With the return of Aspen’s Ajax Cup, pros and locals alike will go head-to-head in support of the town’s next generation of skiers.
One of Aspen’s most beloved skiing traditions makes its way back to the mountain. This year, Audi’s Ajax Cup returns, a nd with skiing legends leading the pack, 16 teams of six will compete for the famed Gorsuch Cup. Here, Director of Development for Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club Miah Wheeler sits down to talk about the history of the race, Aspen’s ski culture and what fans can expect for this year’s competition.
Tell us a little about AVSC and how the Ajax Cup’s contributions have helped the club grow. At AVSC, we coach and inspire kids to excel and promote a community of passion, grit and mountain culture. We have ski and snowboard programs that serve everyone—from first-time skiers to aspiring Olympians. The money we raise goes directly toward keeping our program fees low and funding our direct financial aid.
How has the race changed and developed in the past 10 years? Thanks to the passion of AVSC staff, team buyers and sponsors have elevated the event each year. Out of necessity during the pandemic, we moved to Aspen Highlands for more space. This venue change showcased our Stapleton Training Center and gave our supporters a glimpse of where our athletes train day to day.
How has the support from the ski community at large helped promote the mission of the Ajax Cup? It is extraordinary that we can pull so many pros to participate! All of the pros started in a local club and had mentors and coaches that helped them get to the highest level. They understand their impact, and it motivates kids to get involved in the sport.
What can viewers look forward to for this year’s race? We are excited to have Laura Kaplan and Anna Freedman as our co-chairs this year. They have a great vision and are focused on making this year’s event unique. Aspen 82 and Chukker TV will be livestreaming the event, so you can watch it from anywhere in the world.
What has been one of the most rewarding moments as an organizer of the Ajax Cup? I have to admit that the final run of the event is memorable each year—it starts out slow but quickly gets competitive and intense. I also like to silently cheer on the underdogs and the teams that have been with us every year since the inception, I love seeing them win!
How do you see the Ajax Cup growing in the next 10 years? At the root, we want to make sure this is an exciting fundraiser to participate in, and new sponsors and team buyers always lend excitement in different ways. I think the trick is to keep the event about skiing and racing, all the while knowing we are positively impacting over 2,400 kids!