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Aspen/Basalt mountain bike team heads to Durango looking to defend 2019 state title

Led by coach Scott Leonard, the Aspen/Basalt composite mountain bike team will compete Oct. 24-24 in the state championships in Durango.
Courtesy photo

Two years have passed since the Aspen High School mountain bike team has had the chance to defend its state championship. But the wait ends this weekend with the Durango Mesa Pursuit, the final races of the fall’s Colorado Cycling League season.

Competing as a composite team with both Aspen and Basalt students this season, there is belief a repeat championship is within reach. The expected nine-rider group will be led by AHS senior Markus Dewire and BHS senior Emma Borchers.

Dewire has been especially strong this fall and will be one of the first on track in the boys varsity race come Sunday, while Borchers is among the second group in the varsity girls race.

“He’s won every race of the series through the region that we are in,” team coach Scott Leonard said of Dewire. “So, he’s the No. 1 guy going into the race.”

The high school mountain bike team started nearly a decade ago now, and since then Roaring Fork Cycling, a local nonprofit, has taken over operations. While the riders might wear Skiers’ red or the Longhorns’ purple, the high schools don’t directly administer the teams.

Leonard took over as the team’s primary coach in 2018, and a year later in 2019 Aspen won the Division 3 state championship. Colorado has three divisions, divided up by how big each team is, with Division 3 being for the smallest of teams and Division 1 for the largest. Boulder edged Fairview and Summit for the Division 1 title in 2019 — Glenwood Springs was sixth — while Durango took the Division 2 title that year.

The 2020 high school mountain bike season was canceled because of the pandemic, so the Aspen group has been able to hold onto its title as reigning state champion since 2019.

Along with Dewire and Borchers, other racers who qualified for state (but might not compete) this weekend for the AHS/BHS composite team are: Finn Johnson (varsity boys), Levi Logan (varsity boys), Miles Johnson (JV boys), Harrison White (JV boys), Megan Heath (JV girls), Brody Fox (sophomore boys), Liam Heath (freshman boys), Monte Musselman (freshman boys) and Cole Chism (freshman boys).

Racers qualified by competing in the three prior races this fall, including Aspen’s own Snowmassive Chase on Sept. 25 and 26, collecting points each time out. Dewire’s 1,175 points (only two of the three races make up the final point totals) are tied with Summit’s Lasse Konecny, Fairview’s Liam Baartman and Durango’s Ivan Sippy for tops in the varsity boys race. Of those four, only Dewire competes in Division 3, although all will compete in the same race come Sunday.

Leonard said Konecny and Sippy stand out as Dewire’s toughest competition, both riders who have given him plenty of difficulty in past races.

“It’s not a math equation. It is a race. He has a chance on paper,” Leonard said. “He’s raced these guys a lot outside of high school races and those two I just mentioned, he’s never beaten before. So on paper, third, fourth, fifth is probably where things will settle out. But you never know. He has improved since the last time he’s faced those guys at nationals in July. So we’ll see.”

Roaring Fork’s Corbin Carpenter is among those in the second wave of the boys varsity race, while Glenwood’s Chloe Lutgring — competing in Division 1 — is tied with Durango’s Bailey Cioppa as the top qualifier in the varsity girls race.

The current schedule has the freshman and JV races running on Saturday morning, with the sophomore and varsity races slated for Sunday morning.

More detailed information can be found at coloradomtb.org.


Construction underway for new mountain bike trails at CMC Spring Valley campus

Colorado Mountain College student Gabe Andrus goes for an early evening mountain bike ride on the trails at the Spring Valley campus south of Glenwood Springs.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

A new mountain bike course just outside of Glenwood Springs may soon find itself the center of attention in the high school competitive circuit.

Ground broke last week on a stretch of new mountain bike trails at the Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley campus. The open-to-the-public loop will be used by the public, the school and to host events.

The Colorado High School Cycling League, coordinator of Colorado’s highest-level prep mountain biking racing series, will host races there. On top of annual regular season series races, it’s also a strong contender for selection as the next host of the series’ state championships, league Executive Director Kate Rau said.

The new trails will run three lines in close proximity to each other, catering to beginner, intermediate and expert level riders. It will conjoin with old game trails and trails previously established in the area to create a full loop with a prospective start and finish line right outside the CMC field house.

