Youth movement at Sunlight
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Chris Adelman is doing everything he can to help cater to a big crowd this weekend.
No, not the big crowd that’s amassing upvalley in Aspen for the X Games. It’ll be a much smaller crowd but, regardless, a very big crowd nonetheless.
“Trust me,” said Adelman, who is serving as the event organizer for the annual U12/U10 Skills Quest Race Festival that takes place Saturday and Sunday at Sunlight Mountain Resort. “We’re going to have a lot of people, and we’re doing everything we can to accommodate them.”
Adelman has been working long hours each day for the past three weeks trying to make sure the hundreds of youth ski racers — and the parents they bring with them — will be taken care of. In all, Adelman, the former president of the Sunlight Winter Sports Club, said that 225 youth ski racers were registered for the event through Tuesday night.
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Add in the parents and family members who accompany those skiers to this weekend’s races, and there’s a very real chance of close to 1,000 extra people running around — and skiing down — Sunlight Mountain this weekend. And those people come from all over Colorado and from out of state, with club skiers coming from as far away as Flagstaff, Ariz., and Taos, N.M.
That number could actually increase by the time the actual event gets here. Adelman said last year’s version of the annual event drew a record 260 youth skiers, and registration will remain open through Friday. Event organizers, Adelman said, have also opened the event up to a limited number of racers who are 6, 7 and 8 years old.
“We have a lot more younger kids who are enjoying the event, and the families like coming to Sunlight,” Adelman said. “It’s a very friendly atmosphere, and it’s even a spectator-friendly event.”
In-state clubs that are attending come from Vail, Powderhorn, Steamboat Springs, Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club, Loveland resort, Winter Park, Breckenridge and Purgatory resort near Durango. The participants will compete in events that include a skills-quest slalom, a regular slalom and even a dual-slalom race, where competitors race against each other down the course simultaneously instead of separately.
With all of those people coming from outside Garfield County, it leaves a potentially limited number of lodging accommodations for the families of the competitors, especially with some of the X Games’ daily potential crowd of 40,000 likely overflowing into the Glenwood Springs area overnight.
“People get creative when it comes to that,” Adelman said.
Racers will load up onto the lifts beginning at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, with racing starting not long afterward on the Joslin and Dotsero runs.
“There’s going to be a very broad spectrum of abilities for the skiers who are there,” Adelman said. “There’s some kids who are going to be very new to the sport, but there’s going to be others who run very fast, proficient runs. Not many adults would be able to beat those kids, and that’s something worth seeing.”
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