Paralympic World Cup Finals at Aspen Mtn. | AspenTimes.com
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Paralympic World Cup Finals at Aspen Mtn.

AVSC staff report
Colt Whitley of the Aspen Valley Ski Club races his way onto the Junior National Team at Vail.
Courtesy photo |

The anticipation continues to build for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Cup Finals in Aspen this week, one of para-alpine ski racing’s highest levels of competition.

“I am very excited for the World Cup Finals to be held in Aspen again this year. The venues are of the highest quality, and the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club always does a great job hosting high-quality races. I’m excited to work with the club to make this a memorable event,” IPC World Cup Race Director Erik Leirfallom said.

Along with the Aspen Skiing Co., AVSC will host some of the world’s top athletes competing in their respective para-alpine sport class of visually impaired, standing, or sitting.

“I’m looking forward to an exciting series for the residents and guests of Aspen to witness what this international field of athletes is capable of and the passion they bring to the sport of alpine ski racing,” Leirfallom said. “It’s exciting for the U.S. athletes to race on their home soil and always wonderful to welcome athletes from all over the world to compete in two of the greatest venues Aspen has to offer.”

This year’s IPC World Cup Finals features a boastful roster of 10 AVSC athletes — many are currently on the U.S. National Team.

World Cup veteran Laurie Stephens has been with AVSC since the inception of the AVSC Adaptive program.

Stephens, a strong contender, is often known for her humility and grace about dominating the field.

“Her work ethic, drive and accolades are a huge thing for the rest of our program,” said Tim Emling, AVSC Adaptive development head coach. “She is an inspiration to all of our athletes.”

Consistent with the FIS World Cup circuit, para-alpine athletes are competing for the prestigious World Cup crystal globe.

“The World Cup Finals are exciting races, as it is the final opportunity for each athlete and their nation to put a close to the season by bringing home an overall title or being the Nation’s Cup winners. There is nothing that will be left out on that hill; everyone will be pushing their limits,” Leirfallom said.

The tech finals, consisting of giant slalom and slalom, are scheduled for the Lift 1A side of Aspen Mountain today, Thursday and Friday.

The speed finals, downhill and super-G, will take place March 1-4 at Tiehack at Buttermilk.

This event is supported by the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, Aspen Skiing Co., IPC Alpine, City of Aspen Parking Department, Aspen Club and World Cup Supply.

For details, contact Leslie Schramer at lesliels@emsaspen.com or 970-618-5336.

HIGHLIGHTS

AVSC athletes have qualified for USSA National and Regional Junior Championships:

USSA Regional Junior Championships – Alpine U14

Topher Davenport, Garrett Dollahan, Noah Forman, Samuel McDermott, Sean Patterson, Tyler Thomas, Allyson Cornelius, Stella Johansson, Summer McSwain, and Tessa Munro.

USSA Regional Junior Championships – Alpine U16

Jake Bassi, Jack Bowers, Ethan De Moraes, Trey Thorpe, India Cardamone, Mariel Gorsuch, Isabella Johansson, Margo McHugh, Devan McSwain, Antonia Murphy, Estelle Sweeney, and Levyn Thomas.

Nordic Junior Nationals

Graham Houtsma, Nick Sweeney, Colt Whitley, Anna Fake, Chelsea Moore, and Hailey Swirbul.

FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships

Galena Wardle

International Paralympic Committee World Cup Finals

Kevin Burton – Chris Tatsuno (Guide), Joshua Elliott, Andrew Kurka, Stephen Lawler, Kevin Mather, Jamie Stanton, Thomas Walsh, Melanie Schwartz, and Laurie Stephens

Vail RMN JNQ

The AVSC Nordic coaching staff couldn’t have been more proud this weekend at the Vail Rocky Mountain Nordic Junior National Qualifier.

AVSC athletes continue to exceed all expectations this winter.

“Our athletes are starting to see the effects of focusing on process instead of outcome and supporting each other in their pursuit of excellence,” Nordic Program Director Maria Stuber said. “This was most evident in the boys U16 race when underdog Colt Whitley skied himself onto the Junior National Team. From the gun, Colt took chances — skiing with confidence and heart that is only possible with the support of teammates who also believe.”

Surefoot Colorado Ski Cup Elite FIS Series

AVSC athletes dominated the Rocky Mountain Division at last weekend’s Surefoot Colorado Ski Cup Elite FIS Series in Winter Park.

AVSC’s Katy Harris won the women’s giant slalom while teammate Erin Spence took third.

Nick Cohee, just back from Europe where he battled it out in the trenches of the Europa Cup circuit, won the GS by a commanding 2.4 seconds.

Andrew Hancock took home third place in the overall GS race while teammates Cooper Cornelius and Ian Griffith took home second and third in the U19 division.

In Saturday’s slalom, it was Andrew Hancock who pulled away from the field, winning his first FIS race of the year. Cooper Cornelius, Dexter Edelman, and Cameron Cain pulled in personal bests in Slalom as well, finishing seventh, 12th and 15th, respectively.

Freestyle Ski NorAm Cup

Colby Lee competed in his first NorAm last weekend in Park City.

The course was one of the steepest Colby has seen at 32 degrees and 250 meters long.

“Colby was able to ignore the challenges of the course and focus on his airs to produce clean runs through the finals,” said Garth Hager, AVSC Moguls head coach Garth Hager.

He paced 19th in moguls and 26th in dual moguls.


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