Bryon Wilson grabs World Cup gold

A huge day for Butte, great day for Montana and big day for Team USA took place Saturday at Kreischberg in the Austrian Alps, site of this week’s World Cup skiing freestyle dual moguls stop.

Bryon Wilson of Butte won the men’s event for his first World Cup victory and his second podium finish ever on the circuit. His other was achieved two years ago just prior to capturing the bronze medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics near Vancouver, British Columbia.

Wilson’s win Saturday was part of a Montana/United State sweep as his national teammate and longtime skiing friend Heather McPhie of Bozeman chained her second straight World Cup victory in the women’s competition. The Austrian meet was the second of the World Cup season.

“I got my first World Cup win of my career today,” Wilson, 24, posted on his Facebook site. “Super excited.”

Wilson’s younger brother, Brad, 20, placed seventh in the Saturday men’s events after earning a sixth-place finish last week in Ruka, Finland.

Wilson pulled out the win on his final run, shooting past Olympic Gold Medalist Alexandre Bilodeau of Canada.  McPhie’s win was the third of her career.

Wilson missed last year’s World Cup season while recovering from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) suffered in February of 2011.

“This is my first season back since my injury and it feels good to be back on tour,” Wilson said through U.S. Ski Team publicists. “To come out with my first win is pretty amazing. There’s no better feeling than to be able to put all the pieces together and come out on top.”

Wilson graduated from Butte High in 2006 and attends Westminster College in Salt Lake City when training allows. He played second base for the Butte Muckers American Legion baseball team prior to devoting full-time athletic pursuits to moguls skiing. Brad Wilson played high school tennis at Butte Central before graduating in 2011.

Bryon Wilson said he spooted a chance to overtake Bilobeau in the standiongs when he noticed a minor glitch in the Canadian’s routine.

“In the finals I was able to see that Bilobeau bobbled, so I knew if I successfully threw a trick I could win,” he said. “Right now, I’m just focusing on my skiing and working on staying in the moment. If I do that, the results will come.”

Saturday’s World Cup race was the first in freestyle moguls, solo or duals, that has ever been held on the Kreischberg slope.

It seemed to make little difference to McPhie, who has been winning everywhere and on everything..

“It was an interesting couple days,” she said. “I really struggled yesterday (in preliminary heats) and went to bed (Friday) night not knowing what was going to happen today. But I came out this morning and decided I wasn’t going to give up without a fight. A big goal of mine was just to stay mentally strong. The course was really flat and that’s usually not my strength, so to be able to excel here means a lot.”

The next tour event is scheduled for Jan. 19 at Lake Placid, N.Y., and will feature aerials as well as moguls competitions.