Busy week ahead for Davenport | AspenTimes.com

Busy week ahead for Davenport

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Ted MahonSnowmass Village ski mountaineer Chris Davenport tackles the steeps of Oregon's Mount Hood during May's "Ring of Fire Tour" in the Pacific Northwest.

ASPEN – Globe-trotting ski mountaineer Chris Davenport has been savoring his time at home of late.

That doesn’t mean he’s slowed down, however.

“It’s a busy life,” the Snowmass Village resident said Tuesday, “but I’m loving it.”

Davenport’s travels this fall have included a visit to New York on behalf of the Aspen Skiing Co. and a speaking engagement at an adventure film festival in London. (He’s currently featured in two movies, including Warren Miller’s “Flow State,” in which he and other Spyder athletes tackle the Telluride backcountry.)

His time in Colorado has been spent running and working out, making sporadic trips to Arapahoe Basin and Loveland Ski Area and skinning up Aspen Mountain. Davenport’s busy Thanksgiving week will include a talk Wednesday at Aspen Sports, on the Cooper Avenue Mall, and commentating duties at this weekend’s Aspen Winternational.

A World Cup women’s giant slalom and slalom are slated for Saturday and Sunday on Ajax’s famed Strawpile course.

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“It’s always winter for me somewhere, but it’s nice that the season here finally kicks off, the lifts get going and people get up skiing,” Davenport said. “This week should be fun.”

In Wednesday’s presentation, which runs from 6 to 7 p.m., he will regale the public with stories from his recent “Ring of Fire Tour” in the Pacific Northwest. In arguably his most ambitious project to date, Davenport set out to climb and ski 15 volcanoes in just two weeks in May during a jaunt through California, Oregon and Washington.

With the help of a revolving-door group that included three-time Olympian Daron Rahlves, photographer Christian Pondella and accomplished local mountaineers Ted and Christy Mahon, Davenport logged more than 78,000 vertical feet and 141 miles. He completed his project May 19 with a successful summit and descent on glacier-covered Mount Baker and is eager to share the experience.

“It should be fun to help people get stoked on winter and dreaming big about putting together road trips, ideas for the spring or whatever,” Davenport said. “I do a lot of things that are all about content creation and sharing stories, and this trip to the Northwest is the perfect platform for a cool multimedia show.

“I love speaking to groups, especially when I get to do it here at home.”

Davenport will address the public Saturday, too, when he returns to the Winternational announcing booth.

“I’ve been doing this for about 10 years now. … The event announcing keeps me close to ski racing, which is what I grew up doing,” said Davenport, who helped cover the 2012 Winter Games in British Columbia. “It’s not nerve-wracking; it’s very natural. I’ve got the gift of gab, if you will. It’s an art form for sure and something I’ve practiced and improved on as I’ve gotten older. The trick is to always have something to say. … It’s all about keeping people entertained.”

Like everyone else, Davenport said he is hoping the U.S. Ski Team’s premier athlete will be entertaining the home crowd come Saturday. Lindsey Vonn, who was hospitalized with intestinal pain last week, has returned to training. Her status for the weekend was still in question Tuesday afternoon, however, according to team press officer Doug Haney.

“I’m keeping my fingers crossed,” Davenport said. “Obviously, she’s good for the race and for the media. She’s such a big story.”

Regardless of whether Vonn makes it to the starting gates, Davenport said there will be no shortage of exciting story lines. Chief among them is the emergence of Vail teenager Mikaela Shiffrin, who took third in the season-opening slalom in Levi, Finland.

Last year in Aspen, the precocious youngster finished eighth in slalom in just her fourth World Cup start.

“I’m looking forward to seeing Mikaela perform and get into the top five, … and being friends with Julia (Mancuso), I always hope she uncorks one,” Davenport said of the team veteran, whose bronze-medal showing in giant slalom last year ended a nearly seven-year medal drought for the U.S. on Ajax. “Of course, the perennial favorites should be in there. We’ll see good results from Marlies Schild in the slalom, and I think Maria (Hofl-Riesch) is showing good form right now.”

Of Saturday’s GS, Davenport said, “Tina Maze, of Slovenia, is skiing really well. I hung out with her for a week in Portillo, (Chile), and she was having good training. Then, (defending champion) Viktoria Rebensburg and Tessa Worley, who won here a couple years ago, those two will be right there.

“I always look forward to this weekend. This is a great time to be in Aspen.”

jmaletz@aspentimes.com

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