Winter high school sports season again moving forward with Jan. 18 practices

Aspen High School basketball plays against Vail Christian on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, inside the AHS gymnasium. (Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times)

High school sports are back. At least, things seem to be trending that way.

After a few postponements because of the coronavirus pandemic, the winter prep season looks poised to finally get underway later this month in what’ll likely be a short and spectator-free campaign. As it stands, what is being dubbed “Season B” can begin practice Jan. 18, with competition slated to get underway a week later. Local sports will include basketball, hockey, skiing, girls swimming, wrestling and competitive spirit.

The Colorado High School Activities Association has been hosting webinars throughout the week for school administrators and coaches “to provide specifics” on each upcoming season, which normally would have gotten underway with practices back in November.

According to the latest CHSAA calendar, Season C — which includes postponed fall sports in football, boys soccer and volleyball — can begin practice March 8 and contests March 15 (March 18 for football). Season D, the traditional spring season, can begin practice April 26 and contests May 3, with earlier start dates for girls golf and girls tennis.

Going back to Season B, here’s a brief sport-by-sport preview of what to look for when practice gets underway here in about a week.

Aspen High School basketball plays against Vail Christian on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, inside the AHS gymnasium. (Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times)


The regular season will include a maximum of 14 contests, with postseason play scheduled to begin March 9. The state tournament is tentatively scheduled for March 19 and 20. The Aspen High School boys ended a six-year drought by making the state tournament last season, losing in the first round. Again led by coach Alex Schrempf, this should be a team capable of riding that momentum into another good season this winter.

The other three basketball programs in the area continue to be in rebuilding mode. The Basalt High School boys went 4-15 last season in Clint Hunter’s first year as coach, while the BHS girls went 9-10 under Amy Contini, a three-win improvement over the previous year. The AHS girls look to mostly be starting from scratch this season with first-year coach Annie Peck.


Ice hockey has a maximum regular season of 13 games, ending March 11. Details on the postseason had not be announced as of Wednesday.

The AHS hockey team has a new coach in Keith Howie, who took over the job back in the summer. Howie has had a lot of success coaching various Aspen Junior Hockey girls teams over the past handful of years. The Skiers are coming off, by their standards, a significant down year, going just 3-11-4 last winter.

Aspen High School hockey plays against Crested Butte on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, at Lewis Ice Arena in Aspen. (Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times)


The state skiing championships, hosted by Platte Canyon, are scheduled to end by March 13, which is about all that is known about the scheduling at this point. What is known is that Aspen enters the season as the defending boys and girls state champions — state high school skiing is a combined Alpine-Nordic competition — and there is little reason to believe AHS isn’t again a frontrunner for the championship this winter.


The modified schedule allows for seven individual swim meets plus the conference meet this season, with the Class 3A state meet scheduled for March 13.

Under first-year coach Katherine Keel, the Skiers managed to finish runner-up at state last season despite only have five swimmers qualify for the 3A championship meet. AHS won the classification’s inaugural championship in 2017, with last year’s finish certainly solidifying the program as one of the best in 3A.

Basalt’s Ernesto Lopez, left, wrestles in a February 2020 match in Basalt. Photo courtesy of Kara Williams.


Wrestling teams have the option of squeezing in as many as 20 duals between Jan. 25 and the end of the regular season on Feb. 27. Regionals are tentatively scheduled for March 5 and 6, with the state tournament scheduled for March 12 and 13.

The Basalt wrestling team qualified two for the state tournament last winter in then-senior Ernesto Lopez and then-junior Ruben Samuelson. Lopez ultimately finished fourth in Class 3A’s heavyweight bracket, while Samuelson didn’t place at 170 pounds but, like Lopez, did win his first-round match.


The dates to know for spirit are March 25-27, which are tentatively scheduled for the state finals. Under first-year coach Maddy Miller, the Aspen dance team won its first state championship in December 2019, winning the 3A poms title.