Aspen graduate makes podium at NCAA ski championships |

Aspen graduate makes podium at NCAA ski championships

Jill Beathard
Snowmass Sun
Aspen, CO, Colorado
Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Sam Coffey skis in a slalom race at the NCAA Skiing Championship on March 8 in Middlebury, Vt. The senior at University of New Hampshire, who hails from Snowmass Village, placed third in the event.

Some surprises are better than others.

Sam Coffey, a Snowmass Village resident and member of the University of New Hampshire ski team, was aiming to reach the top five, or even the podium, in the giant slalom event during the NCAA National Championships.

However, Coffey had a rough start on his first run on the course in Middlebury, Vt.

“I wasn’t that happy with it,” he said. “It’s super flat there, so if you mess up on the start, it’s not good.”

The 2008 Aspen High School graduate placed 16th in the event. But Coffey went on to ski well in the slalom and, to his own surprise, placed third in that event.

“It was great,” he said. “We were second as a team, which is really what you’re there for.”

New Hampshire finished eighth overall in the competition. Coffey cheered on some of his peers from Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club as they skied to a national title for the University of Colorado.

The senior is now in his third year at New Hampshire, and he’s hoping to secure one more year of eligibility.

If this was his last season racing in NCAA though, it was a good one. The young racer, who excelled at super G and downhill in AVSC, has transitioned successfully to collegiate competition, which includes only giant slalom and slalom events in alpine skiing.

Coffey placed in the top 10 in every race but one this season and made the podium a few times. He also was named to the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association All-East First Team.

“I was missing a win, but I was really close,” Coffey said.

It’s still his goal to make the U.S. Ski Team. In the short term, he plans to return home this summer and work at Blazing Adventures again, as well as travel to New Zealand for some training.

Coffey is majoring in international business and economics. He’d like to travel after college, whether it’s through skiing or some other career.

“I love to travel,” he said. “If I do get a real job, I’d like to do something with traveling.”


Chasing miles of smiles in Snowmass Village


It would be easy enough to quantify long-distance adventures in Snowmass Village by the usual stats and figures: 90-plus miles of singletrack and dirt roads, four core endurance races every summer, infinite route combinations no more than a few hundred yards from the nearest parking spot or bus stop. But there’s another metric worth clocking too: Smiles per hour.

See more

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