Heavy snow and cold temperatures allowed a new Aspen training venue for skiers, snowboarders and adaptive athletes to open earlier than expected. AVSC’s Stapleton Alpine Training Venue opened Saturday. That’s at Aspen Highlands.
Organizers call the venue “world class” and one of the best early season training grounds. It will cover 35 acres and feature downhill courses, moguls, jumps and rails. It’s meant for alpine racers, freestyle skiers and snowboarders, adaptive athletes and most of all, for the 2300 kids the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club serves.
"When you think about the advantages that this brings to our athletes, for me it’s huge," says AVSC Executive Director Mark Cole. "They get on snow earlier in the season and it’s in their backyard, so it’s less time driving in winter conditions and it’s more time in the classroom."
Cole thinks the club’s athletes will travel less to alternate training venues to compete.
The club raised $2 million to build the venue and professional teams are scheduled to train there including the U.S. Ski Team to the Swiss National Team. Athletes flock to Colorado training centers in October and November because of their high elevations.
AVSC’s Walt Evans helped plan and build the new venue. Fresh snow has helped make the training grounds attractive.
"It does exceed anything that’s available really worldwide at this time of the year. Obviously, Vail/Beaver Creek has phenomenal terrain, as do Copper, Loveland and all of the other Colorado resorts. But this time of year, having Golden Horn and Thunderbowl ready, it's the premiere Super G., G.S. and slalom training venue."
AVSC athletes typically train at Highlands and this season was the earliest ever they were able to get on snow. Even though it’s already being used, a grand opening of the venue is planned next Tuesday (11/25).