Morse steps down as AVSC director
Toby Morse, the six-year executive director of the Aspen Valley Ski/Snowboard Club, announced yesterday he will leave the organization this summer.
Citing the demands of the position and a chance to pursue new opportunities, Morse said he plans to help his replacement transition into the position before leaving at the end of July. And it’s likely, he said, that he’ll remain with AVSC as a Nordic coach, a position he held seven years ago when he first started with the 64-year-old club.
Morse’s departure comes as AVSC appears to be entering a new period of prosperity, with the recent completion of the club’s first permanent headquarters, the 10,000-square-foot Friedl Pfeifer Clubhouse on the Aspen School District campus. Morse’s tenure also saw the establishment of an endowment, which helped fund construction of the clubhouse, and unprecedented participation among some 1,545 youths in the valley. The organization also has more competitive race programs than ever.
“I think the program’s on a roll,” Morse said Wednesday, “and I’m hoping the organization will continue to grow and the kids will continue to build on the successes they’ve had this year, because there have certainly been many.
“It’s safe to say that this season, the programs are stronger than they’ve ever been,” he continued. “We’ve got more kids than we’ve ever had, and we’ve got one of the strongest coaching staffs we’ve ever had, too. I’m really proud of that.”
Morse said the weekend programs are key for the organization and the athletes.
“There’s no question we’ve got some outstanding athletes, and I want people to remember: those kids’ opportunities are made possible by the extensive weekend programs we offer that introduce kids to the sport,” he said. “It gives them the opportunities to be champions.”
Morse said his resignation, which he has considered for the last three to four months, will enable him to catch his breath.
“It’s been a whirlwind of six years really,” he said. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time, and I’m proud to have given back to a sport that has given me so much. I have accomplished my goals with the organization … but the job demands a tremendous amount of energy, and my energy level isn’t there now. It isn’t fair to me or the organization.”
Penney Carruth, AVSC board president, called Morse’s service to AVSC “exemplary.”
“He worked tirelessly to make AVSC great, and we will miss his energy and passion for the club and its mission,” she said. “He provided great stability in his six years, and because of that, we were able to launch a capital campaign, build a clubhouse and really elevate our racing programs and our participation. Toby took us to this whole new level; it’s all to his credit.”
The AVSC board hasn’t initiated a search for a replacement yet, said Carruth, though they plan to look near and far.
“We don’t foresee any changes in the direction we’re going,” she said, “and we couldn’t be in a better position to begin this search. We consider this a very exciting time, we feel like we’re at a threshold that’s going to launch us to greater heights.
“We’ve got a lot to offer somebody, thanks to Toby.”
Added AVSC’s head alpine coach, Dave Hjerleid, “Toby’s commitment to make winter sports available to the youth of the Roaring Fork Valley was fundamental in the success of many of our athletes.”
Morse expressed thanks to the entire valley community for its support of AVSC during his tenure.
“I’m so appreciative for what this community has done for us,” he said, “either by volunteering their time or through fund-raising efforts. Because without that support, we would not be able to make it happen. I’m truly grateful.”
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