“It’s a good fit for everybody,” Jeanne Golay, head coach of the Glenwood Springs High School Dirt Demons and member of the Colorado Mountain College Foundation, said. “It helps us get high school students on our campus. The league is growing so quickly that they need venues around the state to host all these races.”

Colorado Mountain College student Gabe Andrus goes for an early evening mountain bike ride on the trails at the Spring Valley campus south of Glenwood Springs.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

The new trails will be available to the public. CMC itself will use the trails for educational purposes, including their upkeep and maintenance.

Having three skill level lines so close together will help the course’s bid to earn race contracts from entities like the Colorado High School Cycling League, which has competitors at all skill levels. It will also help the school teach students how to mountain bike and go deeper with greater skills and earn college credit.

However, the major push has always been for high school mountain biking, driven by Golay, Rau and the league. Glenwood Springs High School, Roaring Fork High School and Colorado Rocky Mountain School all have teams in close proximity.

“We’re building it for that purpose,” Spring Valley Campus Dean Heather Exby said about the intent to host races, specifically high school. “The high school mountain bike organization was one of the big drivers.”

The concept of a trail system at Spring Valley began three to four years ago. From the school side, plans included a full system, including extended hiking and adaptive.

When bids for grants on that plan fell short, the school simplified and focused on the mountain bike trails.

They hired Singletrack Trails LLC, a professional trail building firm, constructors of the famed Palisade Plunge at Palisade’s Grand Mesa.

Currently, the high school league is preparing for this year’s state championship after a three-race qualifying series. The regional championships were held in Eagle on Oct. 10 in what local teams currently consider their home race.

This year’s state championships will be held in Durango, which is in the final year of its contract as host. Rau said the contracts run for at least three years, meaning the 2022 host is likely to host through at least 2024.

She said more than 3,000 people attend each race, bringing tourism dollars from across Colorado.

Rau said the decision on the next host is likely to be confirmed in November or December with an announcement coming in January or February.


Is Vail’s Burton US Open competition gone for good? New series seems to say so

Pat Burgener gets inverted during the men’s halfpipe semifinals of the 2020 Burton U.S. Open in Vail.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

VAIL — Burton officials on Tuesday announced a new snowboard event series: The Burton Mystery Series. But to Vail locals, the bigger mystery is what’s going to happen to the Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships, which have been hosted in Vail since 2013.

The short answer is the annual celebration of snowboarding won’t return to Vail in 2022. In fact, the U.S. Open format looks to be a thing of the past.

Burton’s announcement drew comparisons to the U.S. Open and spoke of the event in the past tense, but fell short of making any definitive statement on the future of the contest.

“Unlike the Burton US Open which was always held in the United States, this final, pinnacle event would ideally be hosted in a different country each time, opening up the new event series to more international riders,” the release states.

“One of the major goals of the Mystery Series in the years to come is to get back to the roots of what events like the original Opens were all about — the idea that a young unknown rider could break into snowboarding through Burton events,” said Donna Carpenter, owner of Burton. “With all the passionate people working to build the new Mystery Series, Burton will continue its long legacy of hosting the greatest snowboard events in the world.”

When the Vail Daily reached out to Burton media contact Taren Dolbashian to see if this announcement meant the U.S. Open would not be returning to Vail anytime soon, the response was concise but clear.

“That is correct,” Dolbashian said.

Town of Vail Economic Development Director Mia Vlaar said the town and Burton have been talking for much of this year, so Burton’s announcement was no surprise.

With that in mind, the town hasn’t budgeted for a 2022 event. The town budgeted $490,000 for the 2020 event, which finished a bit more than a week before the state’s ski industry shut down.

Burton’s announcement follows last year’s cancellation of the 2021 event, originally slated for March 1-6. At the time, the event held the title of the world’s longest continuously running snowboard event.

The last Burton U.S. Open took place in 2020, about four months after Burton Snowboards suffered the loss of its founder, Jake Burton Carpenter. The competition that year was largely dedicated to Carpenter, with memorials and décor that told the story of the snowboarding pioneer who not only founded one of the sport’s most popular brands, but also helped push for the inclusion of snowboarding culture at large ski resorts across the U.S. Carpenter had a particular history in Vail, which started long before moving the U.S. Open there.

Snowboarder Anna Gasser competes in the 2020 Burton U.S. Open in Vail.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

“Jake was a huge Vail supporter,” Vail Mayor Dave Chapin told the Vail Daily in 2019.

While the “mystery series” is still developing, Vlaar said Town of Vail and Vail Resorts officials hope the series finds a way to host some kind of Vail event.

