Athletes at the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club (AVSC) can now train year-round locally thanks to new equipment upgrades.
The club has purchased a trampoline, dubbed the “super tramp,” and two large air bags to assist athletes training for big air tricks. One of the bags will replace a foam pit that braces athletes’ falls after they launch themselves off of ramps; the other bag will serve as a soft landing surface for on-mountain practice.
The super tramp has a larger surface area than regular trampolines and allows for more off-axis flipping and spinning, while the bags give athletes doing tricks off of ramps landing support, said Tyler Lindsay, snowboard programs director for AVSC.
“It allows kids to work on tricks in a lower consequence environment before taking them to the mountain,” Lindsay said.
Eventually, AVSC plans to install an artificial snow ramp on Highlands Ski Area where one bag will stay year-round, Lindsay said. The ramp, which uses natural snow during the winter, will have the capability to allow skiers to ride it during the summer as well. The plan is to have the ramp up and running by the start of the summer, Lindsay said.
The greatest benefit of the upgrades, which have been in the works for about five years, is that they will allow athletes to train in Aspen throughout the year in a safe environment, Lindsay said.
In the past, aspiring skiers and snowboarders would have to travel around the world during the summer to train. The required travel made it expensive for athletes to participate in the program, and participation became limited to those who could pay for it, Lindsay said.
“For a long time we have been offering some kind of yearlong training to our athletes,” he said. “The problem is that it has required a lot of travel ... and it’s expensive. It ends up being limited to athletes with financial means. Now we will be able to offer year-round training on a much more cost-effective basis and we’re able to do it locally.”
The upgrades will likely attract more athletes to the program because not many other facilities have the equipment, Lindsay said. Aspen is now one of three commercial venues in the country that has a super tramp, and only a handful of other programs have air bags and an artificial snow ramp, he said.
The equipment is the first in a series of improvements to be paid for by a $15 million capital campaign currently underway at AVSC. About $5 million of the campaign goal is directed at expanding training opportunities for participants, and the remaining $10 million will establish the Bob Beattie Perpetual Endowment Fund in honor of the legendary U.S. Ski Team and Olympics coach.