KREISCHBERG, Austria – Considering how his day started, Canada’s Alex Bilodeau was happy with a podium finish Saturday.
The freestyle skier from Rosemere, Que., rebounded from a rough qualification round to win silver at the World Cup dual moguls event.
Bryon Wilson of the U.S. beat Bilodeau in the men’s final, while defending World Cup champion Mikael Kingsbury of Deux-Montagnes, Que., was third.
Meanwhile in the women’s event, Montreal’s Justine Dufour-Lapointe took bronze behind Americans Heather McPhie and Heidi Kloser.
Bilodeau, who took last season off, said he was lucky just to make the 16-man final.
“I got a pretty good gift in the morning,” he said of his 13th place qualification run. “I didn’t ski well in qualifiers, but I got to go to finals and I made the best out of it.
“All of this just shows me there’s still place for improvement. I don’t know if it’s that I’m not really comfortable with racing, it’s been a while, I don’t know if that’s the case, but there’s still stuff I want to improve.”
In the final, Bilodeau lost control during the middle section of the final dual and was forced to throw a huge double-daffy off the final kicker instead of his signature back flip.
Kingsbury, who beat Quebec City’s Philippe Marquis for third, lost a dramatic semifinal dual with Bilodeau when he lost control and caught an edge.
“Alex and I went pretty all out in our dual, with two big back fulls on top. I think Alex blew out a little and I kept going, but then I caught an edge before the final air and went forward,” said Kingsbury, who has won medals at 16 straight events. “Losing control like that is not the kind of thing I do normally, but we were going all out, just a little too fast for both of us.”
Kingsbury and Bilodeau share the lead in the moguls standings after two events with 160 points each, followed by Wilson with 118.
Marc-Antoine Gagnon of Terrebonne, Que., was fifth, while Cedric Rochon of St. Sauveur, Que., was 10th.
On the women’s side, Dufour-Lapointe edged Australia’s Britney Cox for the bronze after losing out to McPhie in the semis.
“Against (McPhie) I really pushed myself and gave it everything I had,” said the 18-year-old Dufour-Lapointe, the youngest of three sisters on the moguls tour. “When I finished the race I really thought I won, I’m not exactly sure what happened. I’ll have to look at the video.”
Chloe Dufour-Lapointe finished sixth, Chelsea Henitiuk of Spruce Grove, Alta., was ninth, Audrey Robichaud of Quebec City was 11th, Andi Naude of Penticton, B.C. was 13th and Maxime Dufour-Lapointe was 16th.
McPhie leads the mogul standings with 200 points, 60 clear of Dufour-Lapointe. Kloser is third with 116.
The next World Cup moguls event is in Lake Placid, N.Y., from Jan. 17-19.