Project Ski More: Colt’s Jam Helps Other Kids Jam
ARL ♥ homegrown talent. Take Colt Whitley. This native son and Aspen High sophomore is currently the #2 cross-country ski racer in Colorado in his age group. He’s representing Aspen on podiums across the Rockies. But what’s got us really fired up is how Colt using his jam to help others jam.
Colt is trying to ski 1,200 kilometers (the distance from Aspen to Chicago) this season to raise funds for youth skiing scholarships.
“My mission is to help others get into skiing and hopefully find their passion, just like I have,” says Colt.
He’s just launched Project Ski More, a website he built to crowdsource his initiative. Contributors can sign on to support Colt for a flat donation or per kilometer. The idea is simple: the more Colt skis, the more other kids can ski.
“What motivated me to start Project Ski More was having to work over the summer to pay for part of my skiing and seeing how expensive it is,” Colt recently told the Aspen Valley Ski Club, where 100% of the funds he raises will go to support their scholarship fund.
“Knowing that scholarships allow me to ski, I wanted other kids to be able to experience skiing and not be held back by the costs.”
So far Colt has raised about $2,500 to help reduce program fees for others. (He won’t personally benefit from any of the scholarship funds he raises.)
“It feels really cool knowing that my skiing, with the support of the community, is allowing other kids to ski,” says Colt.
Colt won his season opener in Breckenridge and just returned from Steamboat Springs, where he took second in a day-long sprint competition of the best skiers in the State. He’s got his sights set on the Junior National Championships, which this year will be held on the 1980 Olympic course at Lake Placid, New York.
As a “Nordic” racer, as cross-country skiing is known, Colt competes in two disciplines — “classic,” which is the traditional elongated stride skiing most people associate with the sport, and “freestyle,” the more dynamic side-to-side skating technique. He races every weekend, December through March, throughout the Colorado Rockies. The competitions come in different formats — mass start (every man or woman for them self) or interval start (a time trial). At his U16 age category, the courses vary from a sprint-length of 1.3 kilometers to a distance of 5 km.
Colt trains with his AVSC coaches and teammates six days a week. On any given week, he’s logging 60-70 kilometers and as of this writing is almost 700 km toward his season goal of 1,200.
Colt hopes to ski in college in a couple of years. He looks up to two other Nordic skiers to have come out of the AVSC ranks, Simi Hamilton and Noah Hoffman, who are currently representing the US on the World Cup.
“Skiing has taken me on amazing trips and allowed me to see beautiful places,” adds Colt. “I think everybody should have the opportunity to do what they love.”
Learn more at www.ProjectSkiMore.com.