Mike Rossi has spent much of his adolescence somewhere in the clouds. Literally.
, however, and it’s catapulted him to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The Long Valley native and U.S. Ski Team freestyle aerialist is capping off the winter season with a trip to Valmalenco, Italy on March 21 to compete for the US at the Junior World Championships.
There hasn’t been an aerial event at the Junior Worlds since 2006, according to Rossi’s mother, Barb.
“I’m very excited about going to Europe,” Rossi said, who is currently training in Lake Placid, NY. “I’m working on getting everything perfect right now.”
Rossi will be one of eight men and women representing the U.S. in the competition, and will return stateside to compete in the US Nationals on March 24, culminating the winter season.
No matter what happens in the final two competitions of the winter, though, Rossi has already enjoyed great success this year.
Rossi grabbed two gold medals and one silver in the NorAm Cup competition, giving him an overall second place showing. He also placed 16 out of 32 athletes at the World Cups in Lake Placid.
On Rossi’s goals list is being added to the U.S. Olympic team that will compete in Russia in 2014.
Since Long Valley Patch last spoke with Rossi, that dream has started to become more of a reality as the teenager continues full-year training.
The top four male freestyle aerialists on the U.S. Ski Team will be named to the Olympic team just weeks before the Games, Rossi said.
“It’s looking pretty good as of now,” Rossi said. “I’d say right now there are probably four guys ahead of me, but one of them has just about the same skill level as I do, so it’s pretty close.”
Rossi is currently ranked as one of the top-20 aerialists in North America.
If you'd like to connect with Mike Rossi, he can be found on Facebook by the name Jersey Mike, on Twitter, @jerseymikeflips, on YouTube with jerseymikeaerials, or on his website, www.jerseymikeaerials.com.