| AspenTimes.com

Aspen Misc.: Dogs, mountain lions and moose

Want to see your picture in Aspen Misc. or on our Instagram, @aspentimes?

Send your photos to mail@aspentimes.com with the subject line “photo submission” for a chance to be featured! We want to see it all: friends in town, locals abroad, your family, your beloved pets, a favorite run, trail, event, friends at work. Maybe your garden, an achievement, an anniversary, engagement, an evening out — anything fun. Or a remembrance of someone special. Share with the community! Be sure to include photo credits and a caption.

Before sending in your photos, please read our photo sharing policy.

Cannon and Oliver preparing to “party like someone forgot to lock the gate” at the 22nd annual Roaring Fork Poodle Party on July 27, 1-3 p.m. at Pioneer Park.
David Anselmo/Courtesy photo
There’s a mountain lion walking around between Heron Park and Smuggler.
John Carbona/Courtesy photo
A mountain lion walking around between Heron Park and Smuggler.
John Carbona/Courtesy photo
Cows are weening 2-year-old calves getting ready to have new calves.
Stephen Olitsky/Courtesy photo
The Village Shuttle summer service schedules began on Monday. Summer schedules may be viewed online: snowmasstransit.com/133/Routes-Schedules
TOSV/Courtesy image

Aspen Misc.: Elementary school bike clinic; locals abroad

Want to see your picture in Aspen Misc. or on our Instagram, @aspentimes?

Send your photos to mail@aspentimes.com with the subject line “photo submission” for a chance to be featured! We want to see it all: friends in town, locals abroad, your family, your beloved pets, a favorite run, trail, event, friends at work. Maybe your garden, an achievement, an anniversary, engagement, an evening out — anything fun. Or a remembrance of someone special. Share with the community! Be sure to include photo credits and a caption.

Before sending in your photos, please read our photo sharing policy.

While the weather didn’t quite cooperate for the second day of the recent bike rodeo, the first day was the perfect opportunity to get outside and knock the dust off the bikes and biking skills of the attentive students at Aspen Elementary School. Sheriff Michael Buglione would like to thank the Aspen Police Department for organizing and inviting the Sheriff’s Office to join them for such a wonderful and beneficial event. Please take a few minutes to check your bike and biking equipment so that you can safely refresh your biking skills before hitting the roads and trails this summer, and please always wear a helmet.
Pitkin County Facebook/Courtesy photo
Snowmass resident Mary Johnson catching up on the news while commuting from St. Moritz to Zermatt in Switzerland.
Mary Johnson/Courtesy photo
A pair of moose frolicking in the grass.
Stephen Olitsky/Courtesy photo
The Aspen High School girls golf team and coaches (and kids of coaches) pose with the trophy after tying for second place at the Class 3A girls golf state championship on Wednesday, May 31, at Aspen Golf Club. (Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times)
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
Dusk in Spring Valley.
Julie Bielenberg/The Aspen Times

Local photographer Tamara Susa’s ‘Disturbance’ to open at Red Brick

Red Brick’s latest exhibition by Tamara Susa is more than just an artful display of the environment — it is a mission to protect it. 

Two new exhibitions open at Aspen’s Red Brick Center for the Arts on Thursday, including their resident artists program, and Tamara Susa’s Disturbance, her photo project on Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. 

Water in the West, Tamara Susa.
Tamara Susa / Photo Credit

A native of the former Yugoslavia, Susa has lived and worked in the valley for 10 years and is the photographer behind many culturally-relevant and poignant images of nature. 

“I wanted to do more with my photography than simply take photos of pretty landscapes. Through these photographs, I want to show the beauty of the environment that surrounds us but also remind the audience of the urgency of protecting this place we all love so much,” she wrote in an email with The Aspen Times. 

Because of her drive to raise awareness about climate change happening, she captures local mountains using long exposures to represent the passage of time. She partners with the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies in her research and will donate 10% of her print sales in gratitude for their help and their mission. 

