Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Names New Executive Director and Alpine Program Director


Scott McGrew, photo by Julia Seyferth

April 20, 2018
Ketchum, Idaho (April 20, 2018) – The Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) announced a change in leadership today, naming current SVSEF Alpine Program Director Scott McGrew Executive Director. McGrew succeeds longtime SVSEF proponent and current Executive Director Sam Adicoff, who has tendered his resignation, effective June 30. Involved with SVSEF in multiple capacities since his move to Ketchum 18 years ago, Adicoff will continue to support the organization on a volunteer basis, and will help ensure a smooth transition.
Sam Adicoff has been involved with SVSEF since his family relocated to the Wood River Valley from California in 2000. His three children participated in SVSEF programming, and Adicoff joined the Board of Directors in July 2011. He served as Treasurer and Board Chair, stepping down from board duties in 2016 to become Interim Executive Director in May. In January 2017, the Board appointed Adicoff to the position of Executive Director. In this leadership role, Adicoff’s dedication to the organization, success in increasing communications with parents, staff and the community and implementation of various process improvements have continued to serve the organization and its 678 athletes.
“I have enjoyed working with the athletes, parents, Board of Directors, and especially our very dedicated staff, who are the real heroes of the organization,” said Adicoff. “I am ecstatic that the Board has selected Scotty to succeed me. He brings an extremely strong work ethic, organization knowledge and incredible passion to the position. I am confident he will be successful leading SVSEF for many years to come.”
“Sam has been an integral part of SVSEF for many years, and provided strong leadership and countless contributions, originally as the Board Chair and then as Executive Director,” said Jim DeWolfe, current Board Chair. “Sam’s tireless commitment has served to deepen our strategic relationships throughout the Valley and comprehensively organize the financial structure, and has provided keen oversight for administrative and programming initiatives. Sam will be missed on a day-to-day basis, however he will provide important guidance as Scotty takes the reins, and will remain a valuable advisor to the Foundation.”
In a meeting on Thursday, April 19, the SVSEF Board of Directors appointed Scott McGrew, who has extensive ties to the organization, to the position of Executive Director.
“Scotty brings a level of passion and commitment to SVSEF that is unparalleled,” remarked Board Chair Jim DeWolfe. “He is highly regarded throughout the Wood River
Valley, and will provide strong leadership for years to come as we strive to improve the Foundation’s programming from grassroots initiatives to the most elite competitive levels.”
“I’m honored to be selected as the SVSEF’s executive director,” said McGrew. “For the past 15 years that I’ve been professionally involved with the organization, I’ve seen a magnificent amount of evolution and change. I’m excited to steward that continued evolution as we work to provide impactful and transformative experiences for our community. SVSEF has a long-standing heritage of excellence through sport, and I’m excited to build on that heritage and further define SVSEF as one of the highest regarded winter sports clubs in the country. Thank you to Sam Adicoff and all the previous EDs and coaches who have built an amazing launch point for the future of the club. “
McGrew has been involved with SVSEF since its early days. He was a member of the alpine program from the age of eight until he graduated high school, gaining important perspective that would prove invaluable when he returned years later. McGrew attended the University of New Mexico, where he earned two B.S. degrees in biochemistry and cultural anthropology. He later pursued a graduate degree, earning a Master of Business Administration from Boise State University in October 2016. Seven years after the close of his career as an athlete with SVSEF, McGrew rejoined the organization in a new capacity – as a coach. McGrew quickly moved up through the ranks, serving first as an assistant FIS coach and then as a head coach. He assumed the role of Assistant Alpine Program Director, and most recently Alpine Program Director, a title he has held since 2014. McGrew oversees the largest SVSEF program; with over 300 alpine athletes and 45 coaches, there are a lot of moving parts. McGrew has worked to grow South Valley initiatives, implemented numerous programmatic changes resulting in accelerated growth and professionalism of the team and generated and nurtured support for the organization as a whole. McGrew’s professionalism, depth of knowledge and enthusiasm and passion for SVSEF and the heritage of this community are qualities that will lend themselves to his new role as Executive Director.
McGrew lives in Hailey, Idaho, with his wife, Sirimukh, and their three children.
Will Brandenburg, courtesy photo

With the appointment of McGrew to Executive Director, SVSEF is pleased to welcome Will Brandenburg back to the organization as Alpine Program Director. Brandenburg will step into the position with a broad range of relevant industry experience. Hailing from Walla Walla, Washington, Brandenburg grew up racing with the Spokane Ski Racing Association and Schweitzer Mountain before being named to the U.S. Development Team in 2006. He was a member of the U.S. National Team for the 2010 Winter Olympics, with a top finish of 10th place in the super combined. Brandenburg has experience on the World Cup circuit as well, with a best finish of sixth in the slalom at Kranjska Gora in 2012. In 2013, he finished first in the combined at U.S. Alpine Championships. Shifting to a career in coaching, Brandenburg joined SVSEF in 2015 as the USSA Team Head Coach, and was most recently the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Western Region Coach from 2017-2018.
“SVSEF is extremely excited to have Will Brandenburg return to and lead the alpine program,” said SVSEF Athletic Director Phil McNichol. “His experience as a World Cup and Olympic athlete, combined with his coaching success both at SVSEF and the Western Region is a powerful combination.”
In other personnel changes, SVSEF Athletic Director and Interim Mogul Program Director Phil McNichol will be moving onto new opportunities, and has tendered his resignation, effective June 30. With organizational restructuring, the Athletic Director position will be eliminated. McNichol joined SVSEF in 2014 as Alpine Technical Director. In his expanded role as Athletic Director, which he assumed at the start of the 2016-2017 season, he oversaw all athletic programs and helped guide the growth of the organization, tackling initiatives pertaining to coaches, travel and programmatic strategy and objectives. Before SVSEF, McNichol led the U.S. Men’s Alpine Team for 11 years.
Also leaving the organization at the end of June is Jody Zarkos, who currently serves as Director of Events and Community Relations. Zarkos joined SVSEF in 2011, and has held numerous roles for the organization throughout her tenure. Her work in fundraising efforts has contributed to the continued success of SVSEF programs, and has helped make possible the subsidization of team costs for all participating athletes.
52 years strong, the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) provides year-round ski and snowboard training and competitive opportunities for 20% of Wood River Valley youth in Ketchum, Idaho. The driving philosophy behind SVSEF is to create a positive, fun and productive environment that inspires each one of our athletes to meet his or her fullest potential. Team members acquire the tools for success, not only in their winter sport, but also in the pursuit of their ultimate goals and dreams. In the 2017-2018 season, SVSEF supported 678 student-athletes across alpine, big mountain, cross country, mogul, freeskiing and snowboarding teams. SVSEF has achieved numerous accolades; the organization was named USSA Club of the Year in 1999, was given USOC Olympic & Paralympic Training Site designation, first in cross country in 2012 and then in all disciplines in 2015, and was upgraded from silver to gold USSA club status in 2017.
Contact Us
If you have questions, please contact the SVSEF office at 208.726.4129, or

Week in Review: March 27



The SVSEF USSA Team has seven athletes who have qualified for U16 Nationals, to be held at Mission Ridge, Washington, March 30th-April 4th. The athletes who have qualified are Marit Kaiser, Ryder Sarchett, Charlie Snyder, Ridley Lindstrom, Finn Mallinen, Josh Blackburn, and Buey Grossman.
U16 Western Region Championships, Alyeska

Men's GS podium, with Ryder Sarchett (1), Ridley Lindstrom (3) and Buey Grossman (4), photo courtesy Chuck Harris

SVSEF USSA athletes impressed at U16 Western Region Championships in Alyeska, Alaska, walking away with a number of podiums and top-10s throughout the series. Ryder Sarchett was the overall men’s winner, with two overwhelming victories and a third place, to boot.
Prior to three days of racing, athletes completed SkillsQuest, a U.S. Ski and Snowboard program focusing on improving abilities over a range of activities. Athletes had combined scores from an off piste freeski, hourglass, lane change and an outside ski turn – Buey Grossman and Marit Kaiser had top-10 scores, with Buey having the third best score for men and Marit the fourth best for women.
In the men’s giant slalom, Ryder Sarchett won by two seconds, and Ridley Lindstrom had the best giant slalom race of his career, finishing third. Buey Grossman was fourth, Charlie Snyder 13th and Finn Mallinen 18th. Josh Blackburn and Max Moss did not finish. On the same day, women competed in the slalom. SVSEF had two finishers in the top 10, with Marit Kaiser in ninth and Sage Curtis in 10th, meaning SVSEF had five athletes in the top 10 across men and women’s competition for the day. Carly Walther-Porino was 15th, Emma MacGuffie 45th, Anhwei Kirk 49th and Falon Hanna 53rd.
Josh Blackburn (R), Hard Charger award

