Tag Archives: canadian freestyle ski team

image2Over the past 10 years, numerous Canadian snow sport athletes have cemented themselves in sporting history. In celebration of the 148th birthday of Canada, we took a look back at historical moments and performances that have asserted Canada’s international dominance in snow sports and have helped define our nation.

1. Family first – Alexandre Bilodeau (Freestyle Skiing) –2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics: After Canada failed to win a gold medal when it hosted the Olympics in Montreal 1976 and Calgary 1988, the country was eager to see who would end that drought in Vancouver. On the second day of competition, Alexandre Bilodeau provided the breakthrough and secured Canada’s first Olympic medal on home soil. But it wasn’t just about the gold medal, as Bilodeau celebrated by embracing his brother Frederic, who is diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. The 2010 Olympic Champion went on to defend his gold medal in men’s moguls at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, finishing just ahead of teammate Mikael Kingsbury who won the silver. Once again, Bilodeau reacted the same way as he did 4 years prior, by dedicating his medal to Fredric, calling him his hero and biggest inspiration

2. The golden sister act – Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe (Freestyle Skiing) –2014 Sochi Winter Olympics: The only thing that could possibly be better than winning a gold medal is winning a gold medal and standing on the podium with a sibling who has shared the same journey as you. No one will forget the unbelievable and intense day of competition for ladies’ moguls, when the Dufour-Lapointe sisters took their sports on the podium holding hands. History was made when Justine took hom the gold and Chloe secured the silver medal in women’s moguls at Sochi 2014.

3. Uncorking the potential of snowboarding – Mark McMorris (Snowboarding) – 2012 X-Games in Aspen Colorado: At the young age of 18, Mark McMorris shocked the snow sport world by throwing down the first-ever backside triple cork 1440 in X-Games competition history. Not only did Mark change the gold-standard for Big Air competition as we know it today, but his larger-than-life performances at the 2012 X-Games led to a double gold in big air and men’s slopestyle…need we say more.

4. Sarah Burke lives on forever – Debut of women’s Super-Pipe skiing at the Olympics (Freestyle Skiing) – 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics: As one of the world’s top freestyle skiers, Sarah Burke was a four-time Winter X-Games gold medalist in superpipe. Sarah led the efforts to get the women’s X-Games sport into the Olympics but died in a January 2012 training accident before she could see her dream realized. However, Sarah’s legacy lived on as she had successfully lobbied the International Olympic Committee to add women’s superpipe to the Olympic program for the 2014 Winter Olympics. During the 2014 Winter Olympics, Trennon Payner, the Canadian freestyle ski coach, payed tribute to Sarah by speading some of her ashes on the halfpipe course prior to the inaugural women’s superpipe event. In essence, the efforts of Sarah Burke were influential to the Olympic movement and the 2014 Sochi Olympics solidified Sarah’s legacy living on forever.

5. A golden dream – Maelle Ricker (Snowboarding) – 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics: Maelle Ricker etched her way into the history books and inspired women all across the nation by becoming the first Canadian woman to win Olympic gold on home soil at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Maelle won her gold medal in ladies snowboard cross and as a North Vancouver native had the opportunity to make history just minutes away from her childhood home – a true dream come true.

6. Igniting the mogul movement – Jennifer Heil (Freestyle Skiing) – 2006 Torino Winter Olympics: Heil’s greatest accomplishment in freestyle skiing was her gold medal victory in the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy. After narrowly missing the podium as an 18-year-old rookie in the 2002 Olympics, Heil blew away the competition in 2006. After finishing first in the qualifying run, Heil posted a score of 26.50 in the final run, 0.85 better than defending Olympic gold medallist, Kari Traa to take the gold medal. Not only was this Heil’s first ever Olympic medal, it was also the first ever Olympic medal for Canada in women’s moguls and the first medal for Canada in the 2006 Olympic Games.

7. The king is crowned – Mikael Kingsbury (Freestyle Skiing) – 2014/2015 Season: Mikael Kingsbury had a historic 2014/2015 season by winning his fourth consecutive crystal globe as the overall season points leader. Along the way, the King also tied the record for world cup wins with his 28th, and broke his own record for consecutive world cup wins in a season with 7. Oh and in case you forgot, Mikael also won a silver medal at Sochi, placing just behind teammate Alexandre Bilodeau – but at the young age of 22, Kingsbury is just getting started.

