at the World Championships and two other silver medals at World Cup events — placed first ahead of Marc-Antoine Labbe-Giguere and Dave Langlais-Blais.
On the women's side, Sabrina Guerin — Canada's only female athlete competing in World Cup this past season — was first, followed by Maude Potvin-Gilbert and Melissa Corbo.