Week in Review: February 14

Chase with his teammates and coaches in Pyeongchang. Photo from Chase Josey.


Chase Josey Finishes Sixth in Men’s Olympic Snowboard Halfpipe

The stakes were high in the Olympic men’s snowboard halfpipe final, with all four Americans (Chase, Jake Pates, Ben Ferguson and Shaun White), Australian standout Scotty James, 2014 Olympic silver medalist Ayumu Hirano, and a host of other top athletes from around the world vying for gold.
SVSEF alumni Chase Josey, 22, went into the finals in seventh place after qualifiers the day before. In his first qualifying run, he clipped the lip of the halfpipe, had a funny landing and scored a 47.75. Chase made up for that run on his second and final in the qualifier, riding smoothly and moving up from 20th to seventh with a score of 83.75.  
After Chase’s first run in the finals on February 14, he sat in third behind Shaun White and Scotty James. A spill on his second run after going big left it all up to the third and final run – he was in fourth after Ayumu Hirano moved into first with a second run score of 95.25. Chase improved upon his initial score of 87.75 with a top score of 88.00, and an amazing sixth place finish overall in the world’s most prestigious event for the sport.

Park & Pipe: USASA Park City

Park & Pipe athletes competed in Park City at a USASA event, with a Rev Tour qualifier in the Sunday event. “It was a super productive weekend for all the kids – they did extremely well, especially given they only had one day of riding pipe under their belts,” said Progression Team Head Coach Pat Lee. “Thursday was pipe training, in 50 degree weather with slushy snow – it couldn’t have been better for the kids to step into the pipe. Many SVSEF athletes found the podium throughout competition on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In Sunday’s qualifier for the Rev Tour, all of our male athletes (who weren’t already qualified) punched their tickets to the Tour.”

Coach Ricky gives some encouragement

Athletes competed in two halfpipe events on February 9. Highlights include second place for Harper Mallett, third for Joey Markthaler and fourth for Ridge Dirksmeier for freeski youth men (14-15), and a podium finish for Jack Verhaeghe in second for snowboard breaker boys (12-13). Barrett Beyer, the youngest competitor, skied well in all events. Maddie Hothem and Olive Gilbert finished third and fourth for snowboard breaker girls (12-13), Nico Lerner stole first for snowboard grommet boys (8-9), as did Caleb Hothem for snowboard menehune boys (10-11). Phebe Ericksen and Channing Curci both took second for their age groups (snowboard open class, snowboard youth women).
In the second event, Harper Mallett and Ridge Dirksmeier found the podium, taking first and third for freeski youth (14-15). Jack Verhaeghe was second for snowboard breaker boys (12-13), Olive Gilbert nabbed a podium in third for snowboard breaker girlrs (12-13), Nico Lerner stole second for snowboard grommet (8-9) boys, and Caleb Hothem won the snowboard menehune (10-11) age group.
Snowboard team, photo by Tiffany Curci.

Slopestyle on February 10 had a bigger showing, with 136 competitors. Charlie Price was eighth for freeski breaker boys (12-13), while Easton Turck and Zeppelin Pilaro went four and five for freeski menehune boys (10-11). Will Griffith placed fifth in the freeski open class, with 10 competitors. Ridge Dirksmeier and Joey Markthaler both had a great day, taking top spots on the podium in second and third for freeski youth (14-15) in a field of 13. Jack Verhaeghe also made the podium for snowboard breaker boys (12-13). Maddie Hothem and Olive Gilbert went hard for snowboard breaker girls, finishing third and fourth. Nico Lerner had another great day, topping the snowboard grommet (8-9) podium. Julian Gluck, who hails from Boise but who comes and trains with SVSEF, won the snowboard junior men class (16-17). Caleb Hothem took second for snowboard menehune boys (10-11), Phebe Ericksen was second for snowboard open women, and Channing Curci was second for snowboard youth women (14-15).
Freeski podium

