Nordic ski season ends for AVSC
The Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club Nordic Base Camp and Devo programs at Spring Gulch roared to a close Sunday when families gathered for an afternoon of fun, games and friendly rivalry.
Two trails were constructed for this final event as skiers and their siblings competed in 2 kilometer and 5 kilometer distances. The younger skiers navigated obstacles like hoops and arches through the bamboo slalom.
After all of that racing, there was hot chocolate for everybody. And winners received more than bragging rights that day.
“Everyone got a medal and everyone got a cookie,” said AVSC Excellence Director Walt Evans.
Up in Steamboat Springs this week at the Rocky/Central U16 Championships, Cooper Cornelius skied to fifth place in the series’ first event, the downhill. Teammate Tristan Lane of Basalt was the race winner.
New snow blanketed the course after two blue-sky training days, forcing most racers to rethink their game plan on the 1,875-meter course.
Winter Sports Club coach Deb Armstrong told the Steamboat Pilot, “The weather made this a very difficult course. It took a Herculean effort from the athletes, coaches, volunteers and parents just to get this race course in shape.”
She added, “I think a lot of people expected us to cancel this race, but we pulled together and got it done. Not only did we get it done, but it turned out to be a really good race.”
Starting with bib position 58, Cornelius skied the top section of the course well, but really nailed the steeps on Vagabond and the bumpy bottom to finish in fifth.
Cornelius was the top finisher for his birth year — 1999 — and this strong early race puts him in contention to qualify for the U16 Nationals in Park City, Utah, later this month.
The event opened with an athlete parade, lighting of the Olympic cauldron and fireworks over Howelsen Hill in downtown Steamboat.
The rest of the U16 championship schedule includes super-G, giant slalom and slalom races for men and women aged 14 and 15.
Getting ready for their regional championship is the U14 alpine team. AVSC will send its largest U14 squad in at least five years to the series of races that begin Sunday in Winter Park.
The 16 AVSC athletes who qualified through Prater Cup and Council Cup include two Glenwood Springs residents: Devan McSwain and Levyn Thomas.
McSwain returns to a championship series where she enjoyed plenty of success last year in speed and technical races. This is Thomas’ first season in the older age class.
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