Athletes go big in the Bowl, Buttermilk pipe
The Y Zones in Highland Bowl provided the perfect venue for the IFSA-sanctioned Colorado Junior Freeride competition at Aspen Highlands.
Originally scheduled for Feb. 8, heavy snow and low visibility prompted organizers to move the event to Sunday when ample coverage of the terrain allowed athletes to perform at their highest levels.
In this regional competition, snowboarders and skiers ages 10-18 were judged on fluidity, control, technique, style and energy.
“We had great results from AVSC athletes,” said Tyler Lindsay, AVSC’s director of snowboarding.
E.O. Rafelson (men’s snowboard) and William Morris (men’s ski) landed atop their respective categories for 12-14 year-old men.
For the youngest male skiers in the field, the under-12 group, Will Lanter’s victory seemed especially golden.
According to Freestyle/Freeride Devo 2 coach Ryan Koster, Lanter was not going to compete in the competition due to the effects of a hospital visit for his type 1 diabetes.
But the event’s postponement gave him more recovery time and by Sunday morning, the athlete was feeling better and was excited to participate. Not only did Lanter compete, but he laid down a good enough run to win his division.
“Will’s commitment, determination and attitude are an inspiration to me and the entire Devo 2 coaching staff,” said Koster.
There were other podiums as well at the junior freeride event (please see results).
Over at Buttermilk that day, freeriders and freeskiers had their turn in the halfpipe for a USASA event. Tyler Lindsay praised the riding skills of all the young competitors in the renowned X Games venue.
“You can really see a path of progression between these athletes and the riders currently competing in Sochi,” Lindsay said.
Ruling the roost
A large field of alpine skiers ages U10 and older competed in four slalom races at Highlands during the Bolle Age Class races Feb. 8 and 9. AVSC held its own against teams from Vail, Breckenridge, Summit, Powderhorn and Sunlight.
The U16 alpine team competed for four days at Copper Mountain and Winter Park during qualifying events for the junior championships. The team was named after deadline but was expected to include a strong AVSC contingent.
Last weekend was also another good showing for the AVSC-Nordic squad, which went in two directions, Soldier Hollow, Utah and Minturn.
And, the 2014 IPC Alpine Skiing National Championships and NorAm Cup continue through Thursday at Tiehack.
Super-G races and a combined remain on the week’s schedule. The event wrap up and awards are Thursday afternoon at the Inn at Aspen. This is the last major event before the Paralympics in Sochi next month.
The adaptive nationals are the focus of today’s “Weekly with Walt” program on GrassRoots TV, which airs at 7 p.m. on Channel 12 (Channel 82 below Catherine’s Store).
Guests include USOC Paralympic Ski and Snowboard Director Kevin Jardine, Paralympian Melanie Schwartz and development athlete Anthony Radetic.
Host Walt Evans and guest Lisa Wilkinson also will talk about the annual AVSC Bonfire Dinner at the Aspen Golf Course, which this year is Saturday.
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This past season brought with it Hailey Swirbul’s greatest individual result as a professional cross-country ski racer. But any real satisfaction she received always came when racing alongside her teammates, notably during world champs.