The final day of competition was another halfpipe event. Rylan Mann stepped it up and took home third for freeski menehune boys (10-11), and teammates Spencer Ferries and Easton Turck were close behind in fourth and sixth. Ridge Dirksmeier, Harper Mallett and Joey Markthaler went one-two-three for freeski youth (14-15). In snowboarding, Maddie Hothem and Olive Gilbert again finished third and fourth. Nico Lerner grabbed another podium in second for grommet boys, as did Caleb Hothem in first for menehune boys. Channing Curci got her third second place for women’s snowboard youth.
RESULTS – FEB. 9 (1)
RESULTS – FEB. 9 (2)

Course inspection before the second run at Whiteface. Photo by Brett Morris.


FIS: Eastern NorAms

FIS skiers Erin Smith and Lily Fitzgerald headed east for Eastern NorAms. Following training at Burke and an Eastern Cup at Middlebury to prep for Whiteface, Erin and Lily jumped into giant slalom competition on 2/13. In her first NorAm race, Lily finished 26th, and Erin finished 29th in tough, icy conditions. Competition continues today with another giant slalom, followed by two days of slalom. Experience on the NorAm circuit is helpful in setting up points for start positions for next year, and in getting a feel for racing at a high level. Alumni Kipling Weisel is also on the East Coast for NorAms – he posted 20th in the giant slalom at Stowe Mountain Resort/Spruce Peak.

Snowbasin Intermountain Cup U16 SG Qualifier/Park City Intermountain Cup U16 Slalom Qualifier

SVSEF athletes competed in three super G qualifiers at Snowbasin. Two skiers found a spot on the podium; Josh Blackburn finished third in the first super G, and Carly Walther-Porino also took bronze in the women’s second super G. Marit Kaiser, Finn Mallinen and Charlie Snyder all had top finishes in fifth, and Buey Grossman had a top result in sixth. SVSEF had strong groupings, with three athletes in the top 10 in the first men’s race and four in the third. Similarly, the women had three in the top 10 in the first competition, four in the second, and three in the third. Athletes switched to slalom qualifiers for a final day at Park City; Buey Grossman took fourth, Charlie Snyder sixth and Ridley Lindstrom eighth. Park City dominated the top ten on the women’s side, but Marit Kaiser found her way to ninth and Carly Walther-Porino 11th.

Ryder Sarchett at OPA Cup

After a successful stint at the U16 National Performance Series at Burke, Ryder Sarchett (one of our SVSEF athletes of the month for January) competed in Malbun, Liechtenstein, at the OPA Cup. This event featured top U16 racers from the strong eastern European countries. Ryder led the American contingent, with a 10th place finish in the slalom on February 8. Ryder was the second fastest skier in the first run of the giant slalom race on February 9, but did not complete his second run.
“It was a great experience for Ryder,” said coach Chuck Harris, who traveled with Ryder to Europe. “He got better everyday. When he got off the plane, he was not the fastest U.S. athlete, but by the time the trip was over he was clearly the best. Whether that carries over for the rest of the season…time will tell.”


Mogul Regional Championships

SVSEF mogul athletes traveled to Park City to compete at Regionals, with two singles and one dual event. Sammy Smith led the charge for SVSEF women, winning her age group (F13) in both singles events, and finishing sixth and eighth overall in a field of athletes who ranged from F13 to FSr. Rainey Wilson was consistent throughout the weekend, with strong 12th place finishes in both singles events. Tilly Babcock, a F13 like Sammy, finished 31st in the strong women’s field. Luke Rizzo posted a sixth and 14th in singles, and Toby Rafford stepped up with a 13th place overall finish as a M15. Henry Buell had a weekend best of 22nd, and Alex Austin 23rd. Erik Babcock was 33rd in both singles events. In the make-up events, which had smaller competitive fields, Rainey was eighth in duals, and Tilly was 12th. Alex was 10th for men, Erik 18th, Henry 20th and Luke 27th. In the singles make-up event, Rainey finished 6th, Tilly 13th, Luke 9th, Henry 13th, Alex 17th and Erik 23rd.

