Aerialists from across the nation are set to kick off three weekends of U.S. freestyle competition Sunday as the 2009 Sprint U.S. Freestyle Championships hit Utah Olympic Park in Park City.
Scheduled to compete in the aerials event are newly crowned World Champion Ryan St. Onge, who will be looking to defend his championship title from 2008, as well as World Cup winners Jeret "Speedy" Peterson and Emily Cook, who also hopes to rein in her second national title in a row.
"It's a huge event for us. We're jumping with some of the best jumpers in the world when we compete at nationals, so to win it is a huge title. I'm going to go out and put down the best tricks I can do and see if I can perform my best," St. Onge said. "But, it's going to be difficult with the other guys. I know that they're really hungry for it, too."
For St. Onge, though, finishing out the 2009 season at Utah Olympic Park is something he looks forward to.
"It's definitely coming home. I've taken more jumps on that site than any other site in the world. As long as the weather is good, then we should have a great contest," St. Onge said.
Fans can catch the action in Park City on Sunday with finals beginning at 11:30 a.m. From Park City, the freestyle nationals move on to Waterville Valley, NH March 14 for upright aerials and then to Squaw Valley, CA, where the series will wrap up with moguls, dual moguls and skier halfpipe.