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Chris Corning wins slopestyle at Rev Tour, eyes return to top competitions in Aspen

Chris Corning hits the second jump on the slopestyle course during a practice session at the 2021 X Games Aspen at Buttermilk on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

Chris Corning is becoming Mr. Consistent, and that could bode well for the Colorado snowboarder as the next Olympic cycle gets going in only a matter of weeks with the upcoming world championships and Grand Prix in Aspen.

“This is definitely the most consistent snowboarding I’ve been doing in a long time when it comes to competing, so I’m pretty stoked on that,” Corning told the Aspen Times on Wednesday. “And coming off of X Games and coming off of this, I think I’ll be pretty ready for what the world champs and what the Grand Prix have to throw at me. As long as I put down what I know I can do, then I should do pretty well.”

Corning, who currently lives in Avon, was in town Wednesday competing in the U.S. Revolution Tour stop at Buttermilk Ski Area. One of the more prominent names taking part in the competition this week, he won Wednesday’s men’s snowboard slopestyle contest, holding off runner-up Matthew Cox of Australia and North Carolina’s Finn Bullock-Womble, who was a distant third.

The Czech Republic’s Sarka Pancochova won the women’s snowboard slopestyle contest on Wednesday, holding off a pair of teenagers in New Zealand’s Cool Wakushima and Wisconsin’s Courtney Rummel. Pancochova, 30, was among the oldest of Rev Tour competitors — she even won X Games Aspen slopestyle silver back in 2013.

The Rev Tour win is hardly a notable accomplishment for the 21-year-old Corning, who has competed at X Games Aspen the past four years, rode in the 2018 Winter Olympics and has more than one World Cup crystal globe in the trophy case for winning season-long titles. But, the competition was a sanctioned FIS event and, frankly, he needed the points.

“Long story short is they froze points for COVID and I was hurt last year and they didn’t run any contests in the time I was healthy, so I lost half of my points,” said Corning, who went from being ranked in the top 10 in slopestyle to barely inside the top 100 in the world. “We came out there and did what we needed to do to get the most points possible.”

Chris Corning competes at X Games Aspen on Jan. 24, 2020, at Buttermilk Ski Area. Photo by Liz Copan/Summit Daily.

While the Rev Tour win won’t make his overall resume, it’s his biggest win in Aspen to date. He’s yet to win an X Games Aspen medal — he did win bronze at X Games Norway in 2018 — and only has a few USASA wins from when he was younger to show from his time here. That time includes having called Aspen home for about two years when he was part of the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club, training under his former coach Nichole Mason, who he followed to Aspen from Summit County.

Now, with Aspen hosting the rescheduled world championships and a Grand Prix next month, Corning will get an extended visit to his former stomping ground.

“It’s nice to be able to come back there and go back to all the restaurants and things I used to go to and see some people I don’t usually see too often, except for maybe once a year at X Games,” Corning said. “I am excited about it. I’m really excited just to be able to compete this year, because it was getting nerve-wracking that we weren’t going to compete really at all.”

Prior to X Games in late January, Corning’s only other contest this season had been at the Kreischberg, Austria, World Cup on Jan. 9, where he finished 16th in big air.

However, he did have a strong showing at X Games last month, where he finished fourth in big air after originally just being an alternate. With a bigger jump than in past contests, it turned out to be one of the best big air comps in X Games history. Norway’s Marcus Kleveland won, the first of five riders to finish with a combined score in the 90s.

“There was a lot of room for progression that night. Everybody was riding definitely some of the best I’ve ever seen them ride and it was pretty awesome to be a part of it,” Corning said. “I was super stoked that I kept my hands off the ground and did my two biggest tricks that I can do and happened to put them down in a contest at the same time.”

He’s followed that performance with a slopestyle win at Wednesday’s Rev Tour stop in Aspen. He doesn’t plan to compete in Friday’s big air contest, saying he doesn’t need the FIS points in that discipline, but has already turned his attention toward his Aspen return in two weeks for the world championships.

Corning is the reigning slopestye world champion, having won two years ago when Park City, Utah, hosted the event. He also competed at worlds in 2017, hosted by Sierra Nevada, Spain, taking silver in big air and bronze in slopestyle. There was no big air competition at worlds in 2019 after weather forced its cancellation.

Worlds was originally scheduled for China this season, but all FIS events were canceled in the country because of the coronavirus pandemic. Aspen stepped in as a last-second replacement after Calgary backed out. The world championships are scheduled for March 10-16 at Buttermilk, with the Grand Prix set for March 18-21. The Grand Prix will serve as the first 2022 Olympic qualifier for the American athletes.

Corning made the U.S. Olympic team in 2018, where he finished fourth in big air in South Korea. He did not make finals in slopestyle.

“My riding is in a better spot, and I’m not coming off of injuries that are nagging at me nearly as bad as they were in 2018,” Corning said. “So as long as I can stay healthy and stay in the gym over the summer, then I should be able to put together a really good run for 2022. But it will also just come down to being consistent and beating out all the other Americans in all the Grand Prix.”

Friends and athletes cheer on Ryan Stevenson after he landed a trick during the men’s ski big air competition during Rev Tour at Buttermilk on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

Ruud wins another medal at Rev Tour

The skiing portion of the U.S. Revolution Tour stop at Buttermilk Ski Area wrapped up Wednesday with the big air contests.

On the men’s side, Norway’s Birk Ruud won for the second time this week, scoring a total of 184.75 in finals (best two of three runs) to beat Americans Kiernan Fagan (177.5) and Ryan Stevenson (174). Ruud, a four-time X Games medalist, also won Monday’s slopestyle contest over Fagan. Ruud was second to New Zealand’s Miguel Porteous in Tuesday’s halfpipe comp.

