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Teenage mogul skier wins her first freestyle meda

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Rochon comes close in men’s comp

Two weeks ago Canadian freestyle rookie Jennifer Heil was celebrating her first top-10 finish in her second ever World Cup appearance – a fifth at Deer Valley Utah. Last weekend she topped that with a silver medal in the single moguls at Mont Tremblant.

Once again the 17 year old from Spruce Grove, Alberta, landed the best air marks of the day, backed by solid marks for her turns and the fourth fastest time of the day.

"I just can’t believe it, I’m very surprised," said Heil, who is currently in Grade 12. She has been skiing bumps since she was nine.

"I wasn’t able to train a lot this week because of shin problems so in the semis my focus was just to get a good solid run down and get some confidence. Then in the finals I was 110 per cent into it.

"The course was really tough, especially the turns."

Heil turned heads last season when she won the senior national title at the Canadian Champion as a member of the development team. She’s now ready for this weekend’s world championships at Blackcomb.

"I added new tricks to my repertoire this season – I had never done two spins on a jump before last weekend and I’ve been able to take everything up a level," said Heil.

Kari Traa of Norway continued to win everything, coming first in the qualifier and the main competition. With two golds and a silver in three contests, she is in a league of her own in the standings.

"I like this type of course, with the variety of bumps, but it is a little flat. The landing of the jumps has been hurting my back. I am looking forward to next week’s mogul competition in Blackcomb for the World Championships, since it is one of the steeper courses."

In the men’s competition, Janne Lahtela of Finland surprised nobody when he took the gold medal – his third place finish at Deer Valley the previous weekend was his lowest showing in more than a year.

He squared off against Evan Dybvig of the U.S., matching his twisters against Dybvig’s 360’s and 720’s in the finals. Although Dybvig won the air scores and posted the fastest time, a few minor errors in his turning cost him the gold. Regnier Lafforgue of France was third.

Stephane Rochon wound up in fourth place with a score of 26.45, but was happy with his performance. "I’ve won gold medals with that score so that shows you how strong the competition was today," he said. "I certainly made progress and it’s just a question of fine tuning some aspects of my performance."

Ryan Johnson of Calgary, who missed all of last season due to a knee injury, finished sixth – his best result since his comeback.

Two-time world champion and Olympic gold medalist Jean-Luc Brassard sat out for the event in order to give his knee more time to heal for the World Championships. He injured his knee during the World Cup finals last spring.

Whistler skiers Dale and Jason Begg-Smith finished 34 th and 43 rd respectively.

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