FIS race, J2 nationals land at Aspen

Aspen Times Staff ReportAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN Local skiers Wiley Maple and Sam Coffey have the chance to defend their home turf.The International Ski Federation has scheduled a Junior National men’s downhill, open to both J1s and J2s, for this morning at 9:30 a.m. on Aspen Mountain’s World Cup course. Maple, 17, was the second-fastest U.S. skier in Feb. 28’s super G at the Alpine Junior World Championships in Formigal, Spain, and finished 15th overall.The event kicks off five days of racing on Ajax, as the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club serves as host for the United States Ski and Snowboard Association’s J2 (15- and 16-year-olds) national championships.Snowmass Village’s Joanna Coffey and Sara Andrews are among the locals expected to compete in the coming days.”We’re excited to showcase the next generation of great American ski racers here at home,” AVSC executive director Mark Cole said in a club news release. “We look forward to welcoming them and putting on a first-class event.”Opening ceremonies will take place this afternoon at the gondola plaza and feature music from local band Slightly White. Both the boys and girls will compete in downhill Friday on Ajax’s famed Ruthie’s Run course. Saturday features super G, and the giant slalom will take place both Sunday and Monday. The event concludes Tuesday with slalom.