Butte-born Brad Wilson reps U.S. men’s Moguls with Deer Valley podium
January 16, 2018
For Brad Wilson, a lot has changed since he competed in Sochi. During the 2014 Winter Games, he had a whole different attitude toward skiing moguls — it was, by his account, more fatalistic. He told U.S. Ski and Snowboard that he skied how he skied and got whatever results he got. After taking third in the FIS Visa Freestyle International Ski World Cup on Wednesday at Deer Valley Resort, he said back then, he wasn't prepared – for his tricks and for the technical level of skiing the Olympics demanded.
"I crashed in my final run and got 20th," he said, reflecting on Sochi. "I was throwing double full like I was today at that event, and I wasn't ready for it, so I've been working on it a ton and getting it dialed in."
Since then, he's been through a knee injury, the resulting process of rehabilitation, and a turnover of coaching staff within U.S. Ski and Snowboard. He's also switched up his technique.
"I was getting really stiff and going really fast, and it was working for so long but they changed the judging a bit," he said. "It was kind of a blessing because (the way I was skiing) was taking a toll on my body as well. So I've been trying to soften it up and use more absorption at the same time."
As athletes milled around the run-out of the moguls course at the bottom of Deer Valley's Champion run, Wilson said it was special to come back and stand on the podium. Though he was born in Butte, Montana, he moved to Park City to train full time and joined the Wasatch Freestyle Team, which trained at Deer Valley.
"It's the best place to get a podium by far," he said. "This is my home mountain; these guys have supported me, and (from) when I first made the team, these guys have always been backing me. It's so great to do it here and represent Deer Valley at the same time. So for me it's the best place to get a podium by far."
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Sharing a podium with him was Mikael Kingsbury of Canada, who finished first and earned his 47th World Cup win – 12 straight – which is an FIS record. Sho Endo of Japan took second.
Kingsbury doubled down on his accomplishments the next day, taking first again, and broadening his new-standing record for most World Cup wins, which he commandeered from American mogulists Hannah Kearney and Donna Weinbrecht.
Dmitriy Reiherd of Kazakhstan took second on Thursday, and Matt Graham of Australia took third.
"His consistency is insane," Wilson said of Kingsbury after the competition on the first day.
Wilson and the Canadian have competed together frequently and have worked youth camps together.
"Obviously, 12 (World Cups) in a row, it has inspired me a lot to get my consistency higher," Wilson said. "He's the man."
Abruptly, during his conversation with the media, he looked around and said he had to go.
His reasoning was immediately apparent when "Braaaaad Wiiiiilson," boomed over the loudspeakers as he walked off to claim his podium. Wilson needs one more podium finish to meet Olympic qualifying standards, and has one more shot to do it. Whether he will get a chance to join Kinsbury on the podium in Pyeongchang will all come down to the last World Cup in Quebec.