The Maples remain a constant at annual AVSC Fourth of July picnic
Among the guarantees on Fourth of July in Aspen is the Maples flipping burgers at Koch Park. A longstanding tradition, the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club’s annual community picnic wouldn’t be what it is without the father-son duo manning the grill.
“Back then there weren’t really any of these Fourth of July barbecues, so this was kind of the first one,” said Mike Maple, who helped start the tradition back in 1996. “Getting permits from the city took a little effort and whatnot, but it’s been great. It’s fun to have a summertime AVSC event. It’s evolved over time, but there’s always been a bit of a live band and some sort of carnival stuff.”
For the past nine years or so, Mike’s son, Wiley Maple, has helped out. Wiley is an AVSC product and World Cup ski racer who competed in the 2018 Winter Olympics. But on Thursday he was simply the guy helping make sure you were fed after watching the annual Old Fashioned Parade roll through downtown Aspen.
“I started doing it because he told me it was time to give back,” Wiley said of his father. “It’s fun. It’s hot. It sucks. But it’s also fun to kind of talk to people and just be seen giving back to the ski club in a kind of brutal way. Just getting fried. I hope it encourages more of my friends to come out and help.”
AVSC executive director Mark Godomsky said the community picnic is less of a fundraiser and more of a way to bring the community together. It’s also a way for the club to remain visible during the summer months.
“It’s great to see people who come back from the summer that might only associate with us during the winter. But this is a chance to reconnect with them,” Godomsky said. “We have a tendency in the summer to disappear, and if our goal is to become a year-round club, I think we have to have a presence and not just in Aspen, but we ran the Pedaleando a month ago down in Carbondale. I think it’s important for our long-term success.”
Godomsky said the club has recently “made a big switch” by attempting to turn its high-level winter programming into a year-round affair. Those athletes who have signed up for it will begin strength and conditioning as soon as Monday.
While winter dominates in Aspen, even an Olympic ski racer like Wiley Maple sees the importance of the club being visible year round.
“It’s for sure what we need,” said Wiley, who also helps coach mountain biking through the club during the summer. “Why be just a ski club when we are a mountain bike and ski community? Got to get through the summer somehow.”
DeMoor, CONNOLLY win Buddy Race
Thursday’s Fourth of July festivities kicked off as they have for more than three decades with the 33rd annual Boogie’s Buddy Race, a 5-mile run/walk centered on Rio Grande Park in Aspen.
Taking the overall win was Carbondale’s Joseph DeMoor with a time of 27 minutes, 13.5 seconds, believed to be a record on the now 4-year-old course. Among DeMoor’s other notable local race wins came when he won last fall’s Golden Leaf half marathon. DeMoor is a former cross-country runner at the University of Colorado.
Taking second was Aspen frequenter David Roche in 27:45 and third Cale Mitchell of Aspen in 30:05.6.
Amelia McCulloh was second among women on Thursday in 35:16.7, while Aspen’s Andrea Marriott was third in 36:30.6.
All told, 320 women and 288 men recorded a time in the race. Complete race results can be found here.
No drones, no fireworks
The day was plenty busy, highlighted by the 11 a.m. parade through downtown. Notably absent in the evening were fireworks, which the Aspen Chamber Resort Association nixed back in April because of wildfire concerns.
Their replacement, a drone light show over Aspen Mountain, was canceled Tuesday because of a software issue the company was experiencing.
Still, DJ Naka G, known as being the official X Games DJ, provided tunes at a community party at Wagner Park in the evening, which included a laser light show.
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A popular Aspen breakfast and lunch restaurant that closed more than two years ago is set to reopen at the end of the month at another location in the downtown core.