Annual Spring Gulch Trails Workday

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

Meet at 1:00pm at the Spring Gulch Trails Parking Lot

We would love to have a big AVSC contingent at this event as the Spring Gulch Trails are a MAJOR partner in offering high quality nordic programs for our Carbondale families.  Please put this on your calendars and show up in force.  Don’t forget to bring your young AVSC athletes to participate and wear some AVSC clothing to represent us well!  September is also a great time to purchase or renew your Spring Gulch Membership.  Click here to be routed to the Spring Gulch Membership page.  

We will be doing our yearly job of getting the Spring Gulch Trails ready for another great season of cross-country skiing. Dress in your durable working clothes and bring suitable rain gear, just in case. We will be doing the usual pruning and clearing so if you have heavy duty pruners, tree saws, wheelbarrows, rakes or shovels, please bring them. Bring some water because it can be hot and dry.

U8 Boys receive awards after the Spring Gulch portion of the 2016 Tour de Sea Ski Festival. THANK YOU SPRING GULCH!


For more information, contact John Armstrong, 970-618-9825 or


AVSC Nordic Community Crust Ski, This Saturday, June 4th!

Lost Man- Anders and Bryan

Anders and Bryan explore Independence Lake on Skate Skis

All athletes, parents, alumni and friends are invited to join us for a Lost Man Crust ski on Saturday, June 4th. You can use skate gear (recommended), AT skis, or snowshoes. We will meet at the Upper Lost Man trail head at 6:45AM sharp and be back in plenty of time for AHS Graduation.

You can ski as long or as short as you want but I’d plan for 1.5 -2.5 hours.

Crust skiing is an out-of-this-world experience, you do not want to miss it! Set your alarm clocks and make sure to eat breakfast.

Meet at the Upper Lost Man Trail Head at 6:45AM.
Bring Skate skis, boots and poles (recommended)
Have lots of water and snacks
Carpool with friends as parking is limited.

We hope to see you there!

Summer Training Groups

Summer is here and it’s time to think about getting in shape so that you can achieve all your athletics goals next year.  Without a doubt, the summer months are the best time to make big gains in your fitness.  Join the Nordic team in weekly roller ski sessions to improve endurance, balance, strength, and ski specific technique.

Carbondale Summer Roller Ski Group- Tuesday’s @5PM
$75 for 10 sessions
June 14th to August 18th
Meet at Roaring Fork High School to ski on Crystal River Bike Path
Always bring skate gear (skate or combi boots, poles and helmet required)
If you do not own roller skis you can arrange to borrow some from the club.

Aspen Summer Roller Ski Group- Thursday’s @ 5PM
$75 for 10 sessions
June 16th to August 20th
Meet at the Rio Grande Bike Path crossing just downstream of the Woody Creek Tavern (by Chaparral Dr)
Always bring skate gear (skate or combi boots, poles and helmet required)
If you do not own roller skis you can arrange to borrow some from the club.


***Registration is due on June 10th

This program is designed for athletes in 6th to 12th grade of all abilities. You do not need any roller ski experience, just patience and a sense of humor.  Athletes will need their own boots and poles.  You can borrow roller skis from the club but need to arrange this with Maria in advance.

There is no formal scholarship process in the summer but shoot Maria a note if any part of this program is cost prohibitive and I will come up with some work-study ideas for athletes.


We do not have a way to order boots through the team in the summer.  You can find some great online deals.  Here is a good one:—20152016/400465/393673/393770/394336/1964600?gclid=Cj0KEQjwvZq6BRC9kfq2zKfQ_94BEiQAOeUVCwrOWUfw8aCjY1PUQRPgI28x20OvhXWHTjN2NSUG16kaAkYK8P8HAQ

If you need poles, you can order new poles through me (send email with pole and size).  The three poles listed below will make great roller ski poles and winter race poles.  The higher the price, the stiffer and lighter the pole will be.  All three options are good to great poles.

