The Winter Olympics doesn't have to mean watching icicles form off the end of your nose. Salt Lake City sits in a temperate zone - the average daytime city temperature in February is 37 degrees Fahrenheit. "And at 7,000 feet with the sun out, it feels like mid-40s," says local Olympian Tricia Stumpf. "Packing sunscreen and drinking plenty of water are great ideas."

Wunder-aerialist Eric Bergoust (freestyle skiing's aerial gold medalist in Nagano in '98), born in Missoula, Montana, will once again launch, flip, and twist into the world's consciousness in SLC. But he's been performing aerial wizardry in smaller burgs for years.

"Ask him about jumping off the bridge near Missoula," says his agent.

"Yeah, my brothers and I set up a mini-trampoline just in front of the railing. Then just before a car would come across the bridge, we'd run across the road and hit the mini-tramp and dive over the railing, doing flips until we hit the river."

The Bergoust brothers also leapt off cliffs (into rivers) and the roof of the family home (onto mattresses).

"I wanted to scare myself any way that I could, because I figured that would be the hardest thing to overcome when it came to doing aerials," says Eric.

Utah license plates proclaim theirs "The Greatest Snow on Earth." While some may argue this, Olympic athletes certainly will be digging their edges into prime powder. Storms that slam into the Wasatch Range pass first over the Great Salt Lake - 70 miles long by 30 wide - and as they do, they pick up water and a dose of salt, making for lighter, fluffier snow.

"The downhill demands everything a skier is able to give. No coward will ever win." - Austrian ski legend Karl Schranz