Aspen High ski teams in gear for state championships
Following runner-up finishes last year at the Colorado state high school skiing championships, the Aspen High School boys and girls ski teams are looking to upgrade this year.Today and Saturday at Keystone and the Breckenridge golf course, the alpine and nordic-racing Skiers, respectively, will put it on the line. The state championship format includes four disciplines – nordic freestyle and classic, alpine slalom and giant slalom. The top three finishers score for their teams, boys and girls separately.”When they’re on, they’re unbeatable,” said coach Mike Flynn, speaking of the boys. “But they’re not always on. They can win when they’re on.”Summit, as usual, is likely to provide Aspen – which races under the combined AHS-AVSC banner – with the best competition. Prior to last season, the AHS girls won four consecutive state crowns.On the nordic side, the team includes sophomore Laura Hatanaka, junior Christy Severy, sophomore Cornelia Carpenter, freshman Annalise Greuter, junior Kelly Bogaert and freshman Katie Bird for the girls. For boys, state qualifiers include seniors Brandon Cooper, Geoff Walker, Tyler Baker and Andrew Preusch, and sophomores Noah Hoffman, Nate Marrs, Barton Tofany and Ryan Waldron.On the alpine side, the girls qualifiers are the fewest: sophomores Jenny Hearn and Christina Van Moorsel, and seniors Bo Forster and Syd Cantrell. The boys alpine team numbers nine: junior Paul Britvar, sophomore Stephen Buzbee, junior Brandon Briscoe, senior Matt Fox, freshmen Sam Coffey and Wiley Maple, junior Jackson Davis, and sophomores Whit Fuller and Dylan Bontempo.”A lot of teams are skiing well,” said Flynn. “I think if we ski well, we win [boys]. If we don’t, we don’t. With the girls, there’s just not much backup, so they’re just going to have to be perfect.”Travis Moore, the AHS-AVSC nordic coach, said Aspen “will be dealing with the same thing – Summit, Steamboat and Vail Mountain.””We need to step up and hopefully these guys will let loose and pull off a couple of big ones.””Noah Hoffman’s totally excited, he’s psyched to ski as fast as he can. And Brandon’s back from a two-week break after some illnesses, he’s pumped, and the goal for him is to win both races. Laura’s looking to go top three in both races, which is a challenge, but she’s totally capable. And all of our girls are capable of being right up in there. It’s important for them all to ski well,” Moore continued.Both nordic events start at 3:30 p.m. “With the conditions we’re seeing, it could make it semi-technical for the coaches as well, trying to get the kids on the right wax,” Moore said.
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A ski season surrounded with uncertainty kicks off on Wednesday. The six inches of new snowfall Tuesday will allow opening of an additional 62 acres on Aspen Mountain, bringing opening-day total to about 160 acres.