There was no pressure on Canadian freestyle skier Christopher Del Bosco this season after he underwent surgery last spring.
He was told that missing the entire 2010-'11 ski cross season was a possibility after doctors repaired a partially torn tendon in his left knee. Del Bosco's recovery was quicker than expected and his knee felt strong when he tested it on the slopes last fall.
So, he returned to competition and racked up some impressive results along the way, capping his World Cup season Saturday with a gold medal in Myrkdalen-Voss, Norway.
"It's amazing to be where I'm at right now," Del Bosco said on a conference call.
Head coach Eric Archer said Del Bosco didn't have to deal with the weight of big expectations this season. If the results were there, it would be a bonus.
"He was more relaxed and just had a good time," Archer said. "He was able to race instead of having to sit at home like he had originally thought. It probably helped him more than it hurt him in the end."
Canadian teammate Kelsey Serwa added a silver medal in the women's event.
Del Bosco, a Colorado-based dual citizen who has roots in Sudbury, Ont., finished ahead of Switzerland's Conradign Netzer. Tomas Kraus of the Czech Republic was third.
"I had some pretty good starts, just got out in front and I was pretty difficult to pass," Del Bosco said.
Del Bosco closed the season with eight straight top-four finishes. Andreas Matt of Austria entered the competition having secured the overall championship. Del Bosco had already locked up second spot.
"I lost a little ground at the beginning of the season just coming back with the knee," Del Bosco said. "But I managed a pretty good stretch here at the end of the season."
Serwa, of Kelowna, B.C., finished behind Sweden's Anna Holmlund, who also took the overall championship. Katrin Mueller of Switzerland was third.
"In the first two heats, I got out in front. The course is really technical," said Serwa. "I was a little bit ahead of Anna but she was on the inside and got a little bit ahead. I kept waiting for a spot to pass. I was hoping for something but she was a little too far away.
"I'm pretty happy. I don't have anything to complain about."
Serwa, who won gold at the world championships and the X Games this season, finished third in the overall standings.
"This year my goal was to be a little more consistent and I think I've done that," she said.
Nick Zoricic of Toronto was seventh Saturday and Dave Duncan of Golden, B.C., was eighth. Brian Bennett of Quesnel, B.C., was 16th and Davey Barr of Whistler, B.C., was 18th. Danielle Poleschuk of Calgary was 13th in the women's event and Marielle Thompson of Whistler, B.C., was 14th.
Canada still won the Nations Cup title despite losing Ashleigh McIvor and Julia Murray for part of the season due to injuries.
"It just proves how deep our team is that we can still get it done with a limited amount of competitors and keep that title in Canada," Del Bosco said.
Del Bosco, who also won a world title this season, finished second in the overall standings for the third straight year.
"I wasn't even thinking like that at the beginning of the year," he said. "Things came together right before worlds and I managed to finish strong."