The men tackled the slalom the next day, with Ryder Sarchett again topping the podium, this time with an even larger lead of over three seconds. Charlie Snyder was fourth overall. Josh Blackburn won the Hard Charger award for the race, starting 63rd and moving into 11th. Finn Mallinen was 15th. In the women’s giant slalom race on the same day, Merumo Ishimaru skied to fifth, Marit Kaiser to 16th, Sage Curtis to 30th and Carly Walther-Porino to 32nd. Falon Hanna tied for 48th, as did Anhwei Kirk for 52nd, and Emma MacGuffie finished 54th.
The final event of the series was the super G – SVSEF kept plowing along, with two athletes on the podium. Charlie Snyder had a great race and finished second, and Ryder Sarchett upped his podium count to three with a third place finish. Finn Mallinen was eighth and Ridley Lindstrom ninth, putting four boys in the top 10. Josh Blackburn was 11th, Buey Grossman 15th and Max Moss 36th. In the women’s event, Marit Kaiser skied to 11th, Sage Curtis to 13th and Falon Hanna to 22nd. Merumo Ishimaru finished 35th, Emma MacGuffie 39th and Anhwei Kirk 47th.
Full results

FIS, Alumni

With fluctuations in temperatures and precipitation, Nationals in Sun Valley were touch-and-go, and SVSEF athletes took the adjustments in stride. For a number of them, this was their first Nationals. Alumnus Haley Cutler, who now skis for the University of New Mexico, skied near the top of the field in the super G, finishing sixth on March 21 and fifth on March 23. Erin Smith’s best finish was 17th in the super G, while Lily Fitzgerald’s was 20th in the alpine combined. Alumni Kipling Weisel and Tanner Farrow went back and forth throughout the week; in the March 21 super G, Tanner was 11th and Kipling 13th, and they finished 11th and 12th in the alpine combined. Similarly, in the March 23 super G, Kipling skied to 15th and Tanner to 16th. Jack Smith found his stride in the March 23 super G, coming in 25th overall, as Spencer Wright did in the slalom with a 35th place result. Hayden Terjeson had his top result in the alpine combined, finishing 17th.
Lily, Erin, Jack, Hayden, Spencer and John Blackburn (who qualified for Nationals and competed in the giant slalom, but did not finish) will be joined by Skylar Cooley, Allison Rathfon and Maddie Ferris for U.S. Alpine Junior Championships, which begin March 28 in Sun Valley.
Full results


Tri-Divisional Champs, Snowbasin
Athletes headed to Snowbasin for Tri-Divisional Championships, which they qualified for according to IMD procedures. IMD athletes competed in fields populated by skiers from Alaska and Northern Divisions, and U14s and U16s had a combined seeding.
In the giant slalom, Axel Hattrup was 12th overall and the 12th U16. Robert Cullen was 28th for U14 boys, Zephyr Carruth was 30th, Taylor Rixon 32nd, and Tommy Normand 37th. For U14 girls, Reece Walther-Porino led the SVSEF group in fifth. She was followed by Isabella Hattrup in sixth, Izzy Gaggero in 16th, Laura Daves in 26th, Mattigan Monschke in 29th and Lena Nelson in 30th. Charlotte Davis-Jeffers finished 34th, Maile Dorland 46th and Dakota Barth 52nd for U14s.
In the slalom, Axel Hattrup was eighth for U16 boys. Taylor Rixon skied to 13th for U14 boys, Jesse Keefe to 32nd, Zephyr Carruth to 37th and Tommy Normand to 49th. For girls, Reece Walther-Porino and Maile Dorland had great finishes in sixth and seventh, as did Laura Daves in 13th. Isabella Hattrup was 27th, Izzy Gaggero to 34th, Charlotte Davis-Jeffers to 36th, and Dakota Barth to 40th. Mattigan Monschke was 48th, and Lena Nelson 60th.


WR Open Tech Series, Snowbird
FIS athletes were at Snowbird for a Western Region Open Tech Series. This is the second tier of FIS racing within the region; as an introductory series, athletes from the five divisions gain valuable FIS-level experience. In the giant slalom, John Blackburn finished 19th, Max Noddings was 21st and Will Snyder (alum, Williams) was 23rd. Allison Rathon led the way for the women, finishing 10th overall in the giant slalom. Maddie Ferris charged to 13th, Grace Pepin was 31st, Skylar Cooley 35th and Elizabeth Vanderkloot 39th. In the NJR slalom, Will Snyder was ninth, Max Noddings 19th and Thomas Klose 22nd. Cailin Chandler was the only SVSEF woman to finish the NJR slalom – she was 19th.
The series wrapped up with two slaloms. Will Snyder was 12th and 10th, Bennett Snyder 27th and 18th, and Max Noddings did not finish the first slalom but was 22nd in the second. Ella Pepin, an alum who skis for St. Lawrence, finished seventh for women in the first race, and sister Grace finished 24th and 28th. Allison Rathfon did not finish in the first slalom, but bounced back for the second, coming in 19th. Maddie Ferris, Elizabeth Vanderkloot and Cailin Chandler went 29, 33 and 37 in the first slalom, and did not finish in the second. Skylar Cooley was 29th in the first.
Full results

The group at Bogus Basin, photo courtesy Adele Savaria.

North Series

IMD Finals, Bogus Basin
Four athletes competed at IMD Finals at Bogus Basin. “It was a really great way to end the season for these four kids, they skied great races,” said coach Adele Savaria. “It’s always nice to have the advantage of competing close to home – Bogus was a great venue.” Bodin Lee found the podium in the boy’s U12 slalom in third, and Bryce Kanowsky was 14th for U14s. In the girls’ U10 category, Reese Kelley finished fourth, and Alyssa Huntsman was sixth. In the giant slalom, Bodin finished fifth, and Bryce did not finish. Reese was fifth and Alyssa seventh for U10 girls.
Full results


Gold, PG, Comp

The SuperTour Finals are the culmination of the domestic SuperTour circuit, and this year they were held at Craftsbury, Vermont. Gold, PG and Comp athletes participated, as well as alumni who are skiing for colleges out east. Kelsey Phinney of the Gold Team led the SVSEF women in the classic sprint, finishing ninth overall. Katie Feldman (alum, Middlebury) was 36, U16 Comp athlete Anja Jensen was 61st, and PG Ingrid Norton finished 77th. Gold Team skiers Cole Morgan and Kevin Bolger finished 13th and 14th, Matt Gelso was 39th, alum Peter Wolter represented Middlebury in 40th, as did Sam Wood in 48th. Alum Henry Gorman (UNH) finished 63rd, Will Solow 67th (PG) and Max Polito (alum, Middlebury) 82nd.
Following the sprint was a mass start skate 10/15km. Kelsey Phinney finished 18th, Annika Landis (alum, Middlebury) 36th, Katie Feldman 37th, Anja Jensen 61st, Comp skier Ella Wolter 79th and alum (St. Lawrence) Emily Siegel 84th. Jack Hegman of the Gold Team had a solid result in the men’s 15km, finishing eighth among top U.S. peers. Matt Gelso did, as well, coming in 11th. Sam Wood was 35th, Rogan Brown 37th, Kevin Bolger 39th, Peter Wolter 56th, Henry Gorman 60th, Cole Morgan 63rd, Will Solow 65th and Max Polito 96th.
A team relay was the third event, with two men and two women each skiing a 5km leg. The Middlebury College team, which had Peter Wolter scrambling and Katie Feldman anchoring, took ninth.SVSEF’s team of Jack Hegman, Anja Jensen, Rogan Brown and Kelsey Phinney finished 14th, and Sam Wood and Annika Landis’ Middlebury team was 16th.
Racing winds down Tuesday and Wednesday with the women’s 30km and the men’s 50km classic mass start.
Full results

Week in Review: March 20

Jake Adicoff and Sawyer Kesselheim with their silver medals in Pyeongchang.


