Aspen alpine racers dig in on World Cup venue
The Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club’s J-3s and J-4s, the 11- to 14-year-old alpine racers, got a taste of World Cup terrain in the Wilder Dwight races Saturday and Sunday on Aspen Mountain’s Strawpile run.
More than 130 boys and girls from around the state participated in the race, three back-to-back super Gs ? “a real test for some of our kids,” according to one visiting coach from Powderhorn.
After dropping a ski in Saturday’s opener, AVSC’s Paul Britvar laid down the fastest run Sunday morning ? and then again in the afternoon ? to establish homeslope dominance.
“I’m really pleased with how aggressive he’s skiing right now,” said AVSC age-class coach Robert Baker. “We’re just starting to see his potential. Winning two races is a definite confidence boost for him. It shows he belongs at the top.”
“Paul skied at a higher level than anyone else in the race. He is noticeably faster and more aggressive,” added AVSC’s Pat Callahan, the chief of race for the three super Gs.
The 14-year-old Britvar was selected to attend the National Junior Champions Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., this week, where he’ll train with coaches from the U.S. Ski Team.
J-3 racers Jackson Davis, Harry Maniloff and Stephen Buzbee all had excellent finishes: Davis with two thirds and a fourth, Maniloff in fifth on Saturday and seventh on Sunday afternoon, and Buzbee with two 10ths and a 13th.
“They’re showing that they’re all contenders,” said Baker. “They’re skiing great. The J-3 super G Junior Olympics qualifier at Keystone this weekend should be a good test for them.”
On the women’s side, Jenny Hearn climbed to the podium in all three races with a third Saturday and back-to-back silvers on Sunday, the morning race by just .02 seconds.
“Jenny is skiing very consistently and very well,” said Baker. “For a first-year J-3, she’s surprised a lot of people and is definitely getting noticed by other teams. She had three great results this weekend but still isn’t satisfied with her skiing. She’ll just go out and work a little harder next time.”
Taylor Buzbee, 13, had some spectacular results as well, moving from eighth on Saturday to third in both of Sunday’s races for her division.
“She’s really come along well in her skiing and it’s starting to show,” said Baker. Teammate and fellow 13-year-old Christina Van Moorsel cracked the top-10 with a fourth on Saturday and a 10th and fifth on Sunday.
“I’m really thrilled with Christina’s improvement. She’s gaining confidence in the starting gate,” said Baker.
Coach Baker sent his best wishes to Jacqui Edgerly, who crashed during Saturday’s run. “I’m sorry she couldn’t compete on Sunday, because she would have been right in the mix with the others,” he said.
For the 11- and 12-year-old J-4 boys, Charlie Lasser, Sam Coffey and Wiley Maple were “all very solid,” said coach Dick Casey. Lasser took second place in his division in all three races with “Bode Miller style,” according to Casey. Coffey kept the pressure on Lasser by moving up over the weekend with a fifth on Saturday and a fourth and third on Sunday. Maple posted two sixths and an 11th.
Team newcomer Baker Boyd took 11th on Saturday, ninth the following morning, then had a great run going until he lost a ski in a rut and crashed spectacularly on Sunday afternoon. “He was tough and just got up a shook it off,” said Casey. “Overall, I think the guys realize now that they’ve got some competition out there. We’re going to work on fundamentals to have everyone peak at Junior Olympic qualifiers later this month.”
The top AVSC J-4 girls were Olivia Davis, Whitney Thurston and Haley Hoffman. Davis took seventh on Saturday, then 10th and sixth on Sunday for her division.
“Olivia has super potential,” said Casey. “The future definitely looks bright for her.”
Thurston moved from 13th to seventh and 11th. Hoffman had a 12th on Saturday followed by two eighth-place results. “Haley continues to be a strong, steady finisher for us,” said Casey.
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Brooke O’Sullivan carries herself like an experienced golfer. Her smooth swing and resilience on course matches that of players far her senior, and her leadership off the course is of someone who’s seen and done a lot with the sport. In reality, she’s merely a freshman on the AHS girls golf team.