Clubhouse Chronicles: Stapleton Training Center at Highlands lets athletes grow

Cody Oates
AVSC Stapleton Training Center Manager
Fresh snowfall covers Aspen Highlands and the Stapleton Training Center on Monday, Oct. 24, 2022.
Sam Ferguson/Courtesy AVSC

Our mission at Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club is to provide all youth in the Roaring Fork Valley the opportunity to excel as athletes, and as people, through winter sports. AVSC ensures 100% of our directives are centered around our athletes and families, including the decision to begin making snow on the Aspen Highlands Stapleton Training Center this week.

Thanks to the vision of local AVSC supporters, the ability to blow snow has been a game-changer for our athletes. We often receive questions about the venue and want to take this opportunity to shed a little light on the incredible facility, as well as our reasoning for October snowmaking.    

Why do we blow snow in October?

The Stapleton Training Center is often the first pitch on all four local mountains to see snowmaking once the temperatures drop.

Thanks to AVSC’s partnership with Aspen Skiing Co., blowing snow early season allows us to create early and late season on-snow training and competition opportunities for our athletes. Climate change is impacting the length of our ski season and the number of days that our athletes can train in Aspen. The opportunity to blow snow before Highlands enables our athletes to train in their backyard, greatly reducing early-season travel throughout Colorado to chase snow and training opportunities.

This is cost-effective for our athletes and their families, and it allows them to remain in their classrooms and focus on both academics and athletics at a high level.

Increasing the length of the season on the venue allows AVSC athletes and coaches the opportunity to host high-level events into April.

What is the Stapleton Training Center?

The Stapleton Training Center provides Alpine, freestyle and snowboard athletes with a world-class venue in AVSC’s backyard. After a short walk from the Aspen School District and a quick lift ride, our athletes access the state-of-the-art facility that is groomed to perfection for any discipline, training, or competitive opportunity. This includes Alpine training lanes, a mogul course, rails and airbags. In addition, many prominent national and international athletes come to train in Aspen, allowing AVSC athletes the opportunity to train next to and watch the best athletes in the world.

What is the history of the Stapleton Training Center?

Over a decade ago, AVSC and a group of passionate donors and board members committed to creating an early-season training venue and world-class competition center. 

In 2014, the Stapleton Training Center became a reality — and a renowned preseason and winter competition venue. Since then, the Stapleton Training Center has provided AVSC athletes — as well as international teams, collegiate teams, and surrounding clubs — with a place to train and a venue for athletes to compete at the highest level.

AVSC is grateful for the partnership with Skico and the hard work of their snowmaking crew, our operations team and the community for positioning the Stapleton Training Center as one of the best venues in the country and giving our athletes a competitive edge. We cannot wait to get our athletes on the snow and kick off the 2022-23 winter season.

Clubhouse Chronicles is a behind-the-scenes column written by the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club that runs periodically in the Aspen Times sports section.