emily cook 
Emily with her gold medal in Ukraine

As an aerialist, you put your ski boots on…by yourself.  You click your skis on…by yourself.  You ski down the hill... by yourself.  You flip through the air and land on the snow…by yourself.  And you are judged one by one…by yourself.

A very individual sport it seems? Yes, but if you were to ask any aerialist if they could do what they do without a family and team you’d only hear “no.”

Aerials is an individual sport no one would ever fathom doing alone.  It requires a lot of planning and a lot more mental support.  Our team consists of girls and boys and coaches and athletes and rookies and veterans.   We all come together to do an individual sport that amazes and terrifies spectators (and our poor parents!).

Last month, my team of coaches and athletes went to Ukraine to compete in the last World Cup of the season.  Emily Cook, one of the veterans on the team, won the event!  Emily and I have been rooming together at events for five years now.  When I first met her, she was twice my age.  Looking back on our first encounter, I’m sure that she couldn’t believe she was rooming with a 14-year-old.  But Emily mentored me and helped shape me into the athlete I am today.  Since those early teen years, Emily has welcomed me into her home on several occasions when I’ve traveled to Park City, Utah.  Emily has supported me tremendously throughout my career.  I was incredibly upset to have missed her victory, but extremely proud at the same time that she was representing our team and country so well.

I can’t wait to get back out on the hill to be able to support Emily and the rest of my team.  We have an incredible atmosphere, all based on doing the best you can and helping everyone else do the best they can as well.

You can also follow my journey on Twitter: @AshleySkis