AHS lax coaches to open year-round, indoor training facility near Carbondale
The academy should be open sometime this fall
The Roaring Fork Valley is loaded with talented athletes who have the desire to put in the work and chase their dreams. What it lacks, and we can mainly blame Mother Nature for this, is the ability to train year-round in outdoor sports, such as lacrosse and soccer.
That’s why Tommy Cox and Amanda Trendell, who coach the Aspen High School boys and girls lacrosse teams, respectively, have teamed up to create the Elite Performance Academy, a multi-sport training facility that is set to open this fall.
“One of the things I like to live by is practice after practice. And five months out of the year here there is no ability to do that for the outdoor sports,” Cox said. “I saw a desire here for a facility that hosts a higher level of training. If the athletes want to come in and get the highest level of training, then this is that home.”
Cox and Trendell have rented out a warehouse just off Highway 82 near Carbondale on Cattle Creek Road. When all the pieces are in place, it’ll have 6,000 square feet of turf and the entire indoor facility will be lined with safety netting. With weights and other sport-specific training tools, they hope it will become a haven for year-round training in the valley.
“Is it a mega dome? No, but I think it’s what the valley needs and also what the community wants to see,” Trendell said. “They want to trust that it’s for the kids. It’s a little bit more of a boutique-style and it’s a specialized training facility that also is brand new.”
The original idea for the academy came from the late Michael Goerne, who died Feb. 16, 2019, in an avalanche while training for a backcountry ski mountaineering race. Goerne had been the driving force behind the growth of lacrosse in the valley and helped start both the Aspen Lacrosse Club and the AHS lacrosse programs. He was the AHS boys lacrosse head coach when they won the 2015 state championship.
“I had sat down with him and we kind of discussed why some of the programs out here weren’t as successful as they should be with all the amazing athletes and the amount of effort they put in,” Cox said, circling back to a lack of year-round training options. “Before he passed, me and him spent a good amount of time looking to build an indoor facility and I promised myself after he did pass away that I would continue that project. And then Amanda hopped on board.”
Originally, the academy was going to have a lacrosse focus, considering both Cox and Trendell played collegiately before turning to coaching. And while lacrosse will certainly remain a centerpiece of the academy, they want it to be something all sports can take advantage of.
And not just Aspen, but the entirety of the Western Slope. In time, they’d like to host various leagues, for both kids and adults, and provide those on this side of the Rocky Mountains a hub for training and competition.
“We are trying to bring the valley together, and I know Mike had touched upon me with that as well,” Cox said. “There is a disconnect it seems from up to downvalley, and we want this to be the home where everybody comes together and gets better as a group.”
The turf and netting are on the way and could be in place as early as mid-September. The hope is to have the academy up and running by the time the snow flies, and Cox and Trendell have been in touch with various other sports programs, from dance to baseball, about having them train in the new facility. Trendell said the academy also would be available to rent should a team want to use it for private training.
“The biggest thing we want to drive home is creating a space where all the athletes in the valley can come train together and push themselves mentally, physically, emotionally,” Trendell said. “We want to give coaches who have become friends, players who have become family, the ultimate home.”
While the website still is forthcoming, the Elite Performance Academy can be contacted via email at email@example.com and by phone at 970-510-0142.
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