AVSC rocks pipe, park, moguls and Nordic trails
Built for the recent IPC adaptive boardercross event at Snowmass, the course on Velvet Falls hosted 43 athletes on Martin Luther King Day who raced head-to-head across the tabletop, through the banked curves and over the jumps.
The undulating course used by USASA competitors, which included a large contingent who compete with Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, is a slightly smaller version of the Buttermilk course that will host the Winter X Games Aspen able-bodied and adaptive athletes beginning today.
It was a big weekend for the USASA series events, which were co-hosted by AVSC and Snowmass Ski Area.
Saturday’s slopestyle attracted a whopping 78 competitors. Two separate rail jams Sunday, and the Monday boardercross rounded out the competition block, which included many personal best finishes.
There were personal bests all around for the freeride team during its USSA events in Vail on Jan. 17 and 18.
AVSC swept the podium during the two-run halfpipe with a triple punch provided by Joey Lang, Keenan McIntyre and Gage Carr.
Andrew Tierney and Cassidy Jarrell rounded out the top10 that day.
Lang and Carr also finished 1-2 in the one-run halfpipe event while Carson Campisi took fourth on the women’s side for both the one- and two-run halfpipe competitions.
In slopestyle, top AVSC finishers included Tierney (eighth in the two-run contest) and Jarrell (10th in this event).
Tyler Spence was 11th in the single-run slopestyle competition.
Coach Peter Olenick said: “This was a very good slopestyle for us with the kids doing some harder tricks than normal and complete runs. It was a tough day for some and a great day of skiing for others.”
Overall, he said, the results demonstrated a “big improvement from last season.”
Aspen Valley Moguls
About 100 of the country’s best emerging mogul skiers duked it out for three days on the 240-meter long bump course at Aspen Highlands.
AVSC fielded a small but powerful team that seemed to build upon its skills and success over the duration of the event.
“These guys made the most of being on their home course,” said Kris Pepe, AVSC’s head mogul coach.
Colby Lee started the weekend strong with a third place in Saturday’s moguls.
Lee’s younger brother Aaron was ninth.
On Sunday, the older Lee was fourth with Aaron Lee landing in 12th.
Sierra Reeves was 16th that day, her best finish of the weekend.
When it came to dual moguls, Colby was second and Aaron took fourth, personal bests for both athletes.
“They dueled each other to get into the finals. That was exciting,” Pepe said.
Pepe added that after second-, third- and fourth-place finishes, Colby Lee has some “unfinished business” to attend to when the Rocky Mountain Freestyle moguls tour returns to Highlands in February.
It was another great weekend for AVSC’s Nordic team, which traveled to Durango for a junior national qualifier.
Highlights include a double win by Hailey Swirbul, Nick Sweeney’s second place in the classic sprint and Graham Houtsma’s fifth in the skate race.
Jozie Wille qualified fourth in the sprint preliminaries but was moved back in the heats due to a crash, according to AVSC’s Nordic program director, Maria Stuber.
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One of the Demons’ key players, senior co-captain Graci Dietrich has severe hearing loss and relies on hand signs and lip-reading, rather than verbal communication, between her basketball teammates and coaches.