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Synchro championship comes to Ajax Friday

Naomi Havlen
Aspen Team Divas is an all-female team of synchronized skiers who also happen to be ski instructors at Snowmass. They will be competing Friday in the Aspen World Synchro Championships. Photo courtesy the Divas.
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Seeing people rip down the ski slopes with precision isn’t an unusual sight in a ski resort town like Aspen.But when was the last time you saw eight people rip down at the same time, their movements perfectly timed and set to music? On Friday you can witness the action at the Aspen World Synchro Championships held just above Bonnie’s Restaurant on Aspen Mountain.Nine teams of skiers will glide down the hill in various formations being judged between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Seven of the teams are from Colorado, one is from Germany and one is from Turkey.Synchronized skiing isn’t new to Aspen – it’s been held here since 2003. But the event in Colorado actually dates back to an inter-ski school competition known as “Battle of the Ski Schools” at Vail.

For a number of years ski instructors would gather in Vail to put on their synchronized shows for the judges, and eventually the competition grew to include 30 to 40 teams, some coming from all over the world.But when the battle’s major sponsor pulled out at the last minute in 2003, Kelly Beairsto, a member of Aspen Team Diva in Snowmass, convinced the Aspen Skiing Co. to hold the event locally. Because of the last-minute change of plans, only six teams competed that year, but Beairsto hopes the event will continue to grow.”We’re very interested in seeing it build to more Europeans coming,” Beairsto said. “The first year it was the Aspen Synchro Championships but when Team Turkey came we asked to change the name to the Aspen World Synchro Championships.”The event is judged by a panel of eight judges, and teams come down the North American run just above Bonnie’s Restaurant. Teams ski down the mountain in synchronized patterns, making up three of their own original figures and completing one compulsory figure – a series of short and medium turns.”We might start in a diamond shape, and split into two diamonds,” Beairsto said as one example of a figure.

Each team completes four passes, each set to music.Beairsto’s Aspen Team Diva, an all-female group of ski instructors from Snowmass Ski Area, practices in the Cony Glade area of Snowmass. Beginning in January they start practicing from 8 to 9 a.m. before they head to their instructing jobs.Rather than practicing to music, they just count beats in their heads to get routines down.”It’s pretty tight – if you miss a count you’re going to run into your teammates,” Beairsto said. They have matching ski uniforms, poles and skis – this year their main sponsor is an anonymous client of Beairsto’s.

All teams pay an entry fee that finances the event, and trophies and medals will be given to the first three teams. Aspen Team Diva tied for second place at last year’s competition, and have been awarded first place in competitions two or three times in their past eight years as a team.Two teams additional teams from Europe had to bow out at the last minute this year because of injury and sponsorship problems, Beairsto said – Team Liechtenstein and Team Davos from Switzerland. Instead, Turkey and Germany will be the sole foreigners in Friday’s competition.Anyone is welcome to watch the Aspen World Synchro Championships on Friday, April 8. The view should be good from the deck of Bonnie’s Restaurant, which will have an outdoor barbecue that day. The teams will start their runs at 10:30 a.m. lasting until about 2:30 p.m.For more information on the race, e-mail teamdiva@hotmail.com.Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com


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