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Born to ride

May Eynon

The Aspen Valley Ski Club (AVSC) was founded in 1937 with the mission to provide quality skiing programs for youth of the Roaring Fork Valley. Over the years, the club has grown to accommodate snowboarding, changing its name to the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club. One thing has remained consistent: Providing opportunities for Roaring Fork Valley youth to engage and excel in winter sports.

A mark of achievement for the club came this year in the form of a national award. The United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) selected AVSC as the 2003 USSA Snowboard Club of the Year Award. Club of the Year Awards are made in each sport to a USSA competition club that has distinguished itself by directing young athletes successfully through high-level competition programs.

Among AVSC’s Snowboard program successes this year are winning a club record 35 medals at the USSA National Championships in Sunday River, Maine; crowning two national champions; and hosting a series of popular USSA events including the Western Regionals and Grand Prix Finals.

Andy and Suzy Karlinski hosted a summer get-together for AVSC’s snowboard program athletes, coaches, parents and staff last weekend at their house in Horse Ranch near Snowmass Village. All three of their children – Teddy, Jordan and Alex – have been distinguished athletes in the program.

“It’s such a great group,” said Andy. “Winning the USSA award this year has been such a huge accomplishment for the club, and the program has really been enhanced over the years. We wanted to get everyone together, recognize the coaches and the athletes and everyone who helped make this happen.”

“It’s very rewarding to be a part of the program,” said Snowboard Coach Jason Troth. “We took 19 athletes to Sunday River, Maine, this winter and came back with more than 30 medals and third place overall. Compared to last year when they had only three medals, I’d say it’s an improvement.”

“The kids rip,” said Miah Wheeler, head freestyle coach. “Some of them are almost pro-caliber and they’re only 14 to 16 years old. By the time they’re 18, they’ll be hurting some feelings.”

“And our clubhouse is probably the best facility in the U.S.,” Wheeler continued. “The access to Highlands couldn’t be any better.”

“It’s really come a long way,” said former AVSC athletes Alex Karlinski and Katie Hoffmeister of the program and the new facility at Aspen Highlands.

AVSC parent Jackie Boughton expressed her thoughts on the program and the participants. “It’s very rigorous for the athletes. They spend 100 days a year training with coaches and competing. They’ve really become a tight group of friends.”

“Everyone who made it happen is here today, from coaches to parents, to board members and staff, to the athletes,” said AVSC Director Mark Cole at the Karlinskis’ party. “It’s great to see each other again.”

For more information on AVSC, log onto http://www.teamavsc.com.

To contact May to send info, insight or invites, e-mail: allthewaymaymay@hotmail.com


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