Kelsey Phinney, stoked on sprinting


Gold Team Update

Kelsey Phinney was sixth in the Norwegian Cup Skate sprint in Aasen, NOR. She’ll race again in Trondhiem in a Scando Cup series in a week and a half.
Jack Hegman won the Dartmouth Carnival/Eastern Cup 10k Skate, and Rogan Brown was second. Matt Gelso won the Denver RMISA 10km Classic.
For March, Jack and Kelsey have qualified for US Team OPA Cup trip. Rogan is an alternate for that trip as of now.
After this weekend the Super Tour leader will receive period 4 World Cup starts. Kevin Bolger is currently leading.

SVSEF Alumni Chase Josey Sixth in the World at Olympic Snowboard Halfpipe Finals

Elated at the finish of his first run in the finals. Photo from NBC Olympics video.

The stakes were high in the Olympic men’s snowboard halfpipe final, with all four Americans (Chase, Jake Pates, Ben Ferguson and Shaun White), Australian standout Scotty James, 2014 Olympic silver medalist Ayumu Hirano, and a host of other top athletes from around the world vying for gold.
SVSEF alumni Chase Josey, 22, went into the finals in seventh place after qualifiers the day before. In his first qualifying run, he clipped the lip of the halfpipe, had a funny landing and scored a 47.75. Chase made up for that run on his second and final in the qualifier, riding smoothly and moving up from 20th to seventh with a score of 83.75.  
After Chase’s first run in the finals on February 14, he sat in third behind Shaun White and Scotty James. A spill on his second run after going big left it all up to the third and final run – he was in fourth after Ayumu Hirano moved into first with a second run score of 95.25. Chase improved upon his initial score of 87.75 with a top score of 88.00, and an amazing sixth place finish overall in the world’s most prestigious event for the sport.

Alumni Chase Josey Headed to Pyeongchang

SVSEF alumni Chase Josey is on his way to Pyeongchang as a member of the U.S. Olympic team. As a top contender amongst the greats of U.S. halfpipe snowboarding, Chase secured his spot to South Korea as the fourth and final male athlete, following his performance at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth on January 20. In the final Olympic selection event, he shot to the top of the field with a first-run score of 94.50 – a lead that persisted through the next two runs, securing the win.
When you meet Chase, you can better wrap your head around how the Wood River Valley native handled the pressure that loomed at Mammoth, with such high stakes at hand. Today, surrounded by eager fledgling skiers and snowboarders at Rotarun Ski Area, who are gearing up for an afternoon of SVSEF Rota-Rippers training, Chase’s demeanor is calm and pleasant. His unassuming smile gives you a little jab of a reminder – that you should, perhaps, try to be a bit more present. Because that’s what he seems to be doing – observing and appreciating the happiness that is so prevalent here at Rotarun, and that comes with making turns for the first, second, third time.

Chase echoes this in his sentiments about what one can take away from being a part of SVSEF. “You really gain a lifestyle for winter sports being a part of the program. You train for it, you live for it, you grow a passion for whatever discipline you're in. For these kids, I’d say, try to have as much fun as you can, and learn to ride with your friends and look up to your coaches. They’re only really trying to help you enjoy this lifestyle that’s been presented to you. It’s not supposed to be stressful; if it is, take a step back and try to figure out how you can enjoy it. It’s meant to be a passion and a lifestyle.”
This is a mentality that Chase has done well by – he’s stayed passionate about the sport and has managed to live a life centered around it. He was on skis when he was two, and he started snowboarding when he was five. Chase had heard about SVSEF, ended up riding with the team one day, and was hooked. He grew up through the ranks of the snowboard program until he graduated high school, and continued to pursue a professional career in the sport thereafter. Chase, glancing at the young SVSEF athletes as they bolt down West Bowl at Rotarun, gives a nod to the advantage that comes with starting early. “I was born and raised in Hailey, and just like these guys I started skiing and snowboarding when I was pretty young. It’s been so second nature to me, being on a snowboard – starting at a young age is a key factor for progression in your older years. A lot of people don't get that chance – they start snowboarding when they’re 16 or 17 years old. They don't have the head start like some of these athletes who are on skis or snowboards when they're two feet tall.”

