AVSC’s opening day allows feast of skiing on Ajax | AspenTimes.com

AVSC’s opening day allows feast of skiing on Ajax

Having Aspen Mountain to yourself the day before it opens is akin to having the first crack at a Thanksgiving feast.Everything’s laid out, especially for you, and you can eat until your heart’s delight. Or at least until the last gondola ride down. When Aspen Mountain opens Wednesday for the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club’s members day, there won’t be top-to-bottom runs open, and the gondola will be used to download.But still, there should be plenty of good snow after a couple of powerful early storms.The day is a fund-raiser for AVSC, which bills itself as the largest nonprofit youth organization in the valley. Members of the club get on the mountain for free; nonmembers can get access to the mountain for $30, with proceeds going to the ski club.The mission of the club, which will celebrate its 70th anniversary next year, is to create opportunities for Roaring Fork Valley youth to engage and excel in winter sports, said Mark Cole, executive director.”We just feel that every child growing up in this valley ought to have a chance to get on the mountain,” he said. “I just couldn’t imagine growing up here and not being able to ski or snowboard. So we’re pretty aggressive with our outreach and trying to remove the barriers to participation.”The club provides, among other things, scholarships, equipment and free bus service with chaperones to the four mountains on Saturdays. The other side of AVSC is the competitive programs.The organization tries to facilitate “each athlete’s realization of their full potential,” Cole said. “I don’t think someone ought to have to leave Aspen to find the training that they need.”As for just the top of Aspen Mountain being open, Cole said it would not dampen the opening-day spirit. He talked to Aspen Mountain manager Steve Sewell on Monday, who told him the top of the mountain is ready.”There should be some pretty darn good snow up there,” Cole said. “It’s a fun day, and everyone’s excited to be out.”But isn’t gluttony a sin? Won’t Cole feel a bit guilty about all the others who don’t make it to Aspen Mountain tomorrow?”I will very conscientiously do runs for the people who can’t be there,” he laughed.Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is chad@aspentimes.com

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