Aspen skier, 2018 Olympian Wiley Maple healthy, ready for World Cup season
What: Fundraiser, kickoff party for Aspen ski racer Wiley Maple
When: Friday, Nov. 16 from 5 to 8 p.m.
Where: Aspen Tap, 121 S. Galena St.
Cost: A $10 donation is suggested, and it comes with a free beer and raffle ticket
About the only thing going wrong for Wiley Maple right now is that it’s been snowing too much. The Aspen ski racer has been training at Copper Mountain, which has received plenty of early-season snow with the first speed races only a week away for the upcoming World Cup season.
“The first week it was like powder every day. So it was bad for training,” Maple said in a recent interview with The Aspen Times. “Coming off a relatively successful season, especially considering how long I didn’t ski before that, it’s pretty nice to have a full fleet of skis. Anytime you miss a whole season it’s just so hard to get back in the mix.”
Maple, the 2018 Olympian who is well-known for his wild child, cowboy ways is healthy for a second straight season, which is a rarity. A veteran on the World Cup, the 28-year-old has missed his share of seasons because of injury, including the entire 2016-17 winter before his comeback tour a year ago.
Despite not being named to the U.S. Ski Team last season, he was still able to represent the country at the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea, where he finished 30th in the men’s downhill. As fun as that experience was, he’s ready to put his focus back on the World Cup circuit.
“That feels pretty good, just to build a little bit of momentum from season to season. I’ve had to relearn to walk so many times,” Maple said. “The Olympics was definitely a cool experience, but not that cool. The World Cup is still where it’s at. … Making the Olympics is always good for the career and it just gives validation to the home crowd.”
Yet again, Maple is not officially part of the U.S. Ski Team. Flying solo has usually worked out for him in the past, and there is reason to be hopeful about his upcoming season. New this year is the addition of Sam Coffey to his small entourage. Coffey, an Aspen native, former national champion ski racer and lifelong best friend of Maple’s, will serve as his main ski technician during the 2018-19 World Cup season.
“I was able to convince him to work for almost no money. So I’m trying to raise enough money to take both of us around the world on the circuit this year,” Maple said. “We work together all the time, but it’s not usually for an actual job like this. But we grew up tuning skis across the bench from each other, so it’s the same thing except he’s doing it for me now.”
Maple will kickoff his fundraising season Friday, Nov. 16 in Aspen. From 5 to 8 p.m. at Aspen Tap (121 S. Galena St.), there will be a silent auction, live music and plenty of other festivities that will go toward Maple’s ski-racing endeavors. A $10 donation is suggested and gets you a free beer and raffle ticket.
“I think it will be fun and it will be good to see people come out,” Maple said. “Most of the fundraising kind of goes all season long.”
Maple plans to get his season underway with the first men’s World Cup downhill on Nov. 25 in Lake Louise, Canada. He also plans to compete at the annual World Cup event in Beaver Creek the following week.
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The Aspen High School ski team wrapped up its short and sweet regular season Friday with home races at Highlands. The Skiers hosted both a slalom and giant slalom on Thunderbowl, with an AHS athlete taking three of the wins.