TeamAVSC Blog

Clubhouse Chronicles: Aspen is Racer Ready

December 2, 2019
Aspen is Racer Ready
Pat Callahan, AVSC Race Director 

This article was originally published in the Aspen Times.

Race you to the bottom! Every skier has probably challenged his or her friends with these words. As kids, we raced each other down Panda Peak. As I got older, I raced the Marolt twins down Aspen Mountain, hoping to get a free burger at the Skier’s Chalet. If you called in your order from the Sundeck and got to the Skier’s Chalet before it was ready, the burger was free. When we joined the Aspen Ski Club, Quick read more or view full article we finally made our racing official.

Racing is likely the oldest and simplest form of competition in many sports. Ski racing is no different. In the United States, no ski resort has as long and storied a racing history as Aspen. From the National Championships in 1941 through the 1950 World Championships, Aspen cemented its reputation as a ski racing hot spot.

The focus on racing continued with numerous Roch Cup and National Championships. When Aspen local and AVSC member Bob Beattie invented the World Cup, he made Aspen a semi-regular stop. In fact, Aspen has hosted more World Cup races than any other North American locale.

A recent highlight was the very successful 2017 World Cup Finals held at Aspen Mountain. It was a treat to watch the entire community come together to host such an exciting event. We look forward to continuing Aspen’s World Cup ski legacy and carrying on the momentum from the World Cup Finals in the near future.

In the meantime, ski racing is burgeoning at the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club. One of our goals is to host an event for every age group; this year we will run a huge number of events at Highlands. We’ll host races for our 8-year-olds up through our post-graduate athletes. Surprisingly, of the internationally sanctioned FIS races in Colorado, Aspen will host almost half of them, including more downhills than any other site in the nation.

The long-running Roaring Fork Series is the first racing experience for many of our youngsters and has been the stepping stone for U.S. Ski Team racers such as Galena Wardle, Wiley Maple and Katie Ryan. It’s free for our racers to participate and the highlights are the Cookie Medals from Paradise Bakery. Other events include the 33rd annual Wilder Dwight Memorial, the preeminent downhill race on the domestic calendar. AVSC loves racing speed and loves having our kids go fast. We start them on speed training as young as 9 years old on Racer’s Edge at Buttermilk, perhaps the best speed training venue in the country (and a trail built by my Dad). While other ski teams are shying away from speed training due to the added effort, AVSC is all in and has taken the lead in hosting downhill in the United States.

The biggest event on our calendar this winter will be the return of the National Alpine Tech Championships. Many of the nation’s best racers will be competing in dual slalom, slalom and giant slalom March 28-31. This unique event is a cooperative effort between AVSC and Aspen Skiing Co. It will provide Aspen with the opportunity to host another world class event, as well as the chance to show off our fantastic terrain at Highlands.

The Alpine Tech Championships will truly be a community event. We are looking forward to getting our kids involved, as well as AVSC parents and supporters. Of course, we welcome community members to join us as course workers or off-hill volunteers. If interested, please contact Todd at aspenevents@aspensnowmass.com. It should be a fun, exciting event and will give everyone the chance to celebrate ski racing during the lovely springtime in Aspen.

See you at the races! Read Less

Audi Ajax Cup - December 30th - Join us!

November 16, 2019
The 10th Annual Audi Ajax Cup will be held on December 30th on Aspen Mountain! Join us for a day of racing, partying, and most importantly, creating opportunities for local youth! Learn more about the event by visiting the website and watching the vdieo below. 

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE!

 

2018 Audi Ajax Cup from Team AVSC on Vimeo.

AVSC Online Store - Open until 11/21

November 14, 2019


Shop the AVSC Online Store! The store closes 11/21 - shop now; no late orders accepted! 

Stapleton Training Center Has Earliest Opening

November 11, 2019
This article and photo were originally published by Austin Colbert in the Aspen Times.

Before the Stapleton Training Center opened at Aspen Highlands in 2014,
young ski racers from the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club would have to spend a lot of time on the road in order to find early-season training.

“We had snowmaking on the lower half, but that doesn’t do any good if you can’t ski to it,” AVSC race director Pat Callahan recalled of Highlands. “That’s the biggest thing, Quick read more or view full article is we would be at Copper Mountain or Loveland or A-Basin until definitely December. In November, there was no training here.”

