Plenty of thanks |

Plenty of thanks

Dear Editor:

The 2009 Owl Creek Chase/Aspen Nordic Festival once again proved that Aspen can host nordic ski races at the highest level. Like last year’s event, race organizers combined efforts to hold a multi-faceted event that included FIS SuperTour and USSA Junior classic races on Friday sponsored by the Aspen Valley Ski Club, the Aspen Parks and Recreation Owl Creek Chase and USSA Junior races on Saturday, and the AVSC Wagner Park Sprints under the lights Saturday evening. Over the course of the two days we saw almost 850 racer starts, creating one of the largest nordic events in the western US. As in years past we also saw many of the elite racers put on free clinics Sunday morning, sponsored by the Ute Mountaineer and the Aspen Cross Country Center.

The Aspen Nordic Festival is an incredible effort orchestrated by a unique partnership consisting of the City of Aspen, Ute Mountaineer and the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club. The end product seen out on the snow does not happen without an incredible group of volunteers and staff members. You all have my sincere thanks for helping pull the local nordic community together. I also want to thank Bob Wade, Paul Perley, Mike Trecker and their staff at the Ute Mountaineer and the Aspen Cross Country Center for their years of experience and passion. To John Callahan and the AVSC for bringing to the table the future of the sport and the hundreds of junior racers in the Rocky Mountain region.

Many thanks go to Nancy Lesley, Sandy Doebler and Kristin Drake at the City of Aspen Special Events Department for their logistical and volunteer coordination, and to Jeff Woods and the City of Aspen Parks and Recreation Department for the unwavering support of these events and nordic skiing in general.

Thanks to Howie Mallory and Ben Dodge for volunteering their time as the Chiefs of Course and insuring that the skiers had the best possible course to compete on. Thanks to the city of Aspen nordic grooming staff who put in untold hours to create superb trails. Thanks to Bob Ludkie and the Ham Radio Club for providing instant communication throughout the entire course.

Thanks to the town of Snowmass Village for helping the race safely cross Owl Creek Road. Thanks to the Aspen Skiing Co. for their support and assistance as the raced crossed both Two Creeks and Buttermilk Mountain. Thank you to all the property owners and managers that the Owl Creek Trail traverses for allowing such a unique event and putting up with some snow covered driveways during the event. Thank you to the Aspen Snowmass Nordic Council for insuring the future of the many kilometers of ski trails in the valley.

And finally to my wife and family for putting up with the long days (and nights) spent away from the house.

It is our sincere hope that these events help spotlight the incredible cross country ski trails network here in the valley and to provide yet another example of why Aspen has become a world class destination for all skiing disciplines.

Austin Weiss

race director, Owl Creek Chase

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