ASPEN - When the schedule for this year's Winter X Games was announced, many dedicated race watchers lamented the omission of the boardercross, skiercross and adaptive skiercross events.
The head-to-head action is exciting and easy to understand (it's usually obvious who is the race heat winner), and spectators seem to enjoy the sport's thrills and spills, regardless of ability level.
This weekend, Aspen Valley Ski Club athletes will compete in boardercross, skiercross and adaptive races at Aspen Highlands on a new course being constructed on the Red Onion trail (below Cloud 9 lift).
The event, part of the USASA series, takes place Sunday and large local fields are expected.
"We're going to use a lot of the natural terrain of that trail and add some features," said Travis McLain, head snowboard coach for AVSC.
He said that while these races have been waged at Snowmass and Buttermilk in past years, this is their Aspen Highlands debut on a course he anticipates will run about 45 to 50 seconds. Start time is 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
Up to four athletes compete in each heat with either the top two or top three finishers advancing.
Boardercross and skiercross will return to Red Onion on March 2-3 as well.
Best viewing opportunities are below the Cloud 9 lift or from the bottom of the Red Onion course.
The International Free Skiers Association worked with the Junior Events Tour of the Americas (JETA) to produce a big mountain event last weekend at Sunlight Mountain Resort near Glenwood Springs.
All told, the event attracted more than 100 competitors ages 8 to 18.
Aspen Valley Ski Club dominated the agaes 8-11 snowboard podium with Elliot Dwyer Walz, Jonathan Weiss and Sean Connelly taking the top three spots.
Among snowboard men ages 12-14, AVSC's Jake Kelley was second, EO Rafelson third and Jack Chase in fourth.
AVSC's Jack Turner finished second in the 15-18 men's snowboard division.
Among skiers, AVSC's Tristan Feinberg was second overall in men ages 8-11. Nick Mitchell was third, Jake Bozza was fourth and Will Brown, Charlie Campisi and Spencer Ellseperman finished seventh through ninth, respectively.
In 12-14 men, AVSC's Davis Henschel was third followed by Ilex Cherry in eighth, Andrew Tierney in ninth and Logan Brown rounding out the top 10.
AVSC's Freestyle Team was inspired by alum Torin Yater-Wallace's victory in the men's freestyle skiing halfpipe event Saturday in Sochi, Russia. This was his second victory of the season.
Competing in two days worth of single mogul competitions in Telluride, Andra Sakson was fifth in the first competition and third in the second event, which puts her in good position to qualify for the freestyle junior nationals.
Finishing in the top 10 on the men's side was Colby Lee.
In dual moguls Monday, Sakson took sixth overall; Lee was seventh overall.
For more on AVSC competitions, athletes and programs, tune into "Weekly with Walt" every Wednesday at 7 p.m at GrassRoots, Channel 12 (also Channel 82 downvalley).