In the women’s big air contest Wednesday, Park City’s Rell Harwood (176.5) took top honors over fellow Americans Jenna Riccomini (162) and Marin Hamill (161). Harwood also won Monday’s slopestyle contest, in which Hamill was second and Riccomini third. Of the three, only Riccomini also competed in Tuesday’s halfpipe comp, where she finished third behind Kathryn Gray and Basalt’s Hanna Faulhaber.

The Rev Tour continues Thursday with the snowboard halfpipe contests and concludes Friday with snowboard big air.

acolbert@aspentimes.com

Mikaela Shiffrin doesn’t miss when medals are on the line at biggest races

United States' Mikaela Shiffrin prepares at start point during the super G portion of the women's combined race, at the alpine ski World Championships, in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, Monday, Feb. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Gabriele Facciotti)

CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy (AP) — If Mikaela Shiffrin were a baseball player, her numbers would make her a post-season MVP.

Every year.

The American skier won four medals in her four events at the recently concluded world championships and improved her career record at the next-biggest event in skiing after the Olympics to 11 medals in 13 races.

Her Olympic record? Three medals in five events.

That’s a combined 14 for 18 at major championships — worlds and Olympics.

To put those numbers in perspective, consider Lindsey Vonn’s career results at major championships. While the retired Vonn remains the most successful female skier in World Cup history with a record 82 victories (the 25-year-old Shiffrin has 68 World Cup wins and counting), her haul of 11 medals in 39 races already pales in comparison to Shiffrin’s performance.

So how does Shiffrin do it? Well, beyond her extraordinary skiing skills and years and years of training, it’s all about her mental approach.

United States' Mikaela Shiffrin speeds down the course during a women's giant slalom, at the alpine ski World Championships, in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)

Shiffrin, you see, has had the same exact focus for medal races since her very first big event — the 2013 worlds in Schladming, Austria. Or, to be more precise, since halfway through the slalom at those worlds, when she won the world title at age 17 for her first medal.

Shiffrin recently thought back to that race, acknowledging that she was “freaking out” between runs.

After the first leg, Shiffrin sat third behind Scandinavian veterans Frida Hansdotter and Tanja Poutiainen, and had Maria Höfl-Riesch and Tina Maze — two of the greatest skiers of their generation — breathing down her neck in fourth and fifth position, respectively.

Shiffrin was listening to music on her headphones but having a tough time taming her nerves inside the hospitality area when U.S. teammate Steven Nyman walked in and asked her mom and coach, Eileen, what the problem was.

United States' Mikaela Shiffrin shows her bronze medal of the women's slalom, at the alpine ski World Championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)

“He said, ‘Alright, alright, alright. Tell her to take her headphones off, we have to have a discussion,’” Shiffrin said. “And we did. And he said, ‘World championships there is one goal. You’re not trying to protect your lead in the overall title or the season titles or anything. You’re not protecting anything. You go for gold, that’s it. … You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. So go for it.’

“And I was like, ‘Huh. That’s really interesting. OK,’” Shiffrin added. “And it didn’t, like, take away my nerves of whether I could ski faster, make up the time difference, or all those different pieces. But it got me psyched up just to do my best. And every world championships since then, whether I’m nervous or I’m feeling great — it doesn’t matter — I have always remembered what Steven said.”

Nyman, a 39-year-old downhiller who has won three World Cup downhills but never a medal at a worlds or Olympics, recalled how he “found it kind of funny that she was so nervous even though she had already had so much success.”

“But that’s what makes her unique,” Nyman said via email. “(Marcel) Hirscher had the same attitude. He never felt like he was so good he could cruise. He always played mind games with himself making him believe people were right on his tail.”

Hirscher, the recently retired Austrian who won a record eight straight overall World Cup titles, also once discussed how he so consistently employed his go-for-broke strategy.

United States' Mikaela Shiffrin waits prior to the start of a women's giant slalom, at the alpine ski World Championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Gabriele Facciotti)

As Nyman suggested, Hirscher imagined that he was always being chased.

“If you’re standing in front of a big, big, huge wall, and you have no opportunity to climb up there, and then behind you, there are a hundred crazy dogs who want to eat you up, then you have to go for your life,” Hirscher said in 2013 when asked to explain his approach.

It’s the same attacking mentality that Shiffrin employed when she won gold in combined, silver in giant slalom and bronze in super-G and slalom over the past two weeks in Cortina.

The four medals matched the biggest haul ever by a woman at worlds, with Marielle Goitschel (in 1966), Rosi Mittermaeier (1976), Hanni Wenzel (1980) and Anja Pärson (2007) also having won four medals in a single edition.

Shiffrin’s achievement was all the more remarkable considering that she didn’t race for 10 months last year following the sudden death of her father, Jeff Shiffrin. Her comeback was then slowed by the coronavirus pandemic and a back injury.

Without much training, Shiffrin had raced only sparingly entering the worlds.

“She doesn’t have the dominance this year as years past so it had to be hard for her to find that belief to win,” said Nyman, who has known Shiffrin since she was a child. “She is facing new mental arenas currently and it has been fun to watch her navigate them.”

United States' Mikaela Shiffrin competes during the slalom portion of the women's combined race, at the alpine ski World Championships, in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, Monday, Feb. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Gabriele Facciotti)

That’s because, whether she has trained or not, Shiffrin is always the skier to beat — which makes her one of the biggest medal threats for next year’s Beijing Olympics.

“I know that I have the capabilities to ski really fast. And if I do, I know it has the capability to win,” Shiffrin said. “But it just boils down to whether I do that well enough, and really what the other girls do. And I can’t control what they do. So all I can really do is go out there and try my best and see what happens.

