The group with Zoe and her first place medal, photo by Tiffany Curci


USASA Nationals

By Andy Gilbert, Head Snowboard Coach

The SVSEF Snowboard Team travelled to Copper Mountain, Colorado, to participate in the 30th annual USASA National Snowboard Championships. SVSEF fielded a 9-rider team with coaches Andy Gilbert and Ricky Millett making the trip. Channing Curci, Maddie Hothem, Zoe Bacca, Olive Gilbert, Jack Verhaeghe, Caleb Hothem, Sebastian Lerner, Nico Lerner and Brody McBee competed. Once again, the SVSEF Snowboard Team, while not one of the biggest programs in the country, showed that its riders are always in the mix. The team had several riders going for overall titles, as well as riders focused on particular events.

This event has five disciplines going every day for five days. The week started off with a heavy practice day followed by alpine events. The Sun Valley riders showed solid fundamentals in the alpine events with Channing Curci, Nico Lerner and Jack Verhaeghe participating and pulling down solid results in the top 20.

In the freestyle events, the slopestyle course was approachable and allowed riders to really showcase the tricks they have learned during the season. Conditions were changing all day, so the speed was a little tricky and adjustments needed to be made. On the boy’s side, Jack Verhaeghe was the top SVSEF finisher in 13th, one spot out of finals. Caleb Hothem and Sebastian Lerner had trouble with some landings but still showed glimpses of what’s to come. Nico Lerner had a good first run that with some fine tuning in the future should get him into the finals, finishing 18th. On the ladies side, Olive Gilbert had a clean jump line and a good first run which is starting to shape up nicely. The top SVSEF finisher was Channing Curci in 17th place with solid grabs and a clear rail section. She’s one to watch next season.

Halfpipe day really showed how good Sun Valley kids are at holding an edge, even though they do not have a pipe to train in regularly. On the guys side, all the boys scored in the 70’s and were riding extremely well. Caleb Hothem had great amplitude all day and posted a solid 15th in the event. Jack Verhaeghe made the finals taking the tech approach straight air, front 3, cab 3, front 5, back 5, and a huge last hit straight air to land in ninth on the day. Nico Lerner had a top 10 in 18th in the 10-11 class. The ladies didn’t disappoint, with Channing Curci using a smooth style to land in eighth, Maddie Hothem using amplitude and a 5 to end up in ninth.

Boardercross was really competitive this year, and the SVSEF riders more than held their own. Both Jack Verhaeghe and Nico Lerner made it all the way to the semi-finals and were both on a mission to advance to the final. It just wasn’t in the cards and both riders finished a solid sixth in their groups. The ladies were ready to go all day and had some of the most entertaining races all day long. Maddie Hothem was in the mix all day and made it all the way to the semifinals. She was literally a foot away from making the final alongside teammate Zoe Bacca. Maddie finished seventh on the day. Zoe was on a mission all day and had a focus that was the talk of the start area. She went about her business and stayed loose and ready all day long. When it was all said and done, Zoe Bacca was the 2019 USASA Youth Women’s boardercross national champion!

On the week, the SVSEF Snowboard Team had eight top ten finishes, Nico Lerner ended up 4th in the 10-11 overall hunt. Jack Verhaeghe was second overall in the biggest and toughest Breaker Boys 12-13 class. This from a team that is young and hungry. Most of these riders will be at the top of their age classes next year. It’s going to be fun to watch; congrats to everyone!


Results by class and discipline:

Youth Women 14-15:

Channing Curci GS 15/SL DNF/BX 21/SS 17/HP 8

Maddie Hothem BX 7/HP 9

Zoe Bacca: BX 1st

Breaker Girls 12-13:

Olive Gilbert BX 39/SS 33/HP 26

Breaker Boys 12-13:

Jack Verhaeghe GS 16/SL 19/BX 6/SS 13/HP 9 (2nd Overall)

Caleb Hothem BX 21/SS 72/HP 15

Sebastian Lerner BX 39/SS 52/HP 17

Menehune Boys 10-11:

Nico Lerner GS 7/SL 12/BX 6/SS 19/HP 18 (4th Overall)

Youth Men 14-15:

Brody McBee BX 40/SS 40



Jack Verhaeghe, second overall for Breaker boys
Willy Griffith, a senior, in his final event at USASA Nationals


USASA Nationals Copper Mountain


Twelve SVSEF freeski athletes competed at USASA Nationals at Copper Mountain in Colorado. SVSEF athletes competed in halfpipe, rail jam, skiercross and slopestyle events, selecting into events of their choosing. At the close of the week, SVSEF walked away with three gold medals; Walker Woodring won the Grommet (8-9) halfpipe and skiercross, and Ben Fethke won Breaker boys (12-13) halfpipe. SVSEF athletes showed their versatility, with two overall podiums for the week based on a culmination of results across disciplines. Barrett took second overall for 8-9 year olds, and Walker was third in the same age group.

