If you met Aspen Spora on the chairlift you’d think he’s like every other 11-year-old kid – he loves to play Xbox, jump on the trampoline, and constantly begs his mom to stay up late. But once he enters the park, you forget he’s about to start the sixth grade. Instead of watching the big boys throw tricks from the sidelines, Aspen is right behind, if not, ahead of them, leading the pack through the superpipe.
Just a few years ago, after a move to Squaw Valley, CA, a low-key East Coast mogul skier blew onto the competitive big mountain scene, with aggressive lines, strong skiing, and memorable airs. The skier even snatched one of skiing’s most coveted awards for impressive and well-executed airs right out from under the noses of the usual suspects for winning it. With that, Jackie Paaso became only the second female in over a decade to win the Sickbird Award. And that is how the ski world got to know Jackie.
When former Olympic skier Jeremy Bloom invited pro skier Chris Anthony to his Wish of a Lifetime Gala four years ago, Anthony was not entirely sure what the organization was all about. Still, he accepted the invite, and found the evening so inspiring that by the time he left, he wanted to get involved.
When professional freeskier and Warren Miller Entertainment ripper Keely Kelleher retired from the US Ski Team in 2010 due to accumulated injuries, she didn’t see an end. Rather, the 27-year old saw only beginnings. It was an opportunity to hone her big mountain skills, have a film career, and to give back to the sport of ski racing and skiing.