LA PLAGNE, France – Butte brothers and mogulists Bryon and Brad Wilson secured their places among the world’s best this past weekend with efforts that put them in the top 12 on the World Cup circuit for the season, as posted in results on the U.S. Ski Team website.
The World Cup freestyle skiing season ended with the weekend meet. Brad Wilson, 21, wound up No. 4 in the world with a fourth-place finish in the season finale and Bryon Wilson, 25, finished 12th after a 13th-place performance in the La Plagne meet. In U.S. rankings, Brad Wilson was a close second to Patrick Denee of Cle Elum, Wash., and Bryon Wilson was fourth, behind third-place Joe Discoe of Telluride, Colo.
Both Wilsons are Olympians. Brad Wilson competed in the 2014 Winter Games last month at Sochi, Russia, and Bryon Wilson was the 2010 men’s moguls Bronze Medalist in the Winter Olympics at Vancouver, British Columbia.
Recent Olympic bronze medalist Hannah Kearney of Norwich, Vt., claimed her fourth straight World Cup moguls title with her gold-medal run under the lights at the World Cup Finals competition. Only five points separated Kearney and Canadian Justine Dufour-Lapointe going into Friday’s competition, where Dufour-Lapointe crashed and paved the way for Kearney’s victory and career fifth moguls title. Bradley Wilson advanced to the men’s final, finishing fourth behind winner and World Cup champion Alex Bilodeau of Canada. U.S. Ski Team athletes now return to Park City, Utah, for the USANA U.S. Freestyle Championships at Deer Valley March 28-29.
In 2014, Kearney skied to six wins, stood on nine podiums, earned an Olympic bronze medal and took both the moguls globe as well as her third FIS Freestyle overall World Cup title.
Heather McPhie of Bozeman was taken out in the quarterfinals by Canadian Maxime Dufour-Lapointe after she over-rotated her D-spin in the bottom air. McPhie finished fifth Friday as well as fifth in the moguls season standings.
Canadian sisters Chloe Dufour-Lapointe and Maxime Dufour-Lapointe took silver and bronze in the moguls finale.
Deneen ended his season ranked third, just 14 points ahead of Wilson, despite skiing into ninth this last meet. Discoe was 11th for the season.
Canadians Alex Bilodeau and Mikael Kingsbury dueled for World Cup Finals gold, where Bilodeau emerged with the win but Kingsbury took the moguls title for 2014.
Benjamin Cavet of France beat out Bradley Wilson for the third spot on the podium.
The riveting moguls final took place under the lights with soft snow and a rowdy crowd that encouraged the athletes to put it all down for one last shot at a World Cup podium.
“The globe always represents a season-long battle, but this season it definitely means more. It almost helps with the disappointment of the Olympics,” Kearney said. “It’s definitely a wonderful reward for what was an emotional season. The title has never been this close; it’s never come down the final competition. I actually had a nightmare a few nights ago that I lost, so I’m glad that did not come true.
“I blew my knee out here in 2007, and I lost my first dual here in 2009, so this course hasn’t been that lucky for me. It was nice to be able to undo that. I also had my whole family here, so that made it all the more meaningful. My overall feeling of the season was incredibly frustrating. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out why I was no longer as consistent as I’ve been in the past. Obviously the Olympics were a heartbreaker, but I’ve been able to enjoy many other parts of the season. I’m also planning what I’m going to do next. I still may ski another season, but retirement is around the corner. Luckily class starts on Monday, so I’m heading back to pick up some textbooks. “