Holding the U.S. Open in late February and early March came at a time of need for Vail, which benefited from the lodging bookings associated with the event.

Beyond just bringing people to town, Vlaar said Burton also brought international TV and social media exposure for Vail. That’s hard to replace.

Vlaar said the town is looking at other possibilities for winter events, although it’s unlikely we’ll see what comes of those efforts until the 2022-2023 ski season.

Ski racer Mikaela Shiffrin eyes five-event Olympics in 2022 after three last time

Mikaela Shiffrin competes during the slalom portion of the women's combined race at the 2021 World Championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. Shiffrin is certain she wants to participate in every individual women's race at the Beijing Olympics. She already owns three Olympic medals, including two golds.
Marco Trovati/AP

First things first for Mikaela Shiffrin: She is certain she wants to participate in every individual women’s ski race at the Beijing Olympics.

The 26-year-old from Colorado also knows that was her aim for the last Winter Games — and things did not quite work out according to plan back then.

So as Shiffrin gears up for the start of the World Cup season this month, then looks further down the road toward the trip to Asia in February, she is examining various ways in which she can beat her best for both. That means how she performs while on her skis, speeding down the side of a mountain, of course, as well as areas she can work on while away from the slopes.

“Something I’m dreaming about right now is to be able to compete in each event in China. But that means I have to do a lot more preparation, mentally,” Shiffrin said from Austria on Friday, during a video conference with reporters. “Just understanding how that is going to affect me mentally and physically throughout, essentially, the three weeks that we’re there.

“So it definitely takes a lot of my focus to think: What are the boxes we have to check, even totally outside of skiing and technique and tactics and the physical side of things? What are the boxes we need to check to make sure that I have some comfort level staying in a place that I’ve never been before for three weeks and dealing with the jet lag and getting over that as fast as possible?”

Shiffrin owns three Olympic medals, including two golds. She also has won 69 World Cup races — only Ingemar Stenmark, with 86, and Lindsey Vonn, 82, have more in the sport’s history — along with a trio of overall titles.

While careful to note some caveats, including that she needs to ski well enough to earn a spot on the U.S. team for the five individual women’s alpine events in Beijing, Shiffrin would love to be in the starting gate each time; giant slalom Feb. 7, slalom Feb. 9, super-G Feb. 11, downhill Feb. 15 and combined Feb. 17.

Then again, that was the idea at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, too, before weather-related rescheduling contributed to Shiffrin participating in only three races. She left South Korea with a gold in giant slalom, silver in combined and a fourth-place finish in slalom.

“I definitely walked away with eyes wide open after that,” Shiffrin said Friday.

“There’s a whole box of things that we can unpack with just, sort of, Olympic preparations and how how much I do care about putting in my best effort to make all events happen? But also knowing that so many things can change, not only between now and then, but just between the start of the first Olympic race to the end of the Games, that that plan could very, very easily change at the drop of a hat. So there’s that side of things,” she said. “And obviously, you go to the Olympics and hope for medals. That’s the dream. … But then you have the World Cup season.”

Yes, she is not ignoring that.

Mikaela Shiffrin shows her bronze medal on the podium of the women's slalom at the 2021 World Championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy.
Giovanni Auletta/AP

When the calendar opens Oct. 23 in Sölden, Austria, Shiffrin will make it a point to live up to what she called “another big dream” — contending for the overall trophy again.

That wasn’t a possibility last season, when she avoided speed races until the world championships after returning from a 10-month hiatus brought about by the death of her father, the coronavirus pandemic and an injured back.

“There is never going to be a guarantee that I can win it again, and it’s … really hard to say if that’s even a realistic goal for this season — or ever again in my career,” Shiffrin said. “But I’m trying to put in the work to make that a possibility.”

Skico talks about new uphill ski pass during virtual town hall session

Three friends skin up Tiehack before opening day of Buttermilk in Aspen on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020.
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

With winter uphilling continuing to grow in popularity, especially since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Aspen Skiing Co. is making it a priority to better manage those numbers on its four ski mountains. And, beginning this season, this will include a required $69 uphill pass for what has long been a free endeavor.

Skico addressed the new pass, along with other uphilling concerns, during a virtual town hall Thursday evening via Zoom that allowed the audience to write in questions. The session was led by Katie Ertl, Skico’s vice president of mountain operations.

