It was just a few years ago when then 17-month old Aspen was featured as Keystone Colorado’s Kid of the Week for her crazy snowboarding skills.
Aspen is now three years old and still blazing the snowboarding trail, most recently shredding black runs at the well-known Breckenridge Ski Resort.
Aspen was also featured in TransWorld Snowboarding Magazine in 2015.
For those of you who don’t know much about snowboarding, black runs are reserved for the more advanced and expert snowboarders, due to their typical steep inclines of more than 40%, and to get to this particular run, Aspen rode the Imperial Express, North America’s highest chairlift.
Though it has one of the shortest ride times at Breckenridge (2.7 minutes), the chairlift has a vertical rise of 939 feet (starting at 11,901 feet above sea level), taking riders to 100 feet from top of Peak 8 and a full 12,840 feet above sea level!
Apparently, it was Aspen’s idea to go all the way to the top!
Her journey down the slopes took five minutes and as you can see, Aspen is quite skilled.
Breckenridge has long been popular for its beginner runs, but more advanced skiers often called the resort “Breckenflats,” a reference to its lack of more challenging slopes.
But the Imperial runs are far from flat. The Denver Post called Imperial an “above-timberline panorama of staggering beauty,” that was “steep and thrilling.” The ridge at Peak 8 overlooks the Imperial Bowl and features some challenging terrain, with slopes inclining up to 55%.
Incidentally, Breckenridge was also the first resort to allow snowboarders, an accommodation they made back in the mid-80’s and Aspen is definitely taking advantage of that decision.
Now, if you’re wondering how a three-year old could master such a feat, enthusiasts will tell you that while snowboarding is harder to learn than traditional skis, it’s easier to advance your skills once you acquire the basics.
And don’t forget, Aspen had an early start! She began snowboarding at just 10 months of age through the Burton Riglet Park at Keystone, a program designed to encourage families to learn snowboarding together.
Now, as for the “right age” to begin learning, most experts suggest this is around age seven, when children are more likely to have the physical control to manage the board.
Obviously, that age recommendation isn’t written in stone. After watching Aspen take on the Imperials blacks with ease, it’s clear she definitely has control of the board!
If you’re interested in teaching your child how to snowboard, REI has some great advice to get you started, touching on everything from how to keep them warm to how to choose the right gear. Born to Be Adventurous also has some great advice for parents of toddlers, including a step-by-step to get your little one moving.
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