“So in a way there’s less pressure at world champs than even World Cup races, because you’re not protecting something. But at the same time you know it’s a big event, it’s the one chance to go for gold.”

Vail Recreation District’s first ’true’ skimo race attracts dozens from out of area

Peter Davis of Eagle finished third in the male 40 to 59 division at the Vail Recreation District's first-ever ski mountaineering race on Saturday.
Bobby Cornwell photo

VAIL — A first-of-its-kind ski mountaineering race from the Vail Recreation District attracted dozens of out-of-town competitors to the area on Saturday.

The Meadow Mountain venue provided a more authentic ski mountaineering race atmosphere, according to organizers and competitors, which the recreation district had not been able to achieve in its on-resort races at Beaver Creek’s Arrowhead ski area.

Meadow Mountain is accessed through the U.S. Forest Service’s Holy Cross Ranger Station near Dowd Junction.

“This was our first true skimo race,” said Beth Pappas with the Vail Recreation District. “Really it was our first winter event not at a resort property.”

The recreation district holds a permit with the Forest Service to hold a summer event at Meadow Mountain, which made it easier to secure a winter event, Pappas said. Nevertheless, the Meadow Mountain event is a one-off for this season, as it took a lot of effort to put on.

“I wish we could have one every weekend,” Pappas said. “The demand is there.”

The event filled at 80 competitors; 64 finished the race, and 41 of those were from outside of Eagle County.

“People are a little bit desperate to race,” said Jill Seager, who won the women’s expert division.

Seager said she’s often seeking races from around the state and said a lot of races have been canceled this season. She said seeing the large turnout of out-of-town competitors to Vail’s race was “good and bad.”

“I know we’re in a pandemic and we all need to make smart decisions and think about risk assessment and what you want to do, but it’s cool to have the opportunity,” Seager said.

Many other ski mountaineering races in the area have been canceled this season. Summit County’s series is being held as a virtual event.

Seager described Vail’s race as a backyard-style competition, with entry-level divisions that make it less intimidating for those curious about entering the sport.

And in recent years, more and more people have been curious about entering the sport, Seager said. She has been racing for five years with her husband, Ross Herr, and said every time they show up to a race there’s more people.

“I think Vail is getting in at the right time and these races are absolutely going to continue to grow,” she said.

But with this season’s COVID-19-related limitations, the sport has been stifled just as it was starting to take off. The U.S. Ski Mountaineering Association was forced to cancel its national championship event and national team this season, as the national championship qualifying events — originally planned for Eldora Mountain and Sunlight Mountain in Colorado — were canceled.

Seager and Herr live in Silverthorne; Herr grew up in Eagle County. He said some of his earliest memories of uphill touring come from Meadow Mountain.

“It was one of the first places I went to figure out how my AT bindings work, and to skin uphill,” he said.

Those alpine-touring or AT bindings, along with a pair of skins under your skis, make up the essential gear for ski mountaineering. And as it rose in popularity, naturally, the competitive element of the activity also rose in popularity. Herr said the whole reason he was racing Saturday was because his friend, Doug Stenclik, and him often rib each other about who is faster in removing the skins and adjusting their set-ups to go back down the hill after traveling up.

“It’s sort of fun to poke fun at your friends when they’re slow in their transition (from touring to alpine and back), or when they’re fumbling with their gear,” Herr said. “So ski mountaineering races are sort of that opportunity to go out with your buddies to show off that you’re faster at that stuff.”

The Meadow Mountain course was 2 miles long, with 800 feet of vertical gain. Competitors in the expert division completed three laps, the intermediate division did two and the beginners did one.

Pappas said while the demand is there to have more ski mountaineering races, her team is not quite ready to make it a regular thing yet. This race required a lot of volunteer service – longtime underground skimo racing host Dawes Wilson spent hours helping set up the course.

“Dawes was super helpful in designing the course and packing the skin track in,” Pappas said.

Nevertheless, “I think this is definitely something we will consider again for next season,” Pappas said. “The reviews were really positive.“

The Vail Recreation District will hold a snowshoe race at the Vail Nordic Center on March 13.

Complete results below:

Expert division

Male 20 To 39

  1. Collin Chartier, 48:19, Littleton, CO
  2. Matthew Fox, 49:14, Palo Alto CA
  3. Ross Herr, 50:04, Silverthorne, CO
  4. Doug Stenclik, 50:23, Carbondale CO
  5. Paul Mumford, 52:15, Leadville CO
  6. Tyler Jones, Edwards CO
  7. Jimmy Howe, 58:02, Boulder CO
  8. Tyler Eaton, 1:01:15, Edwards CO
  9. Stephen Rosenman, 1:04:42, Frisco CO
  10. Franklin Mansseh, 1:09:03, Carbondale CO
  11. Alister Ratcliff, 1:11:57, Avon CO
  12. Andrew Nordyke, 1:21:20, Leadville CO
  13. William Stephens, 1:24:06, Englewood CO
  14. Aashish Kabra, 1:32:06, Glenwood Springs CO
  15. Jonathan Zeschin, 1:38:01, Denver CO
  16. Taff Dirks, 2:07:55, Denver CO

Female 20 To 39

  1. Jill Seager, 59:26, Silverthorne CO
  2. Alyssa McBride, 1:18:41, Boulder CO
  3. Ryan Ernstes, 1:21:20, Boulder CO
  4. Elisabeth Meinig, 1:28:15, Longmont CO

Male 40 To 59

  1. Ryan Koster, 57:51, Aspen CO
  2. Brett Donelson, 1:00:09, Edwards CO
  3. Peter Davis, 1:09:22, Eagle CO
  4. Andrew Letherby, 1:10:52, Leadville CO
  5. Kevin Roop, 1:14:44, Edwards CO
  6. Dan Ben-Horin, 1:17:04, Whitewater CO
  7. Dan Timm, 1:17:29, Vail CO
  8. Henry Reed, 1:21:15, Edwards CO
  9. Julius Kovats, 1:21:25, Manitou Springs CO
  10. Tim Meyer, 1:33:21, Vail CO

Female 40 To 59

  1. Jaime Brede, 1:03:13, Breckenridge CO
  2. Jaime Bakeman, 1:24:22, Englewood CO

Male 60 & over

  1. Dawes Wilson, 1:13:45, Vail CO
  2. Guy Gadomski, 1:18:59, Dillon CO
  3. Paul Gotthelf, 1:28:39, Edwards CO
  4. Thomas McParlan, 1:36:55, Edwards CO

Female 60 & over

  1. Ellen Miller, 1:45:13, Vail CO

Intermediate division

Female 19 & under

  1. Delilah Staberg, 58:10, Silverthorne CO
  2. Lyla Lanning, 1:15:28, Boulder CO

Male 20 To 39

  1. Tyler Chartier, 50:01, Denver CO
  2. Eddie Rogers, 56:04, Steamboat Springs CO

Female 20 To 39

  1. Ariana Schiff, 1:05:57, Woody Creek CO
  2. Hannah Hesser, 1:07:33, Dillon CO
  3. Lynn Hall, 1:11:58, Leadville CO

Male 40 To 59

  1. Douglas Jiminez, 44:29, Avon CO
  2. Jason Staberg, 53:30, Silverthorne CO
  3. Troy Brown, 1:07:08, Gypsum CO
  4. Rory Lanning, 1:14:21, Boulder CO
  5. Edgard Cabanillas, 1:51:00, Vail CO

Female 40 To 59 Award(s)

  1. Abby Brown, 56:59, Gypsum CO
  2. Monica Lacroix, 1:12:26, Broomfield CO

Male 60 & over

  1. Michael Nowicki, 1:02:24, Littleton CO
  2. Rob Balgley, 1:11:03, Eagle CO

Female 60 & over

  1. Eileen Brown, 1:14:09, Frisco CO

Beginner division

Female 19 & Under

  1. Maizy Douglas, 29:21, Vail CO
  2. Katie McDonald, 33:11, Eauclaire WI

Male 20 To 39

  1. Jeffrey Geller, 47:49, Edwards CO
  2. Victor Brena, 1:00:01, Colorado Springs CO
  3. Jose Elio, 1:00:04, Denver CO

Female 20 To 39

  1. Jen VanCleave, 39:46, Littleton CO

Male 40 To 59

  1. Julio Narvaez, 59:05, Colorado Springs CO

Female 40 To 59

  1. McKenna Douglas, 33:14, Vail CO
  2. Monica McDonald, 35:08, Eauclaire WI

Male 60 & over

  1. Tom Fiore, 31:45, Eagle CO

Female 60 & over

  1. Molly Ansfield, 37:32, Eagle CO

jlaconte@vaildaily.com

Athletes return to Buttermilk for Rev Tour, start of busy stretch of comps for Aspen

A skier competes in the 2018 Aspen Freeskiing Open at Buttermilk Ski Area. Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times.

Aspen has become the center of the freeski and snowboard universe this season, as just about every remaining major competition will be held at Buttermilk Ski Area in the coming weeks. This cycle begins Monday with the Aspen Snowmass Open, which this year is a Revolution Tour stop.

“It will certainly be a spectacular show,” said Aspen Skiing Co.’s Tyler Lindsay, one of the main organizers of this week’s event. “There is a ton of really pent-up, athletic ambition out there. People are really eager to show the new tricks they’ve been developing over this long quarantine and get back to that awesome, nervous, start-gate feeling.”

Contests have been limited this winter, almost to the point of being non-existent. Outside of a couple random World Cups and of course ESPN’s Winter X Games, held at Buttermilk late last month, there haven’t been many chances for athletes at any level to competitively drop into a halfpipe or take to a slopestyle course.

This week’s Rev Tour stop will be a rare and important chance to do just that this season. Formerly billed as the Aspen Freeskiing Open, Skico partnered with U.S. Ski & Snowboard to bring the FIS-level event to Buttermilk. Usually part of the North American Cup tour, the Aspen Open means a bit more this winter because of the lack of competitions.

A skier competes in the 2018 Aspen Freeskiing Open at Buttermilk Ski Area. Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times.

“For the last several years, the Aspen Snowmass Freeskiing Open has been just that, kind of the last great open freeskiing competition standing,” Lindsay said. “And this year, we partnered up with USSA and brought the Revolution Tour here, which brought back snowboarders.”

The athletes competing this week at Buttermilk will range from younger teens just trying to get their foot in the door to those already with a handful of World Cup starts — and possibly X Games starts — under their belt. For at least the U.S. athletes, the Rev Tour serves as a qualifier into the Grand Prix events, including the one Buttermilk will host later next month after the rescheduled world championships come to Aspen.

“Because there is a lot of international-level eagerness to compete, we are going to have higher point totals on the line than might normally be seen at the freeskiing open,” Lindsay said. “The Revolution Tour serves as a qualification series for the World Cup, at least as far as U.S. athletes are concerned. There are a lot of athletes that are eager to get that bump up to the World Cup level.”

Much like X Games, this week’s Revolution Tour event won’t be open to public spectating because of the ongoing pandemic. The general competition venue won’t be accessible, although Buttermilk will remain open to general skiing and snowboarding.

