If you ever find yourself sharing a chairlift with K.C. Oakley and you happen to ask her where she's from, she will likely give you the following answer: "Piedmont. I grew up in Piedmont.
If you ask, however, where home is, you might get a different answer: the slopes of Squaw Valley. "I grew up skiing here with my dad, so all my memories are here," Oakley said.
It is why, Oakley said, these two weeks in May are so special to her. She has been invited, along with the other best American mogul skiers, to train alongside the Chinese national team on three specially designed runs at the top of Squaw.
"It's so fun to be here because I'm running into all these people who've been a part of my ski career, this long path, it's like they are all family at this point," Oakley said.
Oakley, like many of the other top skiers here, has her sights set on competing for the US Olympic team for the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. Oakley came close to making the squad in 2014 but, at 29-years-old, said this will be her last attempt.
That is why the next few months will be so critical for Oakley.
Jonny Moseley agrees.
Moseley, an Olympic gold medalist, television commentator, and Squaw Valley ambassador helped organize the joint training session with the Chinese. He said he has been happy to share his number one piece of advice with the Olympic hopefuls skiing the mountain this month.
"When you look back you want to know that you left it all on the table, you know that you spent every hour you could training to try to win so that was my main piece of advice to them," Moseley said.
While China has not been considered a traditional winter sports juggernaut, that image may soon change. The country won the bid to host the 2022 Winter Games and wants to make sure it has a good showing on its home snow.