Nationals cap AVSC’s snowboard season
USASA Nationals: it’s the event that the majority of our Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club athletes strive for and work toward throughout the entire winter season. They put in time and effort training and competing in up to six different disciplines, those being Slalom, Giant Slalom, Snowboard Cross, Slopestyle, Halfpipe, and Rail Jam. Depending on how they do during the season at regional competitions (most of which are held at either Snowmass, Buttermilk or Highlands) they receive invitations to particular disciplines for Nationals. Competitors from all over the country and even world vie for invitations to this weeklong event.
This year we sent a record number of athletes from AVSC. It is a testament to the hard work of the kids and our coaches that so many qualified for invitations for these events. Some of our competitors even attempted to rank in the overall category. Overall is for those athletes competing in all five disciplines over the course of the competition week. It can be extremely grueling, tiring and stressful as it is essentially a week without rest.
As a coach, this event is bittersweet. I feel I can speak on behalf of my coworkers when I say that I’m very proud to be assisting our athletes through the pinnacle of their season, but it is also an indication that our work is almost done for the time being. It might be sappy, but sometimes one of the most difficult aspects of the job is the moment that we say, “Congratulations on everything. You worked super hard this year, made tons of progress, now go enjoy summer.”
It honestly can be difficult to say goodbye to these guys and girls after so much dedication and hard work is achieved, even if that goodbye is only temporary.
During our tenure of sending kids to Nationals, we’ve had our ups and downs regarding successes. There are many different indicators of success, and we try not to only emphasize the idea of medaling at a competition. AVSC’s Core Values are Commitment, Teamwork, and Integrity. This year’s competitors might not have produced the most podiums or medals we’ve ever received, but I do feel that overall we performed pretty well as a team. In years past, we have tended to have athletes be on either end of the spectrum, winning medals or failing to stay on their feet. The great part about the performance of our athletes this year was the fact that they went in with a plan in terms of runs or tricks, achieved their goals and came away proud. They weren’t as concerned that some other athletes scored higher and didn’t mind that they didn’t get a medal. They recognized the hard work they put in, stayed calm and composed during a stressful and grueling event, and came away with smiles on their faces.
I believe this shows a level of maturity that hasn’t always been present in the past. The snowboard world is competitive, and not everyone can be the best — most won’t even become professionals in the sport — but the fact that they recognize that they worked hard, and that effort produced results is a lesson that will serve these youngsters throughout all of life, not just in their snowboarding. It’s true we only had a few medals this year on a national level, but this is only one year.
The lessons learned from this year are helping create winners in the future.
Josh Ganz is a snowboarding coach for the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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