The first competition will be Monday’s ski slopestyle events for both men and women. The men’s and women’s halfpipe skiing competitions are Tuesday, while ski big air and snowboard slopestyle are Wednesday. The week wraps up with snowboard halfpipe on Thursday and snowboard big air on Friday. Qualifying and finals take place on the same day for each of the events.

acolbert@aspentimes.com

A ‘huge resounding’ success: Shiffrin medals in all four of her events at worlds

Mikaela Shiffrin shows her bronze medal from the women's slalom at the alpine ski world championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)

CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy (AP) — An ear-to-ear smile. No regrets. And another medal wrapped around her neck.

What a refreshing sight it was to see Mikaela Shiffrin basking in the afternoon sunlight after another successful day in the Italian Dolomites.

Make that a successful world championships.

After collecting her fourth medal in as many races Saturday by taking bronze in the concluding slalom, the American skier was asked if she was content with how everything went over these two weeks.

“Yes. That’s a huge, resounding yes,” Shiffrin replied. “I mean that’s incredible. I had planned for four races and I thought, ‘OK, that’s four chances for a medal. Hopefully somewhere in these two weeks I can do some good skiing.’ And I’m really proud of so much of the skiing I did.”

It wasn’t just the skiing, though.

Seemingly weighed down by her own expectations and outside pressure at past worlds and Olympics, Shiffrin never seemed the least bit disturbed in Cortina.

“Every day had something really special, and it’s something to smile about,” she said.

One good moment was this: Having just seen her record streak of four straight slalom world titles ended by Austrian upstart Katharina Liensberger in emphatic fashion, Shiffrin was the first racer to run over and congratulate the new champion.

“If this was last year, I would be maybe disappointed but not as grateful for the good moments in the day,” Shiffrin said, referring to her nearly two-second deficit behind Liensberger.

This season, though, is a different one for Shiffrin. She took a 10-month break from racing last year after the death of her father, Jeff Shiffrin, then had her comeback slowed by the coronavirus pandemic and a back injury.

No wonder she wasn’t about to commit to taking the same, more relaxed approach to next year’s Beijing Olympics.

“I would like to,” she said. “It just totally depends on how next season is going leading up to that. Because I can feel amazing now, with a good mentality and then that totally changes. I feel like this past year lasted like 20 years. So I don’t know what’s in store for the next year. But I imagine it’s going to be eventful.”

Having never before entered so many races at a worlds or Olympics, Shiffrin leaves Cortina with gold in combined, silver in giant slalom and bronze in super-G and slalom.

Perhaps even more remarkable is that Shiffrin has now medaled in 10 straight races at worlds — and in 11 of her 13 career starts at her next biggest event after the Olympics.

“I do have a safe now,” she said. “So I’ll probably put (the medals) in there. Or maybe hang them up.

“I like to put the globes (the crystal globes for World Cup titles) around the house, because they’re super pretty. But people ask to see the medals and I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, sure, I’ll go get them.’ But otherwise it just seems like a whole lot of value for me to possibly lose. So just put them somewhere where you just don’t touch it.”

While Shiffrin showed impressive speed last week in her first super-G race in more than a year, she won’t be competing when the World Cup resumes next weekend in nearby Val di Fassa with two downhills and a super-G.

“No, I’ve got to go shave two seconds off my slalom,” she said with a smile.

United States' Mikaela Shiffrin shows her bronze medal on the podium of the women's slalom, at the alpine ski World Championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)
United States' Mikaela Shiffrin competes during a women's slalom, at the alpine ski World Championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Gabriele Facciotti)
United States' Mikaela Shiffrin shows her bronze medal on the podium of the women's slalom, at the alpine ski World Championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)
United States' Mikaela Shiffrin competes during the women's slalom, at the alpine ski World Championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Gabriele Facciotti)
United States' Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates her third place in the women's slalom, at the alpine ski World Championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)

Preps: Aspen basketball beats Grand Valley, improves to 7-1; BHS girls fall

Aspen High School boys basketball plays against Roaring Fork on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, inside the AHS gymnasium. Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times.

The Aspen High School boys basketball team notched another win on Saturday with a 68-37 rout of Grand Valley in Parachute. The Skiers jumped out to a 19-4 lead after a single quarter and led 31-11 at halftime in a game they closed strong, scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter alone.

Four different players finished in double figures for AHS, led by 14 points apiece from Elliot Teague and Braden Korpela. Ben Godomsky added 12 points and Shae Korpela another 10 points.

The Cardinals fell to 1-8 overall and 0-4 in Class 3A Western Slope League play, while Aspen improved to 7-1 overall and 3-1 in WSL play. The Skiers are next scheduled to play a non-league game at Vail Mountain on Tuesday.

BASALT BASKETBALL SWEPT BY COAL RIDGE

The Basalt High School girls basketball team fell for the first time this season, losing 53-25 at Coal Ridge on Saturday in a key Class 3A Western Slope League game. BHS had been 8-0 overall entering the contest. The Longhorns next play a league game at Roaring Fork on Tuesday.

Coal Ridge improved to 7-2 overall and 1-2 in WSL play. BHS is 3-1 in WSL play and remains in contention for the league title with Delta leading the way after a big win over Moffat County on Saturday. Delta and Coal Ridge play Tuesday.

The Basalt boys basketball team lost 72-57 at Coal Ridge on Saturday, snapping a two-game win streak. BHS fell to 4-4 overall and 2-1 in WSL play. The Titans improved to 8-1 overall and 4-0 in WSL play, the last remaining undefeated team in league play on the boys’ side. The Longhorn boys also head to Roaring Fork on Tuesday.

ASPEN HOCKEY CAN’T KEEP UP WITH HUSKIES

The Aspen High School hockey team couldn’t keep pace with Battle Mountain (6-1-1 overall) on Saturday night, losing 7-1 at Lewis Ice Arena. The Huskies only led 1-0 after a competitive first period, but 30-shot onslaught in the second period led to a 6-0 lead entering the third.