Alum Jake Adicoff took silver in the men's VI 10km classic on Saturday in Pyeongchang. Jake, who was disqualified in the sprint earlier in the week post-event, stayed positive, stayed focused, and put together a great race to end the individual portion of his Paralympic competition. He was guided by Sawyer Kesselheim, who works at Galena Lodge. In the 4x2.5 km mixed relay on Sunday, Jake anchored a team that included Kendall Gretsch (sit skier, skied two legs) and Ruslan Reiter (standing) to seventh place.

Payton (far left, blue helmet) in the gate.


Payton and Zoe Bacca

Payton Bacca, a member of the snowboard team, has been traveling the U.S. to get more high-level competition under her belt. She recently competed in two NorAm Cup snowboardcross events at Sugarloaf, Maine, and one RevTour snowboardcross event. The fields hosted athletes from U.S., Canadian, Australian and Romanian national teams. Payton had a successful week, finding the podium in third at the RevTour SBX. In the NorAm events, she qualified and made finals both days, with 13th and 15th place finishes. Currently, Payton is the third ranked 2001 athlete in the U.S., and the #12 ranked 2001 athlete in the world on the March FIS list.

Payton (R) in third at the Sugarloaf RevTour

Both Payton and her younger sister Zoe competed at the Toyota Super Girl Snow Pro at Big Bear in Southern California this past weekend. The event is a professional-level snowboardcross and halfpipe showcase event, that also incorporates athletes at the developmental level. The SBX even was led this year by 10-time X Games gold medalist and four-time U.S. Olympian Lindsey Jacobellis. Zoe and Payton competed as pros, among names like Lindsey Jacobellis, Faye Gulini and Meghan Tierney. A slew of big guns were there for halfpipe, as well – from Hannah Teter to Kelly Clark, Torah Bright and Jamie Anderson.
The SBX pro event had 16 competitors (three who just came off of performances at the 2018 Olympics). Because there were no time trails as there usually are for events like World Cups and NorAms, places 9-16 were determined by how an athlete finished in her heat. Payton was third in her heat, meaning she tied for ninth place, and Zoe was fourth and tied for 13th.
Zoe and Payton, front row, left and center


Nation Age Team
1 Faye Gulini USA 25 US Snowboard Team 2018 Olympics
2 Lindsey Jacobellis USA 32 US Snowboard Team 2018 Olympics
3 Colleen Healey USA 21 USA / Team Healey
4 Isabella Gomez USA 16 Summit at Snoqualmie
5 Meghan Tierney USA 21 US Snowboard Team 2018 Olympics
6 Nellie Steinhoff USA 23 Auburn Ski Club, CA
7 Anna Miller USA 21 Team Reign-USA
8 Livi Molodyh USA 18 Mt. Bachelor- MBSEF
9 Payton Bacca USA 16 Sun Valley-SVSEF
9 Tamara Cowley AUS 17 Team Reign-Australia
9 Haili Moyer CAN 22 Ontario Ski Club
9 Alex White CAN 17 CAN /BC Provincal Team
13 Shannon Maguire USA 19 Park City SBX Team
13 Zoe Bacca USA 14 Sun Valley-SVSEF
13 Audry Shieh CAN 18 CAN /BC Provincal Team
13 Megan Hebert CAN 25 CAN /BC Provincal Team



Will Griffith, who qualified for the Rev Tour, competed at Mammoth for the series in freeski big air and slopestyle. He had a great result in 12th in the big air competition, and finished 42nd in slopestyle.

Charlie Stumph, Wilson Dunn and Alex Lafleur at Whistler.

IFSA Big Mountain

IFSA Big Mountain athletes were scattered throughout the West this week, with some at home, others at Whistler for a national level competition, and still others at Snowbird for another national event. Esmee Verheijen led the charge at Whistler for women, taking eighth, just in front of teammates Katie Markthaler and Addie Rafford in ninth and 12th in the 15-18 age class. Alex LaFleur threw down a solid run, placing sixth overall for 15-18 men. Hunter Diehl was 10th, Wilson Dunn 12th and Wyatt Minor 22nd. At Snowbird, Joe Goitiandia was 36th overall for 12-14 year old men. Axel Diehl finished 47th in the 15-18 category, and Molly Kucher finished 11th for 15-18 women. Paris Pratt received a TDQ (time disqualification).



NorAm finals, Kimberly, BC
Both Lily Fitzgerald and Alli Rathfon scored their first NorAm points at NorAm finals in Kimberly, BC – a huge accomplishment, as you have to be top 30 in the field, as well as within 8% of the winner. Lily scored points in both the super G (27th place) and the alpine combined (23rd), and Alli scored points in the second super G (28th).
“It was a great experience for both of them, being around high caliber athletes and getting to see how they work in this setting,” noted coach Brett Morris.


Western Region Junior Champs, Schweitzer
SVSEF FIS athletes competed in six events; two giant slalom, two super G and two slalom races, over the course of six days at Schweitzer. Two different SVSEF athletes found the podium, and a number made top ten throughout the week, speaking to the strength of this team. Spencer Wright was second in the men’s first super G, with teammates Jack Smith and Hayden Terjeson also breaking the top 10 in seventh and ninth. Jack took second in the same discipline the next day, with Spencer joining him in third. John Blackburn had a solid finish in sixth in the same event. John’s sibling Jake Blackburn had his best finish in the giant slalom, skiing to 22nd. Max Noddings also clocked his top result in the same race, finishing 19th. Ian Hanna’s top finish was in the super G in 77th, Bennett Snyder’s was in the super G in 12th, and Thomas Klose had a solid finish in the slalom in 23rd.
For women, Maddie Ferris had her top result in the giant slalom, in which she finished seventh overall. Cailin Chandler’s top posting was 41st in slalom.
Women’s GS 1
Maddie Ferris - 7, Cailin Chandler - 48
Men’s super G 1
Spence Wright - 2, Jack Smith - 7, Hayden Terjeson - 9, John Blackburn - 11, Max Noddings - 21, Bennett Snyder - 23, Jake Blackburn - 39, Thomas Klose - 56, Ian Hanna - 91
Women’s GS 2
Maddie - DNF, Cailin - DNF
Men’s super G 2
Jack - 2, Spencer - 3, John - 6, Hayden - 11, Bennett - 12, Max - 23, Jake - 49, Thomas - 58, Ian - 77
Men’s GS 1
John - 5, Spencer - 10, Jack - 15, Hayden - 16, Max - 22, Jake - 29, Bennett - 46, Thomas - 56, Ian - DNF
Women’s super G 1
Maddie - 16, Cailin - 48
Men’s GS 2
Jack - 10, Max - 19, Spencer - 20, Jake - 22, Bennett - 48, Thomas - DNF, Hayden - DNF, John - DNF, Ian - DNF
Women’s super G 2
Maddie- 31, Cailin - 48
Women’s slalom 1
Maddie- 19, Cailin -42
Men’s slalom 1
Spencer - 5, Hayden - 7, Thomas - 23, Jake -25, Max - 26, Bennett - 27, Will Snyder (alum, attends Williams College) - 32, John - DNF, Ian - DNF, Jack - DNF
Women’s slalom 2
Maddie - 20, Cailin - 41
Men’s slalom 2
Will Snyder (alum) - 3, Hayden -9, Max - 20, Bennett - 23, Spencer -35, Jack - DNF, John- DNF, Jake - DNF, Ian- DNF, Thomas -DNF


U14 Western Region Champs, Jackson
SVSEF IMD skiers had a great weekend at U14 Western Region Championships in Jackson, with Logan Lindstrom taking the women’s overall win. Athletes Jessica Blackburn, Saba Grossman, Logan Lindstrom, Paige DeHart, and Colin Hanna were all top six overall for the weekend, and have therefore qualified for the Whistler Cup in April. An international race series for U14s and first year U16s, this is a big deal and a great opportunity for these athletes. SVSEF had the most athletes of any club qualify. "After seeing athletes from Far West, PSNA, Alaska, and Northern compete, it is pretty clear that Sun Valley and the Intermountain Division are doing something very right in our development,” reflected IMD head coach James Tautkus. “For us, every day we ski at home may feel like just another day; however, our days are filled with better, stronger development opportunities than any of these other divisions, and it showed in our athletes’ skiing this weekend.” Highlights for the weekend came in the form of Colin Hanna’s second place finish in the super G and sixth place in the giant slalom. Nils Galloway had a great slalom race, making the top 10 in seventh. In the women’s super G, SVSEF put four athletes in the top 10 – Jessica Blackburn was second, Saba Grossman third, Paige DeHart sixth and Logan Lindstrom seventh. Jessica was again second in the giant slalom, and Paige joined her on the podium in third. Logan Lindstrom was close behind in sixth, and skied to first the next day in the slalom. She was the overall women’s winner for the weekend, with strong, consistent performances (seventh in super G, sixth in giant slalom, first in slalom). Saba was second in the slalom, Hannah Ferris posted a great result in ninth, and Agnes Kind stepped it up and into 16th on the day. The women and men as a whole stayed consistently and collectively in the top half of the field throughout the weekend, speaking to the strong grouping this team possesses.

