New Head Coaches at the Helm of SVSEF Freestyle and Freeskiing Teams

The Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation is very pleased to announce to the addition of two experienced coaches to our freestyle and freeskiing coaching staff.
John Grigsby has been named the head coach of the SVSEF Freestyle Team and Tyler Conway will be the head coach of the SVSEF Freeskiing Team.
Most recently, the 35-year-old Grigsby served as Director of Freestyle Development at Ski and Snowboard Club Vail for six years where he was in charge of a staff of seven coaches and 57 athletes. Grigsby has guided eight athletes to the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team and has nearly 20 years of coaching experience at Carrabassett Valley Academy, S/CVA and Gould Academy, all in Maine. His certifications include USSA Level I Moguls, USSA Level II Inverted Aerials and USSA Level III Coach and Chief of Course.
John Grigsby

John Grigsby, originally from Portland, Maine, is an avid fly fisherman and guide.

“I've had a chance to help coach Hunter Bailey (2016 Junior World Champion/U.S. Ski Team), Heidi Kloser (2014 U.S. Olympian, Sochi) Tess Johnson (youngest ever athlete to make the U.S. Ski C Team at age 15) and Matt Leseur (Bermudian National Team at 2016 Junior Worlds at age 14). Also in the past I have coached U.S. Team members Alison DiGravio, Nessa Dziemain and Troy Tully,” Grigsby noted.
“I'm excited to be given the opportunity to work with the athletes and staff at SVSEF and look forward to taking the freestyle program to the next level.”
A 2006 graduate of Maine College of Fine Arts, Grigsby holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design and is a licensed fly fishing guide in the state of Colorado. He also enjoys archery and whitewater kayaking.
Tyler Conway also hails from New England and is looking forward to moving to Sun Valley and his new role at SVSEF.
“I am very excited to get there and start working with the athletes. I really like designing slopestyle and halfpipe runs for individual athletes so they will have successful competition days. I also like to see them progress on different levels, including school. I like having a positive influence on the kids,” Conway said.
The 36-year-old Conway grew up on a dairy farm in western New York, where he participated in many sports and was a standout high-school wrestler. His uncle introduced him to skiing and he started out as a ski instructor in Vermont and “competed in every local event I could get into at the time.”
Tyler ConwayHis passion for the sport led him to freeskiing in part because he “saw where the sport was going” and he progressed from a terrain park attendant to designing and implementing lessons for slopestyle, halfpipe and big mountain skiers to coaching at Tahoe Freeride, Woodward at Copper Mountain, Colorado, and for the last seven years as the assistant program manager and head coach at Team Breck Sports Club in Colorado. His athletes, including current U.S. Team member Emilia Wint, have competed at the X-Games, U.S. Grand Prix, USASA Nationals, Dew Tour and Revolution Tour.
Conway’s certifications include Level 100 and 200 Freestyle licenses, and Level IV Woodward Trampoline Progression.
SVSEF Freestyle/Freeskiing Program Director Andy Ware remarked, “Both John and Tyler have a great history of helping athletes achieve their goals and earning the right to compete at the highest levels. We are excited to have both John and Tyler join our freestyle and freeskiing programs.”
Conway will come on board June 1 and Grigsby on June 20 – when summer training sessions begin at the SVSEF Air Barn at Community School. As well, both will be involved in hiring additional coaches for SVSEF.
“Now that John and Tyler are in place we will be able to collaborate and build the rest of the coaching staff based on their input and knowledge. We will keep everyone abreast of any developments,” Ware added.
Improvements at the Air Barn include a new air bag bringing the total to two air bags and working on a padded floor system surrounding the trampolines. Eliminating the foam pit and used mattresses will aid in creating a safer and cleaner training environment, according to Ware.
airbag rendering

Rendering of the new air bag to be installed at the SVSEF Air Barn at Community School.

Bumps, Jumps, Air, Park & Pipe: 2016 Junior National Freestyle/Freeskiing Championships

Junior Freestyle/Freeskiing National Championships featured SVSEF athletes on their home terrain.