Biophilia, Tamara Susa.
Tamara Susa, Photo Credit

This is Susa’s second exhibition presented at the Red Brick, a space where she loves to return for the connection it offers local artists.

Her Disturbance tells a local story focusing on the mountains that draw thousands of skiers, mountaineers, and visitors every year. Disturbance focuses on the life force of snow, and the way it contributes to cycles of life and living across the community. 

“Snow isn’t merely wonderful for winter recreational purposes, but also is a crucial water supply for our lives, year-round, in Colorado,” she wrote. “As the ski seasons become shorter, low water levels will make rafting almost nonexistent. Mountain-biking trails will turn into dust, forests will turn gray, and wildlife will disappear from the landscape.” 

Disturbance, Tamara Susa.
Tamara Susa / Photo Credit

Disturbance is one piece of a three-part project capturing climate change in all of the many forms it exists within our backyard. The three-part project explores the phases water passes through: rain, snow, and ice, and how Colorado snow is essential for life. 

“There’s this general perception that the impact of climate change isn’t an immediate concern. I wanted to bring this topic closer to home and specifically focus on the importance of the snowpack in order to fight wildfires. When I started working on this project, the Grizzly Creek Fire was raging in Glenwood Canyon,” Susa wrote. 

Disturbance, Biophilia, and Water in the West comprise her environmental-awareness project. The project is based on her rallying phrase: “In the West, snow is water.” 

Susa intends to use the palpable beauty of nature to provoke viewers to protect it. 

Water in the West, Tamara Susa.
Tamara Susa / Photo Credit

Disturbance opens for viewing Thursday at the Red Brick from 5 to 7 p.m., and Susa plans to attend. The exhibition will remain at the Red Brick until Feb. 23, 2023. 

Her photographs are printed on eco-friendly paper, mounted onto hardboard of wheat paste, and written on with chalk. Entirely biodegradable, her work will fade with time as, she warns, so will our planet.

Cyclists hit the road for Aspen’s annual Ride for the Pass on Sunday morning

A cyclist rides up "The Narrows" on Highway 82 toward Independence Pass east of Aspen for the annual Ride for the Pass bike race and fundraising event. Proceeds supported the Independence Pass Foundation.
Kaya Williams/The Aspen Times

Competitive and recreational cyclists hit the road in droves on Sunday morning for the annual Ride for the Pass bike race and fundraising event.

Proceeds supported the Independence Pass Foundation, a nonprofit with the mission “to restore and protect the ecological, historical, and aesthetic integrity of the Independence Pass corridor and to encourage stewardship, safety, and appreciation of the Pass,” according to its website.

The race began at the winter closure gate on Highway 82 about 5 miles east of Aspen. The road up to the pass is closed to cars from November to May every year, giving springtime cyclists plenty of room to cruise. (The road is scheduled to open to cars at noon on May 26.)

Participants could finish at the Weller Lake turnout just over 2 miles from the starting line or at the Independence ghost town near the top of the pass around 10 miles from the start. All Independence 10-mile riders were timed and included in competitive categories by age group; all Weller 2-mile riders were not timed. Riders could continue on their own to the summit of Independence Pass.

A total of 147 riders completed the 10-mile ride to Independence, according to the race results.

Markus Dewire won the 10-mile race to Independence with a time of 40 minutes and 47.1 seconds. Sami Inkinen was second with a time of 41:24.9, and Nicholas Galambos was third with a time of 44:08.2.

Meredith Loring was the fastest woman with a time of 53 minutes, 34.5 seconds. She finished in 31st place overall. Jenya Berino finished second among women and 36th overall with a time of 54:32.5; Kellie Koswick was third among women and 54th overall with a time of 1 hour and 31.7 seconds.

Full race results are available at my.raceresult.com/196657/results#0_C1994E.

