On Saturday, Mikaël Kingsbury picked up right where he left off last spring, winning the first World Cup of the mogul season at the Ruka Ski Resort in Finland.
As per usual, the “King of Moguls” left his opponents with very little room to manoeuvre. He dominated the day from start to finish, climbing to the top of the podium thanks to his score of 84.50 in the big final.
“It was a great day! I skied well all week, but even more so today. I felt good both mentally and physically. It’s a great way to kick off the new season,” said Kingsbury a few minutes after securing the 75th World Cup victory of his career.
In addition, it was the Canadian’s tenth win at Ruka, and he was able to enjoy it in the presence of his parents. “I love skiing [at Ruka]! And it’s even more special this year, because my parents are here for the first time. It’s nice for us to be able to share it,” added the native of Deux-Montagnes.
The three-time Olympic medallist and 2021-22 Crystal Globe recipient was joined on the podium by Ikuma Horishima of Japan (80.48) and Matt Graham of Australia (80.12).
“The competition was fierce! I’m proud to have earned the yellow leader’s bib for the next competition,” concluded Kingsbury, who will pursue another victory next weekend at the Idre Fjäll resort in Sweden, on the second leg of the tour.
Also at Ruka on Saturday, Gabriel Dufresne was the only other Canadian to advance past the qualifiers. The athlete from Joliette, Quebec, finished in 11th place with a score of 75.24, which was not sufficient to advance him to the big final, which is reserved for the top six.
Elliot Vaillancourt (Drummondville, QC, 18th), Kerrian Chunlaud (Sainte-Foy, QC, 22nd), Alexandre Lavoie (Québec, QC, 23rd), Daniel Tanner (Calgary, AB, 33rd) and Julien Viel (Mont-Sainte-Anne, QC, 38th) were all eliminated in the qualification rounds, as were Laurianne Desmarais-Gilbert (Sainte-Adèle, QC) and Maïa Schwinghammer(Saskatoon, SK), who just missed making the top 16 in the preliminaries and moving on to the first elimination round.
They finished 18th and 19th, respectively, in the event that was dominated by Jakara Anthony of Australia. Anthony won the contest with a score of 81.69, ahead of Perrine Laffont of France (78.33) and Anri Kawamura of Japan (78.33).
The Ruka World Cup will conclude on Sunday with the aerials events. Marion Thénault(Sherbrooke, QC), Flavie Aumond (Lac-Beauport, QC), Miha Fontaine (Lac-Beauport, QC), Émilie Nadeau (Prévost, QC), Alexandre Duchaine (Québec, QC), Lewis Irving(Québec, QC), Victor Primeau (Lac-Beauport, QC), Pierre-Olivier Côté (Lac-Beauport, QC), Anthony Noël (Québec, QC) et Nicolas Martineau (Mirabel, QC) will represent Canada on the slopes.