RUKA, Finland — World Cup freestyle mogulists sprang into their 2017-18 season Saturday on the Ruka “battery run” ski venue.
The location is just south of the Arctic Circle and days are spent in almost entire darkness this time of the year. So, lights line the moguls course even in Saturday’s World Cup opener held in the afternoon.
Butte Olympic hopeful Brad Wilson finished 37th in the results for the first meet of the year. The 25-year-old competed in the 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi, Russia.
The men’s competition winner in the inaugural event was veteran champion Mikael Kingsbury, who strung his eighth straight victory dating back to last season. Dimitriy Reikherd of Kazakhstan while Pavel Kolmakov, also from Kazakhstan, placed third.
Wilson was second among United States entrants. Emerson Smith placed 15th to lead the U.S. entrants.
Wilson’s older brother, Bryon, 29, underwent surgery last January to repair a damaged knee. He has been recovering, but was not entered in the first World Cup of the season. Bryon Wilson was the Bronze Medalist at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia. The brothers hope to be among the country’s representatives competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics to be held in PyeongChang, South Korea.
The women’s podium at the Ruka World Cup start showed Britteny Cox of Australia the winner, Audrey Robichaud of Canada the runner-up Marika Pertakhiya of Russia in third place. Jaelin Kauf placed fifth to rank as the United States’ top finisher.
The next World Cup freestyle skiing moguls meet is scheduled for December 21-22 at Thaiwoo, China.
— Compiled by Bruce Sayler from FIS-ski freestyle reports for ButteSports.com