Motherlode: Inquiry


How can I contact someone the week of the event?

Emails sent through this site are monitored until the Wednesday of the event (that’s the Wednesday before Labor Day). After that you can only make contact at the tournament or via email after Labor Day weekend.

I emailed a question but haven't received a response; why?

Every effort has been made to provide all the information you need on this site. If you email a question that is answered somewhere on this site you will not receive a reply. Please make sure you review all the website sections before sending your question.

What rules and/or formats are used at the MotherLode?

All divisions: FIVB rules apply.

Sand divisions play double elimination; match play (21/21/15); rally scoring. Loser’s bracket rounds will be single games to 25; rally scoring.

Grass divisions are grass teams are pool play (*1) with bracket playoffs. Co-ed divisions break the top team into a single-elimination bracket and finish on Friday. All other grass divisions are pool play on Saturday with the top two teams moving into a double-elimination Championship Bracket; remaining teams will move on to a single-elimination Festival Bracket. Both played on Sunday.

The Tournament Director may adjust this format at any time.

*1) Pool-play consists of individual games, not matches. Playoffs are limited to a 64 team bracket (e.g., fewer teams will break pool if playoffs in any division will be larger than 65 teams).

Can a co-ed team play in a Men's division?

No. Co-ed teams are not allowed to play in a men’s division.

If my partner is injured can I pick up a substitute?

There are no substitutions in doubles. You must finish the tournament with the partner you started with or drop out of the event. If you have used your timeouts you can select to play as an individual until your partner recovers if that is a possibility.

What ball will be played at the MotherLode?

TBD – we don’t currently require a specific ball.

I signed up online but the division closed?

Check the confirmation list on the website and contact the registrar for your options.

Can I check if my team made it in?

Go to the confirmation page. This page is updated the first and fifteenth of August. A final confirmation page will be posted after the entry deadline one week before the event. No updates will posted after the final notice is available. You can email the Registrar with any corrections, however, the Registrar will not respond to any requests regarding entries received.

What if my team has to cancel?

Occasionally teams or players have to cancel. The registrar will intercept payment and destroy the check if cancellation is received before payment is processed.

Credit card entries are processed the same day so there are never refunds or credits offered for online entries. After the payment has been processed, the player or team will receive credit for a future entry. NO REFUNDS WILL BE PROVIDED, for any reason.

What if a division closes before my entry is received?

The team will be moved up or down into the closest available division depending on space. A team may be moved up or down more than one division if space is not available in an adjacent division. Teams may select to cancel their entry.

How can I enter before a division closes?

The MotherLode offers credit card processing of entries. This may allow a team to enter quickly if they realize their division is close to being closed.

How many teams are accepted in each division?

Typically, only sand and co-ed divisions have limits:

  • Men’s Seniors -12 teams each;
  • Women’s Seniors – 12 teams:
  • Men’s Masters – 28 teams;
  • Women’s Masters – 12 teams;
  • Men’s Open – 48 teams;
  • Women’s Open – 48 teams;
  • Co-ed grass divisions are limited to 50 teams. Co-ed Open sand is limited to16 teams.
  • The Tournament Director may adjust limits for divisions as necessary. These will be posted on the website if possible but many times this is caused by a logistical issue with the parks we use and is discovered when setting up for the event.

History & Past Results

In 1972, a couple of Aspen, Colorado restaurateurs decided to spice up what was, at that time, a lackluster Labor Day Weekend by hosting a small, invitation only, volleyball tournament. Little did they know that their one day, 14 team tourney was going to become one of the biggest, and most popular, pro-am beach doubles volleyball Events in North America – the MotherLode Volleyball Classic, held every Labor Day Weekend in Aspen, Colorado.

