TORONTO — Mikael Kingsbury picked up a TV remote control and, like it was an action figure, used it to demonstrate his latest moguls trick, the cork 1440.
He lifted the remote up like it was flying off a jump, and then rolled it four times parallel to the ground.
An onlooker summed it up with: "It looks terrifying."
The Olympic moguls champion was sitting in a sundrenched downtown Toronto office on Monday, reflecting on yet another record-breaking season. At 26 years old, he's run the table on freestyle skiing accomplishments. An Olympic gold medal. A world-record 56 World Cup victories. Eight crystal globes as the season's overall champion.
But Kingsbury is far from finished. And pioneering new tricks and continuously pushing the envelope is part of what keeps him hungry for more.
"Three years (to the 2022 Beijing Olympics) is still far far away. But there's many things I still want to do," Kingsbury said. "The Olympics is the big, big picture goal, but before that, there's a lot of steps I want to go through, a lot of little goals. It's like a mountain, and the top will be the Olympic gold. I'm going to try to reach all the goals that I want on the way up, and then peak there. I feel like in three years I can reach the potential that I want."
The skier from Deux-Montagnes, Que., always has "a million" potential new tricks or combinations of grabs running through his mind. He envisioned the cork 1440 when he was 14, and waited for someone to come along and land it.
"Over the years, no one was ready to do that trick, so I thought maybe I'd be the first one ever to do it," Kingsbury said.
He did exactly that two-and-a-half weeks ago at the World Cup in Tazawako, Japan.
"I was standing on top of the course, and the conditions were perfect," Kingsbury said. "I tried it and landed it, and won the event. It's pretty cool when you're the first one in history to be able to try something in your sport and be able to land it, and win with that new trick, the feeling is very cool."
He couldn't appreciate the moment right when his skis safely hit snow.
"You don't have much time to think because that's a super blind trick, so when you land you have to ski very fast, you land very close to the (next) bump," he said. "You realize, but don't realize.
"I skied maybe five bumps and at that moment I thought 'Oh yeah!'" he added with a grin.
Those moments are what will keep Kingsbury coming back for more.
"It's still easy for me (to be motivated)," he said. "When you're winning those big events, the feeling is just so great. You know there's no step above winning a world championship or winning a gold medal at the Olympics. And once you win those things, you kind of want to have that feeling again.
"And I just love my sport. I love the process of the work I have to put in, and the travel, I get to travel the world with my best friends and ski. I can do a sport and make a good living out of it. And to know that I feel I haven't reached my full potential, I can be better and better and push the sport and bring new tricks to the table. All of those things combined are super motivating."
Kingsbury's season isn't quite done. He'll compete at the Canadian championships March 23-24 in Val Saint-Come, Que., and while the season's big international events are behind him, he's always happy to ski on home snow.
"Kids are going to start competing at nationals at 14, 15, 16 and those kids watch us for sure on TV . . . but now they have the chance to ski on the same course as us, at the same time," Kingsbury said.
"I remember my first nationals, it was very inspiring, I was trying to put myself in the line-up for training right behind Alex (Bilodeau, Canada's retired two-time Olympic champ). I was standing with him on the moguls course and I thought it was very cool. So for me, and the other top Canadian athletes, it's very important to do it."
Kingsbury makes a point of chatting with kids, offering them tips. He often gives away some of his gear, a pair of poles or goggles.
"And at the same time I try to give a good show (at nationals)," Kingsbury said. "Because they want to see us at our best."
Kingsbury's Toronto media blitz was partly to promote his sponsor Goodfood's Clean15 plan. The plan provides health-conscious ingredients and recipes that are higher in protein and lower in carbs, with a balance of healthy fats, delivered to your door.
Last off-season, Kingsbury decided to be more vigilant about his diet, and dropped between seven and 10 pounds of body fat.
"It's the reason why I'm able to do cork 1440," he said. "That's a trick where you need to be fit because you need to spin very fast, and if you're too heavy your body is not going to spin that fast."
Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press