Yes you Caan: Spend evening with actor |

Yes you Caan: Spend evening with actor

Madeleine Osberger
Snowmass Village correspondent
Aspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – Imagine if James Caan had been cast as Michael Corleone, don of the Mafia family, rather than as capo Sonny, who gruesomely meets his maker during a toll plaza ambush. How differently would Caan have played the Al Pacino character in “The Godfather,” the 1972 Academy Award-Winner for Best Picture?

That’s one of the questions you and 12 friends could ask Caan over dinner (that he’ll provide) and a movie in the comfort of your own living room. Price of admission: $20,000, or the highest bid, with proceeds going to the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club’s scholarship fund.

According to Barb Frank, special events director for AVSC, the mostly tax-deductible evening with Jimmy Caan – so convincing in his Godfather role that the actor was once named “Italian of the Year” (despite his lack of Italian blood) – will allow the club to subsidize lessons for 60 low-income children, training fees for 20 team athletes and bus transportation for dozens of others.

It’s part of AVSC’s commitment to holding the line on program costs for the 2009-’10 season despite the rising expenses the 73-year-old club is facing.

“We want to make sure we can offer every kid who wants to get on the hill the chance to do that,” said Frank, who is making some headway raising dollars during the worst recession in more than a century. “We’re anticipating more scholarship needs this year, but where are we going to get the funds?”

“The Godfather” party is one way. Frank said Caan offered to host the evening and share some of the back stories of a film that’s considered one of the best in American history. Co-starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, “The Godfather” spawned two sequels and at least one time-tested phrase, “An offer you can’t refuse.”

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Caan’s body of work that started in the 1960s with “Irma la Douce,” includes memorable appearances in “Brian’s Song,” “Cinderella Liberty” and “Honeymoon in Vegas,” films that he may also want to dish on with his hosts.

Interested bidders should contact Barb Frank at 1-970-205-5102 or for more details.

More than 1,900 Roaring Fork Valley kids and teens were served last year by the ski and snowboard programs both recreational and competitive. Even when economic times are good, fees pay just a portion of each AVSC athlete’s actual program costs, be it Aspenaut or J1 alpine racer.

Lance Burwell of Carbondale said he believes the AVSC snowboarding program “has definitely given James [age 13] a sense of commitment. I can’t recall a weekend that he missed going.”

Chris Nolen’s teenage son, Connor Quigley, is a freestyler who started skiing when he was 2 and entered the AVSC Base Camp program at age 5.

“He loves to get air,” she said, adding that her son becomes more focused during the competitive season.

“Connor has a thousand things going on, as most 15-year-old boys do. When he is in competition mode, he absolutely has got to concentrate. His coaches are brilliant at that. They’re not task masters but very adept at getting him to be in the moment.”

While the club claims success on all levels, several team members, including alpine racers Jake Zamansky and Wiley Maple as well as Nordic skier Noah Hoffman, are currently knocking on the 2010 Winter Olympics door. Still, the majority of the club’s alpine, Nordic, freestyle and snowboarding members are weekend warriors more interested in enjoying the mountain playground with friends than standing atop a podium.

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