8. Can you do the 1-2 step? – Marielle Thompson & Kelsey Serwa – 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics: If it hasn’t been made clear up until this point, Canada is pretty good at freestyle skiing. In addition to the Alexandre Bilodeau/Mikael Kingsbury and Dufour-Lapointe sisters 1st and 2nd place finishes in men’s and women’s moguls, Canada showed that their freestyle skiing game was not restricted to moguls alone.  The ladies ski cross duo of Marielle Thompson and Kelsey Serwa completed the 3rd 1-2 finish for Canadian freestyle skiing at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, with Thompson winning gold and Serwa capturing silver. These ski cross medals contributed to a late surge in the Canadian medal count and solidified Canada’s dominance of the freestyle events at the Sochi Olympics (which resulted in four golds, four silvers and a bronze, while generating three 1-2 finishes).

9. Age is just a number – Dara Howell (Freestyle Skiing) –2014 Sochi Winter Olympics: At the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Dara Howell proved that age is just a number by taking home the gold medal in the inaugural women’s slopestyle event. In a dazzling display of substance and style, the Huntsville, Ontario native showed that her future is very promising and despite being only 19 years old, she can put on a world class performance.

10. Jumping into the history books – Taylor Henrich (Ski Jumping) – 2014/2015 Season: At only 18 years of age, Taylor Henrich already has a spot in women’s Olympic ski jumping history by taking the first run of the inaugural ski jumping event at the 2014 Sochi games, becoming one of the first women to compete in the sport at that level. Taylor Henrich continued to lead the charge for Canadian ski jumping by becoming the first Canadian woman to capture a World Cup ski jumping medal when she placed third earlier on the World Cup circuit on January 23, 2015. Additionally, Taylor`s fifth place finish was the highest ever for a female Canadian ski jumper at the World Championships.

This past year has been monumental for Mikaël Kingsbury. Some of his most outstanding accomplishments included a gold and silver medal at the World Championships, two Crystal Globes and seven straight World Cup wins.

In the most impressive season of his young career, Kingsbury has been presented with the Male Athlete of the Year Award by the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association. This award goes out to the best Canadian male freestyle skier of the 2014-2015 season.

“It’s a big honour for me,” said Kingsbury. “We have the best freestyle skiing team in the world. I look up to many of those athletes on our team too. It’s a great feeling. It motivates me to do more.”

After a disappointing start to the World Cup circuit with a ninth place finish in Ruka, Finland, Kingsbury bounced back with an amazing run of seven consecutive World Cup victories.

“I told myself to stop focusing on the result and to start focusing on myself,” Kingsbury explained. “I have the ability to win all the time. From there I just tried to ski the best I possibly can and managed to win seven World Cups in a row. I felt at some point the confidence and I knew I could do it. It was pretty special.”

The 22 year-old out of Deux-Montagnes, Quebec began his win streak on home soil at a World Cup event in Calgary, Alberta. From there, he was untouchable to his competition, leading to both the Crystal Globe award for men’s moguls and the overall Crystal Globe for all men’s freestyle skiing.

“It took off a lot of pressure winning in Calgary. I like the course there. I went into Deer Valley on a high and ended up winning there to reclaim the yellow bib. I never wanted to let it go after that. It was an awesome feeling to be back on top and to aim for the Crystal Globe. To me it’s like the Stanley Cup. Winning the Crystal Globe was a big goal of mine.”

On top of all these accomplishments, Kingsbury also won the World Title in dual moguls and earned silver in the mogul competition at the World Championships in Kreischberg, Austria. His seven straight World Cup victories broke the record originally set by American Jeremy Bloom set in 2005. Kingsbury had tied the streak once before during the 2011-2012 season

“Jeremy Bloom was an amazing athlete. He was one of my idols when I was growing up,” said Kingsbury. “I used to watch him at a young age and actually remember when he got the record. I always thought it was one of the hardest records to achieve. The thought of him winning six in a row is crazy. To be able to tie it a couple years ago and now break it was an honour.”

