2022 Janss Pro-Am Classic Raises Scholarship Funds for SVSEF

The Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation celebrated the 23rd Annual Janss Pro-Am Classic, Thursday, Mar. 31 through Saturday, Apr. 2. The event is held in memory of Bill Janss, an early supporter of Sun Valley’s junior racing programs and a true advocate of winter sports in the Wood River Valley. The three-day ‘best party on snow’ continues to honor the traditions since the event was founded in 1998 and serves as a tribute to Janss’ unrelenting commitment to our community.

“After two long years of reflection, adaptation, and planning, it was an inspired return of our iconic Janss Pro-Am,” said SVSEF Executive Director, Scott McGrew. “By hosting a variety of new venues, and highlighting our unique culture and history with each and aspect of the event, we were able to create a truly authentic and memorable experience for our friends and supporters. The event was a magnificent success for our programs, our kids, and our community of mountain lovers.”

This year’s event kicked off with a welcome reception at Michel’s Christiania, where 14 teams met their pros and the first of many costume changes were unveiled to promote this year’s theme, “Elite Average Games.” Teams were encouraged to pick a country, pick a sport, and in their own unique way, represent the spirit of the ‘games.’ From the American Downhillers, Antarctica Synchronized Swimming Team, and Blades of Glory, to the Australian Surf Team, Norwegian Biathlon, Original Olympians, and Sun Valley Ski Patrol (as themselves)—the teams competed in more than just a ski race.

Six different games of skill and hilarity were thrown in the mix, where teams earned points along the way going head-to-head in contests involving rigatoni noodles and skewers (Noodling Around), pedometers (Shake What Your Momma Gave Ya), ping pong balls (Tilt A Cup), slinkies (Pink Elephant), and the proverbial attempt to put portable sunshade tents back in their case (This Is In-Tents).

Good times and great food included a private fondue lunch at the Roundhouse, an après ski party sponsored by Sturtevants at Apple’s Bar & Grill, a bar-b-que lunch sponsored by PK’s Ski & Sports, and a gala dinner with dancing and live music by the Pisten Bullys. Handicapping runs for the Janss marquis dual giant slalom ski race took place on Friday in the lead up to the finals on Saturday, with fierce competition announced over the PA by NBC commentator and former U.S. Ski Team member, Steve Porino alongside SVSEF’s Executive Director, Scotty McGrew.

The pros led the charge for their teams and their backgrounds ran the gamut from Olympic-level, collegiate, and current U.S. Ski Team ski racers, to a world champion water skier, former pro mogul skiers, with several SVSEF Alumni amongst the group. Amber Acker-Sanborn, Will Brandenburg, Miles Fink-Debray, Michael Desler, Charlotte Gourlay, DJ Hart, Mike Hattrup, Sean Higgins, Bob LaPoint, Wes Powell, Erika Rixon, Jack Smith, James Tautkus (Taco), and John Zuck laid it all on the line both socially and athletically in the quest to take home this year’s Janss Pro-Am Classic awards, presented at the final gala event.

A special appearance and speech at the gala by Olympic gold medalist and SVSEF Alum, Picabo Street, brought the event full circle to its purpose—to raise money for SVSEF scholarship funds that support many of the 850-plus athletes taking part in skiing and snowboarding from the grass roots to the grand stage. More than $360,000 in financial aid has been distributed this season to athletes in SVSEF programs thanks to generous donors and the commitment our community displays through events like the Janss.

In this 56th year of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, SVSEF cheered on six Olympians and Paralympians in the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games and celebrated nine athletes as members of U.S. National Teams for the 2021/22 season. Through the generosity and the proceeds generated during the Janss Pro-Am Classic, SVSEF can continue to raise the bar and help guide kids to success in all facets of life including sport, family, work, and community.

2022 Janss Pro-Am Classic Awards

Speed Cup – Dream Team – Miles Fink-Debray (Pro), Ben Erichson, Wes Fluechaus, Mark Masur, Carl Rixon, Ben Selznick

1st Place Team – Olympic Spirit – Charlotte Gourlay (Pro), Janet Appleton, Liz Brown, Julie Daniels West, Paige Lethbridge, Christy Luby Johnson

2nd Place Team – Original Olympians – Wes Powell (Pro), James Fisher, Mike Gilman, Tor Jensen, Josiah Rosser, Bill Shaw

3rd Place Team – Australian Surf Team – Erika Rixon (Pro), Jordan Fitzgerald, Laurel Holland, Buffalo Rixon, Katherine Rixon, Matt Walker

Spirit Award – Bill Cimino

Best Crash – Tie between Taco and Wes Powell

Best Costumes – Scottish Synchronized Swim Team – Jack Smith (Pro), Dell-Ann Benson, Tom Benson, Heather Black, Betsy Service, David Service

Most Elite-ly Average – Team ‘Merica – Amber Acker-Sanborn (Pro), Mark Acker, Randy Acker, Travis Jones, Reid Sanborn, Ryder Sanborn