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Happy Holidays and a Reimagined Ajax Cup
In a "normal" year at Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club, the holidays are both a time of bustling athletic activity and a time to catch up with our broader AVSC community. Typically, alumni are back in town, parents often have more flexible work schedules and have more time to chat at drop off and pick up, our friends from out of town are here for a significant stretch of time, and we welcome hundreds of AVSC supporters to race in and spectate the Audi Ajax Cup.
COVID-19 has changed things, but Quick read more or view full article together with Pitkin County Public Health, Aspen Valley Hospital, The Steadman Clinic, and Aspen Skiing Company we were able to put together a plan to safely and robustly continue our on-hill operations for coaches and athletes this year. As you know, our athletes have been on snow since early November. The Stapleton Training Center opened to all disciplines the earliest that it ever has this year. Aspen Supports Kids kicked off with early-season programs in Snowmass, soon we'll have Powder Pandas all over Buttermilk, Aspenauts blasting off at Snowmass, and all other groups on snow, too. Our athletes are enjoying productive training, great conditions, and safe camaraderie - things that are meaningful in any given year, but particularly now.
One week from today, we will open the Stapleton Training Center up to our Audi Ajax Cup racers. While we will miss the crowds on the viewing platform, the free-flowing snacks and drinks, and the lively après party, we are so grateful to provide our Ajax Cup community with a similar experience to what we've worked so hard to make happen for our athletes this year. With strict COVID-19 protocols in place, they will have the opportunity to enjoy a similar experience to the daily life of the athletes that they so fervently believe in and support. Back to the basics - no party, just racing - and back to the reason why this event, when it was dreamed up by a passionate few over a decade ago, made perfect sense for us. We are a club for skiers and snowboarders, by skiers and snowboarders. A black tie gala just wouldn't be the same!
While we will have no spectators in person, you can tune into the livestream to watch the action unfold at the Stapleton Training Center. Visit www.teamavsc.org, www.audiajaxcup.com, or our AVSC Facebook page on December 30th to tune in, the race starts at 9am! The Audi Ajax Cup is our largest and most impactful fundraiser, the event that makes it possible for us to fulfill our mission of helping local kids grow into great athletes and great kids through winter sports. Last year we raised over $900,000! This helps us not only provide generous individual scholarships, but also reduce program fees across the board.
I am proud of our staff, our athletes, and our winter sports community for nimbly adapting to the challenges brought about by COVID-19 and approaching this season with a positive, growth-oriented mindset. Our goal is to keep our athletes healthy, engaged, and safely connected to their friends and mentors. I am grateful we're able to do that this winter, and, as we enjoy our 84th season, I am grateful that we'll be able to continue to do that in the future!
Happy Holidays and thank you for being a part of our community. This year has been challenging for all of us, but the ability to get outside and do what we love sure makes it easier. Cheers to health and happiness in 2021!
All the best,
Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club Read Less
Clubhouse Chronicles: Dear 10-Year-Old Me
Note from AVSC: Hailey Swirbul wrote this note to her 10-year-old self two years ago, just prior to her first season on the U.S. ski team. We are republishing this note in the wake of her first World Cup podium; she finished third in the 10-kilometer race last weekend in Davos, Switzerland. Way to go, Hailey! We are immensely proud of not only your results, but your character, work ethic and perspective.
Dear 10-year-old me: Do it. Quick read more or view full article Join the AVSC Nordic program. I know you dreamed of floating through the moguls course like your brother, but you won’t regret joining the Nordic team, I promise.
When you skate ski for the first time at Thanksgiving camp, I wish you wouldn’t be embarrassed. You are going to struggle, you are going to wonder why on Earth you aren’t riding the chairlift to your next run on the slopes, you are going to be hundreds of meters behind everyone else with a single patient coach reminding you that you’re going to get through it.
And that’s OK. You don’t have to be the best at something in order to fall in love with it.
You will have to wake up at 5:15 a.m. before class in high school to get in your morning gym session. But it won’t be so bad. You will meet incredible mentors in your community, from the mayor to a professional bull rider, during the early hours of dawn at the gym. These people will take an interest in you and support you, and when you are in a time of need, will raise funds for you to travel to Kazakhstan to compete in your first World Junior Championships.