The ride was originally slated for Saturday, but event organizers moved it to Sunday due to snow and cold temperatures in the forecast on the original date.

For more information about the Independence Pass Foundation, visit independencepass.org.

Spring football leagues, schedules announced for Aspen, Basalt

As one football season approaches its finish, another was shown the starting line.

The Colorado High School Activities Association on Friday announced the leagues and schedules for all the teams that opted to play in the spring, or Season C, a group that includes both Aspen and Basalt high schools.

“For the kids to actually see a schedule and know when it’s coming, I just think it makes it more real,” BHS football coach Carl Frerichs said. “And it really is coming. Now we are getting pretty close to when it’s really going to start happening.”

Along with boys soccer and girls volleyball, both traditionally fall sports, football had originally been pushed back to the spring because of concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. But after even more pushback from parents, coaches and players alike, CHSAA ultimately gave football teams and districts the option to choose between the fall (Season A) or the spring, with the vast majority of the teams in the state opting to play this fall.

Among the 54-team minority to choose the spring were Aspen and Basalt, as well as Roaring Fork and Glenwood Springs. With so few teams playing in Season C, CHSAA was forced to shuffle the leagues and even classifications around a bit to make things work in an abbreviated seven-week season.

“The steps are in place now for a spring football season,” Aspen football coach Travis Benson said. “I would say the interesting part is you kind of have mixes of Western Slope 2A and 3A. All these teams have been in the same conference at one point or the other.”

At least for this upcoming spring season, both Aspen and Basalt will play in Class 3A, a step up from 2A, where they have traditionally played in recent years. The 3A classification will include 16 teams, split into two eight-team leagues, named East and West. The 3A East includes Faith Christian, The Classical Academy, Kent Denver, Sand Creek, Littleton, Denver West, Northfield and The Academy.

The 3A West includes Aspen, Basalt, Rifle, Glenwood Springs, Steamboat Springs, Coal Ridge, Montezuma-Cortez and Salida. Roaring Fork will play in the 12-team 2A classification in the spring in a division that includes St. Mary’s, Buena Vista, Ellicott, Grand Valley and Manitou Springs.

CHSAA maintained that the alignments and schedules are subject to change should teams decide to opt out of the spring.

“Our bracket is extremely strong, which I really am excited for the kids and the coaches to be able to go up against,” Frerichs said. “To win a state championship with these teams that are in it, you are really winning a state championship. We are not going to have a ton of teams, but I think the competition level is as high as the fall.”

The 2A Western Slope League has arguably been the best league in the state the past few years, highlighted by strong runs from Basalt, Delta and Rifle. Only last season, No. 9 seed Basalt knocked off No. 1 seed Rifle in the state quarterfinals before losing to No. 4 seed Delta in the semifinals. Delta then lost to No. 2 seed Sterling in the 2A state championship game.

Delta and Moffat County — who were part of last year’s 2A WSL along with Aspen, Basalt, Rifle and Coal Ridge — opted to play football this fall and won’t be part of the equation come spring.

Even so, the new 3A set to play this spring is loaded with traditional football powers and both Benson and Frerichs agree it more than makes up for the classification’s lack of numbers.

“It was tough to know, Season A, Season C, what the right choice was,” Frerichs said. “But I did tell the kids there are a lot of the best programs all playing in the 3A league right now … you got half the best teams in the state of Colorado in 2A in this 3A bracket.”

Football teams competing in Season C can start practice on Feb. 25, with the first week of competition getting underway March 11. Teams will play through a six-game slate with the top eight teams per classification making the playoffs. Teams that don’t make the postseason will be allowed to play a seventh game after the regular season.

The state championship games are scheduled for May 7 and 8 at CSU Pueblo. CHSAA is naming separate state champions for both the fall and spring seasons.

“I’m very pleased with the announcement and super pleased, from the looks of our schedule, on travel,” Benson said. “Late February, early March will present its own challenges, but nothing different than if you are playing football late November and you are on a championship run.”

