5th Annual Gary Black, Jr. Memorial Ski Race Celebrates the Spirit of Ski Racing

Nearly 160 SVSEF athletes from 6 to 14 years old donned their costumes and took to the race hill on Sunday, to remember Gary Black, Jr., one of the greatest advocates the sport of ski racing has ever seen, and to celebrate the closing of the 2021/22 ski season.

“What I particularly love about the Gary Black, Jr. Memorial is that at the end of the season, when energy is low for athletes, coaches, and staff, it’s like a breath of Gary’s enthusiasm is pumped back into the SVSEF for an end of season hurrah,” said Heather Black, wife of the late Gary Black, Jr. “The kids, the costumes, the cheering for each other, the speaker they brought to the top to play their music was just what Gary would have loved. When it came down to it, it was about his passion for being with people who love being on snow. Those were his people.”

Each skier took one run on each course in the dual panel format and the athlete’s fastest time of the two runs was used to calculate the race results. All were out to do their best and celebrate an incredible season and a truly special man who always believed in and encouraged them to embrace all the ways the mountains help them grow as athletes and young people.

“My dad is in this ski hill, in this town, in this program, in these coaches, staff, and these athletes—he is in the heart of the greater sport of skiing,” said Lexi Black, daughter of the late Gary Black, Jr. “My father was a man who believed in dreams so as not to call them dreams. They were realities to be obtained through diligent work and persistence. My dad had dreams for athletes, dreams for the US Ski Team, dreams for the International Ski Federation, and dreams for the sport, and he had every intention of working to accomplish each and every one of them. He left us with a great piece of wisdom, be dreamers but also be doers.”

Families came out to watch and cheer on the athletes and to enjoy the afternoon bar-b-que with all the kids and coaches. Stories of the season were shared and excitement for next year was already brewing in the chatter and laughter amongst friends and young teammates.

“There are few things that my father enjoyed as much as standing on the side of a race hill watching athletes navigate the fall line—World Cup to Mini World Cup, it didn’t matter,” said Amanda Black, daughter of the late Gary Black, Jr. “As the Sun Valley Ski Academy celebrates its 10th year, my father would have been proud of the hard work, growth, and collaboration that’s been facilitated by Ben, Jonna, Scotty, and many others in this community. I think that he would have been especially excited about Rotarun. He used to teach skiing at a hill much like Rotarun outside of Baltimore, MD. He understood the importance of access and spent a lifetime encouraging athletes of all abilities to get out there, just make some turns, and have some fun.”

At the conclusion of the race, the perpetual trophies were awarded to the following athletes, and their names will be engraved on the trophies displayed at the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation.

Gretchen Fraser Award – Fastest U10 Girl – Savannah Pringle
Pete Patterson Award – Fastest U10 Boy – Alex Grant
Kathleen Harriman Mortimer – Fastest U12 Girl – Bianca Smith
Billy Klein Award – Fastest U12 Boy – Henry Questad
Bonnie Russell Trophy – Fastest U14 Girl – Ruby Thurston
Smith Google Award – Fastest U14 Boy – Tucker Reimund
Roy Hobson Awards – Fastest Girl and Boy of the Day – Ruby Thurston and Tucker Reimund

“The Gary Black Race was a perfect day of celebration for our Team,” said Will Brandenburg, SVSEF Alpine Program Director. “The weather was beautiful, the racing conditions were ideal, and the staff came together with our families to pull of another fantastic event. Driving home after the event I felt humbled to be surrounded by a staff that put other people first as they work tirelessly to share their passion to others in the sport they love. This winter was not an easy one. The slow start to winter made for a lot of changes in our plans but the staff and families again showed how we can be adaptable. Collectively as a community we were able to pull off a great winter for hundreds of kids. The passion for the sport of ski racing is as strong as its even been in our Valley! I feel lucky to be a part of it.”

This year, the IMD, North Series, and Mini World Cup teams competed in the morning and the Baldy Devo team competed in the afternoon. The competition was tight, with only hundredths of seconds often separating the finishing times.

IMD/North Series/Mini World Cup Morning Race Results, Top 5 Podium Places:

U10 Girls
1st – Savannah Pringle – 20.3
2nd – Payton Daley-Scheingraber – 22.18
3rd – Fraser Jennings – 22.29
4th (tie) – Brady Bloomfield – 22.41
4th (tie) – Ava Gilmour – 22.41

U10 Boys
1st – Alex Grant – 20.58
2nd – James Holman – 21.02
3rd – Vann Sheue – 22.08
4th – L. Augustus Stafford – 22.13
5th – Brixen Ehleringer – 22.21

U12 Girls
1st – Bianca Smith – 19.23
2nd – Jasmine Smiley – 19.4
3rd – Elle Deckard – 19.84
4th – Lucy Stevenson – 20.79
5th – Colette Duke – 20.89

U12 Boys
1st – Henry Questad – 18.44
2nd – Wyatt Limburg – 19.02
3rd – Henry Flynn – 19.54
4th – Cameron Beck – 19.64
5th – Charlie Pfau – 19.77

U14 & Older Girls
1st – Ruby Thurston – 18.16
2nd – Claire Buchwalter – 18.19
3rd – Hadley Walker – 18.29
4th – Anna Yuras – 18.6
5th – Leila McGrew – 18.85

U14 & Older Boys
1st – Tucker Reimund – 17.94
2nd – Sawyer Morgan – 18.44
3rd – Huxley Flood – 18.45
4th – Reid Holman – 18.61
5th – Wyatt Gilmour – 18.92

Baldy Devo Afternoon Race Results, Top 5 Podium Places:

U8 Girls
1st – Alta Questad – 21.84
2nd – Tea Smither – 25.14
3rd – Sophie Robins – 25.22
4th – Lilla Bloedorn – 25.56
5th – Amelia Beck – 26.27

U8 Boys
1st – Logan Steel – 22.52
2nd – Keller Spachman – 23.07
3rd – Andy Freytag – 23.25
4th – Asa Sattler – 23.92
5th – Dunning Kochvar – 24.36

U10 & Older Girls
1st – Gigi Hill – 25.19
2nd – Katherine Morrison – 25.28
3rd – Lillee Haynes – 25.53
4th – Simone Spachman – 26.18
5th – Zula Van Der Meulen – 26.93

U10 & Older Boys
1st – Halsten Bruun – 21.43
2nd – Max Smith – 23.3
3rd – Jasper Pott – 24.46
4th – Bo Bemis – 24.82
5th – Nicklas Paaske – 25.18