Dane Whiston scored for the Skiers scored in the first minute of the third period before Battle Mountain’s Jensen Rawlings added his second goal midway through. Rawlings was the only Husky to score more than once, although Carter Large led with four points, three of which were assists.

On Friday night, AHS won for only the second time this season with a 3-2 win over Summit inside the Stephen C. West Ice Arena.

The Skiers led 2-0 after a period thanks to goals from Dillon Passero and Carson Miller. The Tigers got on the board early in the second period with a power play goal by Ranger Stone and tied it midway through the third period off a goal from Ryley Cibula.

With about three minutes to play, Eli Hunt scored on a power play to make it 3-2 and the Skiers hung on from there.

Zach Small had 19 saves in net for AHS.

Aspen is now 2-5 overall and next plays Wednesday at Glenwood Springs. The Skiers beat the Demons, 3-2, on Feb. 13 for one of their two wins.

acolbert@aspentimes.com

Results: Aspen-Snowmass Town Race Series giant slalom 2 from Feb. 18, 2021


Aspen-Snowmass Town Race Series

Individual Race Results by Division

Adv GS 2 — 2/18/2021 at Aspen Highlands

Bib#—racer—team—1st run—2nd run—combined—points

Girls

417—Fuller, Sienna—45.13—45.62—1:30.75—100

416—Fuller, Eliie—1:23.56—1:30.58—2:54.14—80

Young Adult Women

412—Francis, Annabelle—A Mixed Bag—44.73—45.35—1:30.08—100

Women

446—Tait-Jamieson, Emilie—ASCS3—40.08—41.24—1:21.32—100

634—Tait-Jamieson, Lucie—KSPN—42.31—41.93—1:24.24—80

433—Douglass, Linzhi—42.88—44.05—1:26.93—60

152—Lussan, Kelly—Hamilton Sports—46.71—47.36—1:34.07—55

133—Milelli, Tanya—BOOTech—48.79—51.40—1:40.19—51

99—Lindsay, Cindy—BOOTech—50.43—52.61—1:43.04—47

402—Rebeiz, Carly—S&S Construction—50.22—52.90—1:43.12—43

Boys

408—Down, Jake—47.58—48.42—1:36.00—100

407—Hurley, Patrick—Hamilton Sports—49.02—49.01—1:38.03—80

718—Merjos, Tommy—A Mixed Bag—1:00.09—1:00.55—2:00.64—60

409—Down, Tommy—1:07.02—1:11.74—2:18.76—55

Young Adult Men

632—Schille, Jaden—S&S Construction—40.11—40.05—1:20.16—100

80+

80—Houot, Jacques—Timberline Bank—1:17.71—1:21.03—2:38.74—100

46—Rainer, Eddie—Hamilton Sports—DNF—0.00—0

70+

2—Tower, Chuck—S&S Construction—45.47—47.53—1:33.00—100

429—Amory, David—48.88—49.79—1:38.67—80

424—Rom, Doctor Bill—KSPN—1:01.11—1:02.48—2:03.59—60

60+

453—Itin, Tim—S&S Construction—39.11—40.18—1:19.29—100

5—Maple, Mike—S&S Construction—40.87—41.75—1:22.62—80

81—Zamansky, David—BOOTech—45.21—44.70—1:29.91—60

52—Prinster, Michael—Hamilton Sports—46.14—47.21—1:33.35—55

66—Lindsay, Jim—BOOTech—48.24—48.92—1:37.16—51

434—Douglass, J. Ross—48.54—48.86—1:37.40—47

20—Handwerk, Jeff—47.89—49.81—1:37.70—43

21—Mills, Tim—BOOTech—50.26—50.89—1:41.15—40

91—Kennedy, Tom—KSPN—54.73—55.18—1:49.91—37

9—Hemphill, Arlan—BOOTech—DNF—0.00—0

50+

49—Madsen, Bill—BOOTech—39.38—39.68—1:19.06—100

8—Strickland, Scott—S&S Construction—40.96—39.71—1:20.67—80

27—Sturt, David—Hamilton Sports—41.63—42.19—1:23.82—60

631—Schille, John—S&S Construction—41.99—42.05—1:24.04—55

4—Payne, Michael—Timberline Bank—46.47—47.03—1:33.50—51

450—Rebeiz, Alex—49.09—47.99—1:37.08—47

40+

430—Fuller, Miles—44.82—44.19—1:29.01—100

440—Mahoney, Derrick—BOOTech—53.35—52.41—1:45.76—80

30+

720—Maisey, Ewan—ASC Race Department—43.34—44.89—1:28.23—100

Mens Advanced

719—Wylie, Andrew—A Mixed Bag—38.78—38.48—1:17.26—100

484—Down, Jacob—40.89—40.15—1:21.04—80

34—Centofanti, Steve—Hamilton Sports—42.67—43.27—1:25.94—60

181—Campbell, Julian—Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol—44.22—44.51—1:28.73—55

Snowboard

410—Everson, Gray—KSPN—1:08.88—1:12.73—2:21.61—100

Team Race Results

Adv GS 2

Team—Points

S&S Construction—300

A Mixed Bag—260

BOOTech—240

KSPN—240

Hamilton Sports—200

Timberline Bank—151

ASC S3—100

ASC Race Department—100

Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol—55

Note: Results from the Snowmass race can be found here.

Aspen’s Jake Doyle, Basalt’s Tyler Sims latest golf caddies named Evans Scholars

Aspen High School’s Jake Doyle holds the regional championship trophy after the regional tournament at River Valley Ranch in Carbondale this past fall. Courtesy photo.

Neither decided to become a caddie because they necessarily liked golf — it was mostly just a summer job. But that job turned into a passion and combined with a lot of hard work and good grades, Jake Doyle and Tyler Sims have caddied their way right into an Evans Scholarship to the University of Colorado.