Aspen’s schedule includes a season opener at Glenwood Springs before a trip to Rifle in Week 2. Then the Skiers will have three straight home games against Montezuma-Cortez, Steamboat Springs and Basalt before closing out the regular season at Coal Ridge.

Basalt will open its season at home against Salida in Week 1 before traveling to Steamboat Springs in Week 2. The Longhorns then have back-to-back home games against Rifle and Glenwood Springs before traveling to Aspen in Week 5. BHS concludes its regular season with a road trip to Montezuma-Cortez in Week 6.

Exact dates and times have not been established. Frerichs did say he hopes to see Friday games played earlier in the day, if not moved to Saturday afternoons, to avoid the extreme cold temperatures that come after sunset that time of year.

“These kids don’t want to play six straight in 10-degree weather,” Frerichs said. “I really think early in the season we are going to need to play earlier games.”

Along with spring football, Season C will include boys soccer and volleyball. Season B, which starts practice on Jan. 4, includes the traditional winter sports of basketball, ice hockey, skiing, girls swimming, wrestling and competitive spirit. Season D, which starts practice April 26, is the traditional spring sports lineup of lacrosse, girls soccer, baseball, girls golf, girls tennis, and track and field.

Season A, which has wrapped up outside of the fall football season, included cross country, boys golf, softball and boys tennis.

For the spring football teams, it’s been hit and miss in terms of getting to train because of COVID-19 restrictions. They were able to weight train outside during the late summer months and were eventually able to do some drills with a football, although in an extremely limited fashion.

Still, after the entire spring season was canceled earlier this year when the pandemic first broke out, any time spent together is time well spent.

“It’s pretty amazing to see them kind of brighten up when they get outside and do it safely within their peer group,” Benson said of the players getting to train. “It’s always rejuvenating to be able to hang out with kids and be outside and do something different than a 9-to-5 job.”


Valley local Theo Williams to ride bike to California for the Aspen Hope Center

Theo Williams is basically committed now. Certainly he wishes he had looked up the mileage beforehand, but he’s ready to start pedaling either way, and for a worthy cause.

“I don’t know how I got to cycling from Aspen to Santa Monica. That’s a pretty long way,” Williams said. “I had no intention of raising money. I just wanted, for my whole mental health, to get away for a little bit.”

What began as a fun getaway has turned into a roughly 1,150-mile bike ride for the Glenwood Springs resident. Williams, 29, will leave Sunday for a planned two-week trek to Santa Monica, the famed beach community in Los Angeles, with the idea of raising money for the Aspen Hope Center.

Like so many, Williams has often struggled to cope with life the past handful of months, from the coronavirus pandemic to the nation’s political and civil unrest. That’s when he started to spend more time outside running and cycling, and from there one thing led to another.

He searched for a cause to attach to his planned trip, and became discouraged when he found the Aspen Hope Center and the numbers it had to share. The area’s high suicide rates, especially among teens, struck a chord with Williams and he decided to put his focus on helping as he could.

“Earlier this year I had a loss in my family and I couldn’t go home and be a part of it. I was just in a pretty crappy place,” Williams said. “I’ve always been around kids and trying to help out. And through browsing the Internet I came across Aspen Hope and what they did for kids and the numbers.”

Williams is a native of England who moved full-time to the Roaring Fork Valley in 2013. He spent about four years with the Roaring Fork Soccer Club and has plenty of experience working with children. He’s now a broker associate for Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate in Aspen, where most of his work is based out of Snowmass Village.

But, beginning Sunday and for the next couple of weeks, he’ll just be some guy pedaling across the Western U.S. on his bike, sleeping on the side of the road and eating whatever he has on him. He plans to make the trek to Santa Monica largely unsupported, sticking to paved roads but avoiding major highways.

