The fuzz is all over Snowmass |

The fuzz is all over Snowmass

Law enforcement officials engaged in a high-speed chase in Snowmass Village this week — on the slopes, that is.

Officers from all over the country and world brought their friends and family to the village this week for the North American Police Ski Championships, an annual ski-racing event that is equal parts good cause and good fun.

Snowmass Village was well-represented by Chief Brian Olson, Sergeant Dave Heivly and officers Jason Powell and Brian Vanderpool, who took home second place in a head-to-head tournament Thursday.

Modeled like the NCAA basketball tournament, Vanderpool had to race about 12 times before reaching the final against an Austrian officer who’d been dominating the championships all week, Olson said. Then, they had to race again because their finishes were so close.

“He was pretty exhausted,” Olson said.

Now in its 26th year, the North American Police Ski Championships have chosen Snowmass as their host resort more years than not, so Olson has competed in them multiple times and sees a lot of familiar faces year after year.

“It’s a blast,” Olson said. “It’s a great group and good fun.”

While the amateur races are all about having a good time, police officers are the type of people who like to give back, said Harry Drucker, a sergeant with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, so the championships also are a charity. The event has raised about $800,000 for the winter-sports program of the Special Olympics over the years, according to its website, and also raises funds for Parkinson’s research.

On the final day of the event, the officers always ski with some of the athletes they help. On Friday, a handful of officers were joined on the slopes by four Special Olympians from the Roaring Fork Valley and volunteers from the organization, who they also took out to lunch.

The impact of the day was apparent in the smiles of the Special Olympians.

“I love skiing with you guys,” said David Hayes of Carbondale over lunch. Ron Simon, a friend of an officer, snapped photos with twin sisters Mady and Lucy Oakes of Glenwood Springs, who he skied with many years ago when they were barely teenagers.

Chris Guay, also of Glenwood Springs, competes in skiing and track with Special Olympics. He won first place in super-G and second in giant slalom at a regional competition at Sunlight earlier this winter.

“I enjoy skiing and enjoy doing track, and I just enjoy being around friends with Special Olympics,” Guay said.

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