The seventh consecutive win also marked Kingsbury’s 28th career World Cup victory, which tied the record held by French skier, Edgar Grospiron. While tying this record was a huge accomplishment, Kingsbury is determined to be the sole record holder by next season.

“For this summer I’m motivated by the all-time wins record. I know I just need one more World Cup victory. Edgar Grospiron was also an idol of mine. That’s a record I never thought I’d be at.”

In the long term, Kingsbury has his sights set on Olympic gold. While this is a major goal of his, he will take things one step at a time, continuing to work on his individual skills. Despite being the best mogul skier of the World circuit right now, he is not satisfied yet and will push himself even harder over the next few years.

“I’m just going to take things one year at a time, but I would like to improve on what I did in Sochi. I’m going to train hard and be ready. I’m still young and I still have a lot more to do in my career.”

Moguls2Presented to the most outstanding Canadian female freestyle skier at the national level, Olympic and World champion Justine Dufour-Lapointe has received the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association Female Athlete of the Year award.

“I’m really excited that the CFSA created these awards and I think it’s a great way for us to push our goals,” said Dufour-Lapointe. “Being the recipient of the Female Athlete of the Year Award is a privilege and feels very special. I’m grateful for this recognition. I think we will all strive higher to win this title in the future.”

The 21 year-old Montreal native holds an extensive list of accomplishments which led her to be chosen for this award. The most significant among her victories this season was her World Championship gold medal in Kreischberg, Austria.

Less than one year after her gold medal performance in the Sochi Olympic Games, Dufour-Lapointe added a moguls World Championship title to her rapidly growing list of achievements. With a score of 87.25 points, she was able to beat out her American rival Hannah Kearney who recorded 85.66.

“Being able to win the World Championships after winning a gold medal at the Olympic Winter Games was great. I realize how special it is now,” said Dufour-Lapointe as she reflected on the past season. “After an Olympic year, this season was all about the World Championships. I really pushed myself there. I was really proud of myself. It was my ultimate goal for this season.”

While the World Championship gold medal was the biggest victory of Dufour-Lapointe’s season, she had several other podium finishes to accompany it. She collected first place World Cup finishes in the Deer Valley dual moguls competition and in the moguls contest in Lake Placid. On both occasions, she came in ahead of second place American, Kearney.

Dufour-Lapointe also received a silver medal in dual moguls at the World Championships, a second place finish in the moguls competition in Deer Valley and two third place finishes in World Cup events. As a result, Dufour-Lapointe finished second overall in the Crystal Globe standings for mogul skiers.

After coming out on top in both the 2014 Winter Olympic Games and the 2015 World Championships, the youngest of the Dufour-Lapointe sisters has demonstrated an impressive ability to perform at her best when the stakes are the highest.

“I’ve always been a really competitive girl. I love the feeling of competing. I’ve been that way since I was a kid,” Dufour-Lapointe explained. “I had trouble back then training because I just wanted to race. As I grew up, I got used to it and started to realize that the preparation was important to be ready.”

Dufour-Lapointe’s focus going forward into next season and the following years is on preparation and training for the next Olympic Games in South Korea, as well as building a relationship with her new coaches.

“Right now it’s all about the four year Olympic cycle that we started this year. I want to get closer to my coaches, try new tricks, and push myself more. I just want to be a better skier,” said Dufour-Lapointe. “The Crystal Globe is my next goal. It’s not about being great on one day, but being consistent throughout the season. It’s a different mindset.”

Through all of her recent success, Dufour-Lapointe continues to push herself, always seeking improvement and trying to become a better skier. She remains focused on her personal goals, regardless of what it takes to accomplish them.

“You have to think about your goals every day. It’s not always about winning, sometimes it’s about the process to get you there.”

heil-jenn-620-951x442One of the greatest Canadian freestyle skiers of all time, Jennifer Heil, was honoured with an induction into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame on April 22, 2015. The 32 year-old Spruce Grove, Alberta native has been an inspiration to young Canadian athletes. In her 10 years on the moguls World Cup circuit, Heil collected an impressive 58 podium finishes, including 25 wins. In light of her most recent accomplishment, the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association revisits some of the highlights of Heil’s outstanding skiing career:

1) Olympic Gold in Torino
Heil’s greatest accomplishment in freestyle skiing was her gold medal victory in the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy. After narrowly missing the podium as an 18-year-old rookie in the 2002 Olympics, Heil blew away the competition in 2006. After finishing first in the qualifying run, Heil posted a score of 26.50 in the final run, 0.85 better than defending Olympic gold medallist, Kari Traa to take the gold medal. Not only was this Heil’s first ever Olympic medal, it was also the first ever Olympic medal for Canada in women’s moguls and the first medal for Canada in the 2006 Olympic Games.

