THE CANADIAN PRESS
MONTREAL — Mikael Kingsbury is set to take another crack at the World Cup moguls skiing record.
The freestyle skier from Deux-Montagnes, Que., heads into the 2015-16 season tied with 1990s star Edgar Grospiron of France with 28 career victories. He can take over top spot with a win in the opening event Dec. 12 at the Ruka resort in Finland.
“I’m trying not to think about it,” said Kingsbury. “For sure, it’ll be in the back of my head, but I’m just happy to be back in the competitive season.”
Kingsbury already fell short in one attempt, at the season-ending competition in Megeve, France in March. Grospiron and Kingsbury’s boyhood idol, Jean-Luc Brassard of Valleyfield, Que., were on hand, only to see him fall in the quarter-finals of the dual moguls.
He had won his seven previous events, another World Cup record.
If it doesn’t come in Ruka, he is all-but certain to set the new standard at a later event and take it well beyond 29. How many he will win in his career is anyone’s guess.
He is only 23, with perhaps four or five more peak years of skiing.
“I never thought about that,” he said. “My goal was to reach 29 and whatever comes after that is still a record.
“But yeah, I’ll have to think about that: which number is going to be my next goal.”
Despite his success, Kingsbury is not as well known as Brassard, Canada’s first moguls star who won gold at the 1994 Olympics and put up 19 World Cup wins before retiring in 2002. Brassard, 43, will be Canada’s chef de mission at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Alex Bilodeau of Rosemere, Que., became the first Canadian to win Olympic gold on home soil in 2010 in Vancouver and matched that with gold at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, where he bumped Kingsbury to second place.
But Kingsbury may be the best of them all, if only because freestyle skiing is an established Olympic sport now with more top level athletes from more countries, although Canada still dominates the men’s moguls.
His 28 wins came in only 60 competitions, while Grospiron needed 78.
He has won the World Cup moguls and overall freestyle titles the last four years in a row.
And he’s getting better. He spent the summer working on taking “the next step.”
“I worked on changing my ski line, trying to be more direct in my skiing,” he said. “It improved a lot. It’s a bit smoother and faster. I’m very excited. It will help me be even more consistent, to look better in different types of weather. It’s one of the toughest things to learn at the point that I am at.”
The off-season included training at Whistler in British Columbia, followed by a month in Australia and three weeks in Switzerland. He got home Oct. 29 to put in a month of gym work before returning to Europe next week to prepare for the season opener.
“November is a long month because I’m not skiing but at the same time I like it because when I get back on skis I’m very excited,” he said. “The main thing is I love what I do. I train smart. I take it like every day it’s the most important thing. There’s no big secret. I’ve done the right things and I have good staff around me.”
After Ruka, there are moguls competitions Jan. 23 at Val St. Come, Que., and Jan. 30 in Calgary.