Cooper Cornelius qualifies for U16 nationals |

Cooper Cornelius qualifies for U16 nationals

Madeleine Osberger

Cooper Cornelius has qualified for the under-16 Nationals in Park City, Utah, the invitation-only series of races where many young athletes are seen for the first time by U.S. Ski Team coaches.

One parent called Cornelius “Mr. October,” during last week’s regional championships in Steamboat Springs, for his ability to rise to the occasion and nail it on race day. The Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club alpine racer prevailed in a season that saw its share of challenges and injuries, said his father, Colt Cornelius, who works for the sheriff’s department.

Cooper Cornelius placed in the top-10 in all four of the week’s races on Mt. Werner and Howelsen Hill. His best finish was a fifth in downhill behind AVSC’s Tristan Lane.

This is the third year in a row that AVSC has won the U16 men’s downhill.

Four AVSC athletes — Cornelius, Lane, Hanna Mass and Anna Patterson — qualified for the U16 Nationals, which open next week.

At the Rocky/Central U14 Championships at Winter Park, Devan McSwain of Glenwood Springs started her series off strong with a 10th place in super-G on March 19.

McSwain and teammate Levyn Thomas, also of Glenwood Springs, were part of a 16-member team representing AVSC at this event.

Over at the 2014 Freestyle/Freeskiing Junior Nationals in Park City, Carson Campisi of Basalt earned a gold medal for her age group and silver medal overall for women in skier half-pipe. This was the first time Campisi landed a 720 in competition, said her coach, Lynn Merriam. AVSC teammate Keenan McIntyre was men’s Junior National Freeski silver combined champion.

Also competing in Park City were Joey Lang and Tyler Spence of Carbondale. A crash in practice hurt Lang in his ability to contend for a medal, said coach Greg Ruppel. Spence was one slot out of the slopestyle finals but just missed the last round, the coach said.

Freeskiers and freeriders practice their skills on AVSC’s giant airbag, located in the Thunderbowl venue at Aspen Highlands. On March 26, the club is sponsoring Bag Lady Day, where skiers and riders can try out the jump and enjoy a free lunch afterward.

Open to women only, the event starts at 10 a.m. Helmets are required and coaching is available. For more information, Beth Hansen can be contacted at

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