Strong turnout highlights season-opening races |

Strong turnout highlights season-opening races

Madeleine Osberger
Youth skiers come down the race course in warm conditions during the first day of the Roaring Fork Series races on Dec. 22 at Aspen Highlands. Competitors from both the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, along with the Sinlight Winter Sports Club, took part in the event.
Michele Cardamone / Courtesy Photo |

ASPEN — Turnout was strong for the first Roaring Fork Series races of the season, held this past Sunday, Dec. 22 at Aspen Highlands. Hosted by Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club, the giant slaloms offered skiers aged 13 and younger the season’s first real test in the gates.

“We always like coming up here to visit our friends,” said Leigh Sheldrake, coach of the Sunlight Winter Sports Club. “The kids have a friendly rivalry.”

Sunlight fielded 15 competitors for this locals’ event, which served as a warm-up for the USSA Age Class races that begin in January at Loveland and Winter Park.

“It’s a great turnout for the first race,” AVSC Alpine Director Greg Needell said.

Needell said more than 100 kids from the valley and beyond registered for the event.

Terry Elle of New Castle watched Sunday as her daughter, Hailey Hoffman, completed the first of two giant slaloms.

“Hailey’s psyched,” Elle said. “She has high expectations for herself.”

And those expectations were likely met, as the seventh-grader finished fourth in the first giant slalom but moved up to a silver medal position in the day’s second GS.

Winners of the first GS, held on Highlands’ Thunderbowl trail, included Samantha Edelman, Allyson Cornelius and Levyn Thomas. On the men’s side, it was Jake Morgan, Tyler Thomas and Jack Bowers standing atop the podium.

In the second giant slalom, winners of the women’s under-10, U12 and U14 categories included Cate Simpson, Cornelius and Elsie Clauss. For the men, it was Morgan, Thomas and, in a tie, Bowers and Myles Pember for the U14s.

Open to members of AVSC, Sunlight Winter Sports Club and Powderhorn, the next Roaring Fork Series race, a slalom, is scheduled for Feb. 2. The final event in the series is a skills race that’s planned for March 30.

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