“It was a very solid week for this crew,” said Freeski Head Coach Tyler Conway. “There was great weather and everyone skied really well. I was really impressed by the older boys, who decided to step it up and compete in the open class, rather than their specific age groups to really push themselves and apply all their training this year to competition in a higher caliber field. These guys probably would have podiumed if they had stuck with their age groups; instead, they chose to challenge themselves and see how they fared against the big guns. With our younger athletes (Progression team), we were really impressed with the good attitudes, focus and determination they brought with them into competition. It was a good week across the board.”

In halfpipe, Ridge Dirksmeier had a great comp, finishing ninth in the Open class. Harper Mallett and Joey Markthaler both had good days, as well, ending up 11th and 13th. Walker Woodring won for 8-9 year olds, and teammate Barret Beyer was fifth. Ben Fethke took gold for Breaker boys (12-13) in a field of 42. Anton Holter was 14th in the same age class. “The team as a whole did a great job in the pipe; even without a halfpipe at home, the training we do still applies,” said Conway. “Training spins and flips on jumps translates well, and it showed this week.”

For Inez Kraynick, this was her first year going to Nationals. It was great exposure and experience for the 12 year old; she ended up 23rd in slopestyle for breaker girls (12-13).

For rail jam events, Will Griffith secured a third place finish in the Open class. Barrett Beyer was second for Grommets (8-9).

Skiercross was an exciting event for this crew; both Walker and Barrett made it to finals for Grommet boys. Walker ended up taking the win, and Barrett finished just off the podium in fourth. Johannes Liabo was sixth for Junior men (16-17).

Ridge Dirksmeier finished 18th in slopestyle open class, out of 67 athletes. Will Griffith was 20th, Harper Mallett 33rd and Joey Markthaler 36th. Kyle Kope landed in 22nd for Junior men. For Breaker boys, Ben Fethke was 10th and Anton Holter 18th. Barrett Beyer found the podium in slopestyle for Grommet boys in second, and Walker Woodring was 20th.  



Scoping the rail jam
Zeppelin Pilaro, Barrett Beyer and Walker Woodring
Barrett Beyer, second place in Grommet boys slopestyle
Walker Woodring, first place in Grommet boys skiercross
Jessica Blackburn in first and Marit Kaiser in third for the women’s GS #2


USSA, Last Chance/Snow Cup at Snowbird


SVSEF USSA athletes competed in the Last Chance event at Snowbird. Skiers saw some positive results, with a number of podiums and top 10s throughout the weekend, and some overall titles for individual disciplines.

Women’s GS #1: Logan Lindstrom 6th overall (1st U16), Saba Grossman 10th overall (5th U16), Hannah Ferris (8th U16) 17th overall

Women’s GS #2: Jessica Blackburn 1st, Marit Kaiser 3rd (2nd U16), Hannah Ferris 9th overall (7th for U16s), Logan Lindstrom 10th overall (8th for U16s),  

Women’s slalom#1: Marit Kaiser 2nd (1st U16), Saba Grossman 9th overall (4th U16), Anhwei Kirk (9th U16) 18th overall  

Men’s GS #1: Colin Hanna 27th  (9th U16), Jett Carruth 29th (11th U16), Cole Curci 31st overall (1st U14)

Men’s GS# #2: Ryder Sarchett 3rd overall (2nd U16), Nathan Gowe 18th overall (11th U16), Carter Sammis 26th overall (17th U16), Jett Carruth 29th overall (20th U16).