2) Olympic Silver in Vancouver
Another huge achievement was winning an Olympic silver medal on home soil at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. As the defending Olympic gold medallist with the unwavering support of the home crowd, Jennifer Heil came out with an exceptional final run and finished second overall to give Canada its first medal of the 2010 Olympic Games and its first Olympic medal at home in over 20 years.

3) 3 Dual Moguls World Championships Gold Medals
Throughout her career, Jennifer Heil has found the most success in the dual moguls competition on the World Cup circuit. She won the dual moguls World Championships gold medal on three separate occasions in her career. In 2005, Heil defeated Kari Traa in the dual moguls final to claim her first ever World Championship gold medal in Ruka, Finland. Her second dual moguls victory came at the 2007 World Championship in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy. Her third victory in World Championships dual moguls came in 2011, her final year on the world circuit, as she defeated Canadian teammate Chloe Dufour-Lapointe to capture the gold.

4) 2011 Moguls World Championships Gold Medal
In the final World Championship event of her freestyle skiing career, Jennifer Heil won her first ever single moguls world title to sweep the women’s moguls World Championship with gold medals in both moguls events. In the single moguls event, Heil defeated long-time American rival Hannah Kearney to take the 2011 title in Deer Valley, USA.

5) 2011 Athlete of the Year
In 2011, Heil was named the Canadian Press Female Athlete of the Year. The trophy, officially named the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award, was given to Heil in a year that saw her win two World Championship gold medals.

6) 2007 Overall Crystal Globe Winner
In 2007, Heil had arguably the best season of her career, as she won medals in eight of the nine World Cup events that she competed in. With this success, she earned the Overall Crystal Globe Award, meaning she was not only the women’s moguls World Cup champion, but the overall World Cup champion of freestyle skiing.

7) 2001 International Ski Federation Rookie of the Year
In 2001, her first year on the World Cup circuit, Heil was named the International Ski Federation’s Rookie of the Year. This award was received after she placed fourth overall in women’s moguls World Cup standings, finishing on the podium twice and recording five finishes in the top 10.

In addition to her outstanding athletic career, Jennifer Heil has also made significant contributions to a number of different charitable organizations, most notably co-founding the B2Ten organization. This group helps to raise money for amateur Canadian athletes, in order to assist them in pursuing their dreams of becoming Olympic athletes. Not only has Jennifer inspired young athletes to achieve greatness, but she is also helping to make their dreams a reality with the B2Ten organization.

Snow Sports Canada and the CFSA is proud to recognize all of her accomplishments, especially her well-deserved induction into Canada Sports Hall of Fame. The hard work and dedication that Jennifer continues to put into Canadian sport has inspired a generation of athletes to dream a little bigger and be the best version of themselves inside and outside of their sport.

Moguls Sweep 2

Canada has a history of producing strong moguls’ athletes. From Alexandre Bilodeau’s performance in Vancouver to bring Canada its first ever Olympic gold medal on home soil, to the emergence of the Dufour-Lapointe sisters and Mikael Kingsbury, there has been no shortage of great performances by Canadian moguls athletes.

The momentum from those games in 2010 hasn’t stopped, and the Canadian moguls’ team has continued the strong performance into the 2014-2015 season.

And what a season it has been so far! After just two months of competition they have won an incredible 16 medals on the world cup circuit, seven of which have been gold. Recent success at the World Championships in Kreischberg, Austria was highlighted by a sweep of the men’s dual moguls podium, part of a six-medal performance in Austria.

When the team heads to Lake Placid this Thursday for a FIS world cup competition it will mark the first time they have competed on this side of the Atlantic since the Deer Valley events in early January. If their track record is any indication this year, make sure to watch out for Mikael, Philippe, Justine, Chloe and the rest of the moguls’ team as they try to add more hardware to the collection. Go Canada Go!

