Ski marathoner earnings donatedto Aspen Valley Ski/Snowboard Club
The Gulfstream 24 Hours of Aspen scheduled for earlier this month may have been cancelled due to the lack of snow in the Roaring Fork Valley, but that didn’t stop some of the event’s charity from reaching the right hands this Christmas season.
Playing Santa last Thursday in a brief ceremony at the base of the gondola, Tyler Williams, an Aspen local and a member of the winning team in last year’s 24 Hours, donated his winnings from that event to the Aspen Valley Ski/Snowboard Club.
As a youth growing up in Aspen, Williams participated in AVSC programs for “at least 10 years” by his own estimation and wanted to show his appreciation for all the club has done for him.
“When I was young, I was a member of AVSC, and I received scholarships,” said Williams. “This is a great opportunity for me to give something back. I wouldn’t be where I am today without all the support of the Ski Club.”
The donated money will go to, among other outlets, AVSC’s scholarship fund, which is a major component of the club. AVSC scholarships benefit about 250 local youth each winter, and the club gives out $50,000 each year in scholarships. In addition, all 1,400 children in the Ski Club are subsidized up to 50 percent through equipment and other discounts.
On hand to receive the check from Williams were AVSC’s executive director, Toby Morse, the director of AVSC’s alpine program, Pat Callahan, and Dave Hjerleid, an ability coach with the club.
“We really appreciate Tyler’s efforts, and we’re very appreciative of his gift,” said Morse.
“It’s awesome to have a Ski Club alum achieve the things Tyler has acheived and then give back to the program like this,” added Hjerleid.
Williams endured 24 hours straight of racing down Aspen Mountain to lay claim to last year’s 24 Hours title with partner Chris Davenport, another Aspenite. The two men, skiing as Team USA, completed 77 laps of Aspen Mountain en route to the win after finishing second in 1996. The win was the second for Williams, who also skied to victory in 1994 with a different partner, Nate Bryon.
Davenport also made a gift of his winnings, donating the money to his high school, Holderness School in Plymouth, N.H.
All told, last year’s 24 Hours of Aspen, its associated charity events and other donations raised more than $1 million for AVSC and Andrea Jaeger’s Kids’ Stuff Foundation, a charity that provides opportunities for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
Williams’ donation comes at an opportune time for AVSC, which finds itself engaged in a $3 million capital fund-raising campaign. The money will go to build new club facilities adjacent to Aspen High School and a chairlift that will take children from AVSC’s new clubhouse to the top of Thunder Bowl at Aspen Highlands.
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