TAZAWAKO, Japan - Another year, another overall World Cup freestyle ski title for Canadian Mikael Kingsbury.
The 22-year-old native of Deux-Montagnes, Que., won his sixth straight World Cup moguls event Saturday to clinch his fourth overall title. The victory left Kingsbury just one short of the all-time record of 27 held by France's Edgar Grospiron.
"I have Grospiron's record in the back of my head and I feel like it motivates me," said Kingsbury. "I really just want to go out and enjoy myself because that's when I feel like I ski at my best.
"That's my plan, to go out and have fun. The motivation is already there to get that record. Winning the Crystal Globe is always a special moment too. It feels great to know that I did my job and guaranteed the title with two World Cups still to go."
Kingsbury received 88.17 points to improve to 629 points in the overall standings, 288 ahead of Alexandr Smyshlyaev of Russia with two events left. American Jeremy Coto finished second with 86.33 points while Smyshlyaev was third with 81.61.
"I wasn't as confident going into this event as I usually am based on the training I had (Friday)," said Kingsbury. "It wasn't the easiest course to compete on, but I felt my confidence go up after every run.
"This is a new mountain for us. We've never held an event here so we really needed to get to know the hill. It was a fun course though. It was just difficult with the amount of snow that fell and how warm it is here. I'm happy I was able to get the best out of myself when it counted the most."
It was a historic achievement in the women's event for Audrey Robichaud. The Quebec City native became the first Canadian female mogul skier to start 100 career world Cup events and celebrated by finishing third with 77.41 points.
The podium finish was the seventh of Robichaud's career and fourth in Japan. Alex Anne-Gagnon of Terrebonne, Que., was a career-best sixth.
"The day turned out great even with the weather conditions not being ideal," said Robichaud. "I had the fact that it was my 100th World Cup start in the back of my head, but I really tried to treat it like any other event.
"I've had great success here in Japan in the past. Clearly it a special place for me to compete here. I'm thrilled with what I've been able to accomplish. It was really fun to be in the final with a teammate too and see how well she did."
American Hannah Kearney won the women's event to solidify her lead in the standings. Kearney received 79.12 points to edge Japan's Junko Hoshino, who was second with 78.04.
Justine Dufour-Lapointe of Montreal finished in 22nd place and now trails Kearney by 114 points in the standings.
The dual moguls event will be held Sunday at the same venue.
With files from The Associated Press.