SVSEF Gold Team racer Deedra Irwin Wins Birkie Title; Athletes Qualify for Championships



FIS Team
A total of twelve SVSEF U19 athletes have qualified for the U19 Championships, which will take place this year at Copper Mountain, Colorado, February 27- March 4. Athletes made the cut based on results at FIS races designated as U19 national qualifiers.
SVSEF athletes who have qualified for U19 Championships:
Hayden Terjeson
Austin Savaria
Will Snyder
Duncan Fuller
Jay Fitzgerald
Spencer Wright
Yuri McClure
Haley Cutler
Skylar Cooley
Erin Smith
Ruby Marden
Katelyn Rathfon
Alpine Team hones speed at Soldier Mountain
The alpine team (FIS, USSA, IMDB) will focus on building skills in the speed department while attending the Soldier Mountain Downhill Training Camp and Sammis Camas Cup in Fairfield, Idaho, which runs February 22-24. The mountain is closed to the public for the duration of the camp.
“The ski area is just going to be our playground and our classroom. We’ve got an A-list coaching staff with Erik Fisher out of Boise, Jonna Mendes here locally, Will Brandenburg, Phil McNichol, Adele Savaria, Skip Merrick – just an incredible cohort of speed coaches,” explained SVSEF Alpine Program Director Scotty McGrew.
Monday is a fundamentals day, while training on Tuesday focuses on sectioning and full-length skills, culminating with the Sammis Camas Cup Town Downhill. The Sammis Camas Cup is a non-scored race honoring Ketchum’s Brett Sammis, who passed away following a ski accident in 1997. Wednesday will consist of two USSA scored downhill races and is open to athletes U16 and older.
Monroe Cup
Younger SVSEF alpine skiers will have a chance to race on their home turf this weekend at the Monroe Cup races, February 27-28. The two-day event will feature a giant slalom and a slalom event. The event is held in honor of former SVSEF executive director Lane Monroe.


Colorado’s Aspen Snowmass hosted the Freeskiing Open February 18-20, which featured slopestyle and superpipe. The SVSEF Alpha Freeskiing Team ventured south for the events – men’s slopestyle qualifiers were on Thursday, February 18, and men’s and women’s slopestyle finals were on Friday. More than 100 men showed their skills on the slopestyle course; it was excellent exposure for the SVSEF athletes, as it marked their first time competing in an AFP gold level event (competitors hailed from New Zealand, Japan and Switzerland, among other countries).
According to Freeskiing Travel A/B Team Head Coach Reed Snyderman, the “highlight of [the] trip to Aspen was slopestyle on Thursday with all three athletes landing their personal best slopestyle runs.” Oddly enough, Will Griffith, Trey Potter and Jedson Waters all ended up in 20th in their heats of 35 competitors.
Remarked Snyderman, “Griffith skied well – the highlight of his slopestyle run was a double cork 720. Jedson stomped an impressive new trick, a double cork 1260, which was one of the highest degree of difficulty tricks that anybody was performing on this course.”
In the superpipe event on Saturday, athletes skied a beautiful X Games 22-foot superpipe. Hanna Blackwell ended up in 16th place in the women’s superpipe.
For full results:


SVSEF freestyle and freeskiing athletes qualify for Junior Nationals
SVSEF athletes will have the opportunity to showcase their skill, speed and creativity at the Junior Freestyle and Freeskiing Championships, which will take place here in Sun Valley, March 10-13. Junior Nationals include moguls, dual moguls, aerials, halfpipe, slopestyle and big air.
Qualified athletes:
Alex LaFleur
Wilson Dunn
Luke Rizzo
Addie Rafford
Sam Smith
Katie Markthaler
Dual Moguls:
Luke Rizzo
Hunter Diehl
Wilson Dunn
Alex LaFleur
Addie Rafford
Katie Markthaler
Sam Smith
Ridge Dirksmeier
Alvaro Jiraldo
Harper Mallett
Jed Waters
Will Griffith
George Murray
Trey Potter
Lachlan McFarland
Luke Higgins
Braden Buchanan
Charlie Price
Sam Ware
Hanna Blackwell
Amanda Brown
Liesl Beyer
Sarah Kope
Hanna Blackwell
Big Air:
Hanna Blackwell
Will Griffith
Jed Waters
George Murray
Ridge Dirksmeier
Trey Potter
Jed Waters
Joey Markthaler
Ridge Dirksmeier
Sam Ware
Will Griffith
Dylan Mills
The SVSEF Freestyle Comp Travel Alpha and Beta teams head to Deer Valley in Park City Utah, to compete February 27-28 at USSA Intermountain Freestyle Division Championships. Athletes will tackle moguls on Saturday and dual moguls on Sunday.