Swix CT1 Star- $170 + $15 roller ski tips = $185
Swix CT2 Team-  $140 + $15 roller ski tips = $155
Swix CT3- $90 + $15 roller ski tips = $105

If you already own poles, you just need the $15 roller ski tips.  Let me know if you need these and we can change pole tips together before the first practice.

Rally your friends together join us this summer.  The more people on skis the more fun we will have!  June 13th is coming up fast so get on top of the gear right away!


Big Week Wrap Up

Hi Parents,

I am so proud of the two incredible events we put on last week!  We were able to showcase every AVSC nordic age group, including our awesome parent volunteers!  There was so much energy flying around the nordic trails I still have goose bumps.

Thank you for all your hard work, time and energy making these events possible!  We could not do these events without you.

Here are the results from Thursday and Friday’s state Championships:

State Classic 2016

State Skate 2016

I put the results from Saturday and Sunday’s Roaring Fork Valley Tour de Sea HERE.

There are hundreds of fabulous photos of your beautiful children from this past weekend on our AVSC Nordic Facebook page, courtesy of Beth Wille.  These pictures can be easily copied and saved to your own computer.  You can access the Facebook page even if you do not have Facebook yourself.

Saturday Tour de Sea

Friday State Freestyle Race

Thursday State Classic Race

If you have any good pictures or video from the year, please send them my way (in the highest quality possible) for our end of year video.

Let’s keep skiing until the snow melts.




AVSC Races- Volunteers Needed!!!

Hi AVSC Nordic Families,Stadium

We have four days of racing coming up Feb 25th-28th.  We need tons of help!  There are work opportunities all over the place (Aspen and Spring Gulch).  Look at the volunteer links and sign up for multiple days!  I am so excited about this opportunity showcase our whole valley!  We need all hands on deck.

Volunteer Sign Up, Thursday & Friday:

Volunteer Sign Up, Saturday & Sunday:

Here is the Schedule:

Thursday, February 25th 2016: ASPEN HIGH SCHOOL TRAILS
CHSAA State Champs, 5K Interval Start Classic
3:30PM- Girls
4:15PM- Boys

Friday, February 26th 2016: ASPEN HIGH SCHOOL TRAILS
CHSAA State Champs, 5K Mass Start Freestyle
3:30PM- Girls
4:15PM- Boys

Saturday, February 27th 2016: ASPEN HIGH SCHOOL TRAILS
Roaring Fork Valley “Tour De Sea” Nordic Ski Festival & RMN U14 Champs
Underwater Themed XC Cross Course
10:00AM- 1st Run
11:00AM- 2nd Run
12:00PM- RMN Coaches Relay (we are the defending champions)

Sunday, February 28th 2016: SPRING GULCH
Roaring Fork Valley “Tour De Sea” Nordic Ski Festival & RMN U14 Champs
Wave Start Classic
10:00AM- Start

In addition, we will have 2 work days prior to these events, one in Aspen and one at Spring Gulch.  They will come up very quickly next week so watch your email.  I need to confirm times and days with the grooming/trails folks.



Owl Creek Chase- It’s for YOU!

Dear AVSC Nordic Parents,

This Sunday, February 14th is the Owl Creek Chase.  This is our biggest community skiing event.  It’s a gorgeous ski from the Snowmass golf course to Aspen golf course.  It is a 21K (seems much shorter) and has phenomenal views and awesome rolling terrain.  We are super lucky to have this rare, point-to-point ski event in our community!

You do not have to be a “racer” to participate!  Over 12,000 people finish the American Birkie every year (50K) and anywhere between 5 and 11,000 of them are much slower than you.  It’s not about the racing or racers.  It’s about a shared experience filled with triumph and struggle that brings people together.

Sunday is a chance for you to ski from Snowmass to Aspen without having to take your skis off when you cross roads and have someone bring you water in the middle.  If you know how to Nordic ski AT ALL, come out and join the AVSC staff and participate in the Owl Creek Chase.  You do not have to “race.”  It’s a beautiful ski!  This is a chance for your kids to support YOU!  I guarantee, it will mean something big for them to see you out there.  Register for this awesome community event today!




