Whistler's Marielle Thompson made the most of her recent momentum to pick up her third ski cross silver medal of the season at the World Cup races in Are, Sweden, overcoming some bad luck in her first race (a replacement World Cup event) to make the podium in the second.
"I definitely would like to win but after the start I had to this season, it's great to be feeling good and skiing well," said Thompson, who came into this season as the overall World Cup champion but struggled to even qualify for the finals in the first half of the schedule. She blamed her poor results on technical mistakes, but never lost faith in her skiing.
"Out of the start in the final we were all kind of in a pack," said Thompson. "Going into the first turn I took a good line and followed Fanny (Smith of Switzerland) all the way down. I almost got her at the end."
Katrin Mueller of Switzerland was third while Canada's Georgia Simmerling — in her first full season with the national team after being injured last season — also made the finals and placed fourth.
In the previous race, Thompson was poised to make the final when her ski popped off in the semi-final race. She came back to win the small final and place fifth overall. Simmerling was seventh in that event.
The win went to Anna Woerner of Germany, followed by Marielle Berger Sabbatel of France and Karolina Riemen of Poland.
The men's team, which was strong at the start of the season, struggled in Sweden despite posting fast times in the qualifier and racing well in the heats. In the first race Chris Del Bosco led the team in eighth after crashing in the small final, and was followed in the standings by Brady Leman in 13th and David Duncan in 24th.
Del Bosco opted not to race in the second event to recuperate from his crash, while his teammates continued to have bad luck. David Duncan led the team in 16th, Tristan Tafel was 19th and Brady Leman 25th.
The bad news for the team was the announcement that Kelsey Serwa had reinjured her Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and would require surgery. It's the second time in two seasons that she has had an ACL injury on her left knee.
Bilodeau twice golden
Olympic moguls champion Alex Bilodeau has struggled to regain his once dominant spot on top of the World Cup rankings, mostly because of the unprecedented rise of teammate Mikael Kingsbury — Kingsbury has won the overall moguls title the past two seasons running, and has an incredible 30 podiums — 16 of them for wins — in the last three seasons.
Bilodeau at last came out on top in Sweden, winning both the individual and dual moguls competitions, while Kingsbury was third and second respectively.
"Every time (we race) it's super tight between us and could go either way," said Bilodeau after edging Kingsbury in the dual moguls final. "I knew I needed to do something special to step out and grab the judges' attention."
That something special was a double-twisting backflip off the top air. "It's a trick that's never done in duals, and I didn't even train it because I wanted to keep it a secret," he added. " But I'm pretty confident with that jump. So it was a gamble to do it, but it paid off."
The jump made all the difference, as Kingsbury was almost half a second faster on the course. However, speed only accounts for 20 per cent of an athlete's total score in dual moguls.
Bradley Wilson of the U.S. picked up the bronze medal, while Canadians Philippe Marquis, Cedric Rochon and Marc-Antoine Gagnon made the top 20 in seventh, 17th and 18th respectively.
The women's team finished just shy of the podium in the women's individual event, with the Dufour-Lapointe sisters — Chloe, Justine and Maxime — placing fourth, fifth and seventh respectively. Heather McPhie of the U.S. took the win, followed by teammate Eliza Outtrim and Yulia Galysheva of Kazakhstan. Andi Naude and Audrey Robichaud were 11th and 12th respectively.
In the dual moguls, Chloe Dufour-Lapointe won the bronze medal after her final race against Heather McPhie, while Kearney beat Galysheva for the gold. Justine Dufour-Lapointe was sixth, Maxime Dufour-Lapointe 13th, Audrey Robichaud 16th and Andi Naude 18th.
After the races, Naude was selected as FIS's Rookie of the Year for her season, where she placed in the top 10 six times.