Aspen's hometown ski and snowboard training club - the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club - is beginning work on $3 million in venue improvements to its training facilities on the slopes of Aspen Highlands that will allow its athletes to get on the slopes early in the fall before the lifts open, and lap their racing gates and freestyle terrain quicker. AVSC, which already has its own private chairlift that delivers its athletes at the top of Highlands' Powder Bowl from its club house down the valley, is hoping to build two surface lifts: one along skier's right of Golden Run so racers can lap gates quicker, and a second shorter one alongside AVSC's private freestyle training area off the skier's right of the Smuggler trail so athletes can lap the moguls course and training jumps more quickly. AVSC is seeking Forest Service approval for the Golden Run surface lift, which will also be open to the public, while the freestyle lift will be built on private terrain. AVSC is currently also adding 17 acres of snowmaking to the top of Golden Run and is smoothing out the terrain there.
With this project, which the club is funding on its own as part of a $15 million capital campaign, AVSC is hoping it can forego the necessary and expensive fall training trips to Summit County every November and let its largely middle and high school-age athletes train at home. It will fund additional ski patrol staff at Highlands, too, and although its coaching staff is concerned about building an early-season training venue on an East-facing trail that gets a lot of sun, they're still confident they can get training venues up and running weeks before the lifts spin for the public in Aspen.