January Parent Meeting- Bonfire Volunteers Needed!!!

Hi Parents!

Here is what you missed if you could not attend our second parent meeting!

Agenda: Parent Meeting 01212016 Agenda

PLEASE sign up for a volunteer position at our annual Bonfire Dinner on Feb 6th, 2016.  This is the biggest fundraiser we do and we desperately need your help!  Here is the link to sign up:

You can also help by putting posters up around town and telling everyone you know to come out and join us.  Posters are available at the AVSC Clubhouse.  Tickets are for sale on the AVSC website, in the office or at the door.

We will also need a ton of parent help at our home races!  We have the CHSAA State Championship at the Aspen High School Trails on February 25th and 26th.  We also have the RMN U14 Championships on February 27th and 28th.  This will be an awesome 4 days of events that showcase all levels of AVSC nordic programming!  The Volunteer website for these is not quite ready yet but coming soon.

Your kids have been really amazing to work with so far this year.  I hope they can feel some improvement and are loving the racing scene!  We have over half of the season still in front of us so keep up the good work!  Send us your feedback anytime.  We are always trying to improve.

Look for photos of your kids from practice and racing on our facebook pages: HERE and HERE.  Lots of the racing photos are courtesy of Beth Wille.  Thank you Beth!


Your AVSC Nordic Coaches

Nordic Housekeeping

Hi Nordic Families!

I hope you are all enjoying the wonderful snow and your Nordic season with AVSC.  I have a couple housekeeping things for you to start thinking about.

  1. We have our second parent meeting coming up for Devo and Comp Teams!  The Carbondale parent meeting will be on Thursday, January 21st at 6PM at Dos Gringos.  The Aspen parent meeting will take place on Tuesday, January 26th at 5:30pm at the AVSC Clubhouse.
  2. We are starting to have quite a few parent work deposit volunteer opportunities.  Right now we are looking for help calling restaurants to secure donations for the Bonfire Dinner.  This is an easy way to log flexible hours and it’s incredibly helpful.  If you are able to participate, come to the AVSC Clubhouse on Tuesday, January 19th at 3:30PM to start calling with us.  If you can’t make it on Tuesday let me know and we will set you up another time.
  3. Please reserve the Bonfire Dinner date (February 6th) as well as our home competition dates (February 25-28) to help us host incredible community events.

We are really enjoying working with your kids this winter.  Thanks for all that you do to encourage and support your children!


AVSC Nordic Coaches

Keith & Mary’s Beautiful Speech

Hatanaka On December 3rd, 2015 the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club inducted Mary and Keith Hatanaka into our Hall of Fame as Dedicated Volunteers.  Keith and Mary had two children that went through the AVSC Nordic Program, Laura and John.  They spent 12 years as dedicated parent volunteers and have continued to give back to the club ever since, totaling over 20 years of much appreciated service!   At the Hall of Fame Dinner, Keith and Mary gave a beautiful speech that made me feel so proud of our Nordic Community past and present.  I wanted to make sure these words were heard by all Nordic families so I have typed them up for you here.  Please take the time to read this.  I hope you feel the same sense of Nordic Community pride and inspiration it gave me!

When I asked Mary for her speech notes, she wanted to be sure that I communicate her intention to share this award with all the Nordic parent volunteers of their era!  Congratulations to all our wonderful and giving Nordic Parents.  You are very deserving of this recognition.

Keith H

Mary Hatanaka:

This is an incredible honor that I hardly feel worthy of- I still cannot believe it!  We would like to thank AVSC and all of the coaches who made ours and our children’s time with the ski club so unforgettable: Toby Morse, Ruthie Brown, Travis Moore, Austin Weiss, Ben Dodge, John Callahan and Sarah Kuhn.  We also want to thank our fellow volunteer Nordic parents who worked, traveled, spectated, cheered and celebrated alongside us.  We will cherish all of their friendships forever and hope they realize that we feel that they share in this award with us.

That is what the Nordic team boiled down to for me: the friendships, not only with the other parents and coaches, but between our kids, their teammates and their competition from the other teams.

