AVSC defends home snow
Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club’s Jason Christopher and Gillian Hearn posted wins in super G last weekend at Buttermilk in the USSA Smartwool Series. In total, AVSC racers turned in 12 top-10 finishes in the six races. There was a men’s and women’s race each day of the weekend on the Racer’s Edge course on Tiehack.Current U.S. Ski Team member and Aspen local Jake Zamansky competed in two of the three men’s races, winning Saturday’s super G. Christopher, an MIT graduate and AVSC senior-division racer, threw down a smoking run Friday in the first men’s super G to win by more than 5 seconds – an anomaly in ski racing. In the same race, local Jericho Hajduk posted his best result of the season, a fourth, just edging Zamansky in fifth. “Jake may not have been going full-bore, but it’s still a fantastic result for Jericho,” said AVSC alpine ability coach Ben Black. AVSC’s Sam Coffey finished 17th, and teammate Darrin Gilman was 21st.Gillian Hearn and J3 racer Olivia Davis took silver and bronze, respectively, in Friday’s women’s race. Katie Beardsley, a senior racer from Quantum Sports Club, took gold. Davis’ J3 teammate Sara Andrews finished 14th out of 46.Zamansky came out on top in Saturday’s super G, but Christopher and Hajduk weren’t far behind, finishing in fourth and fifth, respectively. AVSC’s Paul Britvar moved up to 13th place, and Gilman finished 15 out of 83.Hearn couldn’t bump Beardsley from the top podium spot Saturday, taking home another silver. Gilian’s sister and AVSC teammate, Jenny, placed 13th overall. Teammate Mandi Loucks tied for 15th.Christopher bounced back to win Sunday’s men’s race, and Hajduk and Britvar were fifth and seventh, respectively. Coffey finished 14th in the final men’s race.”Jericho made a big move in the standings this weekend with his three solid finishes,” Black said. Gilian Hearn finally ascended to the top spot on Sunday, winning the women’s race by a huge margin. Jenny Hearn also had her best result of the weekend, finishing sixth. In the same race, Loucks was 18th, and Christina Van Moorsel was 21st out of 41.Loucks and Jenny Hearn qualified for the Rocky Central Regional Championships, March 16-19.”We’re proud to host all these young athletes here in Aspen, and want to thank Smartwool for their support of this series,” AVSC Alpine Program Director Dave Hjerleid said. “This is one of the toughest levels to break through in American skiing, and some of the young people who did well this weekend will now have opportunities to ski at an international level.”
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In some ways, it’s hard to believe it’s been five years since Beaver Creek and Birds of Prey hosted the 2015 FIS Alpine World Championships. It feels like it’s been five years since March and the outbreak of COVID-19.