The number 29 doesn't normally inspire tons of reaction.
But it's one that has loomed large in Mikaël Kingsbury's career.
With his first victory of the season in Ruka, Finland, the 23-year-old Canadian moguls legend set a new standard on the FIS moguls win list, eclipsing the 28 wins earned by France's Edgar Grospiron.
Kingsbury's win came in the dual moguls, where he downed France's Benjamin Cavet in the finals on Dec. 12.
"I'm at a loss for words right now, but I feel amazing," Kingsbury, who hails from Deux-Montagnes, Que., said in a release. "I wanted to get this record out of the way as quick as I could. We've had amazing training here the last couple of days. I was consistent all day and that started with winning our qualifications. Edgar (Grospiron) is a legend. It's crazy I've done all this at 23. I feel like the best is still yet to come for me. I can't wait to celebrate this here and at home with my family."
Kingsbury put himself within striking distance of another FIS all-time mark, as the win in Ruka was his eighth dual moguls victory, pulling him even with leader and fellow Canadian Alex Bilodeau.
Kingsbury expressed admiration for Grospiron, but with plenty of competition left in him, hopes to never have to pass the torch.
"It's not every day that you beat a record like this," added Kingsbury. "This is what it must feel like to pass (Wayne) Gretzky in a statistical category. Now I want to extend the record as much as I can and make it untouchable. I'm happy to do this in the first event of the season. I have the yellow bib back too. I couldn't ask for a better start to my year. I felt like something good was going to happen today. Hopefully I can be just as consistent all season."
IFSA North American Junior Freeride Championships coming
April will be a big month for young freeriders.
The International Freeskiers and Snowboarders Association will welcome the best junior riders on the continent for the North American Freeride Championships from April 6 to 9, 2016. The event will act as one of the bookends to Whistler Blackcomb's (WB) 50th season.
"We are very proud the IFSA has chosen Whistler Blackcomb as the host resort for the North American Junior Freeride Championships this year," WB events supervisor Cate Webster said in a release. "This is a great opportunity to showcase the extensive terrain our resort has to offer and we look forward to hosting some of the best up-and-coming ski and snowboard talent here."
Whistler skiers post strong NorAm Cup results
James Crawford and Stefanie Fleckenstein led the way for Whistler Mountain Ski Club-affiliated skiers in recent action at Panorama.
On Dec. 15, Fleckenstein placed sixth overall in the slalom with a time of one minute, 47.73 seconds (1:47.73), placing her about 2.45 seconds back of winner Lila Lapanja of the USA.
The day before, she was 11th overall in the slalom, but found herself on the U21 podium in third after putting up a time of 1:47.45. Teammate Mikayla Martin also squeezed into the top 30 with a 29th-place showing.
"I just stayed focused on what I needed to do and I think I accomplished exactly that," Fleckenstein said in an email on Dec. 13 after her first podium.
In the giant slalom on Dec. 15, Crawford finished 14th overall, but in a race laden with seniors, he notched a third-overall among U21 competitors with his combined time of 2:25.94. Ford Swette was close behind with a 17th-overall finish.
On Dec. 14, Crawford was 10th in the giant slalom, but was third in his age category with a 2:25.64 result.
Crawford's best result of the week was a fourth-place overall finish in the super-G on Dec. 12, where he was also second in his age category. Crawford notched a time of 1:55.99, 0.44 seconds off the podium and 0.81 seconds behind Canadian senior Erik Read. Brodie Seger also cracked the top 30 by placing 16th overall. He was also third on the U21 podium.
Full results are online at www.live-timing.com.
Squamish Triathlon to take one-year hiatus, return in 2017
Run Squamish and the Squamish Triathlon have teamed up in an attempt to help strengthen the contest.
In late November, organizers announced concurrently that Jen Segger and Sean Verret of Run Squamish would assume management of the race from race director John French and that the event would take a one-year hiatus, returning in 2017.
"Run Squamish is looking forward to taking over this event while keeping the legacy of the Squamish Triathlon alive," Segger said in a release. "We have some fresh ideas to bring forward as we start the planning process for the future of this event. Our goal is to provide a great day of racing for both locals and visitors while showcasing the amazing town that we live in."
Organizers expect to have a standard distance and a sprint race. Registration is anticipated to open to the public in late 2016.