With an eye on Pyeongchang, Chase is looking forward to trying on those starchy new U.S. team uniforms. All jokes aside – what uniforms represent, cohesiveness and solidarity, underly what he values – the importance of community. As an U.S. Snowboard Team athlete living in Idaho, Chase splits his time between training with other athletes at camps and training at home. “I’m looking forward to getting the opportunity to meet some of these winter sports athletes who I’ve never had a chance to travel with before, because we all meet up at the same locations. It’s going to be like a really big family over there with Team USA.” Community is a thread that runs deep for the snowboarder. Fellow SVSEF alumni and 2014 Olympic gold medalist Kaitlyn Farrington gave Chase a call before Mammoth to offer some words of encouragement. (Rewind four years, and you’ve looking at an uncannily familiar scenario – Kaitlyn was at the last qualifier at Mammoth, and was also banking on a top finish to qualify for the Games). Andy Gilbert, Chase’s SVSEF coach for many years, was with him at the top of the Mammoth pipe before he dropped in for the win. “It was really cool to have Andy at the top of the pipe at Mammoth – he was one of my main coaches throughout my whole time with SVSEF, and now he is the U.S. Snowboarding Rookie coach, so he’s been able to travel with us on our program. Having him there, one of my most longtime supporters, was really cool and I’m glad he was there.” The same goes for Chase’s supporters back at home, who have been watching his journey from a distance. “This is one of the most supportive communities around, and everyone is so connected and knowledgeable about their winter sports athletes. It’s a really collective coherence of positive energy in the Wood River Valley.”
The second big thing Chase is looking forward to at the Winter Olympics – the quality of the venue – points to his enthusiasm and respect for the sport, and the professionalism he brings to it. “I’m looking forward to seeing the halfpipe – at the test event last year, they were really well prepared. They had a ton of snow, good cold weather to make it, and one of the best halfpipe cutters in the world shaping it every night; it was one of the best halfpipes of the year. I think the South Koreans are going to do nothing less than that; they’re putting a ton of energy towards it and are really motivated to make sure the venue is up to par.” This bodes well for Chase – with a world-class halfpipe, Chase’s level of technicality has room to breathe. “What he does especially well is the way he puts his tricks together,” explained Andy. “He has a very unique way of putting things together and a deep bag of tricks, so he can mix things up as needed, depending on how the event is going.”
Chase takes a run with the Rota-Rippers snowboard athletes before he leaves for his send-off party in town, guiding a new rider through her turns. What a way to end the day, and what a way to set off for the Games.
Tune in to watch Chase in his halfpipe qualifier on February 13: you can find the schedule here.
More photos from Chase's afternoon at Rotarun can be found here.

Week in Review: January 30


Will Griffith, 2

Sun Valley Spectacular Slopestyle, Jan. 27-28

SVSEF hosted two slopestyle events at Dollar for the Sun Valley Spectacular. It was great to have a local event for SVSEF athletes to put all their training into practice. Notable results came from Ben Fethke and Spencer Ferries, who were second and fourth in their M13 age group on Saturday, Harper Mallett, who was fifth for M15s, and Will Griffith and Ryan Dobi, who were second and fifth for M19s. Will found the podium again on the 28th, in third. Ben Fethke won the M13 category on Sunday. Ally Olearain was third overall for women both days.

IFSA Big Mtn – Brundage Regional Comp, Jan. 27

Eleven athletes competed at their second round of IFSA regional competition last weekend at Brundage in McCall, Idaho. SVSEF skiers again brought a high level of skiing to the event, nabbing top podium finishes. Addie Rafford, Esmee Verheijen and Paris Pratt swept the women’s 15-18 podium, while Hunter Diehl took the win for men 15-18. Will Everitt had a great day, also finishing on the podium in third. Owen Miller was fourth, and Axel Diehl, Hunter’s younger brother, finished sixth. The team next heads to Targhee for another regional competition.

