Learn about AVSC in the new year | AspenTimes.com

Learn about AVSC in the new year

Josh Ganz
Special to the Sun
Josh Ganz, a coach with the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, performs a trick in a skateboarding park.
Courtesy photo |

It’s a new year: Time for a new column about something perhaps you already know about. But do you know the whole story?

The Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club reaches far and wide. I’ve seen stickers on cars on the Front Range. Some of our athletes commute from California, Florida and even South America. Perhaps you’ve seen the gargantuan group of yellow jackets mobbing (read: racing down the hill, barely making turns) past you on their way to the Coney Glade lift. Or perhaps you’ve walked past the satellite AVSC Clubhouse just above the Snowmass Village Shuttle depot. Who exactly are these kids and coaches? What exactly is this club?

AVSC is a far-reaching nonprofit whose mission is to provide the youth of the valley with an opportunity to enjoy the mountains that surround us. That being said, AVSC does not stop with youth. The snowboard division has a Masters Program for anyone older than 18 interested in learning about how to slide sideways, be it making their first turns down a green run or wanting to learn spins off of jumps. The adaptive program is sending multiple adults to the Olympics in Sochi. We have alumni who have gone on to compete in the X Games and other nationally recognized events. Those athletes have such a passion for our club that they often return to volunteer or even work with us. Peter Olenick, a professional freeskier, Aspen local and multiple X Games medalist, is one of many who have come back to work with the future generations of the valley’s youth.

As a person employed as an instructor for the past seven winters with Aspen Skiing Co. and an AVSC coach for the third season in a row, it still baffles me that there are people in Snowmass and the entire valley who know little to nothing of what AVSC is all about: Commitment (that’s why you’ll probably see at least one group of athletes training any day of the week that you choose to get on any running lifts), teamwork (often athletes are lined up on the side of freestyle features cheering one another on) and integrity (perhaps an athlete has held the door for you or picked up a glove your friend has dropped while walking through the Snowmass Mall). If you haven’t noticed AVSC yet, keep your eyes open.

Granted some athletes rarely make their way “past the roundabout,” but others train on Burnt Mountain to Campground and everywhere between as many as five days a week.

As far and wide as this club reaches, Snowmass ski area and Snowmass Village play an incredibly huge role in the club and its athletes’ success. Granted some athletes rarely make their way “past the roundabout,” but others train on Burnt Mountain to Campground and everywhere between up to five days a week. This is thanks to the world-class terrain offered (as proven by the fact that some of our athletes commute from out of state multiple times a month just to learn and train here). We also have athletes fortunate enough to call Snowmass Village their home. Throughout this column and this season, I will track the progress of some of our athletes to provide a glimpse of what AVSC is all about and hopefully provide you, the audience, with a greater reason to be proud to be a member of the Snowmass Village community.

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 joshua.a.ganz@gmail.com.