And, as physically daunting as the 1,150-mile voyage may seem — where he’ll average about 100 miles per day — Williams is pretty confident he can manage. The longest bike ride he’s previously done was about 900 miles, when he rode from London to Monte Carlo, but that was with a big group of riders who had support vehicles.

This will be a little bit different.

“My legs will hurt, my butt will hurt, but I’m not worried about those things. It’s fine. It really is the two weeks by myself and trying to ride a bike and be mentally occupied,” Williams said. “It’s just hard to be alone by myself and that’s the challenge for me that I’m worried about. I was not in a great place. So if I can be alone with myself for two weeks and feel at the end positive, then for me that’s a huge thing. It’s my own personal battle.”

He picked Santa Monica for his finish line because it’s a name and location Aspenites are certainly familiar with, and he does have a few friends in the area. He plans to drive back to Aspen at the conclusion of his ride.

As for the cause, he casually set a goal of $5,000 hoping to raise at least a little money for the Aspen Hope Center. He launched the GoFundMe page on Friday and about 36 hours later had already met his goal. As of Wednesday evening, he had raised more than $10,000 before even pedaling a mile, and has set a new goal of $20,000.

Williams said he would keep the GoFundMe account open for a week after his ride is complete if anyone else wanted to donate. He said the money will largely go toward putting counselors in schools to help kids who may be going through difficult times.

“I really do believe this can do something good for some people,” Williams said of his bike ride to help support the valley’s mental health issues. “It’s a big problem here. It’s huge. I don’t know if people really know the numbers. People aren’t paying attention to it and we can’t speak about it because it’s not with keeping up with the Joneses. We are supposed to live in a society here that glorifies how much we have and something is happening right under our nose a lot and we aren’t addressing it.”

The GoFundMe link can be found at https://gf.me/u/y37rn3. Williams said those interested can also follow along via his Facebook and through his Instagram (@theowilliams25) accounts.


Tight-knit senior group leads Aspen High School girls cross country back to state

The steady progression by this year’s senior class is easily quantifiable when looking at their regional results. There was a fourth-place finish when the current seniors were freshmen in 2017, then third their sophomore year, second as juniors and as of last week they are now regional champions.

That’s consistent growth for the Aspen High School girls cross country team.

“I don’t even know how to put it into words. The team has meant so much to me,” AHS senior Kylie Kenny said. “We always talked about and joked about going 4-3-2-1 throughout the years and we never thought it was going to be possible. And then to have it happen is really fun and kind of exciting.”

Next up for the Skier seniors is one final trip to the Class 3A state meet, which is Saturday in Colorado Springs. And, like with regionals, their progression has been steadily upward in terms of state results. The AHS girls were 12th in 2017, seventh in 2018 and fifth in 2019, and coming off their regional championship could be a dark horse contender with a top-three finish reasonably possible.

The Aspen girls have one previous state championship in cross country, winning the 3A title back in 2002.

“We’re in a good position and I think the girls are excited and more nervous than I’ve ever seen them in my four years of coaching them,” longtime AHS coach Chris Keleher said of the seniors. “They’ve just been getting better every year and a little bit more focused every year. It shows that they train in the summer and they feed off of each other and they push each other and encourage each other. They like to compete, and that’s the best part.”

Of the six runners competing Saturday for Aspen, four are seniors. Along with Kenny, there is Kendall Clark, Eva McDonough and Edie Sherlock. Not competing is Macy Hopkinson, another senior who has played a strong role on the team over the years. Rounding out Aspen’s state lineup are sophomores Elsie Weiss and Michaela Kenny, Kylie’s younger sister.

The elder Kenny has arguably been the team’s best runner since she was a freshman. Kylie Kenny finished fifth at the regional meet last week in Durango and was eighth at state last fall with a time of 19 minutes, 31.1 seconds. She’s likely a long shot to contend for the individual title, but should again be the first Skier across the finish line, unless one of those sophomores has something to say about it.