For news, information, and more make sure to check out the Freestyle Skiing Canada website.

For behind the scenes video content, visit the Freestyle Skiing Canada YouTube page.

Another winter is just around the corner, and the Snow Sports Canada teams are gearing up for the start of the World Cup season. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five things we can look forward to this winter season.

1.    Canadian Freestyle Ski Team

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The Canadian Freestyle Ski Team had a memorable 2013-’14 season, with medals on the World Cup and Olympic stage. Dara Howell kept the town of Huntsville, Ontario up all night waiting for her slopestyle run at the Sochi Olympics, and she didn’t disappoint, winning the inaugural gold medal in women’s slopestyle skiing. Sisters Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe captured gold and silver, respectively, in the women’s moguls. On the men’s side young gun Michael Kingsbury looks to continue his reign and build on his three overall World Cup titles in Men’s moguls. Make sure to catch the Canadian Freestyle Ski Team this year as they show the world that #weownsnow.

2.    Lake Louise Alpine Ski World Cup

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Hosting both a super-g and a downhill event, these are the first FIS World Cup speed races of the season, and the only opportunity for Canadian alpine skiers to win on home soil this season! This event kicks off November 29th, with Canadians swarming the finish area to wave Canadian flags and bang cow bells. The Lake Louise downhill was the first non-European downhill course to be named to the prestigious ‘Club 5’, a union of leading alpine ski racing downhill courses. The last time a Canadian took home gold at this event was in 2009 when Manuel Osborne-Paradis won the Super-G race. The best part is, tickets are free!

3.    Canada Winter Games

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Held from February 13th– March 1st, 2015 in Prince George, BC, the Canada Games are a celebration of youth, sports, culture and community bringing together 3,500 athletes, coaches and officials. Originally held in Quebec City in 1967 as a part of Canada’s Centennial celebrations, the Canada Games list many Snow Sports Canada athletes as alumni including Alison Forsyth (Alpine Skiing), Chandra Crawford (Cross Country Skiing) and Jenn Heil (Freestyle Skiing). Check out the Canada Games 2015 homepage here for more information!

4.    Canadian Snow Resorts

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With some of the best mountain playgrounds in the world, people come from all over to experience the Canadian winter. Whistler Blackcomb, located in British Columbia, is the largest ski resort in North America, and home to many Snow Sports Canada athletes, including Manny Osbourne-Paradis, Mike Janyk, Morgan Pridy, Mercedes Nicoll, Marielle Thompson and Yuki Tsubota. Just west of Calgary lies a cluster of world class resorts, including Fernie, Kicking Horse, Lake Louise, Kimberley and Nakiska – all within driving distance of each other. The west doesn’t have it all though – Eastern Canada has some great skiing too, such as Quebec’s Mont Tremblant Ski Resort, home mountain to Alpine Canada athlete and multiple World Cup gold medallist Erik Guay.

5.    World Ski & Snowboard Festival

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The largest annual gathering of winter sports, music, art and culture in the world, the World Ski & Snowboard Festival is a week-long celebration taking place at Whistler Blackcomb. A world-class mountain resort, Whistler Blackcomb is a training hub for Snow Sports Canada athletes thanks in part to the incredible facilities left over from the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. You can watch pro skiers and snowboarders such as Jossi Wells and Jesper Tjader throw down during Association of Freestyle Professionals (AFP) World Championship Slopestyle and Big Air events, then catch a free outdoor concert series. To top it all off, Whistler has some of the best restaurants, shopping, and nightlife around. Check out the WSSF here.

To all our Snow Sports Canada athletes, and snow sports participants everywhere, have a great season and enjoy the snow!

Erik Guay, of Mont-Tremblant, Que. is the most decorated Canadian alpine World Cup skier ever. With 21 World Cup podiums, Guay is also the 2011 world downhill champion and 2010 super-G Crystal Globe winner, making him one of the top Canadian alpine skiers in history. At the 2010 Olympics, Guay was just 0.03 seconds away from a podium in the super-G, finishing fifth. He is hoping to claim his first Olympic medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games. Outside skiing, Guay is a proud husband and father, a motor racing enthusiast and a keen hockey player and Canadiens fan.

For Erik’s full bio visit http://www.alpinecanada.org/athlete/guay