AVSC deserves the communitys support | AspenTimes.com

AVSC deserves the communitys support

For thousands of Roaring Fork Valley families, the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club offers a relatively low-cost avenue to years of enjoyment on the ski slopes. Through its array of Base Camp programs for kids of all ages, AVSC gives hordes of local children their first real taste of fun and self-reliance on the slopes.The prices increase as children get older and their skills require more specialized instruction, but its fair to say that many local kids wouldnt ski at all if it werent for the deeply discounted lessons and lift passes available through AVSC. Many of the valleys gifted athletes would never compete nationally or internationally if it werent for the superior coaching and encouragement they receive through the club.The organization even provides scholarships for some 300 local children whose families cannot afford the registration cost. Sure, every AVSC parent flinches when writing those annual checks, but think what the amount would be if it reflected real market rates for ski instruction and uphill transportation.And consider this, too: The price of AVSC registration, however expensive, rarely covers the full program cost. In fact, total program fees only cover about 60 percent of AVSCs $1.7 million annual budget. The rest comes from donations, foundation grants, local government contributions and other sources.In other words, AVSC is an even better deal than it already appears.It wasnt always this way. Thirty-or-so years ago AVSC had more of a competitive focus and wasnt nearly as effective in nurturing an overall love of the mountains for both athletes and average recreational skiers. Now this uniquely inclusive club comprises more than 1,600 children from all ability levels and all ski and snowboard disciplines. Moreover, its still growing. The club is actively reaching out to Latino families, inviting them to participate more in winter sports.We think the AVSC provides an invaluable service that goes beyond mere competitive sport. We think the AVSC experience helps to instill a love of the mountains at an early age, and we think the challenge of learning to ski (and perhaps compete) can help foster healthy, high-achieving kids. If the organization can unite Anglo and Latino kids on the slopes, then so much the better.All of which boils down to this: The AVSC provides a great service at a great price to the valleys families. We urge any and all AVSC parents with the financial means to help out by paying the full cost of their childrens programs. If thats prohibitive, then contribute whatever you can.The organizations first annual Black & White fund-raiser, scheduled for Feb. 13-15, represents another chance to come out and support a fine organization.