“It’s a little scary, because it’s the last time but also I know that everyone here on Saturday is going to support each other because we’ve been doing this for four years and we are a total family,” Kylie Kenny said of her final high school race. “It just makes it all the more special. We are not an individual-based program; it’s just everyone running together.”

A big part of Aspen’s consistent rise over the past four years has been just how close they are as a group. As strong as Kylie Kenny has been, she’s never overshadowed any of her teammates and they’ve always taken a team approach to racing. Them being so tight-knit has paved the way to them becoming the strong team they are today.

“We’ve become really close because of that and it’s been really fun,” Sherlock said. “It definitely boosts, at least personally, my competitiveness because I’ve known these girls for however long, most of them forever, really, so seeing them go out and try their hardest always makes me want to try even harder.”

The Class 3A girls’ race on Saturday is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. at the Norris-Penrose Event Center. Because of COVID-19, the field is a bit smaller this fall, with each race being capped at 100 runners. The race itself will take place in waves, with the top runners from each regional getting to run in the first wave.

Kylie Kenny will be Aspen’s lone runner in the first wave, joining Basalt’s talented trio of senior Sierra Bower and sophomores Ava Lane and Katelyn Maley. Bower is the reigning Class 3A state champion.

Even so, it means something to enter the state meet as the regional team champion, and that has Kylie Kenny feeling good about Aspen’s chances.

“It gives me a bit more confidence. I have immense belief in the strength of the team we have here,” she said. “But at the end of the day, I think everyone is feeling a little nervous still. It’s definitely not a sense of overconfidence — there are a lot of teams that have been running really strong and everyone is trying to go out and run their hardest on Saturday. We’ll just run together and see what happens.”

For the Basalt High School state preview, click here.


Aspen Junior Hockey moves forward amid pandemic with new director Harlan Pratt

The kids are back on the ice and that’s about all Harlan Pratt can ask for at the moment. The new Aspen Junior Hockey executive director has had his hands full stepping into the role amid a pandemic, but somehow AJH is finding a way to keep skating forward.

“It would be nice to be in easier times, but we are fighting it,” Pratt said last week. “I want to see these kids have opportunities and being part of a sport is a big one for a lot of kids to learn. It provides outlets for them to learn how to work with others and you get a mixed bag of personalities and they have to learn that. That translates.”

Pratt was hired in June to replace Shaun Hathaway, who was let go after seven years in charge of AJH. A native of western Canada, Pratt had a long career playing professional hockey and spent time in various National Hockey League camps, although most of his playing days were spent in lower-level leagues and overseas.

He most recently worked with the Nashville Junior Predators organization. One of his brothers, Nolan Pratt, currently is an assistant coach with the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche.

Pratt moved to the Roaring Fork Valley in early July, nearly a month after Lewis Ice Arena had reopened to skaters after it was shutdown in March when the coronavirus pandemic first broke out. It’s been small step after small step from there to continue to find ways to get more and more kids on the ice as safely as possible.

“Regardless of where you are, it’s a unique time for everybody. I’d rather be here,” Pratt said. “People still want this opportunity to have some normalcy.”


The fall is an important time for AJH, notably for fundraising. The organization’s two biggest fundraisers — the Stirling Cup and Fall Faceoff — usually take place around this time, although the Stirling Cup was canceled this year because of the pandemic.

The Fall Faceoff, a multi-week series of tournaments held each October, is set to begin Thursday, although it’ll include only half the usual teams. No spectators will be allowed, but they hope to stream games live online through LiveBarn.

“It’s better than nothing and that’s why I’m very optimistic we are still moving ahead with it,” Pratt said of the Fall Faceoff. “I wouldn’t say a full green light, but it’s trending that we are in the right spot. Everyone is on board for it and the city seems to be supporting that we get the opportunity to do it in a smaller manner. But it’s happening. That’s the biggest thing.”

