Late-season races showcase Highlands
Expect plenty of high-speed racing during the next two weeks on the Golden Horn/Thunderbowl venue at Aspen Highlands. Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club has picked up four additional FIS races that originally were scheduled for this week at Breckenridge.
That’s on top of the highly anticipated FIS two-run downhill sprint races that will be run April 2 and 3 and which start on the flats above the Thunderbowl chairlift terminus.
The downhill course was homologated in the fall by race officials who determined that its length and vertical drop could accommodate this event. Members of the U.S. national team are expected for the downhill sprints as well as a pair of super-G races that are on the calendar.
These “spring series” races started out well for AVSC, as U18 Ben Throm handily won Tuesday’s super-G.
“The top (of the course) was pretty much the same as we trained yesterday. The bottom was the same as the day before. I knew the course, and I sent it,” said Throm, of Snowmass Village.
AVSC’s Colby Lane was fourth, Nick Mitchell sixth and Sky Kelsey ninth. Luke Prosence finished 14th, and Chapin Newhard was 20th.
On a spectacular day for race spectating, AVSC coach Tiitu Romar said, “It’s great to be able to pick up these races. It gives our boys a nice hometown advantage, and it’s good for us to show off this venue as much as we can.”
More alpine excellence
Based upon overall results from the Rocky/Central U16 and U14 Championships, AVSC will send seven athletes to Park City, Utah, beginning this weekend for the U16 Nationals.
U16s Hanna Mass, Anna Patterson, Tristan Lane, Cooper Cornelius and Dexter Edelman were selected based upon their results 10 days ago in Steamboat Springs. (In races at the same venue March 21-23, both Mass and Lane won individual events with Patterson on the podium in silver and Cornelius finishing twice in the top-10).
But recent outstanding finishes by AVSC’s Devan McSwain and Liv Clauss during the just-completed U14 Championships earned those women the right to compete with their AVSC teammates at the U16 nationals.
AVSC sent its largest team in five years to the U14 Championships at Winter Park. Other top-10 finishes were recorded by Jack Bowers and Elsie Clauss, with both Trey Thorpe and Margo McHugh having solid super-G races after starting near the back of the pack.
AVSC fielded a small team to the U.S. Nationals in Squaw Valley, Calif. In the men’s giant slalom, AVSC’s Nick Cohee lead the team at nationals with an eighth place finish. Nicolas Veth was 38th and Andrew Hancock finished 45th among the best alpine skiers in the nation. Veth went on to finish 22nd in slalom.
Among a near-identical nationally ranked field, Cohee took sixth in a FIS giant slalom, while Sydney Henegan placed 24th among women.
At Powderhorn resort on the Grand Mesa, AVSC’s U12 alpine skiers competed last weekend in two giant slaloms and two slaloms to end their competitive season. Allyson Cornelius’ best race was second in one of Sunday’s slaloms, while Sean Patterson had three top-10 finishes, the best of which was fifth in slalom.
Overall, AVSC’s entire young team skied strong against very tough competition from around the region.
Spring is in the air and on the slopes. As part of Skico’s Spring Jam celebration, it hosted a Banked Slalom event on Sandy Park at Snowmass.
“Sandy Park has always been one of the most fun runs on Snowmass, and adding a bunch of perfectly shaped berm turns only makes it better,” said Tyler Lindsay, AVSC Snowboard Program Director.
AVSC athlete MJ Mirano won the race by almost a half-second over Logan Lautter and Johnny Weiss. The event attracted about 100 competitors.
Coach Tyler Lindsay is one of the featured guests on the March 26 edition of “Weekly with Walt” on GrassRoots TV. Host Walt Evans, AVSC’s Director of Excellence, will interview freeskier Carson Campisi who recently was crowned junior national half-pipe champion for her age group.
Also on “Weekly With Walt,” AVSC alumni athlete Andrew Ernemann will speak about the upcoming Aspen Board of Realtors ski day and what the real estate community is doing to help defray the cost of snow sports for local youth.
The program airs at 7 p.m. on GrassRoots TV 12 (upvalley) and channel 82 below Catherine’s Store.
It’s not too late for women in the community to try out the AVSC air bag on Highlands’ Thunderbowl run. At 10 a.m. on March 26, AVSC is hosting its second annual Bag Ladies Day, a relaxed and non-competitive event open to women-only.
Bring a helmet, skis or a snowboard and receive free instruction on how to safely jump into the giant airbag that’s used by AVSC skiers and riders. A complimentary lunch of grilled cheese is included in the day’s events.
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And X Games is gone as quickly as it arrived. The 2022 Aspen edition was as entertaining as ever, with many of the world’s best freeskiers and snowboarders getting to compete one final time at Buttermilk before heading to the Olympics.