Bound for glory

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:12 AM ET

There's something different about bouncing through the bumps at Fernie.

According to last year's mogul master Jennifer Heil, Fernie's dual setup provides the world's best freestylers relief from the norm.

"The duals is really refreshing to throw in somewhere during the season," said Heil.

"It's a different mindset and you do need to stick to your game plan. But you have someone there to keep pushing you.

"Usually you don't have someone right beside you, so it's a really fun element."

More than 150 mogul skiers and aerialists from 20 different countries will assemble this weekend in Fernie, B.C., to take part in the Freestyle Grand Prix.

The Canadian team arrived in Calgary last night en route to its next venue with a boatload of hardware from its previous World Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y.

In all, Canada won six medals over the three-day event. Heil, managed to take home the gold Saturday in moguls.

Born in Edmonton, Heil grew up skiing in the Fernie area and is hoping she can better her performance from a year ago.

"Last year I didn't have a great race actually because I hadn't skied duals in over two years," explained Heil.

"I really didn't have my own game plan and I went out too hard. I definitely learned my lesson last year.

Aside from the Fernie race, the 21-year-old managed to win three World Cup events on her way to becoming the 2004 women's moguls champion.

This year so far, Heil has won two gold medals and is in the lead for the overall World Cup points title.

An encouraging fact, seeing as she's going to have the added pressure of skiing in front of friends and family this weekend.

"I actually grew up skiing that area, so it's a part of my childhood.

"It's really fun for me especially because it's within driving distance from my hometown just outside of Edmonton," she said.

"There's going to be a bunch friends and a bunch of family driving down and it's really fun that they can be a part of it."

As far as the course is concerned, Heil knows Fernie has warped weather patterns and anything can happen.

"You can't control the weather. You just have to make the best of whatever you get.

"It's always nice to have a soft mogul course because it's easier on the body and it's easier to ski.

"Especially in the dual moguls, it's going to be really fun to have lots of fresh snow because you can really push it, which should make it great for the spectators."

Training for the bumps and jumps starts today, with competition getting underway starting Friday morning.


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