SIERRA NEVADA, SPA, 22 MAR 2013 – One of the most difficult days of the ski year marked the end the 2012-13 FIS Freestyle World Cup moguls season on Friday, as 125km/h-plus winds, heavy fog, and snow wreaked havoc on what was supposed to be a high-octane dual moguls send-off in Sierra Nevada, Spain.
Mother Nature did all she could to shut down the first event of the World Cup finals, as athletes and organizers awoke to beautiful clear skies made useless by hurricane force winds that forced Sierra Nevada Mountain resort to shut down its entire operation for the day.
Entire operation, that is, save for one lift, as the little four-seater Borreguilles II chair - set under the massive Observatorio de Sierra Nevada radio telescope in a relatively sheltered bowl where the World Cup moguls course just happens to sit – happened to be runable.
With the lift running, a last-ditch effort was put together by organizers and officials for athlete transportation up the mountain to the pitch by snowcat and a select number of gondolas, and despite the delays and some more incoming weather, a functional – if abbreviated – event was held.
And while the program didn't pan out as expected, the results of the one-run single moguls competition that ended up taking place were slightly more predictable; Hannah Kearney (USA) won the ladies' event and claimed her third straight moguls Crystal Globe, while Mikael Kingsbury (CAN) skied conservatively and placed 4th, earning more than enough points to claim his second straight moguls Crystal Globe and his incredible 2nd straight freestyle overall Globe.
In the ladies' race, Kearney bested solid runs by Miki Ito (JPN) and Heather McPhie (USA) to claim victory on the day, while her closest rival on the moguls leaderboard, Justine Dufour-Lapointe (CAN), ended up in 5th.
Alex Bilodeau (CAN) claimed victory in the men's contest in impressive fashion, throwing what may have been an event-winning run no matter what the format on the day had been. Bilodeau's win made it four straight victories for him to close out the season, and the 2010 Olympic gold medal winner looks as driven as he ever has in has career at the moment.
Bilodeau was followed up by Patrick Deneen (USA), and Simon Pouliot-Cavanagh (CAN), who managed to score the first podium of his career in the last event of the season.
The day's overall result also decided one of the more under-the-radar races of the year, as the American squad was able to just narrowly best the Canadians in the moguls Nations Cup battle, taking the trophy by an incredibly tight score of 3200-3145.
While the day didn't go according to anyone's plan, at the end of it the best two moguls skiers in the world – and arguably the two most dominant athletes in skiing – stood at the top of the awards podium clutching their Crystal Globes. And that, at least, seemed right.
KEARNEY Hannah - “Being injured early in the season, my first goal was getting healthy. After that it was to win World Championships. And then when I realized I could maybe win the Globe as well, that became my focus. It was kind of nice, because those things carried my through my season, chronologically.”
“This was probably the most emotional Globe I've won, maybe even more so than the first one, just because I had to fight for it so hard, starting the year at a disadvantage...it showed I could persevere.”
KINGSBURY Mikael - “I only needed three points for the Globe, so my goal today was just to ski a top-to-bottom in qualification and then I'm fine. So I skied my top-to-bottom, I'm 4th, and now instead of having fun in the duals we go down and have fun partying with everyone.”
“It's exactly what I wanted this year. I trained very hard to get this Globe. You have to be consistent, with Pat Deneen and Alex Bilodeau always in your step. I've had seven wins, I'm the world champion, and now two Crystal Globes. It's amazing. I'm excited to go back home and share this with my family and friends.”
Full ladies' results can be found here.Ladies' race video can be found here.
Full men's results can be found here.Men's race video can be found here.
The final standing on the leaderboard can be found here.