Clubhouse Chronicles: Health as a team sport at AVSC, with a new partnership

Erin Young
Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club athletic trainer
AVSC athletic trainer Erin Young talks with a young skier on the hill. Courtesy photo.

As we all have experienced, COVID-19 has affected our everyday patterns and behaviors. We’ve all made changes to our day-to-day routines: adjusting to working and/or learning from home, attending telehealth medical appointments, exchanging a gym membership for a Peloton or other at-home workout subscription. While some of these changes have been beneficial, some have provided greater challenges and consequences.

Athletes of all levels have felt the effects of these changes — positive and negative — to their typical training routines. Across the sports world, there has been concern regarding the potential for increased athletic and sports-related injuries, especially for those who may not have been able to train in the summer and preseason how they typically would.

One could use pro sports as a case study this year: while injuries (and especially early-season injuries) are not an anomaly, the NFL experienced record-breaking season-ending injuries during the first two weeks of the season. Anecdotally, this seems to be a trend in the FIS Alpine World Cup as well.

At AVSC, we were grateful to either adapt or preserve the majority of our pre-season training. Physical health aside (for a moment), we felt it was imperative for the mental health and wellbeing of our athletes to stay connected to their team and community. Virtual workouts in the spring transitioned to an early start to pre-season at-home workouts in May and June, at which point summer skiing opportunities came to fruition both at home and in Mt. Hood.

By mid-summer, athletes were back in the gym and ever since, have been exercising and participating in on-snow training and competition in a largely “normal” capacity.

I am proud of our athletes for consistently showing up and giving it their all, not just on the hill, but on Zoom and in the gym. This has made a major difference in their strength and fitness. So far, we’ve done everything we could to go into this year with the same, and for some, an increased level of preparation with the goal of fewer injuries, more efficient recoveries, and better results as we continue through our competition season.

Unfortunately, even with thoughtful preparation, sometimes we face the reality of injury. When this happens, we are incredibly grateful to have amazing healthcare at our fingertips to streamline the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries.

This is our first season partnering with The Steadman Clinic, and we are thrilled to be teamed up with such an incredible leader in the sports medicine field. We have direct access to their research, knowledge and world-class medical team — many of whom have helped the best in sport return to the top of their game.

While we’ve always been grateful for the great healthcare in our valley, our partnership with The Steadman Clinic means that our athletes have easier access to the best care possible while on the road, too — we’ve had athletes visit The Steadman Clinic locations in Summit and Eagle counties while traveling for competition.

While we’re in the thick of our current competitive season, we’re also just around the corner from the next preseason training block. Winter goes fast, especially with the recent string of powder days our community has enjoyed! We are looking forward to partnering with The Steadman Clinic on proactive measures to keep AVSC athletes healthy, strong and prepared for next season and beyond.

Clubhouse Chronicles is a behind-the-scenes column written by the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club that runs periodically in the Outdoors and Sports sections.