AVSC athletes ‘mine’ medals at Aspen Mtn.
For two days, skiers and riders age 11 and older maneuvered the moguls, conquered the steeps and sought big air off features in some of the most challenging terrain that Aspen Mountain has to offer.
The International Freeskiers and Snowboarders Association event, relocated from Highland Bowl to Aspen Mountain, opened on an unseasonably warm Saturday with an elimination round on Walsh’s. Athletes were judged on line, technique, fluidity, style and energy as they made their way through this technically challenging round.
On the second day of competition, skiers and riders took on Silver Queen, where they were challenged by moguls at the start and finish and by the steep chute sandwiched between Silver Queen and Silver Rush that’s known as Redneck Alley.
An alternate route traversed across the top of the (covered) mine area, which was a good place to catch some air.
Crowds dotted the side of the slope to cheer on their compatriots while volunteers grilled hot dogs from their vantage point at the base of the Silver Queen run.
The adjacent Compromise Mine stood as a reminder of Aspen Mountain’s rich and colorful history.
AVSC’s big mountain team had solid results across the board, including podiums by Lillio Gilllis, Will Morris and Rhianna Borderick.
For the second time in three weeks, the mogul venue at Highlands was home to single and dual action that showcased the region’s most talented young bump skiers.
Against a field thick with NorAm athletes in this Rocky Mountain Freestyle/ USSA Moguls event, Colby Lee skied to a fourth in the singles and a ninth in Sunday’s dual competition.
Up-and-comers are also starting to make their mark, according to head coach Kris Pepe.
Hudson Flynn, in her first Rocky Mountain competitive event, “skied great,” and finished 17th overall.
Oliver Smith, 11, was solid against a field that was at least two years older than him, according to his coach.
Regardless of their performances, Pepe was pleased at the teamwork demonstrated by the entire squad.
“All of the mogul athletes who did not compete showed up to volunteer at the event and to cheer on their teammates,” he said.
The USASA tour returned to Aspen/Snowmass for a halfpipe competition Sunday that drew 45 competitors.
There were podium sweeps in Skier Boys (10-12 years), Kai Morris, Ari Diamond-Topelson and Tristan Feinberg, with Harper Rafelson just off the podium in fourth.
Two locals, Cassidy Jarrell and Chace Maytham, topped the Skier Men (13-15 years) division with Youth Men dominated by Aspenite Hunter Hill and MJ Mirano of Woody Creek.
In addition, gold medals were awarded to the following AVSC athletes: Isabella Borenstein (Youth Women, snowboard); Kelanii Scarpaci (Breaker Girls) and Ayla Angelo (Open Class Women).
At the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships at Vail/Beaver Creek, AVSC athlete Dean Travers, competing for the Cayman Islands, finished 39th in a difficult super G race that may always remembered for Bode Miller’s spectacular, and possibly career-ending, crash.
Travers’ coach Jake Zamansky said, “It was a great day for Dean,” who stayed true to his game plan despite the frequent delays and crashes that preceded his run.
Travers will compete in qualification rounds Thursday as he attempts to qualify for the Friday world championships giant slalom.
Alice McKennis, another AVSC alum, was named to the team representing the U.S at these championships.
McKennis was vying for one of the two spots in the downhill but was edged out by teammates Stacey Cook and Laurenne Ross.
McKennis did forerun the combined event on Tuesday, which featured an icy and bumpy downhill leg.
Tina Maze called the Raptor run downhill, “one of the toughest I’ve skied.”
The highest level of adaptive alpine racing return to Buttermilk/Tiehack Thursday through Sunday for the IPC U.S. Adaptive Speed Nationals.
Training starts Thursday on Racers Edge with two downhills scheduled for Friday, a super combined (one run each of super-G and slalom) on Saturday and a super-G race to end the weekend on Feb. 15.
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