Alumni: X Games, January 28

SVSEF alumni Chase Josey, who was recently named to the U.S. Olympic Team, competed at the Aspen X Games last weekend. Josey took fourth overall in the men’s superpipe, behind Ayumu Hirano (Japan), Scotty James (Australia) and Ben Ferguson (U.S.), all of whom will be competing at the Olympics, as well.

Zoe Bacca 1, Channing Curci 2, Emma Schmillen 3

Baldy Banked Slalom, Jan. 27

The Baldy Banked Slalom, a classic local event six years in the making, draws young and old to a custom banked course on Baldy each year. The winner of the event gets a start at the Mt. Baker Legendary Banked Slalom; this year, that winner was SVSEF coach Rick Millett. Millett led the pro-open men’s field by over a second. Coach Pat Lee also participated, and finished in sixth. For SVSEF athletes, Zoe Bacca took the win in the youth girls (13-18) category, with Channing Curci in second and Emma Schmillen in third. Julian Gluck was first for youth boys. SVSEF athletes swept the next gen boys (12 and under) category; with Jack Verhaeghe, Caleb Hothem and Nico Lerner taking one through three. Olive Gilbert and Sophie Smith, the two next gen girls, went one and two.


Ridley Lindstrom 1, Charlie Synder 2

Alpine U16 Qualifier – Targhee, Jan. 26-28

The Teton Valley Ski Education Foundation hosted a U16 qualifier cup at Grand Targhee, January 26-28. The races were a qualifying event for the Western Junior Championships, which are being held March 20-25 in Alyeska, AK. IMD will take 27 men and 31 women to the event.
Originally planned to feature three competitions (one giant slalom and two slalom races), the slalom scheduled for January 28 was cancelled due to heavy snow and soft conditions. This event has yet to be rescheduled.
SVSEF found the podium across events. In the giant slalom, Marit Kaiser finished third overall, clocking the second fastest first run. Teammate Merumo Ishimaru had the second fastest second run and finished fourth overall. Sage Curtis had a great day, skiing to seventh, and Anhwei Kirk made moves, from start position 35 to 13th. SVSEF also put an athlete on the podium in the men’s GS; Buey Grossman skied to third for the day, with teammate Charlie Snyder not far behind in fifth.
In the slalom, Marit finished sixth and Anhwei Kirk ninth. Carly Walther-Pornino had a solid finish in 13th. Teammate Falon Hanna was 14th. The boys had a strong showing in the slalom; Ridley Lindstrom had a great race, finishing second overall and first for U16 athletes (the one athlete ahead of him was a U19). Charlie Snyder rounded out a great weekend of racing, finishing second for U16s. Max Moss was sixth and Finn Mallinen 10th – meaning SVSEF had four boys in the top 10.

Mini World Cup

Mini World Cup athletes competed in a slalom race on Dollar on Sunday, January 28, with great energy and enthusiasm for the day.
Find results here.


