As the summer months head our way, and the U.S. Ski Team ends its winter season, Long Valley’s Mike Rossi can spend the next few months atop the rankings and readying himself for another successful year.
Rossi, a freestyle aerialist for the team, spent the end of March , then taking part in the Nationals competition in Stratton, Vermont.
“Italy was… awesome. One of the coolest places in the world,” Rossi said about his 5-day trip to the European country. “It was a learning experience, getting used to competing with jet lag and being in a foreign place.”
, meaning the jumps were limited to two aerial flips before landing. Rossi successfully landed his double twisting double flip, and attempted a triple twisting double flip. It was the latter, however, that didn’t go his way.
“My hand touched down on the landing for the triple,” Rossi said. “That’s a big no-no. But, it happened, and it’s something to work on going forward.”
Rossi said the Chinese team was very strong at the competition, and ski conditions were not good at all.
“There was like, no snow,” Rossi said about the jump site. “We had a steep in-run, then a long flat run before hitting the ramp. Conditions just weren’t good for jumping.”
Rossi placed 10th in the competition in Italy, then headed home for one last competition in Vermont.
As he headed to Stratton, obstacles appeared much bigger than the jumps themselves for Rossi. Fighting fatigue and another poor jump site, as well as some of the nation’s best jumpers, the aerialist wasn’t too keen on the competition.
“We had to push snow into a mound from the mountain itself to make a ramp,” Rossi said. “I was tired from the trip. Didn’t really want to jump, but it was the last competition, so I stuck with it.”
Rossi’s first jump was a double twisting double, which he landed perfectly. The score was good enough for him to tune in and focus on his second jump, one that would catapult him to the podium.
The 18-year-old didn't make the same mistake he did in Italy, and executed a full double full–or triple twisting double back flip–to seal the deal, and grabbed 2nd place overall in the competition.
The third place finisher is also on Rossi’s team, he said, as the juniors made up two-thirds of the medal stand.
“So I’m kind of ranked second now,” Rossi said with a sense of humility. “It was a good way to end the season.”
Rossi will be at home in Long Valley through the end of April, then return to Lake Placid, New York for summer camps where he’ll practice water jumps and other exercises to prepare for next season’s competitions.