DEER VALLEY RESORT, Utah — Canadian moguls star Mikael Kingsbury was a winner in his return to World Cup competition, taking the gold medal in Thursday's men's event.

Kingsbury, from Deux-Montagnes, Que., scored 88.10 points on his final run to top the podium in his first event of the season.

Kingsbury, the reigning Olympic moguls champion, missed the start of the season when fractured his T4 and T5 vertebrae in November while training for the opening World Cup event in Ruka, Finland.

“It feels awesome to be back, this is the best feeling in the world," said Kingbury.

"Just two months ago I had two fractures in my back, I was watching these guys compete from my couch and I couldn’t walk or even sleep very well. I worked hard with my trainers back home and did a lot of rehab. I came back here without any expectations, I just wanted to ski my best. This one feels extra special."

Kingsbury now has 64 career World Cup victories in 110 starts. He's stood on the podium 92 times.

France's Benjamin Cavet was second and Australia's Matt Graham was third.

Japan's Ikuma Horishima, who led after the first of two runs in Thursday's final, slipped to fifth.

France's Perrine Laffont won the women's event, followed by a pair of Japanese skiers — Anri Kawamura and Kisara Sumiyoshi.

Sofiane Gagnon of Whistler, B.C., was the top Canadian in 10th.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 4, 2021.