Overall winner for the weekend, Logan Lindstrom, with coach James Tautkus.

Men’s super G
Colin Hanna -2, Nils Galloway - 10, Carter Sammis - DNF
Women’s super G
Jessica Blackburn - 2, Saba Grossman - 3, Paige DeHart - 6, Logan Lindstrom - 7, Hannah Ferris - 11, Maya Lightner - 13, Agnes Kind - 28
Men’s GS
Colin Hanna - 6, Nils Galloway - 14, Carter Sammis - DNF
Women’s GS
Jessica Blackburn - 2, Paige DeHart - 3, Logan Lindstrom - 6, Saba Grossman - 11, Hannah Ferris - 23, Agnes Kind - 29, Maya Lightner - DNF
Men’s slalom
Nils Galloway - 7, Carter Sammis - DNF, Colin Hanna - DNF
Women’s slalom
Logan Lindstrom - 1, Saba Grossman - 2, Hannah Ferris - 9, Agnes Kind - 16, Paige DeHart - 29, Maya Lightner - DQ, Jessica Blackburn - DNF

North Series

IMD Champs, Grand Targhee
The North Series team traveled to Grand Targhee for IMD Championships. Max Meucci cranked out a win in the slalom, and Tucker Smith finished third in the giant slalom. Will Kogelmann joined Max and Tucker (seventh) in the top 10 in the slalom, skiing to ninth overall. Owen Walker and Will had good results in the giant slalom, as well, going 14-15. Natalie Gowe stepped onto the podium for girls, finishing third in the slalom, and teammate Ruby Crist clocked a fast time, coming in fifth. The athletes put it all on the line for the Championships; Norah Davis-Jeffers finished 17th in the slalom, Eden Grace Gardner 20th, and Ava Agnew 29th. Hanna Bailey (41st), Madda Mourier-Floyd (43rd), Rowan Desler (46th), Scarlet Rixon (48th), Simone Tumolo (50th) and Scarlet Pringle (62nd) all had their best results in the slalom, as well. Scarlett Carruth and Josie Sarchett both had their top races in the giant slalom event, skiing to 39th and 54th, respectively. Paxton Sammis skied fast in the slalom, coming in 22nd. Other SVSEF athletes who had their top result in the slalom were Sascha Stern-Pre, finishing 28th, Abel Marx (39th) and Drew Kogelmann (62nd). Tommy Hovey posted his best, 58th, in the giant slalom.
In duals, Tucker and Will qualified for the final round of eight; Will finished fourth and Tucker was eliminated in the first round.
Men’s giant slalom
Tucker Smith - 3, Owen Walker -14, Will Kogelmann -15, Paxton Sammis - 28, Abel Marx- 42, Sacha Stern-Pre - 45, Tommy Hovey - 58, Max Meucci - DNF, Jensen Pierre - DQ, Drew Kogelmann - DQ
Women’s giant slalom
Natalie Gowe - 10, Ruby Crist - 13, Eden Grace Gardner - 27, Scarlett Carruth - 39, Rowan Desler - 48, Madda Mourier-Floyd - 50, Ava Agnew - 52, Josie Sarchett - 54, Scarlet Rixon - 60
Simone Tumolo - 61, Hanna Bailey - 64, Norah Davis-Jeffers - 70, Scarlet Pringle - 77, Taylor Hovey - DQ
Men’s slalom
Max Meucci - 1, Tucker Smith - 7, Will Kogelmann - 9, Paxton Sammis - 22, Sacha Stern-Pre -28, Abel Marx - 39, Drew Kogelmann - 62, Tommy Hovey - 76, Jensen Pierre - DNF, Owen Walker - DQ
Women’s slalom
Natalie Gowe - 3, Ruby Crist - 5, Norah Davis-Jeffers - 17, Eden Grace Gardner - 20, Ava Agnew - 29, Hanna Bailey 41, Madda Mourier-Floyd - 43, Rowan Desler - 46, Scarlet Rixon - 48, Simone Tumolo - 50, Scarlet Pringle - 62, Taylor Hovey - DNF, Scarlett Carruth - DQ, Josie Sarchett - DQ

Janss 2018: A Recap

© Glen Allison

The Janss Pro-Am Classic is, first and foremost, a celebration of the joys of skiing, community, the younger generation and costumes; all things that were championed by the late Bill Janss. Staged over the course of three days, the event featured an opening celebration and pro presentation at Michel’s Christiania, which was generously hosted by Dave Wilson and Trish Wilson, David Pyle and families, and Michel Rudigoz, two days of head-to-head giant slalom racing, a gala dinner and a closing party. This year’s theme for the 21st iteration of the event was “Jukebox Heroes: Songs You Know and Love,” and teams ran the gamut. From “The Lonely Goatherd” to “Thunderstruck” to “Baby Got Back,” teams tapped into a wide variety of generations and genres.
© Glen Allison

This event makes your standard college Halloween party seem vastly mediocre – Janss participants wear their costumes for a considerably longer period of time, through multiple ski races, multiple meals and multiple dance moves. They tend to adopt – whether on purpose or merely due to the duration of time spent in costume, I’m not sure – the mannerisms of their characters.
Walking into the Janss tent is a sight to behold. Over there sits the “Rock and Roll All Nite” team, who are putting the finishing touches on their all-black getup by applying with resolute focus that unmistakable KISS facepaint. Turn around, and here are the Beach Boys of team “Fun, Fun, Fun,” who have the tans and demeanor, to boot. Members of “Rhinestone Cowboys” walk around in their light-up hats and bedazzled jackets, sending glints of cheery reflections dancing around the tent. As you leave to catch the lift for your run, you do a double take; Elvis is here, and he’s chatting with Felipe Rose, some goats, a member of Devo (not without his energy dome and keyboard) and a large mass of blonde wigs, which you come to recognize as Poison. It’s all slightly confounding, but in the most wonderful way – which is the essence of the Janss, and a very special thing to witness.
Through snow flurries, racers tackled the dual giant slalom course on Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17. A total of 20 teams participated in this year’s event. The final four teams that vied for the Janss Cup were The Lonely Goatherd, Talk Dirty to Me, Jean Genie and Baby Got Back, comprised entirely of SVSEF female alumni. When the racing was over, Talk Dirty to Me, a first-year Janss participant, walked away victorious with John Vanderkloot, George Vanderkloot, Jeff Barber, Patrick McCain, Robby Cullen and pro Aaron Fabish. Jean Genie was second, Baby Got Back, sponsored by Freddy Johnson, third, and The Lonely Goatherd fourth.
The Most Inspirational award was voted on by participants and sponsored by Lee Gilman; John Lee and Mike Gilman have sponsored this award and participated in the Janss for six consecutive years. This year’s winners were Charlotte Gourlay and Liz Brown of Rhinestone Cowboy, and LeRoy Kingland of Jailhouse Rock. Also decided by vote was best costume. With 16 of the 20 ballots with votes to their name, Baby Got Back, sponsored by Freddy Johnson, was the overwhelming winner, followed by Whip It of Lee Gilman, who staged three costume changes throughout the weekend. I Wanna Rock and Roll All Nite came in third.
© Avery Ardovino

Best role player (or living dramatically during the Janss) went to Sarah Schwing of Baby Got Back and Sam Herrick of Walk This Way. Best crash went to Amy Taylor of Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys and Paul Hoagland of Rocket Man and the fastest recreational racers were Charlotte Gourlay of Rhinestone Cowboys and KJ Savaria of Texas Tornadoes.
The Speed Cup champion for the third straight year went to Texas Tornadoes, a team comprised of SVSEF alumni and sponsored by Buddy and Shay Wilton. Carl Rixon (17 straight years on winning Speed Cup team), Hunter Storey, KJ Savaria, Sean Higgins, Austin Savaria and pro Biche Rudigoz clocking a combined time of 96.41. In second was Dancing Queen, who finished in 1:14.77, and the third fastest team was Baby Got Back, with a time of 1:18.03. All three Speed Cup teams were made up of SVSEF alumni, current racers and coaches, and, in the case of Jim DeWolfe, SVSEF board president.
The Janss could not be what it is without the support and generosity of its benefators, patrons and volunteers. Special thanks go to Robert Cimino and family, host of headquarters tent, the race crew of Brian Ros and Chelle and Baird Gourlay, race announcer Kevin Clarke, photographers Becky Smith, Avery Ardovino, and Glen Allison, and over 100 volunteers.
© Avery Ardovino

