Canadian moguls king Mikael Kingsbury had a glimpse of his future on Monday.
And the future was bright.
Kingsbury, one of only three Canadians to compete on the Sochi Olympic course, won the event, a Europa Cup.
Europa Cup is usually reserved for developmental skiers, but athletes could not resist a chance to become acquainted with the course they will navigate at the 2014 Games. The site is Rose Khutor, the host venue for the freestyle, alpine and sliding events near Sochi.
Kingsbury, of Deux-Montagnes, Que., won with a score of 25.68 over Russian brothers Sergey and Andrey Volkov, who trailed him in second and third at 24.91 and 24.22.
Another Canadian, Marc-Antoine Gagnon of Terrebonne, Que., finished fourth at 23.31 over a course that was very snowy.
Reigning Olympic champion Alex Bilodeau of Rosemere, Que., who is competing only part time this year, made the trip to Sochi to try out the course, but fell ill and did not compete.
The Canadian women didn’t compete either, choosing to train on the Olympic mogul course. The women still have three remaining World Cup stops on the tour.
The course is a little flatter and shorter than the majority of World Cup courses, with a 28 degree incline and a distance of about 240 metres.
“This was a very difficult week weather-wise, which was excellent for us,” said Peter Judge, chief executive officer of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association.
“It was the worst of Nagano [Japan]and Cypress [Vancouver]all rolled into one,” he said. “There was sun, fog, and pounding wet snow.”
Judge said the conditions gave the Canadian team a crucial learning experience. “Just to have it in their heads what this place is all about makes the experience far less onerous for anyone who might be tripped up easily by changing conditions,” Judge said.
Kingsbury said he was happy to compete on the Sochi course, even though the event came in the midst of a busy World Cup schedule. “And winning today is sure good for my confidence,” he said. “Now I know the course and I know that I can win on it and I know it will be hard with the weather. So all of that is good for the Olympics.”
The Canadian mogul team heads next to Are, Sweden for a World Cup on March 9 and 10, while the aerial team will move to downtown Moscow for a World Cup on a man-made slope at the centre of the city on March 10.
Kingsbury is far out in front in the race for the Crystal Globe, not only in moguls skiing but in the overall freestyle skiing race.
In moguls, Kingsbury leads with 960 points over his closest competitor, Jeremy Cota of the United States, with 504. Canada has three men in the top five.
In the overall category, Kingsbury leads with 96 points over Canadian aerialist Olivier Rochon of Gatineau, Que., second with 57 points.
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