Brothers in Arms - the Ski Brothers of Wanaka
For a small NZ town, Wanaka has produced an uncanny number of talented freeskiing brothers who are all achieving big things on the world stage. Meet the Wells, Porteous & Bilous brothers.
The Wells Brothers
Jossi, Byron, Beau-James & Jackson
Possibly the most famous freeskiing brothers in the world, the Wells boys were practically raised at Cardrona. Their parents, Bruce & Stacey, started working at the resort in the 1990s & the boys learnt to ski as toddlers. Before long they were regular faces in Cardrona’s pipe & park & quickly rose in the world rankings. The brothers have represented NZ in World Cups, X Games & the Winter Olympics.
All four brothers are freeskiing all-rounders, with oldest brother Jossi having achieved massive results in halfpipe, slopestyle & big air. When Jossi won an X Games gold in slopestyle in 2016, Cardrona celebrated by launching the Jossi Wells Invitational event – which is back for a third year in 2018.
Byron & Beau-James are both major competitors in halfpipe, while youngest Wacko (Jackson) gravitated to slopestyle/big air. Wacko was the first skier in the world to land a quad cork, at Cardrona in Winter 2016. He also took home bronze in Big Air at X Games Norway in 2017.
All four Wells brothers were selected to represent NZ in PyeongChang. Disappointment followed for Jossi who had to withdraw his slopestyle entry due to a niggly knee injury. Jackson went on to represent the family on the slopestyle course. After the top rail section didn’t go his way, Wacko paid tribute to Jossi with a run of zero-spins.
Byron & Beau-James qualified 4th & 5th respectively in the halfpipe qualifiers. In one NZ’s most heart-breaking Olympic moments, Byron broke his patella in practice. The unflappable Beau-James took on the final in true Wells fashion, putting down an absolute banger of a run that saw him narrowly miss out on the podium in 4th place.
The Wells boys are such a dominant force in world freeskiing – they are an inspiration to an entire generation of skiers! We can’t wait to see what they bring next.
The Porteous Brothers
Miguel & Nico
The Porteous brothers have been on the up & up over the past couple of years, with both brothers achieving some HUGE results as they compete with & against each other in freeski halfpipe.
Miguel & Nico started training at Cardrona when they were wee groms, getting early recognition in the NZ Junior Nationals. Nico blasted into the freeski spotlight when he became the youngest person to land a triple cork 1440, at Cardrona in 2016. Later that season he was picked up by Red Bull, becoming the first freeski athlete on the NZ Red Bull Team. Not to be outdone, Miguel secured a last-minute entry in the 2017 X Games in Aspen as an alternate in halfpipe, surprising everyone when he took away the silver medal on debut.
The boys made the decision to focus on halfpipe in preparation for the 2018 Winter Olympics. The move paid off when Nico qualified for finals in 11th & went on to defy all expectations, including his own. His second run score of 94.8 in finals shot the 16-year-old to instant stardom as he walked away with the bronze – New Zealand’s first ever male Winter
Nico & Miguel are two Kiwi sporting talents to watch out for – you definitely haven’t heard the Porteous name for the last time!
The Bilous Brothers
Hank & Finn
With their lineage, you’d imagine that out of all the freeski disciplines, the Bilous boys would be top freeride skiers. Their dad, Pete, is one of New Zealand’s foremost mountain guides & has been taking his two sons on backcountry missions from a very early age. When your dad’s a heli-guide, “take your kid to work day” takes on a whole new meaning…
Oldest brother Hank has followed the freeride path, last winter claiming victory in the North Face Frontier 4-star Freeride World Tour qualifier & continuing to podium throughout the 2017/18 Northern Hemisphere qualifying tour.
Younger brother Finn took a different route, opting to compete in slopestyle. He was one of three Kiwis to qualify for PyeongChang in freeski slopestyle, & just missed out on qualifying for finals by 0.6 of a point!
These two brothers are making a big impact in their chosen disciplines – keep an eye out for them both in the next few years.
This feature first appeared in our 2018 Heart of Gold magazine. Get your free copy on the mountain!