Henry Raff 1, Will Solow 3

JNQs at Lake Creek, Jan. 27-28

From Rick Kapala, program director and comp team coach
The Sun Valley community stepped up this past weekend and hosted an Intermountain JNQ that was relocated at the last minute due to low snow conditions at the Soldier Hollow, Utah venue. Approximately 250 skiers attended the event, held at the Lake Creek Ski Trails and hosted by the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation. While being a great opportunity for our local skiers to race on home courses, the races also provided a nice economic boost to the local hotels, condos and restaurants.
Many thanks to all of those who helped pull the event together on such short notice. In particular, thanks to the Blaine County Rec District trail grooming for their trail prep work. It was a big job to put the courses together given that all the work also being done to ready the BMT courses. Thanks to our Federal Land Agency partners, the Sawtooth National Forest Ketchum Ranger District and the Bureau of Land Management Shoshone District, for their support of Wood River Valley recreation, and thanks to all the VOLUNTEERS and VENDORS who rallied. We had a great race weekend thanks to you.
The Lake Creek Trails have gained a deserved reputation as being very real tests of ski fitness and ability over the years. To have such tough challenging courses in the mix of skiing venues in our community is a big bonus for our local Nordic ski culture. Many a visiting ski parent were heard to say, “Wow, these course are hard. I guess it explains why these SV kids are so tough.” The nature of the course profiles at Lake Creek include very little flat skiing with lots of steep uphills followed by technical downhills that require skiers to be really active in their descending techniques.
The races featured formats and distances for ages U10 through U18/20. Saturday was held in freestyle technique and Sunday featured classic races. SVSEF had a couple standout resutls as a team – SVSEF had four girls in the top 10 in the U16 sprint, and in the Sunday mass start classic, SVSEF girls won every age class.
SVSEF highlights
Saturday Sprint Freestyle:
U18/20 Men Sprint Finals
Will Solow – 2nd
Drew Palmer Leger – 4th (best ever sprint result)
Henry Raff – 7th  (best ever sprint result)
U18/20 Women Sprint Finals
Lily Brunelle – 3rd
Sophia Mazzoni – 4th
Ella Wolter – 8th
Eve Jensen – 10th  (best ever sprint result)
U16 Girls Sprint Final
Logan Smith – 1st
Anja Jensen – 4th
Sascha Leidecker – 6th
Luci Ludwig – 9th
U16 Boys Sprint Final
Cash Dart – 4th
Cole Reeves – 10th
U14 Girls Final
Samantha Smith – 1st
Gretel Huss – 7th
U12 Girls Final
Berkeley Canfield – 2nd
U12 Boys Final
Tucker Smith – 3rd
Sunday Mass Start Classic
U10 Girls
Hadley Walker – 1st
Torin Vandenburgh – 2nd
U12 Girls
Berkeley Canfield – 1st
U14 Girls
Samantha Smith – 1st
Gretel Huss – 7th
Annika Vandenburgh – 12th
Eloise Herbert – 14th
U16 Girls
Logan Smith – 1st
Anja Jensen -6th   
Luci Ludwig – 9th
U18/20  Girls
Sophia Mazzoni – 1st  
Eve Jensen – 5th  
Ella Wolter 6th   
Kirsys Campbell – 10th
U14 Boys
Holden Archie – 11th
West Gardner – 12th
Dexter Morrison – 14th
U16 Boys
Cash Dart – 5th   
Sebi Radl Jones – 11th
U18 /20 Boys
Henry Raff – 1st
Will Solow – 3rd
The next JNQ is in McCall, Idaho, February 17-18, after which the IMD Team will be named.
Locally:  Nordic Town Sprints will be held THURSDAY, Feb 1st at the Ketchum Nordic Town ski stadium, located corner of 2nd Avenue and 4th Street.  Come watch the fun with top locals and visiting skiers competing in a two-person sprint relay.
Youth races start at 4pm and MAIN EVENT SPRINT RACE at 5.15pm.

U.S. U18 Nordic Nations Team

Sydney Palmer-Leger and Johnny Hagenbuch Compete at U18 Nations in Finland

SVSEF Comp Team athletes Sydney Palmer-Leger and Johnny Hagenbuch competed in Vuokatti, Finland, representing the United States at the U18 Nordic Nations Championship. The series included three races; a freestyle sprint, a distance (5/10k) classic and a 3×3 and 3x5km classic/freestyle mixed relay. Sydney’s top individual result was in the freestyle sprint; the 15 year old finished eighth overall for women, after moving on from a preliminary field of 61 racers. Johnny’s top finish was in the men’s 10km, where he finished 19th. Both athletes were on the top male and female relay teams on the final day; Sydney’s team skied to fourth overall, and Johnny’s team to fifth. The two return to the U.S. to focus on Junior Nationals, which will be held at Soldier Hollow this year.

