AVSC’s championship season offers family lessons | AspenTimes.com

AVSC’s championship season offers family lessons

Aaron Lee competes in moguls at Sun Valley.
Courtesy photo |

It’s that time of year again – March Madness.

While most of the nation associates this with NCAA basketball, here in the mountains, it’s “championship season.”

Every sport has their own time of year where it’s all or nothing, and for skiing and snowboarding, this is the thick of it.

Whether you’re into skiing fast or landing a trick with style and ease, the season is coming to a close, emotions are high, and everyone’s eye is on the prize.

Inherently, competitive sports foster an atmosphere where the heat is on to win.

When it comes to braving the storm, many opt for “the long road” approach — focusing on the process rather than the outcome.

“As parents, we’ve got to keep this all in perspective,” said Edity Thys Morgan, the author of “Shut Up and Ski.” “I think it all comes from a good place — a parent’s desire for wanting their kids to be happy and successful, which inevitably leads to pressure for results early and earlier.”

The mental game of competing in an individual sport can be tough. It takes sacrifice, motivation, and self-accountability. With the added pressure of ranking and results, championship season can be daunting for both athletes and their families.

If you are in the game at a high level, like it and want to pursue it, fear and disappointment are unavoidable. It is an athlete’s confidence and willingness to push themselves out of their comfort zone that helps them to excel at their sport and throughout life.

“From a young age, if you’ve gotten used to knowing that you can be in a situation that scares you and still take a step ahead that is a huge skill,” said Morgan. “When these kids grow into adults, you will see that they are a lot more willing to put themselves out there.”

As an athlete, parent, or coach it is important to focus on what is important: friends, resilience, the value of hard work and the ability to deal with failure.

“The best kind of support is unconditional. It’s when an athlete feels like they are out there doing it because they want to,” said Morgan. “You can spend your time training and competing, not having the success you wish, but still get all of the benefits that are going to last long beyond your ski career.”

AVSC emphasizes benefits that will last — the core values of commitment, teamwork and integrity as well as the critical social and life assets identified in the Aspen Community Foundation’s Cradle to Career Initiative. Those are creativity, hope, perseverance and social responsibility.

As Miah Wheeler, snowboard head coach, said, “We can’t guarantee all of our athletes will compete at the highest levels, but we can guarantee we will give them the tools necessary to become the best versions of themselves they can be.”

Ultimately, mastering a skill over time and progressively getting better is a big win in many ways, so get out there, have fun, and enjoy the journey.


AVSC’s Big Mountain team competed in the IFSA Series last weekend at Crested Butte.

The terrain rewarded control and technique while yielding fun competition.

“Our athletes skied well and were all pushing for top spots,” said Chason Russell, AVSC Big Mountain head coach. “We look forward to a couple of great competitions here in Colorado and hopefully the National Championships in Whistler.”

NorAm Finals

The NorAm Cup Finals kicked off this week at Aspen Mountain.

AVSC alumnus Wiley Maple came away with a win in Sunday’s downhill race, making him the reigning U.S. National Downhill Champion for the second consecutive year.

Maple is now a distinguished recipient of Aspen’s legendary Roch Cup that dates to 1946.

RMD U10 Championship

AVSC Alpine U10’s competed in Telluride last weekend.

Annika Johansson dominated the field coming away with wins in all four races.

Eli Cohen had an outstanding performance with a win Sunday and podium finishes in the slalom and giant slalom.

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