The older kids, mostly those in high school, will play this weekend, with the younger kids getting to play over the following two weekends, concluding on Halloween weekend. Normally the tournament would bring in teams from across the region, and in recent years it has brought in the Mexican women’s national team to compete. Because of the pandemic, however, this year’s field will likely stick to teams from within the state of Colorado.

For many of the local Roaring Fork Valley players, this will be their first time competing since March.

“It’s kind of one step at a time. Kids are getting on the ice,” Pratt said. “Being able to only be half, that’s already a big kick to us. It sucks. But at least it seems we are going to be able to do something and it’s definitely going to help. It’s one step.”


In order to get the high school kids on the ice well ahead of the season, AJH has created a boys’ 18U team this fall. This allows any prospective players who want to compete for Aspen High School this coming season to get on the ice without breaking any of the Colorado High School Activities Association’s rules.

The CHSAA hockey season, which runs in the winter and would normally get going in November, has been pushed back to a January start because of the pandemic-altered sports schedule. Most club teams on the Front Range have already had plenty of opportunity for training and competition, so the AJH 18U team will allow the Aspen players the chance to keep up.

Keith Howie was named the AHS hockey coach over the summer.

“It’s an opportunity to keep these kids on the ice and provide them that outlet and let’s see what we can get to,” Pratt said. “I skated with a lot of those kids in the summer and I keep trying to plan to get out with them. I’m trying to be a part of every team and every kid as much as I can. It’s just, I don’t have 24 duplicates of myself.”


In the future, Pratt would like to provide an opportunity for the boys to compete at the national level like the girls have in recent years. The AJH girls’ AA teams have been a consistent presence at national tournaments of late, beginning with the 14U team that competed in the 2017 USA Hockey National Championships in Michigan.

Led by a deep senior class, the 19U AA team was expected to have returned to the national tournament this past winter, but had its regional tournament ultimately canceled in March because of the pandemic.

“For the girls last year, that’s got to be hard, because you had a bunch of seniors that moved on and you only get so many opportunities to play for a national title,” Pratt said. “That’s another thing that is great about the program is that’s been established and continues to keep growing, the girls’ side of hockey.”

Pratt said that, as of now, he expects the AA girls to have a season and the opportunity to again compete for a national championship this winter. AJH is fielding both a 14U and 19U AA team for the girls. While the 19U team will be very young after losing a deep senior class, Pratt sees a lot of potential for the group in the coming years.

“You’ve got this younger generation and if they are committed to it, it could be awesome and I hope they get some success this year and kind of get to build off it and keep going,” Pratt said. “They don’t realize how close they are to getting scholarships and having these opportunities. It’s right there for them.”


Amid an ongoing pandemic, Pratt hasn’t had much time to ponder the future of Aspen Junior Hockey. He’s mostly been trying to get programs started up again and keep it all afloat with limited fundraising opportunities.

But the most obvious goal for Pratt going forward will be to continue to find ways to get the younger kids involved in the sport, and this can include finding a way to make hockey part of the general physical education curriculum at the local schools.

“That’s obviously always the lifeline of the program,” Pratt said. “It would be great to see if we can start implementing those opportunities. Again, it opens up doors and maybe kids like it and want to keep doing it. The big grand picture would be we are back to normal and growing the program and developing kids. As our program grows, maybe we have more opportunity for them as far as level of competition.”


Photos: Color-fall Colorado comes to the Roaring Fork Valley

Golds, yellows, reds and oranges pop all over the Roaring Fork Valley as one of the most breathtaking times of the year falls into place.

Kelly, Mosher lead Aspen High boys tennis to the 4A state tournament one final time

Expectations? Nobody has time for that. For Aspen High School boys tennis coach Steve Sand, what happens this weekend at state happens and you move on from there.

“I’m not going in with expectations. Just play hard, have fun,” Sand said. “Kind of let the chips fall where they may. We’ve been kind of around that sixth-place, seventh-place spot the last several years. But I really don’t want to have expectations. Just kind of let them go have fun and do their best.”