Thank you, as well, to our sponsors for helping make this event possible.
Double Black Diamond: Sun Valley Company, Jim & Barbara Cimino Foundation
Black Diamond: Stan and Kristine Baty
Platinum: Ketchum Chiropractic/Dr. Tom West, Lee Gilman Builders, the Connelly Family
Gold: Coca-Cola, That’s Entertainment, Pennay’s at River Run, John Demetre, Dave Wilson & David Pyle, Intermountain Eye Centers, Tom & Anne Warde, Davis Embroidery
Silver: Fits Socks, Patron, Clear Creek Disposal, Starbucks, Tabasco, Zenergy, Southern Glazers, Wills Toyota, Brass Ranch, Atkinsons’, Sue Engelmann/Sotheby’s
Bronze: Galena Lodge, Krispy Kreme, Sawtooth Brewery, Chums, Cirque, Windy City Arts, Beyond Coastal, Warfield Distillery & Brewery, 44° North, Chobani, RBC, the Spoor Family, Continental Floral Greens, Sun Valley Magazine
Contributors: Perry’s, Lutz Rental, The Cellar Pub, Quay Australia, Sushi on Second, Knob Hill Inn, Knob Hill Grill, Wrap City, Clif Bar, The Pioneer Saloon, The Elephant’s Perch, Pure, Eddie Bauer, Neecy’s, Sturtevants, Brooks Welding, Watkins Distributing, Bigwood Bread
Team Sponsors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Shay and Buddy Wilton, Jr., Freddy Johnson, First Lite, The Conner Family, Robert Cimino and Friends of Puerto Rico.

Week in Review: March 13




Junior Nationals
Junior Nationals bring together the best cross country athletes from each region throughout the U.S. for four races.Over 350 racers took part. This year, Junior Nationals were held at Soldier Hollow in Utah, an Intermountain region venue. The week commenced with a 5/10km classic interval start, with SVSEF's Sydney Palmer-Leger leading the charge for SVSEF and the Intermountain region with a win in the U16 category. Annika Landis, a SVSEF alumni who now attends Middlebury College, also skied to first in the U20 age group. SVSEF's U16 girls had a great day all together, placing all girls close to the top half of the field – Sydney-1, Logan Smith-4, Anja Jensen-28, Sascha Leidecker-34 and Luci Ludwig-35. Despite illness, Johnny Hagenbuch was sixth for U18 men, and Henry Raff had his best result of the week in 14th for U20 men.
SVSEF skiers got off to a good start in the freestyle sprint qualifiers on Wednesday, March 7, with all U16 girls qualifying for rounds, Logan and Sydney qualifying for second and fourth places, Cash Dart qualifying for U16 heats in fifth, and PG Will Solow qualifying second for U20 men. Alumni Annika Landis and Emily Siegel qualified for U20 women in 12th and 16th, and U18 women Sophia Mazzoni and Lily Brunelle qualified for heats in 12th and 15th.
In heats, Sydney Palmer-Leger and Logan Smith made it all the way to the A final. Logan stuck with the front group in the final heat, powering past the athlete in the lead on the final big climb to assert herself in first for the remainder of the race. Logan won, and teammate Sydney finished third. Will Solow made it all the way to B finals, where he finished fifth in his heat and 11th overall. Johnny Hagenbuch won the B final for U18 men, putting him in seventh overall. In the U20 women's A finals, Annika Landis placed fifth.
The 5/10/15km mass start freestyle on March 10 was a tough race – over 30 competitors dropped out throughout the day. Conditions were rough, with warm temperatures and unpredictable snow. Sydney Palmer-Leger, who was leading the U16 women in the 5km, fell on a long downhill with rollers, leaving her with whiplash and concussion. Cash Dart injured separated his shoulder after a fall in the crowd at the start. Despite these setbacks, SVSEF had some highlights for the day – Johnny Hagenbuch found the podium in third for U18 men, and Annika Landis did the same, finishing second for her second podium of the week in the U20 women's 10km. Lily Brunelle skied will in the U18 5km category, finishing 14th overall, as did Kirsys Campbell and Eve Jensen, who finished 36th and 38th. Emily Siegel had a solid effort, finishing 15th in the U20 women's event. Drew Palmer-Leger did, as well, finishing 28th in the U20 men's 15km.
The last event was a team relay on Saturday, with three 3km classic legs. Annika Landis pulled her team up from sixth place onto the podium in third on her anchor leg, and Logan Smith anchored her U16 team, taking the group into seventh.
The Intermountain region was fourth overall in the 10-team Alaska Cup standings, and SVSEF placed fifth in a group of 43 college and club teams, behind Loppet Nordic, Stratton Mountain School, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and Alaska Pacific Nordic.
Top Finishes
U20 Men:
Will Solow- 11, skate sprint
Henry Raff- 14, classic distance
Drew Palmer-Leger- 28, skate distance
U20 Women:
Annika Landis- 1, classic distance
Emily Siegel- 15, skate distance
U18 Men:
Johnny Hagenbuch, 3, skate distance
U18 Women:
Sophia Mazzoni -13, skate sprint
Lily Brunelle - 14, skate distance, skate sprint
Kirsys Campbell 36, skate distance
Eve Jensen- 38, skate distance
Ella Wolter- 51, skate sprint
U16 Men:
Cash Dart, 17, skate sprint
U16 Women:
Sydney Palmer-Leger- 1, classic distance
Logan Smith- 1, skate sprint
Anja Jensen- 16, skate sprint
Sascha Leidecker- 18, skate sprint
Luci Ludwig- 28, skate sprint

Jake and guide Sawyer Kesselheim


SVSEF alum Jake Adicoff is currently representing the U.S. at the Paralympics in Pyeongchang. This is the Bowdoin senior's second Paralympic Games; he first competed in Sochi in 2014. In the men's VI 20km skate race on Monday, Jake took fifth overall. In the March 14 1.5km classic sprint, Jake had a strong qualifying race with the second fastest time. In his semifinal heat, he tied Canadian Brian McKeever, who has won multiple Paralympic medals, to progress to the finals. In a heat of four athletes, Jake was unfortunately disqualified on a skating violation. Next up is a 7.5km classic race on Saturday.
Five former SVSEF athletes represented their schools at NCAA Championships in Steamboat Springs, March. Peter Wolter and Katie Feldman, who are both alumni of the cross country program, represented Middlebury College and the East Region. Peter Wolter, in addition to being named to NCAAs, was the EISA Rookie of the Year. Joining Peter and Katie was Eli Jensen (Montana State), a longtime member of the program, and Sam Wood (Middlebury) and Braden Becker (Williams), who were both PG athletes in the SVSEF program and who have continued to train with us as members of the Summer Training Group.
In the women's 5km classic, Katie placed 19th overall. Braden was 15th in the men's 10km classic, one second ahead of Sam in 16th. Peter was 24th, and Eli finished 34th.
In the men's 20km skate, the top alumni finisher was again Braden, this time in 11th. Sam repeated his result from two days prior, skiing to 16th. Peter finished 25th and Eli 34th. Katie had a great race, coming in 13th in the women's 15km.


Following his standout World Cup premier, in which he finished 11th in the skate sprint, Kevin Bolger competed in his first 50km in the infamous Holmenkollen, skiing to 52nd on the World Cup circuit. In the March 7 classic sprint, he finished 50th.

Ben in first



Two SVSEF athletes, Ben Fethke and Harper Mallett, competed at U.S. Freeskiing Junior Nationals in Park City. As an 11-year-old, Ben was the U13 national champion in halfpipe. In the overall field, which included athletes significantly older (mostly 15-19 year olds), Ben was eighth – an amazing result, given the competition. Harper Mallet also had a strong showing, finishing second in the U15 category and seventh overall. Ben also competed in the slopestyle event, which was held on a course that will be used for FIS World Championships next year. He came in second for U13s, and was 50 out of 86 overall. Both of Ben's results (in slopestyle and halfpipe) were the best for an 11-year-old at Junior Nationals in recent years.

