It seemed comical that Jeanette Wilson thought her cooked trout might not be favored by visitors and so had already stashed the plateful in the refrigerator.
The fish were pulled from a nearby stream in the Park City, Utah, area and were, as it turns out, certainly prepared well by Jeanette in spite of the kidding she was absorbing from her younger son, Brad, seated at the table in the family’s Park City condominium.
The water ramps, designed for aerialists — and mogulists, too — are within sight of the apartment. The ramps are high reaching synthetic downhill tracks on which the skiing specialists practice year around, landing their jumps and tricks in swimming pools at the Utah Olympic Park training center.
Brad Wilson, 21, has just recently returned to working out on them, learning new routines and polishing his regular ones, his trademark moves, in preparation for the fast-nearing World Cup freestyle skiing season, and, also, and, hopefully, the Winter Olympics.
“They’ll take the top three, maybe four — there’s talk of that this year — on the U.S. team for our Olympic team,” Wilson said, looking fit and strong despite a nasty fall last month in Chile that cut short a training trip and put him in the hospital. “It will be tough. We have five men in the top 10 in the world.”
The count includes Brad Wilson’s older brother, Bryon, who captured the Bronze Medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics held in the Vancouver, British Columbia, venues.
The Wilsons’ event is men’s moguls in freestyle skiing. They have each won a World Cup title and combined for several top 10 and podium finishes. They were brought up in Butte, sons of a UPS worker (Bryon Sr.) and a busy stay-at-home mom.
The family is outdoorsy with interests in fishing and skiing, mostly. The sons are also artistic. Bryon is a noted fish carver, whose work is displayed in Butte businesses as well as in Park City locations. Brad has launched a line of products using his painting talents, having drawn attention in his watercolors.
The fall in Chile broke no bones, pulled no ligaments, Brad Wilson said. However, some internal bruising did occur and so the body has been a bit tender during his training resumption. A weight gain in muscle mass on his torso is of recent notice, though, and may have helped prevent a more serious injury.
“Bryon, though, has lost weight,” Jeanette Wilson pointed out. “He needed to improve his speed and was looking to have better agility, too.”
Bryon Wilson, 25, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the 2011 World Cup season and needed surgery to repair the damage. He is fully recovered and working hard at maintaining the level of international status.
He wasn’t at the condominium when the visitors from Butte came for dinner. Bryon Wilson was at the training center, fulfilling an appointment for his workout regimen, one that has kept him at the top of the world.
“We miss Butte,” Brad Wilson said with a smile and talked a little about the fishing and camping opportunities, and asked a lot about former neighbors.
The family is looking forward to approaching competitive season, World Cup meets in Finland and France in December, but there is a quiet in their tone, too. Being selected for the Olympic Team is a tremendous dream to realize and if only one is chosen the heartbreak could be excruciating. The boys are paint-on-the-wall close. Their only sibling rivalry might be in which hollers loudest for the other.
“They decided to not even have separate pages (on the ski team website),” Jeanette Wilson said. “They share one so that it doesn’t seem one is above the other. That’s how they want it.”
The Wilsons, during their stay in the Team USA loop, have seen families split and divided over siblings competing against each other and are very quick to guard against it happening in their condo.
It would seem not a worry.
The brothers have similarities, but are not clones. They were both gymnasts in addition to being world-class skiers, and are fond of the outdoors, of course. However, Bryon played baseball, too, as a boy and even manned second base for awhile with the Butte Muckers American Legion team. He has also discovered golf and the grip is now more about the game’s hold on him than how Bryon positions his hands for a shot.
Such is intimated by Brad, who was a varsity tennis player for Butte Central while his brother was attending Butte High.
The Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia, in February and hopes, of course, are high. The competition to get there will be stiff, as Brad Wilson acknowledged, which means, at the least, the USA team can be expected to be very strong. It seems closely knit as a group.
The trout meal at the Wilsons’ was followed by a dessert, brownies baked for them by Team USA member Mikaela Matthews, a 21-year-old women’s mogulist from Frisco, Colo. So, the makes and breaks are going to be emotional moments.
Our feelings will surely be near the surface, too, in those times.