On the Fly: Back to my Roots, some jumping and some powder
It has been an exciting few weeks in the world of skiing; both on the World Cup tour and at home in Utah.
For me, the season started on the other side of the fence, with a trip to Beaver Creek to cover the Birds of Prey World Cup with the rest of the Ski Racing crew. A full update on that experience can be found in our last digital issue, but I can say simply that being in the mixed zone interviewing athletes rather than on the hill competing myself was incredible… but just as importantly, made me want to be back to training and competition as soon as possible. Conveniently, I was able to start back up with the team the day I returned to Park City.
Training at home in Utah has some major advantages, and we were sure to make the most of each one. First, the Utah Olympic Park provides an extraordinary venue with beautiful jumps and an amazing staff that is hugely helpful in assisting us to prepare the best site possible. Second, the Center of Excellence is just down the road, meaning that pre-jumping trampoline sessions are easy, and after jumping we are able to head straight to the gym to watch video, spin on the bike, and recover with physio sessions or the cold tubs if needed. Third, it is the best thing in the world to have the opportunity to come home and sleep in our own beds after a long day on the hill rather than a hotel room.
This season the aerials team chose not to attend the first World Cups of the season in Beida Lake, China, though we were fervently awaiting the results of the inaugural mogul competition there for which we did send a team. We were thrilled to hear that Hannah Kearney was once again at the top of the podium, with Heather McPhie in 5th. Instead of traveling to China, our team chose to stay home and use the time to train, to develop new skills, and make some changes in our jumps, with an eye on World Championships in February. This is a different approach for us this year, but one that I believe will pay off in the long run and has been very productive so far.
Over the holidays, rather than being on the road like in years past, I have had a chance to experience some of what Utah is most famous for, it’s powder. Yes, I am an aerialist, but one who came from a skiing background and to get back to my roots this holiday has been just what I needed. The week started with the Park City Powder Cats, skiing the backcountry with family and great friends (Image: cat skiing with dad), and has been followed up by hiking Big and Little Cottonwood Canyon and earning delicious powder, run after run. What an experience.
Getting off the jump hill and on some powder skis reminds me of where I came from, but more importantly of where I am headed. 2010 is almost complete and though I am not one for New Year’s Resolutions, this week reminded me, as cliché as it may sound to live each day to its fullest. Let me explain, at times, in the past a day off meant time to rest and prepare for the next day of training. Today I am committed that experiencing each precious moment of every day be what creates a vibrant and energized experience for both today and tomorrow. My training is enhanced by hiking to the top of the world (or to the top of a canyon), perhaps falling on my face along the way, but getting back up, appreciating the lesson of the journey and celebrating with a sweet powder run down. We may forget sometimes, but this is the way to live life and the way I will approach this season, of course with the intention of being the best aerialist in the world, but also with the objective of finding balance and loving each step of the process.
Though I have loved being here in Utah for December, next week we head to Quebec to begin our competition season, and I am eager to test my training against the best in the world. We’ll start out with the Nor-Am in Mont Gabriel to get in the gate and experiment with some new skills. Then it’s game time starting with the Mont Gabriel World Cup, followed by Lake Placid, Calgary, and then home for Worlds. I’m excited to be back on tour with the rest of the freestyle crew and you can count on me to keep you up to date with the happenings throughout the season.
Emily Cook is a veteran athlete on the U.S. Freestyle Ski team. As an aerialist she has posted numerous World Cup podiums, is a two-time Olympian and a four-time U.S. National Champion. Throughout the season, Emily will provide an inside look at the training and competition adventures of an athlete on the U.S. Ski team. Follow Emily and her teammates from the Center Of Excellence gym to China, Russia and at home for the Freestyle World Championships in Deer Valley, Utah. Please feel free to comment with questions, suggestions or various rants. www.emilycook.com