Watch the best on the bumps and rub shoulders with Team Canada
Speed, agility, flips and turns are all part of the FIS Freestyle World Cup.
Photo by Teemu Moisio
CALGARY – All it takes is a little bit of math to appreciate the incredible amount of athleticism involved in a FIS Freestyle World Cup competition single moguls event. Consider that each race is about 23 seconds for the men and 26 seconds for the women on a 230-metre long course. That's four moguls per second on slopes that can have a 28-degree pitch.
And we haven't even mentioned the flips and spins that happen in between all that speed.
On Jan. 30, Canada Olympic Park will be the place to be to watch and cheer on the Canadian Freestyle team during the sixth FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup presented by the Waterloo Innovation Network.
For members of the Canadian Freestyle Team, competing on home turf brings an extra level excitement to the event. For some, it’s being cheered on and reconnecting with friends, family and spectators, while for others it brings back memories of past victories in Calgary.
And to put the strength of the Canadian team into perspective for anyone thinking of attending the event, Canada has won the FIS Nations Cup 11 times in the past 12 years, which is awarded to the most winning country in the sport of moguls skiing every year.
The team is already looking strong in competition this year, so this could be Calgary’s chance to see history in the making.
To say the athletes on the Canadian team are pumped about the Calgary event, is an understatement.
Spectators should be just as excited to watch athletes like Mikaël Kingsbury – who nudged out French skier Benjamin Cavet of France in the double moguls most recently, and took the opening World Cup win in Ruka, Finland. The victory catapulted Kingsbury to the top of the heap with 29 wins, on the all-time FIS World Cup men’s mogul circuit.
Over the weekend, spectators will get to see more than 100 athletes from 15 countries compete in the single and double moguls’ events.
Here’s more about the Canadians to watch:
King of the Moguls - Micaël Kingsbury
Kingsbury, 23, of Deux-Montagnes, Que., has had a remarkable couple of years. He was the silver medal winner at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and was last season’s moguls champion and the recipient of the FIS Crystal Globe.
To launch into another spectacular season, Kingsbury won the season-opening event in Ruka, Finland. That win made history. Kingsbury, at the age of 23, is now the all-time FIS Freestyle World Cup record holder for men’s mogul skiers.
This will be Kingsbury’s sixth time competing at the Calgary FIS Freestyle World Cup and he hopes to do the same thing as he did at the last five events - finish on the top tier of the podium.
“Calgary has always been a special place for me to ski. I have had great success these past five years winning gold there and I hope to do the same this year. Actually, that would be really awesome!” says Kingsbury.
“I don’t know exactly what it is about Canada Olympic Park but I just ski well there. I always like to compete in Canada with the crowd cheering us on. It’s a special feeling to be carried by the encouragements. It gives me an extra boost,” he said.
It’ll be interesting to see if Kingsbury, along with team-mates Philippe Marquis and Marc-Antoine Gagnon, can sweep the podium again. The 2015 FIS World Championships in Austria was the first ever podium sweep recorded by any athletes that have competed for the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association.
Cheer on the athletes from around the world as they go for the gold.
Two years ago, local mogul skier Clare Lambert, 21, was a forerunner at the COP FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup. Last year she finished mid-pack in her first appearance at home. And, she’s thrilled to be back in Calgary racing.
“Competing in front of a home crowd is a really special experience. I love it because my friends and family are there to cheer me on, in person, which is pretty rare!” said Lambert.
“Competing in Canada is really exciting because everyone at the bottom is rooting for our team and that kind of energy is really motivating.”
Calgary's Clare Lambert will be competing.
Remember the three sisters from Montreal, Quebec who all competed at the Sochi? Watch for the trio of Maxime, Chloé and Justine Dufour-Lapointe while in Calgary. Chloé won bronze in the race in Ruka but keep your eyes on all of them. The trio is in a good position to get to the podium all season, because their toughest competitor recently retired.
The Dufour-Lapointe sisters will be at Winsport COP on Jan. 30.
Photo by Chad Buchholz
Unlike a random field of moguls naturally created on a ski run, the moguls for a FIS race, such as this one COP, are constructed to create a consistent 230-metre-long course with bumps spaced to offer the athletes a challenging course. Two jump zones are included for the athletes to impress the judges with flips, spins or loops. The judges have to watch intently to score for turning style, jumps and speed. Each race is approximately 23 seconds for the men and 26 seconds for the ladies. Do the math and that means they hit four moguls per second on slopes that tend to have a 28-degree pitch.
New this year is the opportunity to purchase a $25 ticket to the Freestyle Friends & Family Zone for the races on Jan. 30. The reserved area gives spectators a perfect view of the entire course, lunch, a chance to win prizes and free giveaways, and meet members of Team Canada. If it’s a chilly day, the big, warm tent is nearby. All proceeds go to the Alberta Freestyle and the CRSA Athletes Fund. Tickets will sell fast, so click on Mountain Cultures to reserve now.
Sunday is the chance for the public to learn from the best. Many of the athletes from Team Canada will be on the slopes with their skis on and ready to offer tips to anyone wanting to improve their moves on the bumps. Kingsbury says it was an event just like this where he met Olympic Gold medal winner, Jean-Luc Brassard, which inspired him to pursue his dreams.
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