Athletes find friendly confines in bumps, gates |

Athletes find friendly confines in bumps, gates

AVSC staff report
AVSC mogul skier Aaron Lee practices a backflip off a jump at the Aspen Highlands venue during a recent snowstorm. Highlands is home to two regional mogul events this season.
Kris Pepe / Special to The Aspen Times |

Ready to showcase its world-class training venue that hosted the U.S. Mogul Team during mid-November, AVSC has on tap not one but two Rocky Mountain Freestyle bump competitions this season.

The 2015 Aspen Valley Moguls event weekend is Jan. 17-19 and includes open and dual mogul competitions.

AVSC hosted the festival last season but on a shorter course with a slightly different alignment.

New to the Aspen-Snowmass calendar this year is the addition of a second Rocky Mountain Freestyle mogul weekend at Highlands.

The open mogul contest is set for Feb. 7 while dual moguls will be run Feb. 8 on the long Thunderbowl course.

Eric Knight, freestyle director for AVSC, is proud to have this training tool in the club’s backyard.

“The pitch and length make it one of the best mogul courses in the world for training,” he said.

Snowmass slaloms

Temperatures were cold but the competition was decidedly heated for a pair of USASA slalom races held Monday at Snowmass.

Twenty-eight competitors, including athletes from throughout Colorado, vied for gold in the races that were organized by Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club and the United States Snowboard and Freeski Association.

In the first race, Logan Lauffer of Rifle won the Breaker Boys (12-13) division, just edging Sean Connelly of Aspen. Robert Sanderson rounded out the podium.

Sophie Kirkwood of Snowmass Village won the Breaker Girls division.

Zion Bethonico of Snowmass Village and Aspenite Christopher Chesner finished 1-2 among the Grommet Boys (8-9), while Boulder’s Anna Wiper was gold medalist in the Kahuna Women category.

The most competitive division in the Aspen-Snowmass USASA races has traditionally been Menehune Boys (ages 10-11).

This week was no exception, with part-time resident Jonathan Weiss throwing down two solid runs to top a great effort put forth by Davis Cook of Carbondale.

Snowmass’ Noah Jacques Bethonico joined them on the podium.

Lucas Matheny, Boden Hamilton, Zane Hanlon, Pedro Garcio and Dillon Brosky rounded out the top finishers.

Another highly competitive category is the Youth Men division (ages 14-15). That contest was won by Christian DeOliveira of Melbourne, Victoria, who nipped Woody Creek’s MJ Mirano and Connor Cook of Carbondale for victory.

Others who made it to the podium include Arne Carlson of Morrison (Methuselah Men), Michael Smith and Keith Gabel (Open Class Men), Austin Heidt of Boulder (Senior Men) and Lexi Tariff and Moe Sweet (Open Class Women).

Kate Stoughton of Fort Collins was tops in Women’s Jam’s (18-22) and Megan Feiner of Golden was fastest among Youth Women (14-15 years-old).

For finishes from the day’s second USASA race, please see AVSC results.

Solid first NorAm experience

AVSC alumni Galena Wardle, 16, who now lives and trains in Park City, Utah, had solid race results during her recent, maiden NorAm series.

Starting late in a slalom (Wardle’s bib was in the 80s), she “attacked from the back” to finish 14th at Panorama. Wardle’s second run was the ninth fastest.

From a similar late start position, Wardle was 14th and 25th in a pair of giant slalom races. She finished 35th and 37th in the super-G events.

After the Christmas break, Wardle and her teammates from the USSA academy will head to Europe for nearly a month’s worth of racing.

Worldwide, she is the fifth ranked giant slalom skier who was born in 1998,

An Aspen native and daughter of two ski instructors, Wardle continues to raise money to support her chosen vocation. Go to for more information.

Two current AVSC members also will be training and competing abroad during the coming weeks. U16s Cooper Cornelius and Dexter Edelman have been invited to take part in a special “project” that includes skiing in a nation’s cup in Austria.

More information will be available in a future edition.

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