“We are just stair-stepping our way into this decision to really manage the volume that we’ve been seeing and allow for a conversation in education,” Ertl said. “The reason you are starting to see things become more controlled is so that we can allow for the downhill guests to have a great experience while the uphill guest is on the mountain. It ties into safety; it ties into predictability.”

The bulk of the roughly 45-minute town hall was about the new uphill pass, which Skico first announced in August. Anyone purchasing the Premier Pass — including the Premier Senior — or anyone with an employee pass or a dependent of an employee, will be able to opt in to the uphill pass at no additional charge.

All other passes, including the popular Ikon Pass and the local seven-day pass, will require a separate uphill pass purchase. One quirk is that the $69 price tag is all or nothing, regardless of when it is purchased. For now, there will be no single-day option for uphillers.

Of the $69, $10 of that is a required donation that goes toward Mountain Rescue Aspen.

The pass, which will include an orange, reflective band that uphillers must wear on their person, will be required on the four area ski mountains beginning Nov. 1 and going through April 30. The pass won’t be required for uphilling outside of that window, should snow allow for the activity. The orange band, which can be worn anywhere on the body or even attached to a backpack, will be handed out when uphillers pick up their pass.

On Buttermilk, Highlands and Snowmass, Skico has a strict uphilling time frame of 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., with dogs not allowed on mountain between 7:45 a.m. and 5 p.m. On Aspen Mountain, there is no uphilling allowed between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., as has been the case for many years. No uphilling will be allowed on any of the four mountains between 10:30 p.m. and 5 a.m. to allow for a safe working environment.

“We really want to give our operations crew, snowmaking and cat and grooming crew a chance to work without any issue around uphillers coming up late at night,” Ertl said. “That is new to the program.”

An uphill skier heads out of the Snowmass Base Village area in April 2020 when the resorts shut down because of the pandemic.
David Krause/The Aspen Times

Skico will again ask uphillers to stay on one of the 10 designated trails this season. There is one each on Aspen Mountain and Highlands, three on Buttermilk and five on Snowmass, one more than last winter. Aspen Mountain also has a dedicated downhill trail via Copper for those descending before 9 a.m. due to the mountain’s narrow channel through Spar Gulch.

Ertl said they are looking to improve the uphill signage, especially on the top half of the mountains.

“Last year was really the first time we’ve asked everyone to stay on designated trails going uphill,” Ertl said. “If you are one of those climbers who heads up Aspen Mountain and you get to the top before 9, we are asking you to ski down the Copper side, so down the east side of the mountain. What that will do is just take you out of the fray that is coming back up the hill.”

Unlike last season, there will be no blackout dates for uphillers this winter, including over Christmas. A different set of exclusions and blackout dates still apply to the traditional downhill passes.

Anyone taking part in sponsored events, such as the Audi Power of Four ski mountaineering race or the upcoming Summit for Life uphill race, won’t be required to purchase an uphill pass to participate.

While some skiers may take issue with the added rules and regulations surrounding uphilling, Ertl wanted to reiterate that Skico is committed to making the Aspen system a haven for uphillers.

“We are in huge support of uphilling,” Ertl said. “Our goal is to continue to allow opportunities for folks to use our mountains within the ski area boundaries as a training ground, as a personal mental health opportunity and a physical health opportunity.”


Athletes excited to vie for 2022 Olympics at Copper Mountain qualifying events

Breckenridge native Jaxin Hoerter rotates off the superpipe wall at Stomping Grounds Park in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, during U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team preseason training in October 2020.
Stomping Grounds Park/Courtesy photo

FRISCO — It’s a big deal to compete for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. It’s an even bigger deal to hear the cheers of your closest friends and family while suspended in air doing a frontside 1080.

This is what local winter sports athletes will come to expect with the return of Winter Dew Tour and the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain Resort in December. After being canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was announced Tuesday that both events will not only return to Copper, but also serve as qualifiers for the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

The Grand Prix will host halfpipe skiers and snowboarders from Dec. 9-11. The event will be followed by Dew Tour, which takes place Dec. 16-19 and features halfpipe and slopestyle competitions as well as men’s and women’s snowboard adaptive competitions. Both promise representation from Summit County and Colorado athletes.

These two Olympic qualifying events allow for athletes to have the chance to compete in order to score enough points and make a statement as to why they should be named to the U.S. Olympic team that will be traveling to China in February.

