AVSC snowboard team earns highest honors from USSA
The Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club’s snowboard team was named the Snowboard Club of the Year by the United States Ski and Snowboard Association this week.
Club of the Year awards are made in each sport to a participating USSA club that has distinguished itself for providing direction to young athletes through high-level programs.
Selection is managed by the USSA athletic team with direction from each individual USSA sport manager. Nominations for the award are given to USSA by snowboard clubs and coaches throughout the country.
According to USSA’s Kary Thompson, AVSC’s snowboard team was unanimously nominated to receive the award this year. The award was presented to AVSC Snowboard Program director Chris Karol at the USSA Congress 2003 last Saturday, May 17, in Park City, Utah.
AVSC’s Snowboard Program has had a number of USSA successes this year. Alpine rider David Rodman stepped up to national-level competition this last season and qualified for the USSA Junior World Championship Team. He represented the U.S. in an international field at the FIS Junior World Championships in Italy. Rodman also qualified for next year’s USSA Junior Gold Team which is selected based on overall USSA results from the entire season.
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Elissa Rodman also took a big step this year, earning her own spot on the USSA Junior Gold Alpine Team. AVSC also played host for the USSA Western Regional Championships which turned out to be the largest field of competitors ever for that event, with more than 400 entries.
Aside from the sheer number of competitors, the event drew high praise for the efforts of all the parents and supporters who volunteered their time to make the event the huge success that it was.
USSA’s Kary Thompson went on to say that the Aspen volunteers were “the most professional and dedicated crew that USSA has ever had for Western Regionals.”
In addition, AVSC was instrumental in getting the USSA Grand Prix Finals to be held here in Aspen. AVSC Snowboard Program Director Chris Karol credited the Aspen Skiing Company for their part: “Aspen Skico should share some of the recognition in receiving this award for the tremendous effort they put forth in hosting the Grand Prix Finals.”
The AVSC freestyle snowboarders also began to make their presence known in USSA, by competing in the USSA Grand Prix in Breckenridge and Grand Prix finals here in Aspen.
AVSC also provided training throughout the season here in Aspen for U.S. Alpine Snowboard Team members Chris Klug, Ben Fairchild and Anton Pogue.
“There’s only one such award per discipline in the whole country. It’s corroboration of our commitment to excellence and is testament to the great job the snowboard coaches have done inspiring self-confidence in each athlete, instilling a passion for the sport, enabling the kids to have fun while pushing their limits and getting them to support one another as a team. Program Director Chris Karol and coaches Miah Wheeler, Travis McLain, Jason Troth and Larry Madden deserve all the credit for an outstanding year,” said AVSC Executive Director Mark Cole.
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Puckett was a five-time Olympian and World Cup skier