We’re still a ski town, after all
January 22, 2013
When I was single, I used to have a motto that would comfort me after a breakup. I’d dry my tears and tell myself not to fret because "men are like buses. There’s another one right around the corner."
While I no longer need to remind myself of that little proverb romantically, it’s still very true in terms of living in Park City there’s always another amazing, electrifying, crowd-gathering event right around the corner.
We are a town that excels at dovetailing
For example, even though the road barricades are still up for Sundance, parking is still at a premium, and people are still walking around dressed all in black (and they still haven’t figured out that those lanyards don’t get them any special VIP barstools at the pubs on Main Street), the city is already onto the next big event the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup at Deer Valley.
More so than the spring and summer concerts, Park Silly Sunday Market, 4th of July festivities, Miners Day, the Halloween dog parade, bike races, nonprofit galas, 5Ks, the Sundance Film Festival and any of the other numerous annual happening that keep our calendars full, this is my favorite event of the year, when the world’s best freestyle skiers compete under the lights flying, twisting, racing, and generally making the rest of us feel like rank beginners on skis.
The 2013 World Cup is right around the corner, kicking off January 30 and ending February 2 with the dual moguls competitions and fireworks. In my opinion, there is just no better weekend in Park City, and, as noted above, there’s a lot of competition for that #1 spot.
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But the weekend isn’t just about gathering with friends, watching the athletes compete under the stars, and taking nips from your flask to warm up. It’s also about people like the Wilson brothers, who will be competing in this year’s event.
You could say Bryon and Brad Wilson have pedigrees when it comes to breeding championship skiers. Bryon won the bronze medal at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and Brad is quickly climbing the World Cup rankings, having recently been named "World Cup Rookie of the Year."
"We’re kind of like the Manning brothers of skiing," Bryon joked, referring to NFL quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning. "And I’m the older, better-looking one."
While younger brother Brad disagreed wholeheartedly with that statement, both did agree that they wouldn’t be able to compete at all without the help of Deer Valley Resort.
"We’re so lucky to have the number one resort in the world sponsor us," noted Brad. "And to be able to compete on the runs we train on is such a home-field advantage for us. We consider Deer Valley our home mountain. We’re so excited to compete in the World Cup here."
Both brothers ski moguls. They’ll compete Thursday in the moguls events, and Saturday in the dual-moguls competitions. And, if all goes as planned, they could end up competing against each other for the top spot on the podium.
"We’ve never both made the finals in the same competition, so it would be the first time if it happens," Bryon noted.
And it could happen, because both of them agree that having the competition at Deer Valley gives them a serious edge.
"At most competitions it’s not feasible for our friends and family to come watch us," said Brad. "But our family lives in Park City now and our friends are here too. Knowing they’ll all be at the bottom of the hill cheering us on is awesome. It helps us perform better."
"We’re excited our parents get to cheer us on," Bryon added, but predicted that his mom "will probably be nervous and usually only watches us through her fingers most of the time."
Anxious as their mom understandably is, the boys credit her with getting them into the business.
"We grew up in Montana and started skiing when we were about three," Bryon recalled. "My mom always told us if we wanted to be good skiers, we needed to watch the really good skiers and try to emulate them. So we would find the freestyle skiers on the hill and just follow them around the resort all day. Eventually they asked us to try out for their program and we did, and we were hooked."
By the time they were 12 and eight, they were both good enough that they needed a more advanced program, and they ended up moving to Utah to compete with the Wasatch Freestyle team. A few years later, Bryon remembers calling up Bob Wheaton, Deer Valley Resort’s general manager, and asking Bob to sponsor him.
"He agreed and then a few years later I went back to him and said, ‘Can you sponsor my brother too?’" And again, Bob agreed.
"It is an honor to support the Wilson brothers in their athletic quest," Wheaton said. "Bryon and Brad are incredible athletes and ambassadors for the sport of freestyle skiing. They are source of inspiration for all of us and we are thrilled they have chosen to represent the resort in addition to skiing and training here."
You can watch the Wilson brothers in action during this year’s event on Thursday, January 31, and Saturday, February 2. The events are free, and because they are this town’s greatest event of the year, they’re also packed. So my recommendation is to ride the bus.
Amy Roberts is a longtime Park City resident, freelance writer and the proud owner of two ill-behaved rescue dogs, Boston and Stanley. If you have a story idea, please e-mail her at email@example.com.