First, the water.
Then, the snow.
Durango Freestyle skiers made their annual pilgrimage to Olympic Park in Park City, Utah, last week for summer training, also known as jumping into a giant pool with ski gear and swimsuits.
The annual summer ski-splash camp is where the junior freestyle skiers practice their aerials and earn their certifications to perform the aerial maneuvers next winter on the snow.
For young freestyle skiers, it's known simply as "flight school." Or "splash camp."
"It was a great trip. We got in a ton of jumps," said Kirk Rawles, head coach of the Durango Freestyle Team.
"The skiers are required to do (their jumps) in the pool first," he said. "This is a huge component in the sport. It's a big safety factor for them (skiers)."
He said the freestyle skiers of all ages, from 6 or 7 up, ski down the synthetic-carpet ramps (constantly soaked by a built-in sprinkler), and launch into the super-oxygenated
The 750,000-gallon pool has an air system which provides additional cushioning for softer landings in the water. There are six different-sized ramps for the respective ages and abilities.
The skiers also train on trampolines at the training center where the U.S. Ski Team also trains.
Many U.S. Ski Team freestylers were on hand when the Durango skiers were in Park City. Several work at the Olympic Park training center in the summer.
U.S. Ski Team head moguls coach Scott Rawles, Kirk's brother, also was at the facility lending some special brotherly support to the Durango Freestyle Team.
"He helped coach our team the whole time we were there," Kirk Rawles said. "I think it was insightful for the athletes.
"It helps when the athletes hear it (instruction) from someone else, particularly someone with the U.S. team," Rawles said.
"It validates what we are doing at the grassroots level," he said.
A pair of Durango Freestyler skiers, Ellen Southworth and Jamie Wanzek, earned their back layout (inverted aerial) certification last week. They each had to complete 100 jumps into the pool to qualify.
Nolan Stowers of Durango worked on his double backflip in Park City, Rawles said.
"He's working up to the next level."
Durango Freestylers who hit the water in Utah were Southworth, Jamie Wanzek, Riley Wanzek, Hank Stowers, Nolan Stowers, Ty MacGuffie, Chance Conaty, Parker Seibert, Sabine Lindler, Christian Lindler, Cole Korte, Nick Ruggiero and Carlo Ruggiero.
"It's great. We'll probably do more of it next year," Rawles said of the summer splash camp training. He said they're considering sessions on other water ramps next year, like Steamboat Springs.
Two more budding Durango Freestylers went off the jumps into the water in Utah last week - Freddy and Hunter Rawles, the 7-year-old twin sons of Kirk and Laurie Rawles.