Freestylers bump to top finishes
The Aspen Valley Ski/Snowboard Club freestyle team wrapped up its best season ever last weekend at the Slopestyle Competition at the Berthoud Pass Ski Area.
All 11 competitors of the AVSC freestyle team participated with Travis Redd of Basalt and Steele Spence of Snowmass Village leading the charge of the freestyle skiers.
Spence finished third on Sunday and Redd finished sixth on Saturday in a field that included some of the country’s top freestylers.
During the season, the team participated in fourteen competitions sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Freestyle Division of USSA.
Competitors were judged by a panel of six judges on how they skied through a 400-yard course of moguls, containing two jumps. The difficulty of the jumps they performed, combined with the mogul technique and time determined their scores.
The AVSC team members finished strong in national points, with the 15-year-old Spence ending as the No. 12-rated skier nationally in J2 (ages 15-16).
Jon Severy finished at No. 35 with Redd at 36. Other J2 skiers on the AVSC team included Mike Ukraine, Robbie Wade, Greg Shaffran, Liam Kiernan and Jetzen O’Connor.
In the J3’s (ages 13-14), Dusty Spence finished with a No. 3 national ranking. Gus Ukraine was 12th and Austin Ramaley was 31st.
According to freestyle director Doug Parks and coach Eric (Dough Boy) Knight, other highlights of the freestyle season included: Dusty Spence with three first-place finishes in J3 competitions at Breckenridge, Steamboat, and Aspen; Steele Spence with a first place in the Aspen J2 event and second and third at Steamboat; Gus Ukraine with a third (J3) at Steamboat; Travis Redd with a seventh-place overall in an open competition (all ages) at Arapahoe Basin. Steele Spence with three overall top-10 finishes (fifth, sixth, seventh) at open competitions at Arapahoe Basin, Steamboat Springs and Aspen; Steele Spence with a fourth at the J2 Rocky Mountain Freestyle Divisional Championships in Winter Park; Dusty Spence with a second in J3 Rocky Mountain Freestyle Divisional Championships in Winter Park; Dusty Spence with a fifth in the dual moguls during the Divisional Championships, competing against skiers of college-age and older. Parks and Knight added that the team made great progress this year. In addition to the young team, the program also includes a developmental team of even younger bumpers.
The event at Berthoud Pass provided an inspirational finish to the season because it served as a benefit for Olympic freestyle skier Jim Moran, who suffered a head injury when he crashed during a contest at Vail.
Moran, who had just been released from a Denver hospital, was on hand to watch the competition at Berthoud. He was joined by fellow Olympians Evan Dybvig and Jonny Moseley, the gold medalist in moguls at Nagano.
Steele Spence captured his third place finish with the U.S. freestylers on hand. He executed a misty flip on the final run to ensure his high finish.
And Redd dazzled the crowd on Saturday when he executed a mute grab and his ski came off in his hand. He continued with only one ski to the final jump, clearing two picnic tables.
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Aspen and Pitkin County have the largest black bear population and as such, are hoping for a big portion of a Colorado Parks and Wildlife grant to help educate and enforcement rules around securing trash.