Canadian Freestyle Ski Team athletes reached the podium at the World Cup at Lake Placid and the second stop of the Winter Dew Tour at Killington, Vermont this past weekend, even as they mourned teammate and freeskier Sarah Burke.
Leading the charge once again was Mikael Kingsbury, who won his fourth consecutive moguls competition at the fourth stop of the FIS World Cup tour. Kingsbury finished with a score of 25.32, over a point ahead of American Patrick Deneen's 24.0. Philippe Marquist brought home the bronze medal for Canada in 21.86.
As well as two of three podiums, three other Canadians qualified for the finals in the top 16. Alex Bilodeau, taking most of this season off to train and refocus, placed fifth, Marc-Antoine Gagnon was sixth, Whistler's Eddie Hicks cracked the top 10 in ninth and Cedric Rochon placed 16th.
"It's perfect right now," said Kingsbury of his season. "First place in qualifiers and finals in every event and I want to keep that going all season. That's key for me right now."
In the women's contest Canada earned another podium with Justine Dufour-Lapointe winning her third straight silver medal, behind American Hannah Kearney who extended her own World Cup streak to 12 wins. In third place was Nikola Sudova of Czech Republic.
Chloe Dufour-Lapointe just missed the four skier super final in fifth place, with Maxime Dufour-Lapointe placing eighth and Audrey Robichaud 13th.
The aerials team didn't win any medals, but Olivier Rochon placed fourth in the first event and seventh in the second to keep the yellow leader's bib.
Travis Gerrits finished 11th and 10th in the men's competitions, but injured his knee on landing during the second event and may be out for the rest of the season.
There were no Canadians in the women's competition, with the aerials team rebuilding after injuries and retirements.
The freeskiers on the freestyle team headed to Killington, Vermont for the second stop of the Winter Dew Tour this past weekend. It was a solemn occasion for most of the skiers, but the show went on.
Despite the injury to Burke, Canadian athletes made a decision to travel to the platinum level AFP contest. They found out Burke died while they were taking their training runs on Feb. 19.
Vernon's Justin Dorey finished fourth in the men's superpipe contest, missing his chance to podium with a mistake on his second run.
"I've been struggling with the pipe all week," said Dorey.
"It's been icy and it's been hard to hold and edge and my first trick, my double 12, was giving me trouble. So, during training I was really worried but I managed to put one down in finals; it was sketchy, but I landed it and I'm pretty happy because I have been having a tough time the last few days. It's been a very tough week."
Whistler's Simon D'Artois also competed, placing 10th in the semi-final.
In the women's superpipe, only Shannon Gunning elected to compete and finished just shy of the finals. The top three were Americans Maddie Bowman, Devin Logan and Brita Sigourney.
There was also a slopestyle contest. Kaya Turski won the women's event for Canada and dedicated the win to Sarah.
"I know she would have wanted me to compete and do my best, so I went and did what I could today," she said. "I'm just thinking about her family and wishing the best for them."
Dara Howell was sixth for Canada.
In the men's slopestyle it was another American sweep with Tom Wallisch in first, Booby Brown second and Nick Goepper third. JF Houle was the top Canadian in eighth. Houle, who has been sidelined with injuries, was happy with his day.
"I wasn't super ready because I have had a couple of injuries so I haven't trained that much," he said. "It's boosting my confidence so much going into X Games next week," Alex Beaulieu-Marchand was ninth, Alexi Godbout 11th, Alex Bellemare 13th and Philip Casabon 14th.
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