Transplanted from Newport Beach, California, all Howard Ross and Gordon Whitmer – the co-owners of The MotherLode Restaurant, in Aspen – were trying to do was to have a little fun and provide themselves and their friends with a beach volleyball “fix” on a quiet Labor Day Weekend. They set-up courts in Wagner Park, provided food for a barbecue, brought in a keg of beer, and played volleyball. The winners of that first “informal” tourney were none other than beach legends Chester and Steve Goss, from San Diego living in Aspen. It was fun! So…they decided to do it again the next year. And, a few more teams showed-up. The next thing they knew, they had – without the benefit, or effort, of advertising and promotion – a full-blown tourney on their hands. In those early years, registrations were taken by the restaurant’s bar tenders; was produced by one of their waiters (Andy Hanson, originally from San Diego); and, t-shirts were produced and sold by another waiter. The tournament had grown from 14 teams to over 160 teams and had supplanted the Colorado Open, held in Boulder, as the toughest tourney in Colorado. As well, they were starting to draw teams from outside the State – especially from the beaches of California. And…it was getting too big for the restaurant to handle.

In 1981, Ross and Whitmer brought in local volleyball player, coach, and event promoter – Leon Fell – to produce and coordinate the schedule of events surrounding the tournament. Fell, who was, at that time, producing the series of events pertaining to the Subaru/Aspen Winternational World Cup Skiing (America’s Downhill) week, in Aspen, asked them if they were interested in doing what it took to make the ‘MotherLode’ (as it was becoming called) into a National tourney. They laughed and said “sure” – thinking that that was something that could never be. The next year, Fell hired regional tournament organizer Tim Weiand as Tournament Director and set-up a new infrastructure for marketing and promotion – MotherLode Volleyball Productions. He utilized his gregarious nature and his growing contacts within the volleyball world and proceeded with his dream to make the landlocked beach tournament one of the most renowned Events in beach volleyball — all the while trying to maintain the original flavor of that first tourney.

Over the years, the Event has grown to become the most comprehensive beach doubles volleyball tournament in North America; including upwards of 700 teams coming from all over the United States to participate in, and celebrate, what Volleyball Magazine has termed “the social event of the outdoor volleyball season”. It has expanded from a one-day tourney to a five-day Event. And, from one division to 17 divisions of play ranging from Men’s and Women’s Open to Women’s B – with Men’s and Women’s Senior’s and Master’s divisions in between. It has drawn players such as the 2000 Sydney, Australia Olympic Beach Volleyball Champion Dain Blanton to the likes of other current AVP players like Vince Robbins, Mike Whitmarsh, Canyon Ceman, Adam Jewell, Dax Holdren, Albert Hanneman, Linda Hanley, Leanne Schuster, Nancy Mason, Danalee Bragado, Liz Pagano, and Rachel Wacholder. Ex-AVP and USA National team players such as Pat Powers, Jon Stanley, Dane Hansen, Byron Shewman, Danny Patterson, Shawn Fallowfield, Jon Stevenson, Steve Timmons, Roger Clark, Craig Moothart, Tom Duke, Mark Tanner, Rudy Dvorak, Leif Hansen, Rob Heidger, Curtis Griffin, Erik, Moore, Ryan Post, Andrew Cavanaugh, Larry Benecke, Larry Mear, Eric Wurts, Pono Ma’a, Janice Opalinsky, Elaine Rogue, Hillary Johnson, Kim Harsch-Bird, Christine Schaefer, Gayle Stammer, Laurel Brassey, Valinda Hilleary, Pat Keller, and Canadian star Garth Pischke have graced the ‘Lode’s main championship courts. As well, beach legends Jon Lee, George Zebot, Dan Salyer, Chester and Steve Goss, David King, Scott Steele, Bob Pape, and Monty McBride have continued their storied careers here. The MotherLode has been the proving ground for many rookie AVP players and the feeling of satisfaction for many other amateur players from around the Country. More than quite a few volleyball relationships have been made at “the ‘Lode” as well as many marriages and anniversaries.

Past Results



Contact Us

All questions can be submitted to the tournament director via email only. The director will answer questions or forward your question to the promoter. Carefully review the site and FAQ . No response will be sent if your question is answered somewhere on this site.

Contact the director at: