Letter: Recognizing Mark Cole
I join Mike Marolt (“A great job at ski club,” letters to the editor, The Aspen Times, March 1) in expressing gratitude and admiration for Mark Cole’s 15 years of hard work at the Aspen Valley Ski Club. The club has a long, storied history with exceptional coaches, athletes and directors, but few people have made the sort of contribution Mark has with his leadership and energy.
Numbers hardly tell the story, but since Mark is a numbers guy, consider these statistics: Over Mark’s 15 years, club enrollment went from 1,500 participants to 2,300 participants (a 40 percent increase); scholarships grew tenfold from $32,000 a year to $340,000 a year; cumulatively over those 15 years, $3.1 million was awarded to a total of more than 8,000 athletes; AVSC was named national snowboard club of the year in 2003, alpine club of the year in 2011, and adaptive club of the year in 2011, 2012 and 2014 — to mention just a few of the honors.
The many regional and national titles earned over that period are too numerous to list, but these numbers tell the story of a man who threw his heart and considerable intelligence into making the club one of the best in the nation.
From the beginner athlete just learning to ski on an AVSC scholarship to the elite Olympian who has mastered the sport at AVSC, Mark has made a contribution to the sport, the club and the town that will be evident even years from now.
I don’t envy the board’s job of trying to fill his shoes. But here’s a hint: high IQ, big heart, laser focus and temperament of George Washington.
We all wish him and his wife, LiLi, the best and certainly hope to see more of them in the valley in the years to come.
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