Note: Brad Wilson, a 2011 Butte Central graduate, is a moguls skier who competed in the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics. He submitted the following to Butte Sports about the cloud of uncertainty the coronavirus pandemic has cast over his sport. He also wanted to update the “Butte Rats” who follow his career.
By Brad Wilson
Special to Butte Sports
Around June and July, I thought for sure this season wasn’t going to happen. We had all of our offseason camps get canceled and even a couple World Cups get canceled, but there were still a few on the schedule that I thought we’re just being optimistic but as winter got closer. It looked like we were actually going to be able to compete this year, and, wow, am I thankful everyone didn’t give up.
Just finished our first World Cup in Ruka, Finland. But we’ve already been over here for more than a month trying to get in as much last-minute training as possible. We arrived in Ruka on Nov. 5, and there was no snow anywhere. They had an unusually warm fall so they couldn’t make any snow. So, we decided, after a few days to drive to Sweden.
This little ski area called Idre Fjäll put giant tarps over their mogul course in the spring to protect it from the sun all summer, and they took the tarps off in October. Sure enough there was still enough snow under there to build a mogul course! It was pretty wild; that’s a first for me. They basically put the course away for storage and brought it back out when they wanted to ski again. When we showed up, it was warm and no snow in sight but we drove around to the back of the mountain and there it was a little white ribbon of moguls in the middle of a green forest.
After a couple weeks in Sweden and a few Q-tips shoved up our noses ,we made our way back to Finland.
Also, I need to mention traveling the world is amazing, but this part of traveling isn’t that sweet. We are driving in these little European vans packed with all of us athletes and staff and all our ski gear. Long two-day trips on snow covered roads and it is only light for 3 or 4 hours a day since we are driving in the Arctic Circle. Also tons of reindeer here … constantly dodging them on the ice covered roads, and I think they actually are magic because there were a lot of close calls but they all made it out unscathed. I think by the end of this trip we will be in the vans driving for a total of nearly 80 hours.
In Finland, we had a little training camp before the World Cup training started, and it went really well until the last day I strained my oblique and needed help getting in and out of bed. At this point, we’ve been in the Arctic for a month preparing for this event and it’s in four days and I can’t even stand up on my own. We usually get two training days on the course before each event depending on the weather or whatever they throw at us and there’s no way I’m skiing. I took the training days off to rest and I’m going to be a game-time decision. I wake up on comp morning and feel a bit better so I take some ibuprofen and give it a shot and wow it hurt but I qualified for finals and put down some decent runs. As the night, went it started to feel better and better. By the end of the night, I was having a blast again!
So stoked with the event, but it was a little challenging for sure! But snuck in the top 10 with ninth place and super happy with how everything is going. Stoked that I’m still able to do what I love during these crazy times. But now we’re back in Sweden — yeah in Idre where we were the first time — because this is the site for the next World Cup. This weekend Friday-Sunday.
Fingers crossed we all stay healthy. We are being so careful. I never leave my room without my phone wallet and my N95. What a wild world we live in. But it’s still our world and we have to keep living it up! Thanks for reading my story and being a part of my journey! Miss you guys!!