AVSC gets an early start | AspenTimes.com

AVSC gets an early start

Josh Ganz
Coach’s Corner

Unless you've not returned from your shoulder season vacation yet, you've realized that winter (or a decent semblance of it, what with the last week being in the high 30s/ low 40s) is upon us. That is the case for tourists and residents alike. The sleepy town of Offseason Aspen is working its way toward hibernation much like most of the larger mammals in the area, and Rowdy Full-Swing Aspen is lurking just around the corner.

While many have been relaxing and resting up during the quiet times, some have been moving full-steam ahead in order to prepare for the gloriousness that is winter. I'm referring to the athletes of the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club.

Some of our elite athletes have been training and conditioning for over two months already. Be it going to the gym, attending dry-land training at the clubhouse or just hiking and skinning up the mountains the moment we received a dusting, our athletes are making sure that they are ready for what Mother Nature has to offer. Of course, more than just Mother Nature presents those offerings. I'm referring to the concept of competition, a concept that is present in most of the animal kingdom, but most prevalent in mankind.

While we might not have enough of the powdery white stuff to create courses for, say, boarder/skiercross or halfpipe, the weather has been gracious enough to provide conditions for racing, specifically slalom and giant slalom, and that's exactly what we've been doing with a lot of our time on snow in the past few weeks: perfecting our turns, working on fundamentals and preparing for not only our first competitions but for longevity and efficiency in riding overall. We've also thrown in some fun for good measure.

Based on this weekend, it seems our conditioning and preparation has paid off. Dec. 7 marked the snowboard team's first United Stated of America Snowboard Association's official event. In the morning, we held the inaugural event, one of two slalom races for the season. In the afternoon, over 25 athletes made their way down the mountain through the giant slalom course comprised of racer gates spread along the lower portion of the Thunderbowl terrain on Aspen Highlands.

We had a great turn-out from athletes ranging in age from 11 to somewhere in their 60s (I thought it rude to ask specifically, knowing just the division they were competing in). While the day started slightly overcast, the sun finally forced its way through making the second half of the day as enjoyable as one could ask for, providing warmth and quality visibility. This obviously helped the racers navigate the course with proficiency, resulting in incredibly fast times.

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Even though we've already got a few competitions under our belt this season, I feel the speedy times, and more importantly, the immeasurable smiles from our athletes is a great indicator of what to expect in the coming months.

If you're out there on the mountain and see a group of skiers or snowboarders cruising around with determination while having a great time, I'm willing to bet it's an AVSC group working hard to achieve their goals for the season. Please don't be discouraged from waving us on telling all our young athletes to keep up the good work. If we accidentally ignore you, we might just be too determined and focused on our efforts. If we respond, it's because we're appreciative of the encouragement. Either way, we're all very excited for the opportunities the upcoming season will provide us.

Josh Ganz is a snowboarding coach for the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club. Email him at jganz@teamavsc.org.

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