is high, and our new acrobats seem to love skiing, a
new adventure, and the camaraderie of being on the
I had the chance to participate as a coach in last
summer’s recruitment camp in Park City and had a
great time welcoming some new acrobats to the wa-
ter ramps. After a day of physical testing at the Center
of Excellence and the Utah Olympic Oval, the jumping
began at the Utah Olympic Park. Those who fell in love
with the sport, as I did as a 12-year-old, participated
in a few more weeks of training on water before pro-
gressing to snow this fall. Watching these young ath-
letes compete at the U.S. Ski Team selection event in
December made me extremely proud, and the energy
that the new recruits bring is contagious.
After recruitment camp in Lake Placid or Park City a
new aerialist has the chance to continue in the sport
either in an east or west coast program. FLY Freestyle
in Park City and ORDA in Lake Placid both have great
aerials programs and the U.S. Ski Team supports the
Elite Athlete Development Program (EADP) for qualify-
ing athletes, which is run by Olympic gold medalist Eric
Bergoust in Lake Placid.
The process continues once an athlete qualifies for
the U.S. Ski Team, with Rookie Camp bringing togeth-
er all of the new skiers and snowboarders to the team
for a weekend of fun, physical testing, education and
training with staff and veteran athletes at the Center of
Then, before you know it, you’re a veteran yourself.
At least, that’s how it seemed to happen in my career.
Though these camps and programs aim to make it
easier to be the best in the world at freestyle skiing, the
number of athletes vying for spots increases each year,
making the need for incredibly hard work and extreme
dedication to the sport vital for success. For me, the in- flux of up-and-coming aerialists is something that con- stantly keeps me on my toes. I love the energy that my oung teammates bring to the hill everyday and look forward to watching them progress. In the meantime, I remain thankful for the 15 years of experience I have on the team. As I write, this week marks the last of our Park City training before we head on a three-month World Cup tour of North America, China and Europe, where I intend to use both the youthful excitement of my new teammates and my own years of experience to land as many podium finishes as possible.
Information on camps and development programs
can be found at:
Learning to flip and twist can be
much tougher than learning to ski.
A recent EADP team.
EMILY COOK; USSA