But when a group led by Aspen skiing icon Dave Stapleton came together to make the AVSC-run training venue a reality, new doors were opened for skiers everywhere. Snowmaking was added to the upper portion of the current training area, which is located predominantly on the Golden Horn run, a game changer for the club athletes.

And this season has been especially good, with colder-than-normal temperatures allowing for the earliest start in its six years of existence. The Stapleton Training Center officially opened for business Saturday, which is roughly a week earlier than normal.
“It was over 100 hours of really good snowmaking temperatures,” said venue manager Cody Oates, adding they had their 24 snowmaking guns going nearly 24 hours a day for nearly a week late last month. “It’s always risky to make snow in October, but this year, with those six days of cold temperatures, and with cooperation with Aspen Skiing Co., we were able to put over 10 million gallons of snow on the hill, which has allowed us to have all of our groups using the hill right now.”

According to Oates, the only race-ready training venues currently open in the state are at Copper Mountain, where many members of the U.S. Ski Team are training, Loveland Ski Area and at Aspen Highlands. And not only is the Stapleton Training Center equipped with slalom and giant slalom courses, but there are moguls for freestyle skiers, as well as rails, jumps and air bags for freeskiers and snowboarders.

“Obviously I could go elsewhere. I’ve been elsewhere. And this is just as good as Copper right now, but better because it’s just us up here. It’s pretty relaxed,” said Crested Butte ski racer Tanner Perkins, an FIS-level athlete who trains with AVSC. “We are able to do drills all the way across the whole hill, opposed to having one little lane with one course. We can get a lot more accomplished.”

This past weekend it was mostly just the AVSC skiers taking to Golden Horn. By the end of this month, it also could be hosting some of the best skiers in the world. As they’ve done every year since the venue opened, the Norwegian national team is expected to make a stop in Aspen for training ahead of the Dec. 6 to 8 World Cup races at Beaver Creek. Led by two-time Olympic medalist Henrik Kristoffersen, the Norwegians have been considered the best in the world in recent years.

“It’s kind of been their home away from home for the last six years and they love it. They come back any opportunity they can,” Oates said. “It’s not like Copper or Loveland where there is a ton of different teams renting out lane space and you’ve got Henrik Kristoffersen with his No. 1 competitor looking over his shoulder seeing what he’s doing. It’s pretty secluded here.”

The seclusion has become a big draw for a lot of high-level skiers and snowboarders. As well as the Norwegians, the Swiss men’s national team is expected to make a visit soon, as are the Chinese national freestyle team and a handful of university teams.
“The most special part about it is it’s kind of quiet. We are not looking to maximize the lane rentals at all,” Oates said. “They like coming here because they are kind of left alone, there is plenty of space. It’s not super, super high stress.”

The venue isn’t only for training, either. Aspen Highlands will host FIS races Dec. 9 to 13 for men and women, and will host the U.S. Alpine Tech Championships March 28 to 31, a first for Aspen in 60 years, an event AVSC is helping run alongside Aspen Skiing Co.
In the meantime, the local club athletes have the hill to themselves thanks to that October cold spell.

“We are lucky enough to be training at home. It’s great to just be here,” said Torey Greenwood, AVSC’s head men’s FIS coach. “It’s beautiful. It’s hard, good race conditions, I would say. It’s safe, because it’s just AVSC athletes so you don’t have to worry about the public and that stuff. But conditions are great and training is sweet.” Read Less

Video Series - Clubhouse Characters: Aspen Supports Kids

November 6, 2019

Do you remember your first turns? Venture back to the days of gaining confidence to explore the mountain, enjoying chicken fingers in the lodge, and hanging with teddy bears on the chairlift! 

Join us for a day at Buttermilk with Aspen Supports Kids - where it all begins. See how our community comes together to create opportunities on snow for over 1,600 kids local kids, starting at age 3.5!  Watch the video.

More from Clubhouse Characters: 
Episode 1: Hailey Swirbul 
Quick read more or view full article shape="rect" target="_blank" track="on">Episode 2: Mariel Gorsuch
Episode 3: Spring Gulch Skiers 
Episode 4: Tabatha Galicia
Episode 5: Big Mountain

Read Less