Despite warm temperatures and the occasional spattering of rain, Junior Freestyle/Freeskiing National Championship events were beautifully orchestrated and well-attended in Sun Valley this past week. Athletes from across the country brought their A-game to the slopes of Baldy and Dollar mountains, where they competed March 10-13.
It was a big undertaking, and Freestyle and Freeskiing Program Director Andy Ware acknowledged the effort that went in to making the event a success.
Said Ware, “I love this community.  We took on one of the largest and most difficult USSA freestyle and freeskiing events to produce and not only made it happen, we made it an incredible experience for everyone who participated.  Those were the worst weather conditions we could have had and [we] still pulled off events. Many of the teams and families from around the country have never been to the Wood River Valley and they were amazed not just with the beauty of it but with the welcoming feeling of everyone here.”
Thursday was the first day of competition; the men took to the moguls, while the women started off with slopestyle. On Friday, roles were reversed; the men competed in slopestyle, while the women attacked the mogul course. Alex LaFleur skied strongly to 14th place overall in the men’s mogul, the best finish by a SVSEF skier in eight years in the event. SVSEF’s Hunter Diehl was third in his age class. In the women’s slopestyle, Hanna Blackwell was third in her age class. On Friday Alvaro Jiraldo skied well in the men’s slopestyle event and took home 24th overall and eighth in his age class. Sammy Smith, who competed in the women’s moguls, was 29th overall as an F11; she was one of the youngest competitors out there.
Competition continued on Saturday with the halfpipe at Dollar Mountain and aerials at Baldy on Roundhouse slope. Jed Waters finished in 16th in the men’s halfpipe, while the women had a strong showing with fourth, seventh and eighth place finishes by Hanna Blackwell, Liesl Beyer and Amanda Brown.
The week of events ended Sunday with the big air competition at Dollar and the dual mogul competition for both men and women on Roundhouse slope. Jedson Waters finished in the top 20 in the big air event, taking 14th overall. Hanna Blackwell finished the weekend on a high note with a fifth place finish on the women’s side.
Commented Ware on the events overall, “It was an amazing display of athleticism from athletes around the country on both Baldy and Dollar.  Watching kids perform such incredibly difficult aerial maneuvers and skiing so fast with so much competitive pressure on them is just incredible.”
The professionalism and care put into making the competition a great one would not have been possible without help from the local community. Ware noted, “I am so grateful to our local sponsors; Atkinson’s Markets and Sun Valley Sotheby’s Realty, Dembergh Brown Builders and Sturtevants Mtn. Outfitters. The many parent volunteers who donated their time, the SVSEF and the Sun Valley Company for putting so many people and resources towards this event.”
Overall top 3/SVSEF members 
Men’s Moguls, March 10

  1. Abe Studler, M19, Eastern
  2. Jack Kariotis, M19, Intermountain
  3. Jesse Andringa, M19, Rocky

SVSEF athletes:
14- Alex LaFleur, M17
38- Wilson Dunn, M17
39- Hunter Diehl, M15
49- Henry Cherp, M15
65- Luke Rizzo, M15
Women’s Slopestyle, March 10

  1. Rell Harwood, F15, Intermountain
  2. Marin Hamill, F15, Intermountain
  3. Caroline Claire, F17, Eastern

SVSEF athletes:

  1. Hanna Blackwell, F17

Men’s Slopestyle, March 11

  1. Quinn Wolferman, M19, Northern
  2. Joseph Lauer, M19, Intermountain
  3. Nathan Miceli, M19, Intermountain

SVSEF athletes:
24- Alvaro Jiraldo, M17
26- Jed Waters, M15
82- Will Griffith, M17
Women’s Moguls, March 11

  1. Olivia Giaccio, F17, Rocky
  2. Hannah Soar, F17, Eastern
  3. Maggie Ryan, F19, Rocky

SVSEF athletes:
29- Sammy Smith, F11
43- Katie Markthaler, F15
55- Devon Brown, F17
56- Eliza Marks, F15
58- Addie Rafford, F15
Men’s Halfpipe, March 12

  1. Cody LaPlante, M15, Far West
  2. Felix Coudouy, M17, Rocky
  3. Keenan McIntyre, M19, Rocky

16- Jed Waters, M15
21- Joey Markthaler, M13
22- Ridge Dirksmeier, M13
27- Will Griffith, M17
29- George Murray, M13
30- Sam Ware, M13
36- Trey Potter, M19
37- Charlie Price, M13
38- Alvaro Jiraldo, M17
53- Dylan Mills, M13
59- Lachlan McFarland, M13
61- Luke Higgins, M13
Women’s Halfpipe, March 12

  1. Marin Hamill, F15, Intermountain
  2. Zoe Atkin, F13, Intermountain
  3. Svea Irving, F15, Rocky

4- Hanna Blackwell, F17, Intermountain
7- Liesl Beyer, F11, Intermountain
8- Amanda Brown, F13, Intermountain
Men’s Aerials, March 12

  1. Patrick O’Flynn, M19, Eastern
  2. Michael Lillis, M17, Eastern
  3. Justin Schoenefeld, M19, Central

Women’s Aerials, March 12

  1. Winter Vinecki, F19, Intermountain
  2. Megan Smallhouse, F15, Eastern
  3. Tyra Izor, F19, Eastern

Men’s Big Air, March 13

  1. Kiernan Fagan, M15, Rocky
  2. Scott McLaughlin, M19, Northern
  3. Mac Forehand, M15, Eastern

14- Jedson Waters, M15
44- Ridge Dirksmeier, M13
25- Will Griffith, M17
35- Alvaro Jiraldo, M17
43- Joey Markthaler, M13
76- Trey Potter, M19
Women’s Big Air, March 13

  1. Caroline Claire, F17, Eastern
  2. Isabella Gold, F19, Far West
  3. Nikita Rubocki, F17, Intermountain

5- Hanna Blackwell, F17
Men’s Dual Moguls, March 13

  1. Abe Studler, M19, Eastern
  2. Jesse Andringa, M19, Rocky
  3. George McQuinn, M19, Rocky

Women’s Dual Moguls, March 13

  1. Hallee Ray, F19, Rocky
  2. Sophia Marseilles, F19, Far West
  3. Hannah Soar, F17, Eastern

AERIALS - USSA JR Champs 2016_AE
BIG AIR - USSA JR Champs 2016_BA
DUAL MOGULS - dualsofficialresults
4 freestyle girls

SVSEF competitors Katie Markthaler, Eliza Marks, Addie Rafford and Devon Brown are all smiles. Courtesy photo.