SVSEF Gold Team stands out at American Birkebeiner
The American Birkebeiner is North America’s largest cross-country ski race, drawing over 10,000 participants to the event in recent years. This year the race was designated as a FIS Worldloppet Cup Race (the premiere international long distance racing series), as races in Estonia and France had to be cancelled earlier this season. The 43rd Slumberland American Birkebeiner course winds its way from Cable to Hayward, Wisconsin. Elite sprints took place on Thursday afternoon in the streets of Hayward, and the main event took place on Saturday. Competitors had the option of either skate or classic for technique; the skate race was a total of 51 kilometers and the classic was 54 kilometers. U.S. team member Caitlin Gregg won the women’s skate race with a time of 2:22:44.5. With her fourth Birkie victory, Gregg stands alone with the most wins ever – man or woman – in the event. In second place was France’s Aurelie Dabudyk (the current FIS Worldloppet Cup leader), and SMS T2 skier Erika Flowers rounded out the podium in third. In the men’s skate event, David Norris of Alaska Pacific University was the overall champion, finishing the race in 2:05:35.4 over second and third place finishers Ivan Perrillat Boiteux of France, and Benoit Chauvet, also of France.
SVSEF Gold Team athletes stood out in the sea of competitors. Wisconsin native Deedra Irwin skated to the top of the podium in the women’s elite sprints on Thursday, out-skiing Elisa Brocard (France) and Annie Hart (SMS T2). It was Irwin’s fourth Birkie championship. Miles Havlick also had a strong showing in the sprints that wound throughout the town streets, ending up in second place in the men’s race behind Welly Ramsey and in front of Loic Guigonnet (France).
In the 51-kilometer skate race on Saturday, Havlick stayed in the elite front pack and finished in a remarkable 14th place. Not far behind him were teammates Rogan Brown and Ben Lustgarten, who tied for 23rd. Matt Gelso was off to a solid start until a broken ski stalled his race and pushed him back in the rankings. Paige Schember opted for the skate race for her first American Birkebeiner, and skied into 24th place overall in the women’s field. Deedra Irwin chose to race in the 54-kilometer classic event for her first American Birkie, and earned her second victory of the weekend, finishing in 3:11:58.8 over Isabel Caldwell of Peru, Vermont, and Josie Nelson of Medicine Lake, Minnesota. (Photo by James Netz).
For full results from the American Birkebeiner:
Sprint results:
Peter Wolter reaches the international stage at U18 Nations’ Cup
SVSEF’s Peter Wolter, a nordic skier who has been in the program for 10 years, travels to Otepaa, Estonia, this week to race in the U18 Nations’ Cup. Wolter’s impressive performances at the US Cross Country National Championships in Houghton, Michigan this season earned him a spot on the international stage. The athlete finished third in the 15-kilomenter classic, sixth in the skate sprint and seventh in the 10-kilometer mass start skate. Wolter will get to see how he stacks up against racers from dominant countries like Norway and Sweden at the Nations’ Cup, which runs from February 21-29; an exciting opportunity when the majority of his career has been focused on racing the same athletes from Utah, Wyoming, and Montana.
For coverage of the U18 Nations’ Cup races:


Payton Bacca tears through competition at REV Tour boardercross event
Payton Bacca, a snowboarder on the SVSEF Alpha Travel Team, was one of two 14-year old competitors amongst a field of established racers at the USSA REV Tour boardercross event at Ski Cooper, Colorado, on February 21. Bacca earned the role of fore-runner for the Nor-AM boardercross races in the days leading up to the event, as athletes have to be 15 years old to compete in FIS-level SBX competitions.
For the REV Tour race, Bacca was qualified in the top 16, and advanced past her first four-man heat to the round of eight. In the round of eight, it was a photo finish for second place – she ended up third and moved on to the small final, finishing sixth overall in the event.
Bacca has been invited to the prestigious 2016 Burton U.S. Open Junior Jam, happening February 29 through March 1 in Vail, Colorado. She has a GoFundMe campaign to help with the costs of the trip; to make a contribution, please go to
Jackson Hole is hosting the next round of the USASA Big Mountain West Series, February 26-28. The rail jam will take place at Snow King Resort, followed by slopestyle and halfpipe at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.


SVSEF alumni made the trek from their various schools to spend the weekend racing at NCAA Regionals at Red Lodge, Montana. The giant slalom event on February 19 was followed by the slalom on February 20. In the men’s giant slalom, Harlan Collins, racing for Rocky Mountain College, finished in 10th, while the University of Denver’s Cole Caulkins landed in 20th.  In the women’s event, Sofia Leroux, skiing for the University of British Columbia, made it onto the podium in second place. Linnea Baysinger (RMC) was 16th, Madison Milgard (University of Washington) was 29th, and Josie Allison (DU) was 44th.
In Sunday’s slalom, Harlan Collins again placed 10th. Marc Leroux came in 21st for University of Colorado-Boulder, and Ben Kanellitsas finished 34th for DU. In the women’s slalom, Jordan Fitzgerald skied into sixth place in the slalom for UBC. Jordan Fitzgerald was sixth, Linnea Baysinger was 13th and Madison Milgard was 15th.

svsef alumni
SVSEF alum Josie Allison, Madi Milgard, Harlan Collins, Jordan Fitzgerald, Ben Kanellitsas, Linnea Baysinger, Marc Leroux, Sofi Leroux and Cole Caulkins.