Volleyball Classic an Aspen tradition | AspenTimes.com

Volleyball Classic an Aspen tradition

Dear Editor:

This year’s MotherLode Volleyball Classic was epic in every way: thousands of spectators; great national and regional publicity; outstanding competition; and hundreds of competitors, from all around the United States and Canada, staying an average of four nights over Labor Day weekend.

And, I can’t say enough thanks to all of the lodging properties and retail and restaurant establishments who helped make this event possible. It truly is a community event still, after all these years.

However, Aspen cannot host a tournament of this nature that brings so many people to our unlikely “beach” in the mountains with the possibility of only three sand courts available in the future.

We have shown how exciting this tourney can be by bringing in some of the best beach professionals in North America. The hundreds of other teams that come in to play and enjoy the atmosphere of Aspen over Labor Day weekend help bolster not only our economy, but also other events that take place over the weekend. Those visitors notwithstanding, it’s the aspect of the spectacle of seeing the incredible play of some of our country’s best beach volleyball players that helps bring in the rest of the spectators that add to the numbers.

Bringing in a professional tourney of this nature takes at least the five courts that we have now. And, we are facing losing two of them without any real prospect of how to replace them, especially within the proximity of our main championship courts.

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The MotherLode Volleyball Classic is heading into its 40th year of existence, the culmination of a lot of work by a small group of volleyball fanatics and aficionados over the years who believed that we could have a national event of this nature right here in Aspen. As well, we are in the process of negotiating with USA Volleyball, the governing body of the sport in the United States, to make The ‘Lode the permanent site for the U.S. Open of Grass Volleyball. Combining both a professional tournament with a high-level grass volleyball experience would make Aspen the home of the most comprehensive outdoor volleyball tournament in North America – a stature that Aspen deserves. The 39th edition showed that this event has a special place in the annals of our current history.

I hope that we can continue to make it happen.

Leon Fell

Aspen