Fresh snow doesn’t slow AVSC skiers, boarders |

Fresh snow doesn’t slow AVSC skiers, boarders

AVSC staff report
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, olorado
Contributed photoAVSC nordic skier Stefani Wojcik races in the Summit Junior National Qualifier.

ASPEN – Who wouldn’t wish for a powder day?

Well, some competitive disciplines are more amenable to heaps of new snow than others.

Take Big Mountain, for example.

Last weekend in Taos, Aspen Valley Ski Club coaches reported that more than 30 inches of snow fell, which made for “ideal conditions on the West Basin venue.”

Freeskiers Andrew Tierney (fourth in the JETA Taos Regional) and Griffin Gilchrist (ninth in JETA Taos National) made the most of the new snow.

On Sunday at Aspen Highlands, there also was a powder day for the USASA Aspen/Snowmass Series, but 57 competitors still turned out for the boardercross and skiercross events on Red Onion.

“It was an awesome day, and everyone had a lot of fun,” said Travis McLain, head snowboard coach. The event was highlighted by a round in which the winner wasn’t decided until the final 100 yards.

Snowboarders E.O. Rafelson, Dawson Holmes, Jack Chase and Hunter Hill traded the lead three times, making contact and recovering from crashes along the way.

“It came down to right at the finish line” where Rafelson held on for the win, McLain said.

The Red Onion trail offers a natural terrain feature, a halfpipe near the bottom that “made for great rolls and banks,” he said.

Those and other terrain features raised the fun factor for all skiers and riders. Boarder- and skiercross returns to Highlands on March 2-3 and is open to anyone who wants to join USASA.

More than 30 U14 alpine racers headed to Crested Butte for the 33rd annual Dan Prater Memorial Cup.

The event is the main qualifier for the USSA/Marriott Junior Championships on March 11-16 at Winter Park. While snowfall was consistent throughout the weekend, it was never enough to disrupt the five races.

AVSC’s Anna Patterson continued her memorable season with wins in both giant slalom races. Patterson has won in every U14 discipline – slalom, giant slalom and super-G – this season.

She also was the women’s overall winner, calculated by World Cup points.

On the men’s side, Dexter Edelman, who also is enjoying a season to remember, tallied two wins of his own and took second overall among men, just behind Aspen native Bridger Gile.

AVSC had 11 athletes qualify through the Prater Cup for the USSA Rocky/Central Regional Championships, a significant improvement over last season, when only two boys and two girls qualified.

Still more may make the cut as eight athletes are competing this week at Ski Cooper’s Council Cup near Leadville. Three girls and three boys positions are up for grabs at the Leadville races.

“We are very proud of all of the AVSC athletes and their willingness to put forth their best effort through a very long weekend,” said Greg Needell, alpine director for AVSC.

“They were very supportive of their teammates every day and showed great sportsmanship. Most importantly, we saw our athletes pursue their best results of the season and saw excellent improvement.”

Just over the “other” hill, AVSC’s nordic racers competed in new snow at the Summit Junior National Qualifier last weekend. Top-10 AVSC finishers in Friday’s classic race were Nick Sweeney, second (J2 Men), Chelsea Moore, fifth, and Josie Willie, 10th (J3 Women), and Taiga Moore,10th for the J4 Men.

In Saturday’s skate race, Sweeney was sixth and Ford McClure eighth. Nina Beidleman finished ninth (J2), Jack Sweeney was sixth, and Colin Daniels took 12th (J3).

Chelsea Moore was second and Josie Willie 13th (J3). Taiga Moore was eighth among the J4s.

It’s been a busy week for former AVSC alpine athletes.

Alice McKennis, fresh from the world championships, finished 14th in a downhill in Meribel, France. The following day, U.S. Ski Team member Katie Ryan, who recently won the NorAm downhill title, which assures her of a start in every single World Cup downhill next season, took sixth in a super-G at the World Junior Championships in Canada.

On Feb. 26, Ryan finished 16th in the World Juniors downhill.

Back east, in Rumford, Maine, Snowmass Village’s Sam Coffey, a senior at the University of New Hampshire, was named Sunday to the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association All-East First Team.

Coffey, ranked fifth in giant slalom and seventh in slalom (fifth overall in the two disciplines), is a 2011 All-American and two-time NCAA qualifier, who is enjoying a stellar year.

Coffey was named the EISA male alpine skier of the week after the Vermont Carnival the weekend; this season he has had six top-10 finishes in GS and five top-10 finishes in slalom.

Middlebury College hosts the 2013 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Skiing Championships in early March.

For more results and AVSC news, please tune in to “Weekly With Walt” every Wednesday at 7 p.m. on GrassRoots TV (Channel 12 upvalley, Channel 82 downvalley).

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