Photo: Paris Pratt


IFSA big mountain skiers competed at Breckenridge Nationals. Paris Pratt had an outstanding two runs, edging out Crested Butte’s Avery Bernholtz for the win in the 15-18 female category. Joe Goitiandia had solid scores, as well, finishing 10th out of 40 competitors in the 12-14 male category. Wilson Dunn and Black Harmon stuck together, skiing to 46th and 48th in the 15-18 male group, and Molly Kucher was 23rd for 15-18 females.


The Rev Tour at Mammoth got started yesterday with a slopestyle event. SVSEF’s Will Griffith finished 42nd overall in a field populated by 57 athletes, mainly from the U.S. and Canada. His next event is the big air competition on March 14.


Chase Josey wrapped up his season at the U.S. Open in Vail (he finished third in the 2017 iteration of the event). The Olympian qualified second for men in the halfpipe semifinals on March 8, behind Ayumu Hirano, but clipped the deck in finals on March 10, compressing his back. Chase finished ninth overall.

© Glen Allison


Five SVSEF athletes have qualified for U.S. Alpine National Championships, and nine have qualified for U.S. Alpine Junior National Championships; both events will be held in Sun Valley this year. Additionally, three SVSEF alumni have qualified for Nationals. Read about our qualified athletes here.

Alpine FIS

Nor Am finals are underway as of Monday in Kimberly, British Columbia. SVSEF alumni Kipling Wiesel had a solid first race, with a ninth place finish in the giant slalom. In the second giant slalom on Tuesday, he was 16th. Lily Fitzgerald did not finish her second slalom run on Monday, and Alli Rathfon did not finish her first run. Competition continued Tuesday with another slalom; Lily finished 40th overall. 


Haley Cutler represented the University of New Mexico at NCAA Championships in Steamboat. In the March 7 giant slalom, Haley placed 13th, and was the third UNM skier. In the slalom on March 9, she was 21st.



SVSEF athletes competed at Junior Nationals in Park City; the event hosted athletes based on the top 60 male and female U18 athletes in the country. A highlight of the week was Sammy Smith’s victory in the F13 singles, while achieving 10th overall in a field with athletes up to age 18. Rainey Wilson took 11th for F17 (34th overall), and Luke Rizzo finished fifth in the M17 category (19th overall).

SVSEF Alpine Skiers Qualify for U.S. Nationals and Junior Nationals

© Glen Allison

Based on season results, six SVSEF athletes have qualified for U.S. National Championships,  and nine have qualified for U.S. Alpine Junior National Championships. Additionally, three SVSEF alumni have qualified for Nationals. Both events will be held in Sun Valley this year, so the skiers will have a couple advantages; they are by far most familiar with the courses, and they will have friends and family here to cheer them on. U.S. National Championships will be held March 21-26, and you can learn more about the event HERE. U.S. Alpine Junior National Championships will be held March 28-30, and you can learn more about the event HERE.

SVSEF athletes qualified for U.S. Alpine National Championships:

Erin Smith
Lily Fitzgerald
Spencer Wright
Jack Smith
Hayden Terjeson
John Blackburn

SVSEF alumni qualified for U.S. Alpine National Championships:

Haley Cutler
Kipling Weisel
Tanner Farrow

SVSEF athletes qualified for U.S. Junior Alpine Championships:

Erin Smith
Lily Fitzgerald
Skylar Cooley
Allison Rathfon
Madison Ferris
Spencer Wright
Jack Smith
Hayden Terjeson
John Blackburn

Alumni Spotlight: Graham Watanabe

2018 Paralympics Snowboard Team

Graham Watanabe, 35, grew up riding as a member of the SVSEF snowboard program. He excelled at the sport, and became the first American to win a Snowboardcross World Cup in Valle Nevado, Chile. Between 2004 and 2010, Graham garnered 17 top-10 World Cup finishes, and his talents led him to competition in Snowboardcross at the 2006 and 2010 Winter Games. Now based out of Salt Lake City, Graham is in his second season as head coach of the U.S. Adaptive Snowboard Team, and is leading the charge in Pyeongchang as head coach of the Paralympic Snowboard Team.

A rundown of the team:

Just as with the able-bodied side, there is a National Team and separately named Games team.  The entirety of the National Team qualified for the Paralympic Games, as well as three non-National Team athletes.
We compete in two disciplines: Snowboardcross and Banked Slalom.  Snowboardcross is a head-to-head race(in contrast to able-body 4-across or 6-across), and Banked Slalom is a best-of-three run format against the clock.

Graham's path to head coach:

After my time competing, I dabbled in sports announcing, working for NBC and ESPN, calling able-bodied Snowboardcross races.  I also did contract coaching for a couple domestic programs in the Intermountain region and one season with the Australian World Cup team.  While in Aspen for X-Games, I was able to take some laps with some of the adaptive snowboarders who were competing at that X-Games in Snowboardcross.  Having watched them in Sochi, I knew there was potential for them to dominate the sport for years to come, and after taking some runs, I thought to myself, "If I were to continue coaching, that would be the program I'd like to work with."  Fast forward to the following fall, and I got a call from the USOC asking if I would be interested.
Without getting into the boring details, that's pretty much all there was to it!  Since then, the program has grown from six athletes to 12 on the roster, we have multiple World Championship and World Cup Overall titles, and we're looking at a lot of potential in PyeongChang!

What he’s looking forward to at the Games:

What I'm looking forward to most is experiencing the Games from one more perspective.  I foreran for the 2002 Olympics in Snowboard Parallel GS in Salt Lake City, competed last-minute as an alternate in the 2006 Games in Snowboardcross (Torino), made the Olympic team in Snowboardcross again in 2010 (Vancouver), went as a spectator to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi to watch my wife (Heather McPhie) compete in moguls, and now I'll get to go as a coach!

Week in Review: March 6

Overall winners, with SVSEF’s Jessica Blackburn

Charlotte Gourlay, Dylan Murtha, Logan Lindstrom, Jessica Blackburn, Maya Lightner, Austin Savaria and James Tautkus



The SVSEF IMD Alpine Team rounded out the qualifying season with the David Wright Memorial in Park City. Highlights of the weekend included an overall victory for Jessica Blackburn after taking her first win for the season, as well as two more podium spots. SVSEF women swept Friday’s giant slalom podium, along with Sunday’s slalom. Sunday’s success extended beyond the podium; SVSEF took seven of the top 10 spots.
“This was our third and final qualifier of the season that trajects our athletes into March’s Championship season,” explained Head Coach James Tautkus. “Needless to say our depth will put all of our athletes into these events. As a whole, we are very proud of the progress our athletes have made this season. Above all, they have become better skiers and better people. Our future continues to be bright with opportunity.”
Athletes qualify for Western Region Championships, which take place in Jackson two weekends from now, Tri-Divisional Champs at Snowbasin in three, or IMD Finals at Bogus Basin.
Result Highlights:
GS 1, Friday:
Jessica Blackburn – 1; Maya Lightner – 2; Logan Lindstrom – 3; Paige DeHart – 9, Agnes Kind – 14, Tatum Minor – 20, Hannah Ferris – 21
Nils Galloway – 4
GS 2, Saturday:
Maya Lightner – 1; Jessica Blackburn – 2; Logan Lindstrom – 4; Paige DeHart – 6; Saba Grossman – 11; Hannah Ferris – 14; Agnes Kind – 15; Tatum Minor – 17
Colin Hanna – 8; Carter Sammis – 16
SL 1, Sunday:

  1. Jessica Blackburn – 1; Paige DeHart – 2; Maya Lightner – 3; Logan Lindstrom – 5; Saba Grossman – 6; Hannah Ferris – 7; Agnes Kind – 10

Nils Galloway – 5; Carter Sammis – 10; Colin Hanna – 14


The Papoose Club hosted its 62nd annual Kindercup at Dollar on Sunday. “A long standing tradition, this is an amazing free event that brings the community together to celebrate the Valley’s ski heritage,” said head Devo and LASAR coach Brian Caulkins. “This event brought in kids from outside the SVSEF ski team, as well as athletes from Rotarun and Devo. For a lot of kids, this was their first race – they had fun with it, had amazing costumes, and big smiles the whole day.” Fourty-six SVSEF athletes, ages 7-12, competed in the race.


