A new season is not necessarily indicative of change at the top of the podium. Indeed, Mikaël Kingsbury won the first event of the season on Saturday in Ruka, Finland.
The reigning Olympic champion took his performance up a notch on each run today. He earned a spot in the men’s second final, where his score of 82.99 allowed him to beat Kazakhstan’s Pavel Kolmakov (82.10 points) and Japan’s Ikuma Horishima (81.12 points).
“It’s incredible! I don’t know what to say! I was injured last year and I missed the Ruka event, which is one of my favourite events of the season,” noted Kingsbury, following his 66th career World Cup victory. “Today (Saturday) feels a bit like redemption. Starting the season on a high note takes some of the pressure off. In 2017, I won here before heading to the Olympics. Hopefully, things will go the same way this year.”
Kingsbury won the first qualifying run, which automatically advanced him to the first final, where he was the only Canadian in the group. His fourth-place finish in the first final was his ticket to the second.
Fellow Canadian men Kerrian Chunlaud (17th place), Brenden Kelly (18th place) and Gabriel Dufresne (25th place) all saw their day come to an end in the second qualifying round. Elliot Vaillancourt placed 36th in the first.
On the women’s side, Chloé Dufour-Lapointe had Canada’s best finish. The Montrealer placed 12th in the first final, which wasn’t enough to advance, as only the top six progressed to the second. British Columbia’s Sofiane Gagnon finished 16th in the same round.
In the grand final, the USA’s Olivia Giaccio (78.51 points) took top position, ahead of Australia’s Jakara Anthony (78.17 points) and the USA’s Kai Owens (76.61 points).
The other Canadian representatives on the Finnish resort’s Battery Run were Maia Schwinghammer (17th place), Berkley Brown (21st place), Justine Dufour-Lapointe (22nd place) and Valérie Gilbert (26th place).
The Moguls World Cup tour will make its next stop in Idre Fjäll, Sweden, next weekend, and will feature individual and dual events.