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AVSC alum Michael Ward soars to new heights

Michael Ward of Aspen finishes sixth in the 10K FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup at Soldier Hollow, Utah.
Tom Kelly / U.S. Ski Team |

Michael Ward

AVSC alumnus and U.S. Nordic team member

Michael Ward, a Nordic combined athlete, has been on the U.S. National Team for five years.



As an Aspen native, skiing was always a huge part of Ward’s life.

“I started cross country skiing at a really young age. My dad would pull me around the ski trails,” said Ward, who later joined the AVSC Nordic team in middle school.




He initially became interested in ski jumping after seeing it at the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics.

“My dad started the ski jumping program at AVSC the following year,” Ward said, “I fell in love with the sport and then decided to focus my time on being a Nordic combined skier.”

Ward credits a lot of his success to his father who was the U.S. Nordic Ski Team for eight years, along with being the Nordic captain at the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics.

“My dad is probably my biggest mentor and one of the most valuable coaches I have had in my Nordic combined career,” Michael Ward said. “He was able to teach me the basics of ski jumping and coached me from the small ski jumps at AVSC to the HS100 (hill size in meters) in Steamboat Springs.”

Currently living in Park City, Utah, Ward is a student at Westminster College/DeVry University.

When it comes to the future of Nordic combined skiing, Ward hopes that it continues to have a presence in the industry.

“Currently, it is a very small sport, and the majority of Americans don’t know what it is,” Ward said. “I really hope that Nordic combined can grow and become more popular in the U.S.”

Soldier Hollow Super JNQ

AVSC Nordic competed in the Soldier Hollow Super JNQ, a giant regional race that serves as a Junior National Qualifier for four regions: Rocky Mountain, Pacific Northwest, Intermountain and Far West. Every club west of Minnesota was represented with just under 800 participants.

Hosted at the 2002 Olympic venue at Soldier Hollow, the races took place on Friday (classic sprints) and Saturday (mass start distance freestyle 2K, 3K, 5K, 10K, 15K age group depending).

AVSC brought a group of devo and comp team athletes to compete in the U12, U14, U16, U18/U20 categories.

“Our athletes did amazingly well. Both races took place in tough conditions that required a degree of mental strength as well as fitness. I couldn’t be prouder of this group. It’s so great to see them coming on strong as we head into February,” said AVSC Nordic Director Maria Stuber.

Graham Houtsma was the first finisher overall in the 15K freestyle.

Nick Sweeney was the third finisher overall in the classic sprint.

Anna Fake was fifth overall in the classic sprint and seventh overall in the 10K freestyle.

Chelsea Moore placed 14th in the 5K freestyle and 16th in the classic sprint.

“A ton of other athletes had their best placements of the year when compared to other RMN skiers,” Stuber said.

Triple Crown

AVSC hosted the Triple Crown last weekend, an interclub freestyle, freeride, freeskiing competition.

Each athlete had to compete in moguls, slopestyle, and big mountain in the same day, bringing athletes together that don’t typically train or ski together.

Hudson Flynn, Tristan Feinberg, and Aaron Lee took first place in their age classes.


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AVSC alum Michael Ward soars to new heights

Michael Ward of Aspen finishes sixth in the 10K FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup at Soldier Hollow, Utah.
Tom Kelly / U.S. Ski Team |

Michael Ward

AVSC alumnus and U.S. Nordic team member

Michael Ward, a Nordic combined athlete, has been on the U.S. National Team for five years.





As an Aspen native, skiing was always a huge part of Ward’s life.

“I started cross country skiing at a really young age. My dad would pull me around the ski trails,” said Ward, who later joined the AVSC Nordic team in middle school.







He initially became interested in ski jumping after seeing it at the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics.

“My dad started the ski jumping program at AVSC the following year,” Ward said, “I fell in love with the sport and then decided to focus my time on being a Nordic combined skier.”

Ward credits a lot of his success to his father who was the U.S. Nordic Ski Team for eight years, along with being the Nordic captain at the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics.

“My dad is probably my biggest mentor and one of the most valuable coaches I have had in my Nordic combined career,” Michael Ward said. “He was able to teach me the basics of ski jumping and coached me from the small ski jumps at AVSC to the HS100 (hill size in meters) in Steamboat Springs.”

Currently living in Park City, Utah, Ward is a student at Westminster College/DeVry University.

When it comes to the future of Nordic combined skiing, Ward hopes that it continues to have a presence in the industry.

“Currently, it is a very small sport, and the majority of Americans don’t know what it is,” Ward said. “I really hope that Nordic combined can grow and become more popular in the U.S.”

Soldier Hollow Super JNQ

AVSC Nordic competed in the Soldier Hollow Super JNQ, a giant regional race that serves as a Junior National Qualifier for four regions: Rocky Mountain, Pacific Northwest, Intermountain and Far West. Every club west of Minnesota was represented with just under 800 participants.

Hosted at the 2002 Olympic venue at Soldier Hollow, the races took place on Friday (classic sprints) and Saturday (mass start distance freestyle 2K, 3K, 5K, 10K, 15K age group depending).

AVSC brought a group of devo and comp team athletes to compete in the U12, U14, U16, U18/U20 categories.

“Our athletes did amazingly well. Both races took place in tough conditions that required a degree of mental strength as well as fitness. I couldn’t be prouder of this group. It’s so great to see them coming on strong as we head into February,” said AVSC Nordic Director Maria Stuber.

Graham Houtsma was the first finisher overall in the 15K freestyle.

Nick Sweeney was the third finisher overall in the classic sprint.

Anna Fake was fifth overall in the classic sprint and seventh overall in the 10K freestyle.

Chelsea Moore placed 14th in the 5K freestyle and 16th in the classic sprint.

“A ton of other athletes had their best placements of the year when compared to other RMN skiers,” Stuber said.

Triple Crown

AVSC hosted the Triple Crown last weekend, an interclub freestyle, freeride, freeskiing competition.

Each athlete had to compete in moguls, slopestyle, and big mountain in the same day, bringing athletes together that don’t typically train or ski together.

Hudson Flynn, Tristan Feinberg, and Aaron Lee took first place in their age classes.


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

 

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User