Be grateful, because you live in a network of caring, compassionate and supportive community members.
Suddenly, you won’t be skiing for only yourself anymore, you will be skiing for your community, for your country. Your fans will become your supporters and become an even more integral part of your journey.
You’re going to face difficult relationships with your body. When you learn about power-to-weight ratio and notice how lean World Cup athletes look, you are going to try diets and eat less to look a certain way with hopes it will make you a faster skier. At first, you will notice yourself achieving the physical results you had hoped for: thinner, more toned. But your immune system will suffer, you will get sick and injured, you will enjoy skiing less and train with lower quality when you do not feed your brain and body.
And worst, you will battle guilt if you eat something you decide is off limits. I wish you wouldn’t give into these thoughts. I wish you would be proud of your body, for it is the vessel that will carry you to two World Junior Championships medals one day. I wish you would seek outside help about your relationship with yourself and food earlier than you do.
Before you know it, you will be recruited to ski at various colleges, and you will be stressed trying to decide if you should go to school or take a gap year to ski. Education is important to you — don’t forget that — and you need another outlet in your life to take the pressure off of skiing. It’s OK to be stressed about which school to attend. It’s a big decision. Heck, cry if you need to (you will)! Then, let Alaska’s wild and vast landscapes lure you north. Don’t question that decision for another moment; you are going to love it there.
Your freshman year of college, you will earn third place in the relay event at the World Junior Championships in Midway, Utah, the first junior relay medal in the history of U.S. skiing, and the second medal of any kind. You will be on a team with three of your best friends whom you have raced against since you began skiing. It will feel euphoric! Let it motivate you and represent the potential that you and your country have in the future of Nordic skiing.
That potential? Believe in it. It will be this belief in yourself and your commitment to giving your best effort that will lead you to two individual World Junior Championships medals in Goms, Switzerland. You will become the most decorated junior skier in U.S. history. But more than the medals and congratulations, you will be proud that you have proven to young skiers following in your footsteps that they, too, can reach their goals if they focus on controlling what is in their power and believe in themselves.
Some days, you will want nothing more than to be a “normal kid.” But always overriding this feeling will be your love of Nordic skiing and the opportunities that it brings you. You will travel the world. You will meet incredible coaches, mentors and friends throughout the US and beyond. Ten-year-old me, you will not regret joining the AVSC Nordic program. Do it!Swirbul is a 2016 Basalt High School graduate, an Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club alumna, and a member of the U.S. Nordic ski team. Read Less
Remembering David Stapleton
|Dear Friends of AVSC,
Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club lost a beloved friend and pioneer last week with the passing of David Stapleton, Sr.
David was a visionary. His steadfast leadership and volunteerism helped not only Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club progress, but the sport of alpine ski racing progress both on a national and international basis. David's relationship with AVSC started in 1945, when he joined the team as a young alpine racer. This relationship flourished throughout the course of his life as he became an Quick read more or view full article AVSC parent and eventually a member of the Board of Directors, serving as President from 1972-75.
His impact in the ski community extends far beyond our valley. A Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame member, David's legacy includes being the first World Cup race official from Aspen in addition to being an instrumental figure in advancing safety measures and risk management in alpine skiing. He enthusiastically brought Aspen to the global ski racing community and vice versa. Many of the measures that are commonplace today and are incredibly effective at keeping racers safe on the mountain, such as safety nets lining a race course, were implemented by David. The Aspen Times and Stapleton family did a phenomenal job highlighting David's impressive tenure as a leader in alpine ski racing here.
A beloved AVSC alum, veteran, community leader, husband to Sigrid, and father to Kim, Dave Jr, Dean, Stefanie, and Dash, David will be greatly missed and remembered fondly for the thoughtful, gregarious, and tenacious manner in which he built relationships, dedicated himself to the causes he believed in, and left an impact on the communities he cared about. We are immensely grateful to have been shaped by him; AVSC is undoubtedly a better place because of David.
All the best,
Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club