By Christine Benedetti | November 30, 2016 | Lifestyle
The Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club stays its 80-year course of excellence.
Just a few years after the first-ever Winter Olympics, held in Chamonix, France, in 1924, a group of dedicated Alpine skiers sought to bring the magic of ski racing to the States—more specifically, to Aspen. By 1937, they had formed the Roaring Fork Winter Sports Club, and organizer André Roch soon cut the first ski run into Aspen Mountain. Both still exist today, but while Roch Run hasn’t changed much, the club— renamed the Aspen Ski Club in 1938 and the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club in 1993—has evolved substantially in its 80 years.
Originally dedicated to promoting competitive skiing—and hosting premier events like the National Alpine Championships in 1941 and the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in 1950—the club has expanded into teaching and nurturing the local love of sport. In June, former Colby College ski coach Mark Godomsky became AVSC’s new executive director. A ski racer from Farmington, Maine, now with three racing sons, Godomsky was attracted to the club’s competition-meets-community ethos.
“Being from a small town with a small ski resort, I’m familiar with providing opportunities for kids to get into the mountains,” he says. “I grew up where the school bus dropped you off at the mountain and your parents picked you up afterward.” AVSC operates in the same spirit. Last season, 2,300 young skiers and snowboarders took part in the organization’s numerous winter programs, some of which have produced world-class athletes.
Olympians Dick Durrance, Andy Mill, and Gretchen Bleiler are alumni, as are U.S. Ski Team members Wiley Maple and Torin Yater-Wallace. Ski stars will be on hand for AVSC’s annual Audi Ajax Cup, on December 30. In March, the Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals return to Aspen Mountain, where competitors will careen down Spring Pitch, Aztec, Strawpile, and Roch Run, where it all started.
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF ASPEN HISTORICAL SOCIETY