Big air not so rare for AVSC members |

Big air not so rare for AVSC members

Madeleine Osberger
Joey Lang of Carbondale, shown here doing a practice run at Buttermilk resort last winter, is one of Aspen Valley Ski/Snowboard Club's next generation of young freestyle competitors.

In advance of this weekend’s first under-16 races of the season, Aspen Valley Ski/Snowboard Club member Cooper Cornelius of Glenwood Springs is training on a portion of the Birds of Prey course that the world’s fastest men used during last week’s World Cup races.

The invitation-only project administered by Ski and Snowboard Club Vail — which is based upon results from the 2013 U14 Championships — teaches some of these top athletes jumping, gliding and transition skills as well as directed free skiing.

“It is a great opportunity for our athletes to ski on a World Cup prepared hill and experience the kind of thrill that World Cup athletes have every week,” said Greg Needell, AVSC Alpine Director.

Cornelius is joined this week at the Beaver Creek camp by teammates Anna Patterson and Dexter Adelman as well as coach Pat Callahan.

Dew drop in (the halfpipe)

The nation’s top freeskiers and riders are currently in Breckenridge for the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships. Two AVSC members who are considered legitimate podium contenders at this event, which continues through Dec. 15, are Alex Ferreira and Torin Yater-Wallace.

Also competing are Meg Olenick of Carbondale, Aspen’s Gretchen Bleiler and Jordie Karlinski of Snowmass Village. Karlinski qualified third Wednesday in Snowboard Slopestyle.

Another competitor, who competed in the Dew Tour for the first time, is Zyre Austin of Glenwood Springs. Though she’s not affiliated with AVSC, she participated in the women’s Freeski Superpipe on Wednesday. Austin finished 21st.

Already named to the U.S. Freeskiing Halfipipe Pro Team, Yater-Wallace, 18, is a six-time X Games medalist. Alex Ferreira, 19, finished fourth last weekend at the North Face Pipe and Park Tour event at Copper Mountain and also competed in the 2013 Winter X Games. He’s a member of the U.S. Freeskiing Halfpipe Rookie Team.

Freeskiing is a new Olympic medal event this year and competition is expected to be fierce for slots on the team.

Recently, Yater-Wallace created an annual scholarship that offers $1,500 to an up-and-coming freeskier. AVSC’s Joey Lang of Carbondale received the check from Yater-Wallace during an informal ceremony at Aspen’s Hotel Jerome.

Lang, who competes in the halfpipe, is part of the next wave of young and competitive AVSC freeskiers.

Sponsors chipping in

Other than for the very top skiers and snowboarders, competition at this level can be expensive. This week, Coldwell Banker Mason Morse announced it is committing $25,000 per year, for a minimum of three years, for AVSC to award to current and alumni athletes who are officially recognized on the U.S. Ski Team or U.S. Snowboard Team.

AVSC has one dozen alumni athletes and another seven current Adaptive athletes competing on U.S. Teams. During the CBMM program’s first year, each selected athlete will receive $2,500 to help defray training, travel and equipment expenses.

Madeline Osberger contributes articles for the Aspen Valley Ski/Snowboard Club for the Post Independent.

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