From FIS-Ski reports
SHYMBULAK, Kazakhstan — The first of back-to-back moguls World Cup competitions scheduled for this weekend at Kazakhstan’s Shymbulak Mountain Resort went down on Saturday with Yulia Galysheva of France and Ikuma Horishima of Japan finishing day one on top of the podium.
For the first time in history the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup paid a visit to Kazakhstan’s prime ski resort at Shymbulak, located just 25 kilometers south of the biggest city in the country, Almaty. And with the brand new course, most of the world’s best athletes on hand as well as perfect bluebird skies and optimal spring conditions, the first day of this weekend’s action delivered a top-tier sporting show proving that decision to bring the season’s finals to Shymbulak was just the perfect choice.
The United States’ top finisher in men’s moguls was Brad Wilson of Butte, Montana, who placed seventh.
In the women’s event it was Galysheva,who took a thrilling win on home soil after edging out Perrine Laffont of France in a tight battle for the top spot with a score of 79.69 points to Laffont’s 79.11.
Galysheva screed her second World Cup victory of 2018-19, and her success at Shymbulak is even more remarkable when considering that the 2019 world champion from Deer Valley was in doubt to compete in the final single mogul event of the season following her nasty crash during the first training day. Battling through the pain Galysheva managed to step it up in the finals, leading the pack through both of the rounds to get on top of the podium in front of the home crowd.
Finishing in second, Laffont snagged another spot on the World Cup podium, making it nine-for-nine when it comes to top-3 finishes on tour in 2018-19. With yet another solid performance the French rider also secured her second consecutive moguls World Cup crystal globe, meaning she’ll enter Sunday’s dual moguls competition with an opportunity for a victory lap to celebrate a stellar season with another piece of hardware to add to her two world championships medals from Deer Valley.
Justine Dufour-Lapointe of Canada came in third on the day for her second podium spot in the season.
Moving over to the men’s event, Horishima managed to grab his first victory of the season with a suburb super final run that included a corked 1440 on the bottom jump, the trick that Mikael Kingsbury of Canada stomped for the first time in the World Cup competition just last week in Japan. And while also Horishima was going after it in Tazawako, he crashed just after putting down the landing gear there, spoiling his dreams of victory on home soil.
This time, however, Horishima was on top of his game, landing the trick perfectly and cruising across the finish line to end the day on top of the podium with a score of 81.72 points.
The winningest freestyle male skier of all time, Kingsbury, finished Saturday’s competition in second following a small bobble in the landing of his second jump, while Walter Wallberg of Sweden rounded out the men’s podium in third.
Wilson’s seventh-place finish put him at eighth in the World Cup rankings.
“Had a little mistake in finals coming into bottom air,” Wilson said on Twitter. “Don’t do that. That’s bad.”
The United States men put three competitors in the top 10, though, with Wilson in seventh place, Dylan Walczyk eighth and Casey Andringa 10th.
Wilson, 26, is a two-time Olympian.
Moguls action in Shymbulak continues Sunday with dual moguls competition set to wrap up the 2018-19 FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup season. The preliminary rounds are slated to start at 11:55 local time, with the final head-to-head match-up getting out of the gate at 13:30.
— Compiled by Bruce Sayler for Butte Sports