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Gates not a barrier

G. Sean Kelly

Very few community events in the Roaring Fork Valley are limited to the residents of a single town or city. With many residents working in one city, living in another and playing in yet another area, the crossover is huge, particularly when it comes to sports and recreation.While the Aspen Times Town Race Series might give the impression that it is for Aspen residents, the six-race series at Aspen Highlands draws skiers, snowboarders and telemarkers from throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.”It’s not to bad,” said Carbondale’s Dave Zamansky of the commute from his home in Carbondale to Aspen Highlands. “The race doesn’t start until 11. Back in the old days we used to start races late because everybody was hung over; now times have changed. It gives everybody time to get there.”The Town Race Series, dubbed the longest-running town race series in the country, kicks off its 25th season Jan. 8 with a free race clinic and party. “I really enjoy it,” said Carbondale’s Cindy Lindsay, who was the advanced division Sportsperson of the Year last season. “It’s been really good for my skiing. That’s what keeps me coming back, other than the thrill of racing.”Zamansky, who won the men’s 50-and-older advanced division last year, has been competing in the Town Race Series off and on since its inception and appreciates the opportunity to continue skiing competitively.”I just ski raced my whole life,” said Zamansky, whose son, Jake, is a member of the U.S. Ski Team. “I’d ski every day if I could, and I still love running gates.”The chance to race certainly keeps the competitive fires burning, but the series also has a social draw.For Zamansky, who lived in Aspen for 16 years, the series helps him keep in touch with many of his friends who are still in Aspen.Lindsay never lived in Aspen and, as far as racing, “learned as an adult.” While learning, and through the race series, her social circle grew.”These are people I really only see when I do (the Town Race Series) or run into while I’m skiing,” Lindsay said. “They are good friends and some have become year-round friends. It’s definitely a whole social group.”It’s really casual and about having fun,” she added. “People like to win, but it’s about having fun. It is racing, so it’s about going fast too.”The series is open to all levels. The advanced-level skiers compete on Saturdays, while the recreational racers, along with snowboarders and telemarkers, take to the gates on Sundays. Along with the age divisions, there are also team divisions in both the advanced and recreational races.Racers can receive a $34 lift ticket on race day and the entry fee is $20 per race and includes a post-race party. For information on the Town Race Series, call the Racer Hotline at 544-3029. For information on the Town Race Series, call the Racer Hotline at 544-3029.


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