A World Cup performance | AspenTimes.com

A World Cup performance

I’m writing to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who made it possible for the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club to host an amazing week of Nor-AM/FIS downhill and super G ski racing on America’s Downhill at Aspen Mountain.

Visiting teams came from all over the United States and Canada, in addition to racers from Romania, France and Italy.

This race was the vision of Tom Garner, who was the Rocky-Central Division Director for U.S. Skiing until his death last fall. Tom wanted to put our younger American racers in a challenging environment in hopes of getting them to ski more instinctively.

Although this philosophy was originally met with some resistance, we believed that through proper preparation and smart course setting this could be a great experience for our developing skiers.

During the three weeks of set-up, a combined crew of coaches, ski patrol and course workers installed 13.3 kilometers of B-net and 800 meters of A-net in addition to the existing Berlin Wall. The Cat drivers spent nine out of the 11 nights moving snow and winch-catting to get the snow conditions to World Cup standards.

Although the fresh powder was an issue the first two days, all the athletes, coaches and volunteers pitched in to move a ton of snow from Aztec and Spring Pitch, and we had great, safe conditions all seven days.

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During the seven days of competition, nearly 800 athletes left the start, and there were only four injuries, a testament to the protection on the hill, the excellent preparation of the slope and the time spent course setting.

I would like to personally thank: Tom Garner for or his vision; the Aspen Mountain Ski Patrol and Jim (Gorp) Hearn; the Aspen Mountain grooming crew; our Chief of Course Gary Spence; the volunteers and paid staff; Sarah Bergstrom from US Skiing; Salomon; and all our sponsors.

I would especially like to thank Steve Sewell, the Aspen Mountain Manager, who made this whole thing possible, and David Payne, our Director of On-hill operations, who worked many, many hours to make this race a reality.

You have all done so much to make this race happen, and not only did it happen, it was, by all accounts, a great event.

Dave Hjerleid

Alpine Director

Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club