Unlike the Summer Olympics, where teams are decided through the Olympic trials, U.S. skiers and snowboarders in the halfpipe and freeski competitions must garner enough International Ski Federation points through Olympic-qualifying events to be considered. In order to be eligible for the Olympics, an athlete must have a minimum of 50 FIS points.

One of the athletes who hopes to contend for a spot on the Olympic team is halfpipe freeskier Jaxin Hoerter of Breckenridge.

“It was originally unclear whether we would have the opportunity to have these two qualifiers due to the ongoing pandemic, so having these events on the schedule allows for us to have more chances to make a contention for Beijing,” Hoerter said.

Hoerter also expressed excitement for the atmosphere at the Grand Prix and Dew Tour events.

“Back in 2018, it was really cool to see my people — who can’t always make it out to my competitions — out on the mountain cheering me on,” Hoerter said. “The memory of this is still a very special moment for me and is something that I continue to cherish.”

Chase Blackwell competes during the Burton U.S. Open in February 2020 in Vail.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Dillon resident Chase Blackwell, who is originally from Longmont, also has plans to soak in the energy and make his mark at these events.

“The Copper Mountain halfpipe is my home pipe,” Blackwell said. “It’s where I do my training for the majority of the season, so having these two Olympic qualifiers to kick things off will be super exciting.”

Being from Longmont also will allow some of Blackwell’s friends to travel up Interstate 70 to see him compete.

“It will be super easy for all my close friends and family to come up to watch the event, so I am excited to compete in front of them,” Blackwell said.

According to a news release from Dew Tour, snowboarders Shaun White and Julia Marino, as well as skiers Maggie Voisin, Alex Hall and Aspen’s Alex Ferreira are scheduled to compete alongside local talent.

Both events will be free and open to the public.


Aspen Ski Swap returns after year hiatus in support of ASD outdoor education

A snowboarder rides down Snowmass Ski Area on Friday, Nov. 29, 2019.
Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

On the outside it’s simply a ski swap, but at heart it’s an important fundraiser for the Aspen School District’s unique outdoor and experiential education programs.

“I’ve never heard of another program in the country anywhere close to what our school district does for kids in terms of introducing them to outdoors and self-sufficiency and all the character-building things that come with learning to be in the outdoors,” said Will Herndon, the president of Coldwell Banker Mason Morse who has been one of the lead organizers of the ski swap for nearly 15 years. “I grew up in Aspen, so I’m a beneficiary of all the outdoor ed programs that the school district has sponsored for so long. So it was a way for me to do my community service for a cause that is amazing.”

After a year off because of the pandemic, the 66th annual Aspen Ski Swap is set to take place Saturday at Aspen Middle School. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., bargains can be found on new and used ski and snowboard gear, with 20% of the money from sold items going back into the outdoor education programs.

“We cannot go on our outdoor ed trip without the ski swap,” said Adam Flatt, an Aspen Middle School teacher who also helps run the ski swap. “Like anyone can imagine, outdoor ed trips are a bit arduous, and gear does, at times, break. It’s really hard to buy brand new gear with so many different outdoors programs and we do need the support.”

The outdoor education program through ASD is probably most known for its middle school trips, which include backcountry skiing, rafting and overnight hiking. In high school, the program shifts more toward experiential education, which can include non-outdoor activities related to any number of disciplines, such as the arts.

Herndon said the ski swap can bring in as much as $50,000 for the outdoor ed program, with that money going not only toward gear but also scholarships to help students afford the often weeklong trips.

The ski swap also is one of the many unofficial kickoffs to winter in Aspen.

“That’s the main goal of the ski swap, is getting the community together and talking about skiing,” Flatt said. “Just remembering the good times of skiing and getting ready for the new season.”

For those wanting to sell items, the equipment drop off is from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday at the middle school. The all-volunteer staff can aid in tagging and pricing items. Shopping begins at 9 a.m. Saturday and goes until 1 p.m. Those wanting to pick-up their money and unclaimed items can do so right after the sale on Saturday from 2:15 to 4 p.m.

The ski swap accepts cash, check and credit cards. Masks are required for both shoppers and those working the event.

“It’s good to get back. I think people are excited,” Herndon said. “There is still COVID out there a little bit, but I think people are excited to get some stuff, get some gear, and it looks like it could be a good year, good snow year.”