Men’s SL #1: Nathan Gowe 6th overall (3rd for U16s), Nils Galloway 14th overall (7th U16), Josh Blackburn 15th overall  (8th U16), Carter Sammis 23rd overall (12th U16 overall), Cole Curci 28th overall (top U14)

Men’s SL #2: Buey Grossman 4th overall, Nathan Gowe 14th overall (7th for U16s), Finn Mallinen 15th overall, Josh Blackburn 16th overall (8th for U16s), Nils Galloway 17th overall (9th for U16s)

Downhill IMD Cup: 1. Casell Lefevre, 2. Ridley Lindstrom

Downhill IMD Cup: 3. Falon Hanna

IMD Cup GS overall men: 1. Ryder Sarchett

IMD Cup GS overall women: 2. Dasha Romanov, 3. Marit Kaiser

IMD Cup Slalom overall: 2. Nathan Gowe



FIS, Rocky Springs Series, Aspen


Alpine FIS completed the Rocky Spring Series, held at Aspen, racing in downhill, super G, GS and slalom. “Jack had a career best result with his sixth place finish in GS, and was second on the second run,” explained coach Nick Stenicka. “Bridger, Bennett and Jack all had some strong speed results, and  Bridger had very solid super G days, which was good to see. Erin Smith had a pretty fast second second run on the first GS day for the ladies. Lizzy had some nice top ten results in DH, as well.”



Downhill 1: Lizzy Vanderkloot 9th

Downhill 2: Lizzy Vanderkloot 7th

Super G 1: Vanderkloot 32nd

Super G 2: Vanderkloot 27th

GS 1: Alum Haley Cutler 7th, Erin Smith 16th

GS 2: Haley Cutler 15th, Erin Smith 27th, Merumo Ishimaru 38th

Slalom: Haley Cutler 15th, Merumo 17th



Downhill 1: Alum Tanner Farrow 4th, Bridger Harrison 7th, Bennett Snyder 13th

Downhill 2: Tanner Farrow 4th, Jack Smith 5th, Bridger Harrison 10th, Bennett Snyder 17th

Super G 1: Tanner Farrow 1st, Alum Spencer Wright 6th, Bridger Harrison 7th, Bennett Snyder 14th

Super G 2: Tanner Farrow 5th, Bridger Harrison 7th

GS 1: Jack Smith 6th, Bridger Harrison 32nd, Max Noddings 36, Bennett Snyder 49

GS 2: Max Noddings 33rd

Slalom: Bennett Snyder 27th, Cassell Lefevre 35




FIS, Western Region Spring Series, Mammoth


Three SVSEF skiers have been at Mammoth for Western Region Spring Series; others will join them from Aspen for the rest of the races. Falon Hanna kicked off the week with ninth and 10th in downhill races, Carly Walther-Porino was 17th and 15th in the same, and Ella Koplin 21st. Upcoming races include super G, followed by giant slalom and slalom.



Lizzy Vanderkloot in third for women’s downhill U19s


Comp + Prep, End of Season Banquet

Cross country Comp and Prep teams had a nice year end awards ceremony Saturday evening at the Limelight Hotel to “officially” wrap up the 2018-19 season. Approximately 200 skiers and family members were in attendance. The themes for the evening were much the same as in years past, which are best summed up as;

Be present and enjoy the journey

There is a place for every child on the team, all you have to do is engage

Challenge yourself often

Results don’t matter, effort does

Winter came early which helped us activate all of our teams right on schedule and the result was many, many kids of all ages fully engaged in cross country skiing and all that if offers.


Thanks were offered to all those who support the cross country ski program and the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation.


2019 SVSEF Cross Country Ski Comp Team Awards

Most Inspirational Girl: Sophia Mazzoni (voted on by teammates)

Most Inspiration Boy: Joe Hall (voted on by teammates)

Coaches Award: Quinn Closser  (1 coaches award on Comp)

Rookie Boy: Ryan Carnes

Rookie Girl: Anja Grover

Most Improved Boy: Sedi Radl-Jones

Most Improved Girl: Tia Vontver

Outstanding Boy: Johnny Hagenbuch

Outstanding Girls: Sydney Palmer-Leger, Sophia Mazzoni, Logan Smith

Torin Norton Tucker Award: Sebi Radl-Jones  (in honor of Torin Tucker)

The Engl Family Award – Boy: Joe Hall

The Engl Family Award – Girl: Lily Brunelle

Graduation Seniors: Sarah Morgan,  Ted Yewer, Ella Wolter, Jenna Nurge, Sophia Mazzoni, Lily Brunelle, Joe Hall, Haydn Halvorsen


2019 SVSEF Cross Country Ski Prep Team Awards

Inspirational Boy: Holden Archie (voted on by teammates)

Inspirational Girl: Sammy Smith (voted on by teammates)

Coaches Award Boy: Zach Quesnel

Coaches Award Girl: Gretel Huss

Most Improved Boy: Dave Walters

Most Improved Girl: Lucy Carter

Outstanding Boy: Sven Halvorsen

Outstanding Girl:Sammy Smith and Berkeley Canfield