The Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club says it’s time to get outside and ride again. The novel coronavirus has nearly erased the summer calendar of events here in the Roaring Fork Valley, but AVSC is going ahead with its mountain bike programming in an effort to get the young rippers out of the house.
“We just felt it was important we start to engage kids again,” AVSC executive director Mark Godomsky said. “We are hopefully rolling this out as safe and as professionally as we can and taking into consideration the health and wellbeing of kids, because if that doesn’t exist, we shouldn’t be doing anything. So we are working hard to make sure we have standards and protocols in place.”
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Registration is open for the summer’s mountain bike programming, which is scheduled to get underway June 8. The club is offering two main tiers, one for ages 7 to 9 (Pre-Devo Shredders) and another for ages 10 to 13 (Devo Dirt Shredders). The younger group goes twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday, while the older group has sessions three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
“No one can foresee exactly when certain things are going to be lifted and how this goes back. It’s just this huge sea of uncertainty that trickles over into families doing other stuff and where they might be this summer,” said AVSC coach Rob Russell, who oversees the mountain bike program this year. “The best we can do is make the safest plans we possibly can, and I mean safe as in being conservative and safe for the kids.”
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Part of the safety measures put in place due to COVID-19 include only half-day camps through the month of June, although Godomsky said they’ll go to their traditional full-day sessions beginning in July if the situation allows for it. Each tier is being limited to 16 kids and two coaches, which will be broken up into two groups of eight kids and one coach in an effort to stick to government safety protocols.
Another big change this summer will be the programming’s base at Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel, opposed to the immediate Aspen area. Much like the Roaring Fork Valley as a whole, Crown Mountain has recently seen a boon in its bike offerings, highlighted by a recent grant from Great Outdoors Colorado for $168,091 that is going toward a $484,000 project to add to its existing bike offerings this summer.
“To be based out of Crown Mountain Park this year instead of upvalley is really, really exciting for us,” Russell said. “It’s really fun for us to be part of everything that is going on and to see our program grow. AVSC is really starting to focus on the idea, or look down the road at the idea, that our summer programming could be similar to what we’ve got in the winter.”
Russell said most of June’s programming already is sold out, but plenty of spots remain open for July and the first week of August. Cost is $75 for the pre-devo sessions throughout the summer and $125 for the 10-13 age tier through June, when price goes to $225 per session if they are allowed to go to full-day sessions.
AVSC is saying its summer programming is “100% refundable” if it is unable to happen due to the pandemic.
“Having the opportunity for kids to get outside and see each other and be active is really the focus of what we’ve been doing,” Godomsky said. “Until things open up a little more and we have access to trampolines and things like that, I think mountain bikes are a good opportunity to get kids outside and get them socialized and get them engaged with their peer group.”
The other big piece of AVSC’s summer programming is the annual glacier camp at Buttermilk Ski Area for skiers and snowboarders. The club hasn’t yet been able to commit to hosting the camp, but Godomsky said they should be able to make a more concrete announcement by the end of the week.