X Games jumps remade for May training

The wealth of snow produced for Buttermilk’s X Games continues to be put to good use, as Aspen Valley Ski Club (AVSC) alpine racers have been running gates on the recently flattened former slopestyle jumps.

This is the second year that the hefty piles of snow — some up to 50 feet deep — have been repurposed for spring training. It’s a boon to young athletes who can benefit from ski time without the inconvenience and expense of travel.

“We have the snow. We might as well use it,” said Susan Cross, Buttermilk Mountain Manager.

AVSC Alpine Director Greg Needell started calling it the “Buttermilk Glacier” as a joke, and the name caught on.

When he first arrived in Aspen two years ago, Needell was struck by how much snow remained on the front side of Buttermilk well after the lifts were shut.

His vision of pushing out the Winter X Games jumps to create lanes for race training proved popular in its first go-round, with interest growing now in the second year.

Slalom is again planned for May 18-19, conditions permitting. Transport will be via trucks to shuttle the skiers uphill. Between 7-10 a.m., coaches expect they’ll make up to 10 runs in the gates.

The more turns the better in terms of repetition and muscle memory. This extension to the 2012-13 training season can also lay down a foundation for the June on-snow camps AVSC is offering at Mt. Hood and Mammoth Mountain, according to the organization.

“It makes these camps productive because they’ve been in contact with snow,” Needell said. “Any time you get a little more time on snow, it accumulates over their (training) career.”

Photo: Mark Patterson
Skier: Anna Patterson



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