Copper Mountain Resort will host two Winter Olympic qualifying events

Snow guns blow man-made snow below a chairlift at Copper Mountain Resort in preparation for the 2020-21 ski season.
Curtis DeVore/Copper Mountain Resort

Copper Mountain Resort has some exciting news: It is hosting two Olympic qualifying events.

When the Winter Dew Tour and Toyota U.S. Grand Prix return this season, competing athletes will hope to earn a spot in the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games, according to a news release from Copper. Both events are free and open to the public and are coming back after they were canceled last winter during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Grand Prix will host halfpipe skiers and snowboarders from Dec. 9-11. The event will be followed by Dew Tour, which takes place from Dec. 16-19 and features halfpipe and slopestyle competitions as well as men’s and women’s snowboard adaptive competitions and a nighttime street-style jam session.

According to a release from Dew Tour, Olympic snowboarders Shaun White, Julia Marino and Silverthorne’s Red Gerard are scheduled to compete in Dew Tour, along with skiers Maggie Voisin, Alex Hall and Aspen’s own Alex Ferreira.

“I’m so excited to be heading back to Copper this winter season to compete at Dew Tour,” Gerard said in Dew Tour’s release. “It’s such a fun event to be a part of, and this year, I’m hoping to do well so that I can qualify towards earning a spot at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games to represent the USA!”

Copper’s release noted that the ski area’s team is in the early stages of building Woodward Copper’s 22-foot superpipe that sits at the base of the mountain’s Center Village and sets the stage for the events.

But before the resort opens for the winter season Nov. 22, it will host alpine ski race training in mid-October, including the opening of the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center. University teams, the U.S. men’s and women’s alpine ski teams, and national teams from Austria, Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden and Slovenia will be at Copper for training.

The high-profile training and Olympic qualifying events play into Copper’s new branding as “the athlete’s mountain.”

“Copper Mountain is a hub for athletes of all levels to get inspired, be challenged and feel empowered,” Copper President and General Manager Dustin Lyman said in a release.

Also in the news release sent Tuesday, the resort announced a new upgrade for guests who want to get on the mountain early and move through lines quickly.

The upgrade, named Fast Tracks, offers early chairlift access to certain base area chairs as well as dedicated lanes at seven popular lifts across the mountain. Fast Tracks is available for each day of the season in limited quantities and can be purchased on the resort’s website at CopperColorado.com or at the resort for $49 per day. The upgrade can be added to a lift ticket, season pass or four-pack starting Nov. 1.

As for safety measures related to COVID-19, Copper is the final Summit County ski resort to announce that its employees will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 come ski season. Similar announcements were made by Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Breckenridge Ski Resort and Keystone Resort last month.

“… Consistent with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announcement that vaccines will be required for all employers with over 100 employees, we are requiring all employees to be vaccinated. We believe requiring all staff to be vaccinated is the best way to protect one another, our guests and our communities and is crucial to ending the pandemic,” the news release stated.

According to the resort’s website, Copper employees are required to have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Nov. 8 and be fully vaccinated by Dec. 10.

Masks will not be required at Copper for adults, but they will be required for guests ages 2-11 and are recommended for unvaccinated individuals. There will not be restrictions on dining, indoor space or chairlift capacities, and parking reservations will no longer be required, according to the resort’s website.

Copper’s opening day will include giveaways and a first-chair celebration. The first week of the season will be capped with Copper’s annual Snowsation event, which will feature a free concert Nov. 26 and a snowcat parade followed by another free concert Nov. 27.


State is next for high school mountain bike teams following regional comps

Glenwood Springs High School’s Dante Humphrey hits a wall ride in the freshmen boys race in the Crystal Region championship on Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Eagle.
Rich Allen/Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Glenwood’s Chloe Lutgring sat alone at the finish line for a few minutes, dry heaving. She pushed herself to an erroneous extent. She didn’t know how big her lead was, so she kept pushing.

After some water, some more dry heaving and a chance to cool down, all there was left was a podium celebration and a state championship race to get ready for.

“My goal in the next two weeks is to make up two minutes,” Lutgring said. “I’m going to do everything I can to prepare myself diet wise, strength wise, core wise, just everything.”

Lutgring won the girls varsity race at the Haymaker Classic on Sunday, the Crystal Region championship held at the Haymaker trailhead in Eagle. Her Glenwood Springs High School Dirt Demons teammates Dante Humphrey — in the freshmen boys classification — and Samantha Meskin — sophomore girls — both won their races as well, each clinching the most points in their classifications through three regular-season races.

