Clubhouse Chronicles: Looking at AVSC’s growing summer mountain bike program

Meredith Elwell
AVSC's ASK and Summer Mountain Bike Program Director
Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club

The Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club has been a leader of youth development in the Roaring Fork Valley and a trusted source of recreational, foundational and competitive winter sports for almost 85 years.

If you were out and about on the magnificent bike trails in the valley this summer, or checking out the exciting bike features at Crown Mountain Park, you probably came across some little ripping riders, speeding, launching, and racing their way through the terrain. And there is a good chance the rippers that you saw were part of AVSC’s Summer Mountain Bike Program.

If you are familiar with AVSC, you might be aware of the growing summer recreational bike options that we offer. If you’re not familiar with AVSC, then I will give you a little background on where we have been and where we are going.

AVSC is the Roaring Fork Valley’s largest and oldest youth nonprofit, serving youth from every public and private school from Aspen to Rifle. Since 1937, we have been coaching and inspiring kids through winter sports to excel as people and athletes. AVSC has built a thriving community of more than 2,500 winter athletes. This is what we are known for, and what we do best.

For years, when the summer months arrived, things slowed down for us at the club. Competitive athletes would continue to practice and train, but a good portion of our recreational athletes went on vacation, enrolled in other summer programs/camps or got a summer job. We missed engaging with these kids, and it was clear that for many families there was a need for summer programming.

Mountain biking was a natural solution and the best complement to our winter sports. AVSC launched our summer mountain bike program to create a fully immersive, educational, engaging, mountain bike experience, after our surveys indicated that families wanted more recreational and foundational summer programming.

Over the past six years, summer mountain bike programming at AVSC has become another trusted source of fun, engaging, safe, recreational time spent outdoors for our community, and we’re just getting started.

We are experiencing strong growth in participation in bike programs year over year, which gives us confidence in our decision to offer summer biking programs. This past summer we had more than 500 athletes enrolled in our bike programs, almost doubling our participation from summer 2020. Program offerings range from kids 7-13 years of age in a combination of half-day (Pre-Devo Shredders), full-day programming (Devo Dirt Shredders) and Bike & Build (a full-day experience that uniquely balances riding and mechanics); options that fit most family’s schedules.

AVSC’s Meredith Elwell

At AVSC, we are always looking for pathways to connect with athletes and families that are not currently involved in our programs or want extended programming in the summer months. We are excited that we found a lane in biking and cannot wait to continue our growth in this sport. Thanks to Crown Mountain Park for allowing our athletes and coaches to ride and advance their skills.

Please reach out to our team at AVSC for more information on all of the ways you can connect with AVSC — winter, summer or all year long. We are ready to create memories and experiences with your kids!

Clubhouse Chronicles is a behind-the-scenes column written by the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club that runs periodically in the Aspen Times sports section.