SVSEF, Sun Valley Ready For U.S. Freestyle/Freeskiing Junior National Championships

 Story by Robin Sias of Sun Valley Company
Some high-flying action is about to come to Sun Valley with the USSA Junior Freestyle/Freeskiing National Championships.  From March 7 to March 13, competitors from all over the country will hit epic moguls, slopestyle courses, big air, and the Superpipe in a quest to see who is best.
riding rails
According to the USSA, “The Junior Nationals brings together the top junior competitors from each division.  Junior National results determine who is the best overall junior competitor in each discipline: moguls, dual moguls, aerials, big air, slopestyle, halfpipe, combined and the best competitor in each age class.  A Divisions Cup is rewarded to the top overall division at the event using the FIS World Cup points system.”
This event is a qualifying U-19 (athletes 18 and younger) competition and draws the national top 60 boys and girls in moguls.; the top 48 boys and girls in dual moguls; the top 50 in aerials; the top 80 boys and top 40 girls in halfpipe, slopestyle  and big air.  More than 25 local Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) skiers, from Elementary School age through high school, will compete.
There will be a spectacle for the eyes on both Bald and Dollar Mountains. On Baldy, mogul and aerial competitions will take place below the historic Roundhouse Restaurant on Roundhouse Slope. On Dollar, athletes will take to the Superpipe and the Terrain Park in numerous events.
Andy Ware, the SVSEF Freestyle, Freeskiing and Snowboard program director, said this is the biggest freestyle event Sun Valley has ever seen. “We are expecting more than 300 athletes on Dollar and Baldy who are coming from Maine to California and everywhere in between,” he said. “Right now, Snow Park Technologies (SPT) is making the Superpipe as grand as it can be and they are building a really great, creative slopestyle course at Dollar. For aerials, we brought four-time Olympian and Olympic Gold Medalist Eric Bergoust to Sun Valley to build the invert jump. He is really inspiring to our athletes.”
Nate Sheehan, Dollar’s Terrain park manager, said that the slopestyle course is going to be innovative and will be something the athletes will love. “We moved the shipping container that GoPro sent for the ‘Out of the Box’ campaign to the top of the course and built a snow bridge over the top of it,” Nate explained. “There are new rails and boxes at the top and rails at the bottom of the course. It adds a lot of flair.” The slopestyle events will be great ones for spectators to watch, too, as they are visible from Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge. Grab some delicious food and a beverage and come out to support the athletes.

Word around SVSEF is the Dollar Mountain venues are in the best shape ever and the halfpipe is "sick."

There will be simultaneous events held daily on Dollar and Baldy. Foot traffic will be permitted on Dollar to catch the action. On Baldy, spectators can buy a “foot traffic” (gondola) lift ticket to access the top of Roundhouse Slope, or if you are on skis or a snowboard, you can catch the action from the bottom of the course. Walking down the course is not advised.
Addie Rafford, a freshman on the SVSEF Freestyle team who competes in moguls and dual moguls said, "I'm most looking forward to competing with my teammates and watching as everyone gives it their all for these two competitions we've been working towards all year."
Hunter Diehl, who, will compete as a SVSEF team member in the dual moguls on Sunday added, “I am most excited to compete against new athletes from other areas that I have not yet seen in competition. I am especially happy that for Junior Nationals, I can compete in my hometown, on our own course!”

Thanks to a ton of hard work by SVSEF staff, Sun Valley Company and volunteers, the mogul course is in great shape. Photos courtesy of Robin Sias.

Everyone is excited to welcome athletes from all over the country. “Many of the kids and families have never been to Sun Valley,” Andy said. “We can’t wait to show it off.” And there will be fun off the hill for the competitors, too. This includes a Dodge ball tournament, a screening of the film “Dog Days of Winter” at the Sun Valley Opera House, and an athlete banquet.
“The energy is very high right now,” Andy said. “We are really excited to host this event.”
A highlight of scheduled events includes:

  • March 10:  Men’s Moguls on Roundhouse Slope at 10:30 a.m.; Women’s slopestyle Competition at Dollar Mountain Terrain Park at 10:15 a.m.
  • March 11:  Women’s Mogul competition at Roundhouse Slope at 10:30 a.m.; Men’s slopestyle competition on Dollar at 10:15 a.m.
  • March 12: Men’s and Women’s Superpipe Competition on Dollar at 10:15 a.m.; Men’s and Women’s Aerial Competition at Roundhouse Slope at 11 a.m.
  • March 13: Men’s and Women’s Big Air Competition at Dollar Mountain at 11 a.m.; Dual Mogul Competition for Men and Women on Roundhouse Slope at 10:30 a.m.

Best of luck to all the athletes. We are really excited that you are in Sun Valley!