Canadian freestyle skiers red hot 

Team combines for 10 podium appearances over two weeks

The last two weeks have been exceptional even by the Canadian Freestyle Ski Team's standards, with 10 podium appearances and almost twice as many athletes making the top-12.

Last weekend the freestyle ski team was at Lake Placid, New York to compete in moguls and aerials competitions.

In the first aerials event on Friday, Jan. 16 Steve Omischl of North Bay, Ontario took the gold medal with a score of 246.01, almost 10 points ahead of Ales Valenta of the Czech Republic. Dmitri Dashinski was third.

Omischl was joined in the top-12 by Calgary's Kyle Nissen in eighth and Ottawa's Jeff Bean in ninth.

In the women's contest 21-year-old Deidra Dionne of Red Deer, Alberta was seventh overall. Jiao Wang and Nina Li of China took the top two spots, followed by Lydia Ierodiaconou of Australia.

In the moguls on Saturday, 20-year-old Jennifer Heil of Spruce Grove, Alberta took the gold medal, edging out Olympic champion Shannon Bahrke of the U.S. Stephanie St-Pierre of Victoriaville, Quebec, 18, won the bronze medal.

The Canadians were shut out of the men's podium, but three Quebecers - Jean Francois Therrien of Laval, Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau of Drummondville, and Marc-Andre Moreau - were sixth, 10 th and 12 th respectively.

In 13 th , just one spot out of the finals, was Whistler Dale Begg-Smith who is competing for Australia.

The podium spots went to Janne Lahtela of Finland, followed by Luke Westerlund and Travis-Antone Cabral of the U.S.

In the second and final day of aerials on Sunday, Omischl won his second straight gold medal with a score of 246.42, jumping to the front of the World Cup standings. He narrowly edged out Alexei Grishin of Belarus, who score a 246.05, and Ryan Blais of Grande Prairie, Alberta was third with a 245.13 - his second podium appearance in as many weeks.

"It's nice to have this win today, with Alisa (Camplin) doing well," said Omischl.

Australia's Alisa Camplin, Omischl's girlfriend, took the gold medal in the women's aerials ahead of Ierodiaconou and Assol Slivets of Belarus. None of the Canadian women qualified for the finals.

Over three days at Lake Placid, the Canadians took five out of 18 medals, including three out of six gold medals.

The Canadians' winning streak started at Mont Tremblant the week before, on Jan. 10, with St-Pierre and Heil finishing first and second respectively in the women's moguls. Elisa Kurylowicz of Manotick, Ontario was ninth, giving Canada three athletes in the top-12.

In the men's moguls, Moreau took his first ever World Cup gold. Three of his teammates also made the top-12 - Vincent Marquis of Ste-Foy, Quebec was sixth, Chris Wong of Prince George landed in seventh and Jean Francois Therrien was 11 th .

In the aerials contest the following day, Dionne took the bronze medal.

Warren Shouldice, 21, of Calgary took silver in the men's event. Blais was fifth, Omischl was 10 th and Nissen of Calgary was 12 th .

The Canadian team hopes to keep the streak rolling at home this weekend when the FIS Freestyle World Cup comes to Fernie, B.C. for aerials and dual moguls events. You can follow the action online at www.freestyleski.com.

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