Freestyle Aerialists At It Again

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Park City, UT, Oct. 4, 2000--After a short layout, uh, layoff that is, the U.S. Freestyle Team aerialists started another dryland camp at the Utah Olympic Park Monday.

The aerial team has been in Park City most of the summer, save for a brief stint in Australia for the season's opening World Cup back in August. The Utah Olympic Park, which will host ski jumping events (among others) during the '02 Winter Olympics, is one of the best off-season aerials training grounds as well. There are three major jumps or kickers at the Park that are classified by size-a double, a triple and a quad (the biggest). Athletes ski down an inrun made of plastic and launch off the kicker into a splash pool below. The inruns and kickers are constantly sprayed with water to decrease friction against the skis.

According to the skiers, the summer jumping is invaluable to their training. Instead of having to go overseas to train, they can remain in the States and stay close to their homes. Many of the Ski Team members actually reside in Park City, including Eric Bergoust (Missoula, MT), Emily Cook (Belmont, MA), Matt Chojnacki, Brian Currutt, Mariano Ferrario, Jerry Grossi, Sarah Horvitz (Somerset, MA), Joe Pack and Britt Swartley (Blue Bell, PA).

Bergoust, the '98 Olympic gold medalist and '99 World Championships gold medalist, won both contests at Mt. Buller, Australia, in August. In fact, Bergy set a world record with 260.98 points. It was the third time Bergoust has broken his own record; he holds the top three alltime scores.

The next World Cup for the aerialists is Dec. 2-3 at Whistler/Blackcomb, B.C., the site of the '01 World Freestyle Ski Championships Jan. 17-21.