Owl Creek Chase highlights busy weekend in Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Owl Creek Chase highlights busy weekend in Aspen

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado
Paul Conrad The Aspen Times
AP | The Aspen Times

ASPEN ” This weekend, Aspen truly will be the center of the skiing world.

Hundreds will flock to the valley starting Friday to take part in the Aspen Nordic Festival. In addition to the event’s main attraction ” Saturday’s Owl Creek Chase ” the weekend will feature everything from Junior Olympic qualifiers and nighttime sprint races in Wagner Park, to free clinics, citizen races and even the University of Colorado’s NCAA Invitational.

All told, organizers expect as many as 400 people to participate.

The action will not be confined to the nordic realm, either. Saturday, the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club’s alpine athletes will host the Wilder Dwight Memorial Super G, a J3 Junior Olympic qualifier, on Buttermilk’s Racer’s Edge. The club’s freestyle skiers are also joining the fun, hosting a moguls competition on Thunderbowl at Aspen Highlands.

Aspen Parks and Recreation has billed this weekend as one with “Something for Everyone”. That could turn out to be quite an understatement. Here is a list of all the scheduled events:

* AVSC hosts a United States Ski and Snowboard Association SuperTour Olympic qualifier, Rocky Mountain Division Junior Olympic qualifier and NCAA Invitational, beginning at 9 a.m. on the cross-country trails outside the clubhouse. In addition, citizen men’s (10K) and women’s (5K) races will take place.

* AVSC’s J3 through J6 nordic skiers will take part in youth festival races at the clubhouse at 12:30 p.m.

* The Aspen Cross Country Center at the golf course hosts a free waxing clinic at 5:30 p.m. Swix’s resident wax guru Phil White will be on hand to cover everything from base preparation for new and used skis to waxing for all conditions and abilities.

A question and answer session will follow, and all participants will receive a free wax manual, beverages and snacks. For more information, call 970-925-2145.

* Junior cross-country races, for participants ages 6 to 19, will take place at the Aspen Cross Country Center at 8:30 a.m.

* AVSC will host Junior Olympic qualifying and citizen races at the Aspen Cross Country center at 8:30 a.m. RMD junior racers will compete in a 10K freestyle.

* The 22nd annual Owl Creek Chase, a 21-kilometer jaunt from Snowmass to Aspen, begins at 11 a.m. The event is the sixth of 14 stops on the SuperTour ” the leading International Ski Federation series in the U.S. ” and second of five events in the Colorado Cup, which features citizen racers. The race will also serve as the opening event for the FIS North America Marathon Cup.

Noah Hoffman, a former AVSC and Aspen High standout and current U.S. Ski Team member, blew away the field in last year’s Chase. He crossed the line in 1 hour, 5 minutes, 21.5 seconds ” six minutes faster than last year’s winning pace and one minute better than his nearest competitor.

Hoffman will not be in the field this weekend ” he’s competing on the World Cup circuit ” so the title will be up for grabs. Scott Lacy, another promising local teen who was recently named to the U.S.’s Scandinavia Cup team, will look to carry the torch on a course widely regarded as one of the toughest on any circuit.

The task will not be quite as difficult this time. The course has been shortened about 4 km. this year to accommodate both SuperTour racers competing on back to back days and citizens who felt the usual distance was too long and might have otherwise skipped the event.

For more information, visit http://www.owlcreekchase.com.

* Nearly 100 of the RMD’s top young alpine skiers will compete in the Wilder Dwight Memorial Super G, a J3 (13 and 14-year-olds) Olympic Qualifier on Tiehack. The race is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.

* AVSC’s freestyle skiers will compete in a mogul competition at Aspen Highlands. The event is a Junior Olympic and U.S. National qualifier.

* The AVSC Sprint Races take place Saturday night under the lights at Wagner Park., beginning at 5:30 p.m. The fastest men and women will compete head-to-head for cash prizes in a single-elimination format. Bleachers will be set up to accommodate crowds, and plans for a bonfire, food tent and beer garden are in the works.

* The Ute Mountaineer will host a “Skate with the Pros” clinic at 10 a.m. Citizens are invited to join some of the competitor’s from Saturday’s Chase for some free instruction.

* The Wilder Dwight Memorial Super G continues at Buttermilk at 10 a.m.

* Another moguls competition will begin at 10 a.m. at Highlands.

* The Wilder Dwight Memorial Super G continues at Buttermilk at 10 a.m.

* AVSC freestylers will take part in a dual moguls (head-to-head) competition at Highlands. The event kicks off at 10 a.m.

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