Kelsey Phinney, 2

XC Gold Team: SuperTour at Craftsbury

SVSEF Gold Team had a solid showing back on the East Coast. SuperTour races were held at Craftsbury, Vermont, with a 5/10km freestyle and a classic sprint. Kelsey Phinney finished second in the women’s sprint and sixth in the women’s 5km. Kevin Bolger placed third in both the men’s 10km freestyle distance race and the classic sprint. Teammates Jack Hegman and Rogan Brown were 10th and 11th in the distance, respectively. Coach Chris Mallory opted to race in the Craftsbury Marathon, finishing in an impressive 15th place in the men’s 48km field of 96 athletes.


Alpine: Monroe Cup on Bald Mountain (Feb. 3-4)
P&P: USASA Slopestyle and Rail Jam at Dollar Mountain (Feb. 3-4)
Alpine FIS: Schweitzer Western Region Speed Series (Jan. 30-Feb 4)
Alpine: U14 IMD Junior Speed Event Qualifier at Snowbasin (Feb. 2-4)
Mogul travel: Snowbowl comp (Feb. 1-5)
XC: Nordic Town Sprints as part of Nordic Fest, across from Ketchum post office (Feb. 1)
IFSA Big Mtn: Targhee Regional competition (Feb. 1-4)

Week in Review: January 23


FIS: Snowbasin

FIS athletes competed at Snowbasin Resort in two giant slalom races. These races were GS qualifiers for U.S. Nationals (along with Snowking races, scheduled for February). Top results came from Alli Rathfon, who finished seventh in the first race, and Lily Fitzgerald, who finished seventh the second day. Maddie Ferris was 10th in the first competition. Hayden Terjeson came in 14th on the second day of racing in the men’s category, followed closely by teammates John Blackburn and Spencer Wright in 15th and 16th.

FIS Western Elite: Park City/Snowbird

FIS athletes were at Park City and Snowbird for FIS Western Elite races. The Park City races were changed from GS to slalom and were open FIS races. Snowbird slaloms were U.S. National qualifiers (along with slaloms scheduled at Snowking in February).
Top finishes:
Erin Smith: 11
Lily Fitzgerald: 7
Grace Pepin: 28
Molly Milgard: 27
Elizabeth Vanderkloot: 33
Cailin Chandler, 39
Charlie Lamb: 28
Carter Jendrezak: 36
Noah Leininger: 38
Max Noddings: 33
Matt O’Connor: 31
Jack Smith: 19
John Blackburn: 26
Jake Blackburn: 27
Bennett Snyder: 26
Hayden Terjeson: 23

USSA/IMD: Wes Barron

38 SVSEF athletes competed in the Wes Barron Speed Series, an IMD Open Super G event, at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. SVSEF had great results across the board, in large fields of 85-100 athletes in each event. SVSEF girls came out strong in the super G, with Sage Curtis placing second, Jessica Blackburn eighth and Saba Grossman ninth, for a total of three in the top 10. They again had a good grouping in the second super G, with Marit Kaiser in eighth, Saba Grossman and Sage Curtis tying for ninth, and Jessica Blackburn a few spots behind in 13th. Logan Lindstron and Lola Street both had good races, moving up from bib numbers in the 40s to 20th and 21st. Sage stayed steady all weekend, finishing seventh in the third and final super G and ending the series with three top-10s. Marit was 13th, Saba 16, Jessica 18 and Anhwei Kirk rounded out the top 20 in 20th.
Another athlete found the podium, this time in the men’s race. Ian Hanna finished third in the first super G. Finn Mallinen had a great race, landing in seventh, teammates Josh Blackburn and Nathan Gowe were ninth and 10th, and Ridley Lindstrom finished 12th. Leo Molter was the second U14 finisher in this race, and 29th overall. Finn inched closer to the top in the second race, tying for sixth. There were a couple more ties in this race; Josh Blackburn tied for ninth and Max Moss for 16th. Nathan Gowe had a solid race in 19th. Breaking the top 20 in the third race were Ian Hanna (7th), Finn Mallinen (10th), Josh Blackburn (11th) Ridley Lindstrom (13th) and Nathan Gowe (19th). Colin Hanna, a U14, finished 28th overall and was the second U14 finisher.

