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Aerials Goes Green at UOP

By Lara Carlton
October, 20 2020
UOP Cleanup Crew
The UOP cleanup crew: Bre Cartwright, Megan Nick, Winter Vinecki and Dani Loeb (photo: Dani Loeb)

U.S. Freestyle Aerial Ski Team members Dani Loeb, Megan Nick and Winter Vinecki took to the jumps on Saturday, October 17, but not to huck themselves into the water. The three women were joined by UOP staff member Bre Cartwright and spent a couple of hours picking up trash and debris on and under the water ramps at Official Training site Utah Olympic Park, giving back some of the love the jumps give to them all summer long. 

“We collected seven trash bags total, one for recycling bottles,” said Dani. “We picked up things like zip ties, soap bottles, lots of socks, gloves, even some mouth guards. Also nails and screws and stuff like that.”

Dani and Megan started what they hope will be an annual UOP cleanup last summer. Both women are passionate about being respectful stewards of their environment. “Megan and I bond a lot over being plastic-free and waste-free,” said Dani. “We decided it was a good idea to clean up the jumps. [During training when we’re] sitting up there we see a lot of debris. So we decided we would just take care of it and clean it up.”



@megsnick9 and I started a new tradition last year where we pick up trash at our second home! This year @wintervinecki and @blifeinthemakin joined the trash family! The jumps are a small area, but I hope it inspires you to pick up trash in your local area. Grab some friends and go out for a few hours! The Utah Olympic Park has lots of different sports that train there, so there are odd things you may find. We found tons of old socks, gloves, mouth guards, and tons of soap and Gatorade bottles. Lots of the stuff we found are sadly not recyclable, but we did separate the things that are. If you train up here, please remember to grab your old soap bottles and show sheets! Recently I have been finding it difficult to follow a stricter plastic-free lifestyle with covid. I want to tell everyone who is trying to be more eco friendly that it’s ok if you mess up! What matters is that you are trying, and the more people that try, the bigger we make an impact! #utah #plastic #trash #nature #flips #pickup #gooutside #skiing

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“Dani and I started doing this last year because it was very discouraging to see how much trash was left behind at the end of summer training at the UOP,” said Megan. “We are so lucky to be able to train at such an amazing facility and it is a real bummer to see how much gets left behind.”

The U.S. Aerials Team clocks hundreds of hours and jumps at the UOP during the summer and takes pride in their facility. People from all over the country come to watch these athletes train, and the Team wants to make sure they put their best foot forward on the jumps and in their environment. “Not only do we want to keep the place clean for our own health, safety and sanity, but also for everyone else that comes to the park,” said Winter. “People come to watch us jump into the pool all summer long and kids from all over come to try water ramping. I want to set a good example for those that come so everyone can have a good time.”

It’s not only the human visitors but the animal visitors that appreciate a clean jump site. “Being in Utah and being backed up against the mountainside, the UOP is also home to many animals,” explained Winter. “We have had a mama and baby ducks swim through the pool, moose walk up by our snow site, weasels run under the water ramps, and more. This is their home too and it shouldn’t be cluttered with our waste. If everyone just does small acts to help keep our environment clean, we can continue to enjoy everything we love about the great outdoors, like skiing, hiking, and more!”

Megan and Dani enjoy sharing their passion for the environment with their team. By continuing to talk about ways to do better and organizing activities like the UOP cleanup, the two women believe they can help the team leave their world a little better than they found it. “I think it is important for everyone to be an environmental steward but it requires us to constantly be educating ourselves,” said Megan. “I am always finding ways I can improve my everyday habits to be more eco-conscious and minimize my impact. You don’t have to be super passionate about the environment to do a better job.”