Whistler skier leads moguls effort 

One medal and a strong team showing in World Cup

The Canadian mogul team didn’t win any medals at Mont Tremblant last weekend, but an unprecedented seven skiers made it through the qualifiers to the finals. With only the top-12 moving on, that means almost one in three finalists was wearing the maple leaf on Saturday.

In the women’s contest, the top finalist was Whistler’s Sylvia Kerfoot in sixth place overall. It was her best finish in a World Cup single moguls event, and just what she needed to get her skiing back on track after she missed the finals in the first event of the season.

"It gives me confidence for the rest season," said Kerfoot. "This really gets me back to where I wanted to be at the start of the season. I trained really hard in the off-season, so it was frustrating when my first event didn’t go the way I wanted it to."

Kerfoot has also been rehabilitating her back after a training injury. It’s not 100 per cent yet, "but I’m still working on it, and now I know that I can push it a little and still feel good."

According to Kerfoot, she barely squeaked into the finals in 10 th place. After meeting that goal, she decided to push herself a little harder. "I knew I had an opportunity for sure, and decided I could go a little bigger on my jumps and ski a little faster. I had a pretty good run, and my backflip iron cross felt nice and big, probably the biggest I’ve landed in a contest, so I was happy with that." Kerfoot’s top air was a 360.

Although it’s only been just over a year since the FIS allowed competitors to land backflips in competition, Kerfoot says most of the girls are using them these days. Part of the reason is that the degree of difficulty is higher than other jumps. The other part is a new rule change that athletes can’t do the same jump off both airs, forcing competitors to add new tricks.

Now that she knows she can make the finals and finish sixth, Kerfoot is hoping to improve even further in her next competition and finish in the top-five.

"I definitely want to better what I’ve started, and I plan to work on that and keep running in the right direction," she said. "We have the world championships in March, and I want to get better and better, ski a little faster, make my jumps a little bigger."

It will be hard to fit in training with athletes competing almost every week over the next two months leading up to the world championships. On the Jan. 21-23 weekend the team will be competing in Fernie before heading to Deer Valley in Utah. After that it’s Asia, Europe and the world championships in Ruka, Finland.

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