AVSC, Aspen High School Nordic team set to host big weekend of races
The Nordic trails near the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club will be plenty busy this weekend when the Aspen High School cross-country ski team joins up with AVSC to host a full two days of racing.
“We haven’t done this in awhile in the state of Colorado,” AHS Nordic coach Travis Moore said. “We are navigating some of the rules of CHSAA to make that happen. But it should be pretty cool. We got kids from all over the place coming in and competing.”
Hundreds of youth skiers from around the state are expected in Aspen on Saturday and Sunday for the Raoul Wille Memorial Ski Race and the Aspen High School Open.
The races will serve as both a state qualifier for the high school skiers and a Junior National qualifying race for the club athletes.
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“There is a rule in CHSAA that says a high school skier cannot be overtaken by a non-high school skier, so we have to separate them out, in a sense,” Moore said. “It should work great. We’ve done it before, but it’s been awhile.”
For the high school team, this will be its fourth meet of a short season. AHS opened the season Jan. 12 with a race at Spring Gulch, followed by a Jan. 19 race in Minturn. Most recently, the Skiers competed Jan. 26 at Snow Mountain Ranch near Granby, with AHS senior Everett Olson winning both the classic and skate races. Anders Weiss also had a top-10 finish for Aspen, taking seventh in skate. The AHS boys finished third as a team.
The AHS girls finished second as a team in the meet hosted by Middle Park. Eva McDonough had an impressive showing in the skate race, taking second, while Aspen’s Emma Barsness was third. Jordan Miner had a third-place finish in the girls’ classic race. Summit’s Noelle Resignolo won both of the girls’ skate and classic races.
“The kids who have been putting the time in are definitely improving and skiing very well,” Moore said. “I’ve noticed some incredible improvements from some of the new skiers we have on our team this year, and even the ones who have been around. They are working hard and every day they seem like they are getting better and better.”
Racing gets underway Saturday on the AVSC/AHS trails at 10 a.m. The girls will go first, followed by the boys. It will be an interval start classic race. High school awards are scheduled for around 1 p.m., with Rocky Mountain Nordic awards slated for around 3 p.m. Sunday will be a mass start skate race for the club athletes beginning around 9 a.m.
With more than 500 skiers expected, high school basketball games also going on Saturday, AVSC’s Aspen Supports Kids program kicking things off and U10, U12 and U14 alpine races being held at Aspen Highlands both days, parking will be incredibly limited on site. Taking a bus is encouraged.
After this weekend, the AHS cross-country ski team will only have a Feb. 9 trip to Steamboat Springs left in the regular season. The state championships are Feb. 21 and 22 in Durango.
AHS ALPINE TEAM STRONG AT COPPER
The Aspen High School alpine ski team competed in a slalom Jan. 25 at Copper Mountain, with the boys winning and the girls coming in second as a team.
In the boys’ race, Aspen’s Trey Thorpe had the best time in each of the two runs to win the race in 1 minute, 27.92 seconds. Aspen’s J.P. Simpson was fifth and Reed Beidleman sixth. In the girls’ race, Aspen’s Estelle Sweeney had the best finish for AHS, taking fourth.
The state championship at Purgatory is a combined Nordic-alpine event. Aspen swept both team titles a year ago.
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The Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame announced Wednesday it will pay tribute to Stapleton Jr. in October when he is inducted as part of its 2020 class, where he will join his father in their permanent place among Colorado’s snowsport legends.