Calgary shines on ski hill
Freestyle skiing world cup held at COP
In the 2010 Olympics, mogul skier Alex Bilodeau won the first gold medal by a Canadian in Canada. For the past seven years, Canada has won the Nations Cup as the top freestyle skiing country in the world, last year bringing home 42 medals, and now the competition is once again on home turf.
On Jan. 26, Canada Olympic Park hosted the FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup. If you have ever been skiing or snowboarding you have probably realized that moguls are a huge challenge.
The 219-metre course at COP contains lines of moguls interspersed with two jumps. The competitors are judged on their technical skiing, their speed and the quality of their jumps through the moguls course.
It is indeed, a great event to watch and cheer on Canada’s athletes. Especially considering that almost the entire national team is competing. Luke Ulsifer is a new member of the national team and is looking forward to his first World Cup competition.
The 19-year-old skier and former member of the Alberta mogul team, is happy to be back on a familiar course. For the past three years, Ulsifer has been a forerunner for the competition, and is now excited to be taking part in the competition.
“There is a different feeling to this competition and I have been getting a lot more media attention and hype,” Ulsifer said.
Although there is added pressure, Ulsifer wants to keep the same routine and not think of the event, only his skiing.
The two jumps that Ulsifer competed in were a back full–back flip with a 360 rotation– and the cork 720 (two rotations off axis). He said the most challenging part of the run for him is the section where the course “drops off” and gets a lot steeper.
Ulsfer at a Canadian series in December, won silver and bronze medals. His results the year prior included seventh at a NorAm (North American) competition.
“The training is a lot more intense on the national team, and just training with the top athletes in the world has improved my skiing a lot,” Ulsifer said. He is thankful for all the support he has received from coaches and freestyle programs. He is hoping that with their help, he will be able to compete at the 2018 Olympics.
Adrian Taggart, one of Ulsifer’s coaches said it is always great to compete at home where you know everyone and have a ton of support from the crowd.
Taggart is excited for this event to be the first world cup for some of his team.
They will need to be prepared because all competitors will be skiing almost 10 metres per second through the moguls and over the jumps at this event.
Two of the other top competitors to watch include Mikael Kingsbury and Alex Bilodeau, who are both podium regulars at World cup events.
Some hometown athletes that participated to this event were Claire Lambert and Matt Joosten, who are both on the Alberta Mogul Team. They said that it was a great opportunity for mental growth and learning to cope with the extreme pressure of a world cup.