This article was originally published in the Aspen Times as part of our column, Clubhouse Chronicles.
The Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club’s Nordic team was in California for our nationals competition when COVID-19 was first recognized as a major issue that required immediate action in the United States. The event was canceled and we started the journey home.
And home we stayed. For the next few months, we worked through a mix of emotions. We shared gratitude for our health, incredible surroundings and the ability to get outside and exercise. We shared uncertainty regarding what the next
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few days, weeks and months looked like.
We also shared a continual desire to keep going, keep pushing, keep challenging ourselves. We set goals for the summer and for our newfound downtime. Many were big goals, fodder for motivation that would certainly test our physical and mental boundaries far beyond the average training day.
I wanted to take a moment to celebrate some of the incredible feats of a few AVSC national competition Nordic athletes. Furthermore, I want to applaud them for leveraging their goals for good through AVSC Strongest Together, an online fundraising campaign through which they can build a page, share their story and ask their community to support both their efforts and those of their peers through the AVSC Scholarship Fund. For those of you who don’t know much about AVSC’s scholarship program, last year the club gave more than $1.8 million in scholarships and subsidies. Now more than ever, it is a critical component to keeping our programs accessible to all local youth.
Here’s a look at what the athletes have been up to:
Corbin Carpenter completed the Everest Challenge (climbing 29,029 vertical feet) by riding his mountain bike for 17 hours, 34 minutes for a total of 197.5 miles and 30,720 feet of vertical gain. He rode loops from Carbondale up toward Spring Gulch, one of our winter training sites. He started at 6 a.m. and rode until 2:30 the next morning. He battled on-and-off rainstorms and a miscalculation led him to complete some extra mileage and vertical feet! Corbin has raised $3,771 so far for himself and his teammates!
Elsie Weiss roller skied from Aspen to Glenwood Springs, adding on a few miles along the way so that she could reach 90k. She was aiming to re-create the Swedish Vasaloppet, an annual 90k classic ski race, believed to be the oldest cross-country race in the world! Elsie started at 7 a.m. and ended at 5 p.m., skiing all day with two friends and her dad, AVSC coach Austin Weiss. Elsie also went above and beyond her goal, logging 97k (60 miles)! So far, Elsie has raised $1,179 for herself and her peers.
Anders Weiss rode a “double century” ride, starting in Aspen and riding up and over Independence Pass to Leadville, on to Minturn, then Glenwood Springs, and through the Roaring Fork Valley home to Aspen. Anders completed the 200-mile ride on Sept. 6 over the course of 15.5 hours! So far, Anders has raised $1,837!
I would be remiss to not mention that this is not all encompassing of the physical challenges the athletes have endured, nor is it a comprehensive look at the team’s fundraising efforts. A big shoutout to Eva McDonough, who had her sights set on a trail marathon this summer, but with so many races canceled she ended up designing her own! Eva clocked 29 miles, running trails from Lenado to Basalt with coach Nika Meyers! Furthermore, congrats to Taiga Moore, who has raised more than $4,000 on his AVSC Strongest Together fundraising page!
Kudos to all on the amazing work that’s happening beyond these examples as well. It has been fun to see athletes get creative and continue to challenge themselves! If you’d like to support any of our AVSC athletes in their fundraising efforts, please check out https://secure.qgiv.com/event/avscstrongesttogether/. Individuals can donate to a particular athlete’s page or to the overall campaign. AVSC could not provide the opportunities that we do to as many children without the support of our community, so thanks for helping us make it happen.
I am excited to see our athletes continue to pursue and achieve their goals as we head toward winter!