AVSC National Council drives scholarship fund

AVSC staff report
The 2015 Audi Ajax Cup, from left: Marc Ganzi, AVSC board president; Make Cole, AVSC executive director, Chris Davenport, Audi Ajax Cup director, Jeff Gorsuch, AVSC board member; Casey Puckett, AVSC ability coach and Audi Ajax Cup race director; Jackie Bucksbaum, National Council member; John Bucksbaum, National Council member.
Matt Power / Special to The Aspen Times |

Only months away from kicking off its 80th anniversary year, the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club is the oldest nonprofit and the largest youth organization in the valley.

With a mission of providing all youth of the greater Roaring Fork Valley the opportunity to excel as athletes and as people through winter sports, the club reaches nearly 2,300 children from Aspen to Rifle and beyond.

AVSC is the largest such club in North America providing competitive programs to nearly 650 athletes in Adaptive, Alpine, Freestyle, Nordic and Snowboard.

Every program that AVSC offers is priced to make sure it’s an affordable asset to the community.

“What we charge for our programs does not cover their cost. We rely on fundraising, events, and sponsorships to help shorten that gap,” said Barbara Frank, AVSC’s director of development. “We give out close to one million dollars in scholarships and program fee subsidies each year — all of that and more is fund-raised.”

One huge source of funding for the club is the AVSC National Council, a dedicated group of winter sports supporters who provide the financial foundation for the organization.

“We fund-raise 40 percent of our yearly budget, with private donors being the biggest part of that puzzle,” said Frank. “Without this group, we wouldn’t be able to get as many kids on the mountain.”

John and Jackie Bucksbaum, who are founding members of AVSC National Council, have a passion for skiing and sharing it with others.

John, who grew up taking regular family trips to Aspen, recalls AVSC as an organization that was always prominent to him as a child.

“I looked up to the club because they were ski racers; that was exciting to me,” said Bucksbaum. “It was natural for me to want to want to become involved and engaged with trying to help support the (Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club). It’s a good feeling to know that you are exposing people to some of the wonders that surround Aspen.”

With nearly a third of AVSC’s participants on scholarship, the need for support continues to grow.

“The scholarship money awarded to participants keeps increasing,” said Frank. “We are always working to keep up with the demand.”

AVSC’s National Council is an excellent way to get involved. Although it comes with many perks such as AVSC branded KJUS jackets and exclusive party invites, what resonates the most is that its members are making a difference.

“The greatest gift that National Council gives, is providing kids that ability to participate and to dream,” said Frank. “You will see them on your local mountain, sharing what you love.”

Aspen Surefoot Spring Series

The Aspen Surefoot Spring Series produced by AVSC took place this week at the Stapleton Training Center on Aspen Highlands.

AVSC Alpine athletes had a strong presence with podium finishes in every race. AVSC men swept the U19 downhill podium Sunday.

Dean Travers dominated the field with two overall podiums finishing third in super-G and second in giant slalom.

AVSC alumnus Wiley Maple took third place in the men’s overall downhill while Galena Wardle claimed third in women’s overall super-G.

USASA National Championships

AVSC Snowboard athletes are at Copper Mountain this week competing in the USASA Snowboard Nationals.

After a couple of days of excellent weather and stiff competition AVSC had multiple athletes with top-10 finishes in boardercross, halfpipe, slalom and rail jam.

“With three more days of competition to go, AVSC is poised to represent very strong at this year’s national dnowboard competition,” said Josh Ganz, AVSC Devo 2 coach.

Awards Banquet

The annual AVSC All Team Awards Banquet is a fun gathering where all AVSC athletes, coaches, and families celebrate a season of excellence in winter sports.

AVSC is excited to host the awards banquet at Belly Up Aspen on Thursday, April 14.

Doors open at 5 p.m. and the awards banquet will commence at 5:30 pm. Visit for tickets and additional information.