Killington Mountain School student Hugo Brisebois had to make a difficult decision this year.
The 16-year-old sophomore from Canada, who splits his time between alpine skiing and cyclocross, earned enough Union Cycliste Internationale points through bike races to earn a spot at the cyclocross junior world championships to compete with the world’s best riders in February. But Hugo decided not to go.
“Everything has come together on the cycling for him but he wanted to give the skiing a good two-year go to see where it could lead,” his father Alain said.
Hugo has always split his time between alpine skiing and cyclocross. but this was the first year Hugo had to make a decision between the two sports.
“I told myself (at the beginning of the year) if I make it (to the world championships), I’ll make the decision to not go because I want to ski this year,” he said.
Cyclocross is a bike race over a short course that requires the rider to dismount and carry the bike over obstacles and then remount. Hugo said skiing and biking are equally important to him and he trains for both sports, taking the strength he gains in one to help with the other.
Hugo started both sports soon after he could walk. He competed in his first cyclocross at age 7, mostly learning from his father, a former ski instructor and coach. “It started as a way for us to not be at the soccer field seven days a week between both kids that we had,” Alain said.
Cycling soon became a family activity.
“When he started racing, it took on a whole new dimension,” Alain said.
Two years ago, Hugo earned a silver medal at a race in Quebec. This past November, Hugo placed sixth at the Canadian Junior (U19) National Cyclocross Championships.
“In the past year or two cyclocross has taken such a huge leap forward in terms of his ability,” Alain said.
Despite his success, the invitation to the world championships this year was a surprise to Hugo, who had ended the bike season in November to fly to Europe and join his alpine teammates for training.
“I was definitely shocked,” Hugo said.
Hugo started attending KMS this year. He and his family were attracted to the family-like atmosphere of the campus and the fact that KMS offered Hugo the opportunity to pursue both sports.
“A lot of the other academies are solely focused on skiing,” Alain said.
While Hugo has decided to forgo the world championship opportunity to focus on skiing, he said he’s planning to end the ski season early to hop back on a bike and compete in bike races starting in April.