After a strong World Cup season, Canada’s freestyle skiers are heading into the FIS Freestyle Ski World Championships with confidence.
Kicking off the competition in Sierra Nevada, Spain will be the Canadian moguls team, who have the individual event on March 8 followed by the dual moguls on March 9.
At the last world championships two years ago in Kreischberg, Austria, the Canadians made their mark on the podium as Mikaël Kingsbury, Philippe Marquis and Marc-Antoine Gagnon swept the podium in the men’s dual moguls event. Kingsbury also captured silver in the individual moguls. Justine Dufour-Lapointe was also a double medallist in the women’s events.
“The important thing is that we all perform at our best. If the stars are aligned and we do what we have to do, we have all the potential in this team to sweep on the podium,” Marquis said on a pre-worlds conference call. “It is a question of luck and talent and we are able to have these two elements on our side.”
Having just won his sixth straight Crystal Globe as the overall World Cup champion in freestyle skiing, Kingsbury is looking to continue his stellar performances at the worlds. He captured nine gold medals (six in moguls, three in dual moguls) throughout the World Cup circuit, including a string of seven straight to close it out.
“I have a lot of confidence in my skiing, I know what I need to do and I don’t overthink as much as I used to. I see the world championships as a good practice for the Olympics,” he said on the conference call. “I feel ready, my body is at the best it has been this year.”
“This is the event everybody is waiting for. It’s going to be a good test for me, knowing if I can perform under pressure,” Kingsbury added while noting that he’s never missed the podium in six world championship starts. “I’m not too worried about worlds. I’m exactly where I want to be right now.”
On the women’s side, Justine Dufour-Lapointe is looking to repeat her individual gold medal performance from 2015 when she also won dual moguls silver. She finished the 2016-17 World Cup season as the third-ranked women’s moguls skier and is coming off two podium finishes at the last World Cup stop in China.
“I skied for me in China. It was an organic ski and it feels good to be on the podium twice in two races,” she said of her silver and bronze medals. “I feel stronger and more fierce for the world championships.”
All five of the Canadian women mogulists competing at the world championships are ranked in the top-10 of the World Cup standings, with Andi Naude and Chloé Dufour-Lapointe sitting just behind Justine in fourth and fifth, respectively.
The FIS Freestyle Ski World Championships also feature aerials (March 9 and 10), halfpipe (March 16 and 18), slopestyle (March 17 and 19) and ski cross (March 18).
Team Canada at the 2017 FIS Freestyle Ski World Championships:
Men’s & Women’s Ski Cross
Men’s & Women’s Slopestyle
Men’s & Women’s Halfpipe