“Caddying is the reason I got into playing competitive golf,” Sims said this week. “It wasn’t until the summer between sophomore and junior year when I started looking into college and seeing what I was going to do. Even at that point it was still kind of a dream to have this scholarship. It wasn’t until I was sitting down for the interview a month ago when it was like, ‘Holy cow, this could be a reality.’”

Sims, a senior at Basalt High School, and Doyle, a senior at Aspen High School, both caddie at the Roaring Fork Club outside Basalt and used that to earn a scholarship through the Western Golf Association’s prestigious Chick Evans Scholarship program.

Named after Charles “Chick” Evans, an amateur golfer who competed in the early 1900s, more than 11,000 caddies have graduated as Evans Scholars since the program was founded in 1930. The WGA, which is based in Illinois, dates back to 1899. This year, 14 Colorado caddies were awarded scholarships and will attend CU in Boulder, according to a WGA news release.

Basalt High School senior Tyler Sims is one of 14 Colorado caddies to earn an Evans Scholarship for the 2021 cycle. Courtesy photo.

“It was a long, but fun process,” Doyle said. “I started caddying the summer going into eighth-grade. And they brought it up during our initial meeting of caddying and I didn’t really know about it. I just wanted a summer job. I just kept caddying and kept mentioning it as I got closer to being a senior and what I would have to do.”

Requirements to earn an Evans Scholarship are broken up into four categories: a strong caddie record, excellent academics, demonstrated financial need and outstanding character. Doyle and Sims began caddying at the Roaring Fork Club in middle school and have each logged more than 100 loops on the bag. Sims, who started a year earlier than Doyle in the seventh-grade, is closer to 160 loops.

The time spent on the bag led to a love for golf that resulted in strong playing careers for both on their respective high school teams and often competed against each other.

“I didn’t really know much when I first started about either playing the game or caddying itself,” Doyle said. “Doing both and always being on the course helped both at the same time. When I played by myself I got better at reading putts, which I would use when I was caddying. Then seeing other players and their course management made me realize how I should be playing my game. It doesn’t matter how far I hit it.”

Of the 14 Evans Scholars from Colorado this year, only Doyle, Sims and Palisade High School’s Kalea Potter come from the Western Slope. The others are from either the Denver area or Colorado Springs.

Doyle and Sims are hardly the first to earn the scholarship through the Roaring Fork Club in recent years. Only last year, Basalt High’s Tristan Johnson and Tucker Bruce both earned the scholarship, Nos. 17 and 18 to be named Evans Scholars through the local club over 16 years. That list now includes Nos. 19 and 20 with Doyle and Sims.

“Caddying has taught me a lot of the mental side of the game. It’s taught me how to work with other people’s game to make them successful,” Sims said. “Caddying, honestly, has matured me a lot. It taught me how to look at older gentlemen in the eyes and shake their hand at the age of 13 years old. Not a lot of kids know how to do that. It taught me a lot of adult actions. It taught me maturity at a young age.”

All Evans Scholars from Colorado attend CU with what is estimated to be a $120,000 scholarship for both housing and tuition over four years. According to WGA, there currently are 1,045 caddies enrolled in 19 universities across the nation as Evans Scholars.

“A special thanks to the professional staff at the Roaring Fork Club who mentor these young people and to the memberships who support this program directly,” longtime AHS boys golf coach Mary Woulfe wrote in an email to The Aspen Times. “I for one am thankful the club continues to sponsor this program and produce results for caddies ultimately changing lives. The membership is one of the most supportive clubs in the nation.”

Aspen High School’s Jake Doyle putts during a golf tournament on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, at Aspen Golf Club. (Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times)

Both Doyle and Sims plan to study business at CU. Doyle hopes to combine his degree with a minor or second major in environmental science, where he can work with businesses transitioning into renewable energy options.

“I’d be able to help them and be a part of that whole movement, which is going to be the future of how our society works,” Doyle said.

Sims wants to one day take over his father’s business, The 4 Wheelers in Glenwood Springs. He’s long helped work in the shop, which specializes in custom fabrication for Jeeps and other off-road vehicles.

Doyle and Sims plan to keep caddying — it’s actually a requirement to continue the scholarship year-to-year — and will keep golfing, in whatever capacity they can.

“I really hope I can keep golf as a weekly thing. I would like to play a lot when I’m older. It’s kind of a sport you can play forever,” Sims said. “I would definitely like to keep golf and caddying in my future. I would definitely recommend it to other kids my age to caddie. Younger kids as well. And the same with golf — it teaches you so much.”

acolbert@aspentimes.com

Aspen basketball finds consistency in rout of Roaring Fork, BHS girls win again

Aspen High School’s Lucas Lee, center, battles for the ball in the boys basketball game against Roaring Fork on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, inside the AHS gymnasium. Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times.

Finding consistency from start to finish continues to be a major teaching point for Aspen High School boys basketball coach Alex Schrempf. Whether those lessons stick long term remains to be seen, but the players certainly scored high marks in that regard during Thursday’s 56-26 rout of Roaring Fork inside the AHS gymnasium.

“Definitely a big step forward in how we play together and how we sustain four quarters of basketball. That’s been a big thing for us,” Schrempf said. “The preparation and the togetherness, those are the two big points of emphasis and the guys, despite any runs or slumps that we endure, our big thing is we need to expect our consistency. We need to be comfortable in that. That should be our baseline.”

The 30-point margin was the largest for the Skiers in a win this season and the largest since a 70-35 postseason win over Cedaredge last February. Aspen left little to doubt from the start, racing out to a 20-8 lead after a quarter and a 33-12 lead by halftime.

