Ganz: Coaches, athletes always stay positive |

Ganz: Coaches, athletes always stay positive

Josh Ganz
Coach’s Corner
Snowboard Pre-Devo learning about recent snow conditions with coach Kris Olsen.
Holly Turner/Special to the Sun |

As I write this, many people are upset, irritated or just plain let down about the Broncos losing the Super Bowl.

First off, in Bronco country, let’s celebrate the positive, the fact that they made it to the Super Bowl. They could have blown it way earlier. Secondly (and prepare to hate me for this one), I’d like to admit that I’m not the biggest football fan, and as such I am not terribly upset that they lost.

Over the course of the 78 years since the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club was founded, we as coaches are still asked about the breadth of programs we offer to valley residents (admittedly there are a bunch). It’s not upsetting, say, like the Broncos losing, yet it is still somewhat surprising. Another surprising comment I hear is “My kid’s not good enough for AVSC.”

Perhaps I’m being full of myself. I realize that no two people are going to have the same thoughts or perspective, but I feel like all of our offerings should be on the radar of anyone who has children or works with them. Let me give a quick breakdown of just the snowboarding programs we offer:

Pre-Devo — Stands for pre-development. These are athletes just realizing they have a love for snowboarding. They are typically 7 to 9 years old and are learning the basics such as linking turns together and experimenting with new terrain (blues, blacks, trees, bumps and a little park).

Devo-1 — Stands for development-one. These athletes are a little older than Pre-Devo, with a little more experience under their belt. They ride just about every weekend. Devo-1 athletes are riding blues proficiently and becoming more technical on black runs. They also are beginning to compete in just about all the disciplines offered through the United States of America Snowboard Association Aspen/Snowmass Series, which are boardercross, slalom, giant slalom, banked slalom, slopestyle, halfpipe and rail jams.

Devo-2 — Development-two (getting it?). Typically 9 to 15 years old. These athletes are honing their skills in particular disciplines. They are starting to make decisions about what they really want out of snowboarding and focusing on attaining those goals. These athletes train about three days a week as well as for about a month in the preseason to get ready.

Team 1 — Team 1 athletes know that they love snowboarding, and it’s more than just a recreational activity to do with their friends. They live it, they breathe it, and they take it seriously. Five days a week (school schedules permitting) these athletes are out on the hill perfecting various skills. Often they are even given homework to improve their snowboarding knowledge and abilities. Many compete regionally and sometimes nationally.

Team 2 — The crème de la crème. These athletes are in their late teens and probably the ones you’ve seen who might have made you think that certain children just “aren’t good enough” for AVSC. They have a strenuous training and competition schedule that they work incredibly hard for to coincide with their school and social lives. Many are on the verge of becoming professional athletes, and you might end up seeing their names on TV in the future.

While some of our athletes might start out wet behind the ears, resembling Bambi learning to walk, they stick with it and continue to look ahead. We coaches do our best to help them achieve what they aspire to be.

Some athletes participate for a few seasons and leave happy they’ve learned how to navigate their home mountains and having made friends from throughout the valley. Others come through the program aspiring to be on the cover of Transworld Snowboarding or under the lights during the X Games.

Whatever the goals of the athletes choosing to take part in the snowboard programs of AVSC, we coaches always stay positive on the progress and proud of the hard work the athletes do over the course of the time they spend with us.

Josh Ganz is a snowboarding coach for the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club. He writes about the progress of athletes who live and/or train in Snowmass Village. Email him at


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