RUKA, Finland – The moguls season for World Cup skiing blasted out of the gates over the weekend after a 10-month absence from the schedule. Butte athlete Brad Wilson competed and marked a 21st-place finish.
The Covid-19 pandemic ended last season early.
Skiers from Canada and the United States captured the first wins of the new campaign. Nine-time World Cup overall champion Mikael Kingsbury ruled the first event of the men’s competition. The Canadian legend had his run ended last year when a back injury finished his season early and Australian Matt Graham shot to the top.
In Ruka, Kingsbury won the meet with 82.99 points while Pavel Kolmakov of Kazakhastan was second with 82.10 and Ikuma Hiroshima of Japan third with 81.12. The highest-finishing Team USA man was 18-year-old Cole McDonald, fifth place at 78.97, one spot behind Finland’s Jimi Salonen. Graham placed 10th and, Wilson-McDonald American teammates Dylan Walczyk and Nick Page were 11th and 14th. Wilson scored 72.03 points in his season debut.
Americans, led by winner Olivia Giaccio, placed all four skiers in the top 10 of the women’s competition standings. Giaccio’s score was 78.51 with Jakara Anthony of Australia in second place with 78.17. Kai Owens of Team USA was third with 76.61 to join teammate Giaccio on the podium. Reigning tour champion Perrine Laffont of France was fourth with 76.57 and American Hannah Soar sixth with 75.38. Tessa Johnson of the United States placed eighth.
The skiers are all looking forward to landing entries in the 2022 Winter Olympics set for Beijing, China, in February. Wilson, 29, is attempting to reach his third Olympics after competing at the 2014 and 2018 Winter Games. He is a 2011 graduate of Butte Central Catholic High School and played on the Maroons’ tennis team. His older brother, Bryon, a 2006 graduate of Butte High, earned the Bronze Medal in men’s moguls at the 2010 Winter Olympics and now serves as a moguls coach for Team USA’s World Cup contingent.
The tour moves to Idre Fjall, Sweden, for a meet this weekend.
— compiled by Bruce Sayler for buttesports.com