Heartaches at home

TERRY JONES, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 10:59 AM ET

She's a world-beater on the road, Jennifer Heil. But will she ever win at home? Spruce Grove's queen of bumps and jumps, the defending World Cup moguls champion of freestyle skiing, won another one yesterday in Lake Placid, New York.

It was the sixth World Cup win in her young career and her second in three races so far this season. The one she didn't win was last week in Mont. Tremblant, Que.. The next one is next Saturday in Fernie, B.C..

She's never won in Canada.

"I'm fortunate we have World Cups in both the East and the West so I have a second chance next weekend,'' said Heil on the phone shortly after her win yesterday.

Heil won two silvers at Mont. Tremblant in the past two years. She had one of her most disappointing events ever last year at what she calls her home hill on the circuit, as Fernie was added to the tour last year.

"I dream of my first win in Canada,'' she said. "That would be unbelievable. To be able to do it so close to home ...''

Sooner or later. In the meantime she owns Lake Placid.

It was at this event last year where Heil forged into first place on the World Cup tour and stayed there for the rest of the season.

"Lake Placid last year was really exciting for me. It was probably my best run all year. I didn't hold back at all. It was a really big confidence booster for me.

"It was my second win last year and my third win ever. And it was a run I took to a new level. I'd never done that before. It was definitely something I have drawn on for the rest of my career.''

Yesterday she was more of an old pro taking advantage of a circumstance to stay on top of the world.

Heil won the final with 25.70 points as she adapted to changing conditions which favoured her more than anybody else in the field.

"It's been a really weird week with the weather here,'' she said. "It was plus 11 degrees F Friday and dropped to minus 15 on race day.

"The jumps completely melted. Even if they hadn't, we couldn't ski the course. We couldn't even ski to the course. Everything had melted.

"We were really lucky to be here because the people who put on the race are really great here. They did a great job to create a course. As athletes, we wouldn't have known anything had happened if we'd just flown in for race day.

"The course ended up being really quick, which really favours me. I really like it. All my training time from the off-season really pays off when I get conditions like this.''

Hannah Kearney of the United States was second with 25.22, with Nikola Sudova of the Czech Republic third at 24.37.

Sudova won last week's second event of the season in Mont. Tremblant, Que. and now sits second to Heil in the FIS standings. Heil has 236 points and Sudova 216. Margarita Marbler of Austria sits third with 147 points.

The first woman to do a '360 mute grab', the jump which won Johnny Mosely the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games, Heil put the jump in her program for this one.

She also did a backflip iron cross in the event in which Marc Andre Moreau of Chambly, Que., won the bronze on the men's side.


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