I remember my daughter Laura racing a sprint race when she was in middle school.  At the finish line the top girls collapsed from exhaustion at the finish line, only to stand up and engage in a group hug encompassing girls from 3 other teams.  We always encourage our kids as they left for a race to “have fun, make friends, and go fast”- In that order…

There’s something about being a Nordic parent that makes you want to volunteer for the various positions that present themselves during the course of your children’s Nordic careers.  I think it has something to do with the parents who came before us and served as role models as to what needed to get done.  I remember my first year working the bonfire dinner at the golf course.  Now, that was a huge undertaking!  But the more experienced parents showed us the way and as always, it was not only fun but a huge success.  Afterwards, I remember thinking to myself “if in addition to my son John, my daughter Laura goes through Nordic until her senior year, we will be doing this for the next 12 years!”  And guess what, WE DID!  But when it came time for me to recruit volunteers for AHS Project Graduation- guess who I turned to?  You guessed it, my fellow Nordic parents- the best volunteers around!  Who else was as well versed in food pick-up, presentation and delivery?

So, in conclusion, I would like to ask every Nordic parent here tonight, including those of you who are also coaches, to raise your glasses, give yourselves a hand and share in this award with us, after all, teamwork isn’t a word that just applied to our kids.

Thank you!

Keith Hatanaka:

You know, when I found out that I had to make a speech tonight, I knew I needed help.  I would like to thank my wife for her help in writing this speech.

When I look back on our years with the Nordic family so many memories come to mind.

I remember Easter egg hunts on skis up at the North Star Preserve.  One year, there was a fox who followed the kids around trying to steal colored eggs from their baskets.

In the early years, the team used the James E Moore Pool maintenance building for their club house.  It had a couple of old couches and some ramshackle locker.  The team waxed their skis outside.

Back then, there was only one old AVSC van, so we had to organize transportation to the events.  We would drive my daughter Laura, Noah Hoffman, and Ryan Waldron to a lot of the races.  John would get to ride in the van with the big kids.  Laura and Noah had an issue with motion sickness so occasionally we would pull over and let them out.  They decided the best way to feel better was to jog in front of the car.  Safe?  Not today, but it was on the trough road and it was deserted.

In 2006, Ruthie and Toby took a group of the older kids to Norway where they were able to ski the Birkebeiner course.  That’s where my son John turned 16.  It was an unforgettable experience.

On one occasion, we were on Howelson Hill in Steamboat Springs for a race.  During the warm up, Simi Hamilton decided to try the new half pipe on his race skis, he broke them.  Ruthie had to scramble and find an old pair of skis from somewhere for Simi to race on.  He won.  He also was in trouble.  Even then, after the race he took the entire team through the half pipe afterwards.

Then there were our kids stories of some of their practices which involved riding the buttermilk lift after school with their Nordic skis.  They would then play lacrosse which became known as Nordcross as they raced down the mountain.  And who will ever forget, Nord on Boards.  The Nordic teams brief foray into snowboarding.

For several years the Nordic team raised money selling firewood.  The athletes and parents would show up at 8AM to a stack of 20 foot logs and we would spend the day cutting, splitting, delivering and stacking all of the wood.  A ton of work.  Thankfully, they don’t do that fundraiser anymore but it was a great team building event for both the kids and parents.

Going up on the Mesa to ski the weekend before Thanksgiving is one of my fondest memories.  The snow was almost always perfect, the setting was beautiful and all of the families had a great time skiing and socializing and the cinnamon rolls at the Grand Mesa Lodge were so big that it was necessary to share one with 3 or 4 people!

My best memories encompass all of the above and more.  Our kids developed a value system based on hard work, integrity, caring and respect for their fellow teammates.  They will always love Nordic skiing and the opportunity it presents to enjoy our beautiful outdoors.

One of the first things I remember Toby telling us when our family first became a part of the Nordic team was that his hope was that the athletes would develop a lifelong love of Nordic skiing.  Well Toby, mission accomplished.

Thank you all!