FIS athletes competed in a Nor-Am series at Copper, featuring downhill, super G and alpine combined races. In the European Cup Speed Cup event, Alli Rathfon took 24th and Lily Fitzgerald 25th. Alli’s best finish was 22nd in the alpine combined, which was a Nor-Am Cup race.
Alum Tanner Farrow’s top finihs was 14th in the March 3 alpine combined. Kipling Weisel, also a SVSEF alum, maintained top-10 finihses, with fifth and sixth in the downhill, eighth and ninth in the super G, and 10th in the alpine combined.
Spencer Wright had a top finish of 26th in the alpine combined on March 3, and Jack Smith’s was 32nd in the same race.


Eight SVSEF athletes competed in rail jam and slopestyle competition at the USASA event at Park City. Battling snowy conditions, athletes found multiple podiums and had a great weekend in the park.
Saturday’s Rail jam –
Easton Turck – 3
14+ Men
Kyle Kope – 6
14+ Men
Julian Gluck – 1
Jack Verhaeghe – 1
Sebastian Lerner – 3
Sunday’s Slopestyle –
Menehune (10-11)
Spencer Ferries – 1
Easton Turck – 2
Kyle Kope – 2
Breaker (12-13)
Jack Verhaeghe – 3
Breaker Girls (12-13)
Madison Hothem – 1
Junior (16-17)
Julian Gluck – 1
Menehune (10-11)
Caleb Hothem – 1
Sebastian Lerner – 2
Full results:
Rail Jam

Sydney Palmer-Leger at Junior Nationals. Photo by Hank Dart.


Comp, PG, Alumni

Comp, PG and alumni athletes are at the nearby Soldier Hollow venue for Junior National Championships. Competition opened up with a 5/10km classic race, and SVSEF delivered. U16 Sydney Palmer-Leger continued her domination of the Intermountain and national scenes, coming out on top in her age class. Also taking a win was Annika Landis, a SVSEF alumni who now attends Middlebury College and has trained with SVSEF’s summer training group. Other impressive results came from Johnny Hagenbuch, who placed sixth in the men’s U18 10km, and Logan Smith, who narrowly missed the U16 women’s podium in fourth. SVSEF U16 girls had an amazing result as a group, with all four placing in the top half of the field. Competition continues on March 7 with a freestyle sprint.

Jack Hegman racing in Italy.

Gold Team

Gold Team skiers have been competing all over. Kevin Bolger and Kelsey Phinney competed in their first World Cup sprint in Lahti, Finland – Kevin placed 11th overall and was the top American male finisher, and Kelsey just narrowly missed qualifying for heats with 36th overall. Jack Hegman and Rogan Brown have been in Italy for OPA races, and both had solid results in the pursuit; Jack finished sixth and Rogan 19th. Matt Gelso raced domestically in the 50km Rendezvous in West Yellowstone, and took home the win.


Devo athletes finished out the season with the annual Devo Triathlon at Lake Creek. This year, it consisted of a combined downhill and obstacle course, starting at the top of Big Bi and winding down through snow flurries into the stadium. Athletes celebrated following the competition with awards.

Week in Review: February 27

Overall winners Maddie Ferris and Oliver Parazette. Photo © Jim Grossman.


Laura Flood Memorial

“Use your senses, go with your feelings and instincts, dare to be different, dare to experience.” These words, which were spoken by Laura Flood and grace the trophy for the annual event which bears her name, remind athletes to trust themselves, acknowledge their individuality in lieu of conformism, and to choose their own routes in life. Hosted by the SVSEF annually in honor of Laura, the series featured three days of slalom and giant slalom racing. “Conditions were good, even though we received snow on Monday. This was a really unique opportunity to be able to race the U.S. National GS venue before anyone else has had a chance to race it,” commented Alpine Program Coordinator Riley Berman. “Having this new track is a game-changer for the Intermountain division. Our athletes were energized and eager to put their all into this course, and it was a great weekend of racing.”A big thanks to volunteers who kept the event running smoothly and who dedicated their time and effort to make it happen.
Taking home the Laura Sharpe Flood perpetual trophy, awarded to combined winners from the series, were SVSEF’s Maddie Ferris and Jackson Hole’s Oliver Parazette. Maddie had a strong series, finishing third in the slalom and second in both giant slaloms. Teammate Lily Fitzgerald joined her on the slalom podium in first. Marit Kaiser grabbed two fifths and a seventh place (GS). Carly Walther-Porino, Sage Curtis, Grace Pepin and Elizabeth Vanderkloot all secured top-10s throughout the weekend for a strong SVSEF showing. Spencer Wright, Thomas Klose, Buey Grossman and Charlie Snyder took first, third, fourth and sixth to start the weekend with a bang for SVSEF in the slalom. Thomas Klose again found the podium in the first giant slalom in third, and Buey, Charlier and Jake Blackburn rounded out the top-10 in eighth, ninth and tenth. The men went three-for-three on finding the podium, with Buey taking third in the second giant slalom. Jake finished fifth, Finn Mallinen ninth and Ian Hanna 10th.

Lane Monroe, Heather Flood Daves, Michel Rudigoz and Scott McGrew. Photo © Jim Grossman.



The following athletes have qualified for the Western Region U16 Championships in Alaska.  March 20-26, 2018.
Men:  Ryder Sarchett, Buey Grossman, Charlie Snyder, Ridley Lindstrom, Finn Mallinen, Josh Blackburn, and Max Moss.
Women:  Marit Kaiser, Carly Walther-Porino, Sage Curtis, Anhwei Kirk, Falon Hanna, and Emma MacGuffie.

North Series

The North Series team headed to McCall for the Cranston Cup, with slalom and giant slalom races. A highlight for the weekend was Tucker Smith taking the overall win for both days for boys.
“Our kids skied so well this weekend, considering they have not been on soft snow with big ruts all year,” remarked Head Coach Adele Savaria. “Since it dumped light, fresh snow the whole weekend, they all had a great time in and around their race runs powder skiing.  There were lots of smiles and laughter all weekend.”
Top finishes:
U10 Boys:
Joey Pierre – 8th
U12 Boys:
Tucker Smith – 1st, Max Meucci – 3rd, Will Kogelmann – 5th, Paxton Sammis – 8th, Owen Walker – 9th, Drew Kogelmann – 15th, Jensen Pierre – 11th, Sacha Stern-Pre – 16th, Abel Marx – 20th, Bodin Lee – 21st
U14 Boys:
Levi Loomis – 4th, Bryce Kanowsky – 6th
U10 Girls:
Reese Kelley – 6th
U12 Girls: 
Natalie Gowe – 2nd, Ruby Crist – 3rd, Taylor Hovey – 6th, Norah Davis-Jeffers – 7th, Ripley Scales- 12th, Bridgette Normand – 13th, Josie Sarchett – 16th, Scarlet Rixon – 17th, Ava Agnew – 20th, Rowan Desler – 21st, Ella Shaughnessy – 22nd, Scarlett Carruth – 24th, Marina Monschke – 30th, Hanna Bailey – 32nd, Molly Belle Poderick – 34th
U14 Girls:
Samanatha Beaudoin – 5th


FIS athletes competed at Steamboat Springs in University races – this was a great opportunity to test limits against athletes attending top ski universities in the west, as well as international racers representing those schools.
Top results:
Erin Smith – 24th in 2/23 slalom
Haley Cutler (alumni) –  17th in 2/25 giant slalom
Tanner Farrow (alumni) – 19th 2/23 slalom
John Blackburn – 43rd 2/23 slalom
Max Noddings – 48th 2/23 slalom
Hayden Terjeson – 59th 2/25 giant slalom
Noah Leininger – 55th 2/24 giant slalom
Bennett Snyder – 59th 2/24 giant slalom

Paris Pratt – 4, Molly Kucher – 5


IFSA Big Mountain

SVSEF Big Mountain skiers returned to Targhee, this time for national-level competition – the event brought athletes from all over the U.S., with representatives from the reaches of Maine and Alaska. Thursday, February 22nd were qualifiers for 12-14 year olds, 15-18 year olds had qualifiers on the 23rd, and finals for all were on the 24th. Five SVSEF athletes made it past the qualifying rounds into finals. Paris Pratt was fourth for girls 15-18 and Molly Kucher was fifth, and SVSEF athletes Charlie Stumph, Axel Diehl and Alex LaFleur finished 11th, 12th and 14th, respectively in the boys 15-18 category. “The athletes who ended up having faults or crashes had some really cool lines picked out, and I’m glad that everyone got after it,” said Head Coach Conor Davis. The team headed out for some freeskiing afterwards, and are preparing for their next regional competition at Bogus Basin.


