The Canadian Freestyle Ski Team was a force to be reckoned with once again, this time winning five medals out of a possible 12 at a moguls/dual moguls World Cup event at Inawashiro, Japan.
While Mikael Kingsbury was his usual dominating self in the moguls competition, the big news was Audrey Robichaud's gold medal. She's been improving steadily from week to week, and finally broke a virtual U.S. lock on the top spot in single moguls that's stretched back to the 2010 Olympics. She did win a World Cup gold last year in the dual moguls at Naeba, Japan, the first of her career.
"I really didn't do my best run for the super final and I was actually pretty disappointed in myself, especially after I had such a great run in the finals — so when I got to the bottom and saw the scores I thought they had made a mistake, but I guess all the other girls made some mistakes, too," she said.
"The course was pretty difficult and tricky on the top section so it was really easy to make mistakes."
Chloe Dufour-Lapoint joined Robichaud on the podium in third place, with Nikoa Sudova of Czech Republic taking the silver medal. Justine Dufour-Lapoint also made the super final and placed fourth on the day, while rookie Andi Naude placed eighth and the third Dufour-Lapoint sister, Maxime, was 19th, while Whistler's Chelsea Henitiuk was 21st. American Hannah Kearney, who has won every event since returning from injury this season, placed 23rd after crashes.
"I was for sure really technical and you had to have control, especially off the top air," said Chloe Dufour-Lapointe, "but I think with the steepness of the course and the quality of our jumps thanks to Steve (Omischl, the team's air coach) we are just really prepared. Today everything I've been training just all came together."
In the men's event, Kingsbury extended his podium streak in single moguls to 16, including 12 gold medals. He squeaked into the super final in fourth place, and finally had the run he wanted.
"It was very slick so you really had to control your speed," he said. "I learned from my finals run and managed to put it together for a clutch performance in the end, so I'm super stoked."
This is only Kingsbury's third season on the World Cup tour and he already has 28 podiums to his credit, 16 of them for finishing first.
American Bradley Wilson placed second, while Canada's Alex Bilodeau earned the bronze medal. Marc-Antoine Gagnon and Philippe Marquis were fourth and fifth for Canada, Simon Pouliot-Cavanagh was 14th and Pascal-Olivier Gagne 15th.
The dual moguls is always a little more unpredictable, and Alex Bilodeau earned Canada's only medal the following day after finishing second to Bradley Wilson in the final dual. Kingsbury had a rare off-day in fifth, Marc-Antoine Gagnon was 10th and Simon Pouliot-Cavanagh 11th. Joseph Discoe edged out Sho Kashima of the U.S. for the bronze.
In the women's dual Miki Ito of Japan took the win in front of her home fans, while Mikaela Matthews and Hannah Kearney of the U.S. were second and third.
Chloe Dufour-Lapointe was the top Canadian in sixth, followed by Audrey Robichaud and Justine Dufour-Lapointe in seventh and eighth.