As a team, the Dirt Demons finished third in the event’s Division 1, behind leader Colorado Rocky Mountain School of Carbondale, which boasts a larger roster.

Humphrey controlled his race from start to finish, but had to overcome some obstacles of his own. In the middle of his second lap around the 6-mile track, his cleat started to come loose. On a track that boasts a highly technical downhill portion in its final stretch, including countless switchbacks and a wall ride, it proved to be a challenge.

“Right before the first uphill, my foot gets really loose and starts sliding back and forth on the clip,” Humphrey said. “It’s the most annoying thing ever because you want a very smooth pedal stroke. It makes you think you’re going to pull straight out of it because the screws are loose so you have to change your pedaling technique.”

Glenwood Springs High School’s Chloe Lutgring navigates through the varsity girls race in the Crystal Region championship on Oct. 10 in Eagle.
Rich Allen/Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Humphrey persevered and found himself atop the podium yet again as well.

Down in Division 3, the Aspen/Basalt team took the No. 1 spot as a group. Roaring Fork, in its debut trip to a regional championship, didn’t score highly as a team but saw success individually.

At the varsity level, Roaring Fork’s Corbin Carpenter sprinted out of the gate to a first-lap lead over points leader Markus Dewire out of Aspen/Basalt, setting the fastest lap of the day, according to preliminary timing information.

“(Dewire) wasn’t feeling great, so I just decided to go for it,” Carpenter said. “Then on one of the flats on the second lap, he got me and I just wasn’t able to hold on.”

Carpenter finished second across the line behind Dewire in lap two and in the extra third lap that the varsity races included.

In the sophomore boys race, Roaring Fork’s Samuel Friday took second place with teammate Devon Blanchard the next across the line behind him. Fellow Rams Ephraim Nesbitt and Gabe Hazleton weren’t far behind.

Aspen/Basalt’s Markus Dewire chases down Roaring Fork’s Corbin Carpenter in the varsity boys race in the Crystal Region championship on Oct. 10 in Eagle.
Rich Allen/Glenwood Springs Post Independent

With the strong core of sophomores and Carpenter being only a junior, Roaring Fork’s program is just developing.

“It’s really good to see us have a strong start,” Carpenter said.

He highlighted the fact that the team has no girls on it and just wants to see it grow.

The state championship, merging all four regions in the Colorado High School Cycling League, will be in Durango on Oct. 23 and 24. It will include 160 racers from freshmen through junior varsity levels and 96 from the varsity levels, with each region sending its top riders.


Mikaela Shiffrin plans more speed races in new season, including at Lake Louise

Mikaela Shiffrin gets to the finish area after completing the first run of a March 21, 2021, women's World Cup giant slalom in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
Marco Trovati/AP

Mikaela Shiffrin is planning a return to speed racing in the alpine skiing World Cup season, after reducing her schedule almost exclusively to slalom and giant slalom last year.

The American two-time Olympic champion said on Thursday she was eyeing a start at the first speed races of the season: Two downhills and a super-G in Lake Louise, Alberta, in early December.

“For my whole career my focus will always be tech, but I love speed, and I love Lake Louise especially, so that is in the plan right now,” Shiffrin said. “I probably won’t be at every single speed race. It’s just not really possible.”

Shiffrin’s first career win in a speed race came in the Lake Louise downhill in 2017, and she added a super-G victory at the same resort the following year.

The new season, which includes the Beijing Olympics in February, starts on Oct. 23 with the traditional giant slalom on a glacier in Sölden, Austria.

Shiffrin triumphed in the season opener in 2014 for one of her 69 World Cup wins.

Shiffrin returned last November after a 10-month break from racing following the death of her father, the coronavirus outbreak, and a back injury.

She competed only in the technical events, except at the world championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, in February, when she won gold in alpine combined and bronze in super-G.

“This last season was a bit … kind of comeback, almost. And I really had enough to focus on in slalom and GS,” said Shiffrin, who was speaking in Austria at a virtual media event of her equipment supplier, Atomic.

“I feel like there is a million things I can improve, especially after last season: The timing in the gates, in slalom keeping up with my quickness and agility, there was a conditioning aspect to it as well. I feel like everything could be on a higher level.”

The three-time overall World Cup champion used the offseason to work on various aspects of her skiing in all alpine disciplines.

“I don’t feel any lack of things I can improve but I guess sometimes it is good to take a step back and say, ‘The level is pretty good,’” she said.