Shae Korpela led Aspen with 18 points while Porter Lee finished with 11 points. Lee provided the biggest highlight of the game with his third quarter, breakaway dunk that brought the bench, and the few fans allowed to attend, to their feet. The coaches believe it to be one of the first legitimate dunks by an AHS player at home since Schrempf took over ahead of the 2016-17 season.

“It’s just fun for them,” Schrempf said of Lee’s slam. “Dunks aren’t a common thing. They all spend so much time working on their vert and their jumping. It’s another example of hard work paying off.”

The game was well in hand by the time Lee threw down in the third quarter, and that’s what really mattered. The Skiers lost for the first and only time this season last Saturday, 57-47 at home against Coal Ridge, but have bounced back with wins over Delta (65-53 on Tuesday) and now Roaring Fork.

“I couldn’t be more proud that these guys are responding so well,” Schrempf said. “It was really great for us to be able to show up and stay engaged, stay focused, and stay relatively baseline. We didn’t get too high, we didn’t get too low.”

The Rams fell to 3-4 overall with the non-league loss. The teams will play each other again on Feb. 27 in Carbondale in their lone league contest.

Aspen improved to 6-1 overall (2-1 in Class 3A Western Slope League play) with a league game coming up Saturday at Grand Valley. Because of the season’s late start due to the pandemic, there are fewer games to be played this season and the finish is coming up quickly. Considering the Skiers had a top-five RPI in the classification entering Thursday’s game, their postseason hopes remain high as the season hits the homestretch.

“Every game is so important. That’s why our guys took Saturday last weekend pretty tough, because every game is on a pedestal,” Schrempf said of the Coal Ridge loss. “Let’s act like we can expect this from ourselves, and I think that’s going to help us take that next step in confidence. Roaring Fork has some good players and we know we see them again in nine days and we are going to have to show up again. If we don’t, then that’s going to be another challenge. But that’s every game this season.”

BASALT GIRLS BEAT EAGLE VALLEY, STAY UNBEATEN

The Basalt High School girls basketball team tossed aside another opponent on Thursday, winning 48-30 at home against Eagle Valley to remain unbeaten.

The Longhorns saw 11 of 12 players get in the scoring column, led by Kaitlin Boothe’s 11 points, and this despite having six stitches in her hand. Gracie Reardon had nine points and Riley Dolan had eight points.

Eagle Valley fell to 1-7 overall after Thursday’s non-league loss. Basalt improved to 8-0 overall and next travels to Coal Ridge on Saturday. The Titans are 5-2 overall but both losses have come in WSL play (to Moffat and Grand Valley), while BHS is 3-0 in league games. BHS, Moffat and Delta look to be the top challengers for the WSL title on the girls’ side.

The Basalt boys did not play Thursday after their game was postponed due to COVID-19 issues within the Eagle Valley program. BHS (4-3 overall, 2-0 WSL) will also play Coal Ridge on Saturday in New Castle in what will be a critical league contest.

acolbert@aspentimes.com

Clubhouse Chronicles: Health as a team sport at AVSC, with a new partnership

AVSC athletic trainer Erin Young talks with a young skier on the hill. Courtesy photo.

As we all have experienced, COVID-19 has affected our everyday patterns and behaviors. We’ve all made changes to our day-to-day routines: adjusting to working and/or learning from home, attending telehealth medical appointments, exchanging a gym membership for a Peloton or other at-home workout subscription. While some of these changes have been beneficial, some have provided greater challenges and consequences.

Athletes of all levels have felt the effects of these changes — positive and negative — to their typical training routines. Across the sports world, there has been concern regarding the potential for increased athletic and sports-related injuries, especially for those who may not have been able to train in the summer and preseason how they typically would.

One could use pro sports as a case study this year: while injuries (and especially early-season injuries) are not an anomaly, the NFL experienced record-breaking season-ending injuries during the first two weeks of the season. Anecdotally, this seems to be a trend in the FIS Alpine World Cup as well.

At AVSC, we were grateful to either adapt or preserve the majority of our pre-season training. Physical health aside (for a moment), we felt it was imperative for the mental health and wellbeing of our athletes to stay connected to their team and community. Virtual workouts in the spring transitioned to an early start to pre-season at-home workouts in May and June, at which point summer skiing opportunities came to fruition both at home and in Mt. Hood.

By mid-summer, athletes were back in the gym and ever since, have been exercising and participating in on-snow training and competition in a largely “normal” capacity.

I am proud of our athletes for consistently showing up and giving it their all, not just on the hill, but on Zoom and in the gym. This has made a major difference in their strength and fitness. So far, we’ve done everything we could to go into this year with the same, and for some, an increased level of preparation with the goal of fewer injuries, more efficient recoveries, and better results as we continue through our competition season.

Unfortunately, even with thoughtful preparation, sometimes we face the reality of injury. When this happens, we are incredibly grateful to have amazing healthcare at our fingertips to streamline the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries.

This is our first season partnering with The Steadman Clinic, and we are thrilled to be teamed up with such an incredible leader in the sports medicine field. We have direct access to their research, knowledge and world-class medical team — many of whom have helped the best in sport return to the top of their game.

While we’ve always been grateful for the great healthcare in our valley, our partnership with The Steadman Clinic means that our athletes have easier access to the best care possible while on the road, too — we’ve had athletes visit The Steadman Clinic locations in Summit and Eagle counties while traveling for competition.

While we’re in the thick of our current competitive season, we’re also just around the corner from the next preseason training block. Winter goes fast, especially with the recent string of powder days our community has enjoyed! We are looking forward to partnering with The Steadman Clinic on proactive measures to keep AVSC athletes healthy, strong and prepared for next season and beyond.

Clubhouse Chronicles is a behind-the-scenes column written by the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club that runs periodically in the Outdoors and Sports sections.