Ryan Dobi, Harper Mallett and Will Griffith competed among the nation’s best at the Aspen Snowmass Freeskiing Open. Harper laid it on the line in the halfpipe, walking away with 15th overall in a field of 41 – although he didn’t make it into finals, this was a great finish for the caliber of athletes in attendance. Will, who finished 66th in slopestyle, next heads to Park City to compete in the Rev Tour slopestyle event. Ryan’s top finish was 57th in slopestyle.

SVSEF alumni (and now coaches and parents) with longtime coach Dave Bingham.



Prep and Devo athletes raced at the Intermountain Youth Championships in Jackson Hole, which brings elementary and middle school aged students from across the Intermountain region together for a final weekend of racing. Athletes competed in 2/3km freestyle and classic races, as well as a “skiercross” race, which featured jumps, tables and obstacles. Despite cold temperatures, overcast days, snow and strong winds, the skiers prepared well, stayed focused and raced hard both days. Taking home the girls U14 Cup was Sammy Smith, who won all three events for U14 girls, and won the skiercross event overall (including male and female athletes, U12-U16). This title was based on races throughout the season. Anja Grover was a close second overall, having won a few races previously. Anja placed second, sixth and third in the freestyle, skiercross and classic races for the weekend. Other highlights from the weekend included a sweep by Berkeley Canfield in all three U12 girls races, a fourth place finish for Teddy Hobbs in the U12 boys skiercross and second for McCallen Campbell in the U10 boys freestyle. U10 boys had a three-four-five streak (Zach Torres, McCallen and Huxley Flood) in the skiercross, and Eloise Hebert and Anika Vandenburgh took third and fourth in the U14 girls skiercross. Teammate Gretel Huss was ninth.

Start of the U14 girls classic mass start.


Katie Feldman (senior) and Peter Wolter (freshman), SVSEF alumni who are athletes on the Middlebury Ski Team, have qualified for NCAAs, which start next week in Steamboat. Peter also received the Rookie of the Year award for EISA (Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association). Katie was named to the EISA All-East Second Team, and PG alum and Middlebury athlete Sam Wood joined Peter in being named to the EISA All-East Second Team for men.

Alumni Spotlight: Geoff Unger '97

Bonds are strong among teammates and friends, when you grow up skiing or riding every day with SVSEF. Follow along with this series, ALUMNI SPOTLIGHTS, to learn what SVSEF alumni took away from their time with the organization, and what they're up to now.

We caught up with Geoff Unger, a moguls (freestyle) alumni who graduated from the program in 1997. After leaving the Wood River Valley, Geoff attended Colorado College before pursuing a career in mountain guiding. An American Mountain Guides Association Certified Rock, Alpine and Ski Guide with over 15 years of experience, he now calls Rosendale, New York home, where he owns and operates Extreme Alpine

Climbing In Frey, Argentina

What was it like to make the transition from growing up in the Wood River Valley to attending college? Did you feel prepared for that change? 
The Wood River Valley was an incredible place to grow up. It offered me so many opportunities to explore the outdoors and hone my abilities on skis. SVSEF was a huge part of that. By the winter season in sophomore year of high school, I was training six days a week on the mountain. When we weren’t training we were off competing. It was tricky to balance the academic work load at school and on the mountain, but I think that helped me transition to college and life outside the Valley.
Guiding in the Swiss Alps. Photo credit Mark Walker.

How did you decide that you wanted to be a climbing guide?
I was involved in the outdoor program at Community School, which showed me that it was okay to pursue something outside the classroom. Community School was also very supportive of my participation on ski team. After high school I took some time away from skiing. It wasn’t the same to have to drive two hours each way to get to the mountains. Consequently, I embraced rock climbing, as it was much more accessible. During college I spent as much time climbing as I could and it became my second passion after skiing. The college experience led me to an even deeper connection with the outdoors and drove me away from wanting to be involved in politics and business (my double major). So I moved back to the Valley and coached ski team for SVSEF on the weekends and worked as a trip leader for the Community School. From there, it wasn’t difficult to find my way into guiding as a full time job.
What do you enjoy most about the job?
The best thing about guiding is sharing the places I love and care for with my guests. Increasingly, our outdoor recreation areas are under threat of development and exploitation. As true wilderness becomes rare its value goes up as does the need to protect it. It is also important to me to have a real connection with my clientele. If I am able to teach people to engage with the land in a way that is sustainable and help them to see the value, then I feel satisfied that I’ve done a good job.
What are some challenges associated with your line of work, and how do you address these?
For a long time the main challenge was financial. Mountain Guiding is not the most lucrative profession. I would say it took me 15 years to really get my feet under me and make a living where I could afford to live comfortably. Before that it was a lifestyle that I chose and I lived out of the back of my truck and out of a duffel bag for years. In 2005 I got involved with the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) to become a Certified Mountain Guide. It took me three years of time and dedication, but I was able to achieve my IFMGA Guide Qualification. The AMGA has done a lot for the professional of guiding and continues to set standards for guides and the industry. It is difficult to make a connection between the work the organization has done and wages, but my view is there has been a positive impact on guide wages based on the increased visibility and recognition of the training and certification programs. The way that I have addressed the challenges present in the guiding industry is to get involved. I am on the AMGA Board of Directors and have worked hard to strengthen the organization and the guide training programs. I believe this has gone a long way toward making the guiding profession sustainable in the US.
Skiing in Sun Valley

How do you describe the value of a program like SVSEF? What has been your biggest takeaway?
The most direct value for me is that I will always feel comfortable on my skis. For my guiding job this is huge because it allows me the bandwidth to help my guests. Digging a little deeper, I would say the program taught me to have a strong work ethic. From dry-land training through the season, we trained hard and were expected to show up prepared. It didn’t have the feel of being regimented since there is a lot of room for expression in freestyle skiing, but the structure was there for us to grow and succeed.
Ski guiding in Austria

What aspects of the program have you carried over or applied to your current job, life in general, or any steps or experiences that have come in between?
A common thread for me is community. SVSEF, the Community School and the Wood River Valley are strong communities. Coming out of those environments, I have sought out opportunities that have strong communities and have tried to help them grow stronger. I certainly have found a lot of strength and support from the guide community. It has allowed me to grow and develop at my own pace, but also to become the best guide I can be while continuing to supporting others.
Was there an individual coach who made a big impression or had a big impact on you?
John Zuck was the head coach while I was on the team and when I coached for SVSEF. John was the single most influential coach and mentor for me. He put in a lot of effort to help me succeed as a mogul skier and as a person. In the summer time I also worked construction with John. It was an extension of ski team. He taught me to be responsible and honest about error correction. He would say, “It’s all about linked recoveries,’ whether that was on the construction site, on the mogul course or in life. It is really difficult to be perfect, but we can work toward it if we constantly recognize our errors and make corrections.
Is there any specific memory or story that stands out to you, that embodies your experience at SVSEF?
I always enjoyed the competitions we held at home, but what stands out to me is the Lane Parish Combined Super G and Dual Moguls Competition that was held for years. The mogul competition was held on Race Arena. It brought everyone together for a festive event. The racers would compete in moguls and some of the bump skiers would even race gates. To me, that was the embodiment of a strong community. Things got competitive, but in the end it was about fun and friends.
Guiding in the Swiss Alps. Photo credit Mark Walker.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
My father was heavily involved in SVSEF and the local community. I have always had the utmost respect for how he carried himself and conducted business. Of the many things I learned from him was to lead by example. If you set a tone of respect and leadership, then others will follow you. That is the best way to get things accomplished and be successful.
What advice would you give athletes about applying what they’ve learned at SVSEF to college or future experiences?
It will likely be different for everyone. I was never on the podium, but ski team taught me to do my best and never give up. After my years on the team, I didn’t become a professional mogul skier, but I did become a mountain professional and use what I learned on the team for my career in the mountains. I have a deep love of skiing and it will always be with me because of my days with SVSEF. I hope that all SVSEF athletes find this to be true, and that it enriches their lives to have come from such a great community.
Skiing of the back of Sun Valley

How have you come to define success? 
Success is something you can define for yourself. There is a lot of pressure in the world to look and act a certain way or do things ‘the right way.’ I think it is important to be who and what you want to be. If you put your heart and soul into it and keep at it, you can achieve success by making it your own. 
Thank you so much, Geoff!
To learn more about Geoff and his Mountain Guiding business, Extreme Alpine, visit his website here!