The Class 4A state tennis tournament gets underway Friday in Pueblo, with the championship matches scheduled for Saturday. After winning their regional title for the fourth straight year, the Skiers are again sending all 11 players to the big finale. The last time AHS did not send its entire team to state was back in 2014.

“It’s super exciting,” senior Alex Mosher said. “I’m glad we are all going to be there as a team again this year. And I’m pretty confident everybody will play well and do well as a team overall.”

Aspen again is led by senior Christian Kelly at No. 1 singles and Mosher at No. 2 singles. The pair held down those same spots last season, when the Skiers finished sixth as a team with 21 points. Cheyenne Mountain cruised to the 4A state title with 85 points.

Kelly was one-and-done as a junior, losing in the first round at state to Pueblo Central senior Dario Alcala, 6-0, 6-2. He was the team’s No. 2 singles player his sophomore year, going 1-1, and played alongside Georges Ghali at No. 2 doubles as a freshman, the pair going 1-1.

Kelly, who also competes on the AHS cross country team this season, will face Palmer Ridge junior Alan Davis in the first round on Friday morning.

“You got to play the matches, but they are going in with confidence,” Sand said of his top two players. “Christian has been playing well and he’s definitely a stronger player than last year. But we all know that No. 1 is the best of the best from every school. He’s just got to go in with a good attitude and grind away and see what he can do.”

Mosher made the state semifinals at No. 2 singles last fall, losing to Mullen’s George Henry Hanzel, 7-6, 6-3, to eventually finish fourth. He played No. 3 singles as a sophomore, losing in the first round in three sets. He did not live in the area prior to his sophomore year.

Mosher will play Pueblo Central junior Jordan Rittgers in the first round on Friday morning.

“Overall, my draw is a lot easier than last season,” Mosher said. “I think I’ve had a pretty good season with only one loss. We’ve all been practicing a lot, so hopefully I can top myself this year.”

Aspen’s wildcard could be freshman Chase Kelly at No. 3 singles. The younger brother of Christian, Chase has yet to lose in his young high school career but will be facing the big stage that is state for the first time this weekend. He’ll face another freshman in the first round on Friday in Air Academy’s Noah Hellem.

“He’s had a great year. He had to battle really hard to earn that No. 3 spot,” Sand said of Chase. “Some really tough challenge matches early in the year, and he’s just really built on those close victories. He’s really consistent. Just a consistent player and smart player.”

Aspen’s No. 1 doubles team enters with a lot of experience as well with seniors Lukee Tralins and Bryce Cordts-Pearce. The duo played together at No. 4 doubles as freshmen, losing in the quarterfinals. They went their separate ways the next two seasons before reuniting in the top doubles spot this fall as seniors.

They will play the Riverdale Ridge pair of Peyton Miller and David DiGiorgio in the first round on Friday morning.

“Both have a lot of experience and have been to state pretty much their whole career,” Sand said of his No. 1 doubles team. “They are going in with some confidence. They played really well at regionals.”

After that, the experience drops off in a hurry for the Skiers. At No. 2 doubles, senior Dyer Hunting is paired with freshman Josh Ward. Hunting played at No. 4 doubles last fall, alongside Quinn McKie.

McKie, a junior, is at 3 doubles this fall, alongside sophomore Micky Terkun. At 4 doubles, it’s sophomore Alex Schlosser playing with senior Sebastian Pedinielly. Terkun, Schlosser and Pedinielly are all newcomers to the state tournament.

The complete brackets can be found at CHSAANow.com.

The Skiers enter state having won five of seven possible regional titles, so they have plenty of swag to lean on, not to mention six seniors. But, as most of those players know, the state tournament is a different animal.

“It’s nice to do well at regionals,” Sand said. “But we all know states is a bigger field and it’s the best teams.”

Basalt did not have any players qualify for the state tournament.