IMD: Grand Targhee U14 Speed Project

Seven IMD athletes participated in the Grand Targhee U14 Speed Project, a camp targeted towards developing the education and application of technical and tactical components of a speed course. Now in its third year, the camp is offered to 12-14 year olds in the Intermountain Division. Athletes have access to quality, in-season exposure to specific aspects of a course, complete with video and feedback.


Travel Team: Deer Valley

The Travel Team were in Deer Valley for the Deer Valley Grand Prix. Athletes competed on the World Cup course Champion, in two singles events and one duals moguls event. Leading the team were Luke Rizzo and Sammy Smith, who both made overall podiums, and up-and-comers Toby Rafford and Tillie Babcock, who each rose to second place in their respective age groups.
Mogul Technical Director John Grigsby commented on the event and on the progression he’s seen this season. “I’m extremely proud of our athletes and coaches performance at this past event. Everyone in the west had a difficult start to the season; the lack of snow has made it hard for anyone to build a training venue. Our athletes’ hard work in the preseason really shows.” A special thanks to Sun Valley Company and mountain operations for helping us build a great training venue.
Singles 1/20:
Luke Rizzo 4th overall / 2nd M17
Toby Rafford 2nd M15
Alex Austin 4th M15
Henry Buell 21th (overall)
Erik Babcock 5th M15
Samantha Smith 1st F13
Tillie Babcock 2nd F13
Rainey Wilson 5th F17
Singles 1/21:
Luke Rizzo 1st overall
Toby Rafford 10th overall
Samantha Smith 3rd overall
Duals 1/21:
Luke Rizzo 3rd
Toby Rafford 9th
Toby Rafford 2nd place M15


IFSA Big Mtn: #1 & #2 Regionals at Snowbird

IFSA Big Mountain athletes finally had a chance to put all their training this season into practice at Regionals at Snowbird. Head Coach Conor Davis was pleased with his athletes’ foray into competition. “All of the athletes who attended the event at Snowbird this passed weekend surpassed my expectations! I saw sportsmanship amongst our fellow competitors, and we all learned a lot.” Conor was insightful when pointing to areas where there is room for improvement. Athletes are scored on lines, control, technique, fluidity and energy – foregoing hesitation, cranking hard turns, and being strategic with line choice all make a difference. That being said, SVSEF athletes put down solid results for their first taste of IFSA competition. Paris Pratt, Addie Rafford, Molly Kucher and Joe Goitiandia all found the podium throughout the weekend.
Best finishes:
Wilson Dunn: 12 (M15-18)
Hunter Diehl: 9 (M15-18)
Axel Diehl: 32 (M15-18)
Paris Pratt: 2 (W15-18)
Will Price: 25 (M15-18)
Addie Rafford: 1 (W15-18)
Joe Goitiandia: 2 (M12-14)
Molly Kucher: 1 (W15-18)
Esmee Verheijen: 8 (W15-18)
Video of SVSEF athlete runs
January 20 results
January 21 results


SVSEF alumni, Chase Josey, won the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix halfpipe competition at Mammoth on Saturday, January 20. This event was key, as it was the last qualifier for the U.S. Olympic team. Three male athletes had already been confirmed for the team, leaving one discretionary spot. The national  event was consolidated as high winds on Thursday prohibited the qualifier from taking place. Instead, both the qualifier and final took place on Saturday. Chase had the highest score from the qualifier, going into the final. In his first of three final runs, Chase threw down a cleanly executed and highly technical run, scoring a 94.50 – this was his winning run. The announcement was made Tuesday, January 23 that Chase officially secured the fourth spot on the U.S. Olympic Snowboard Halfpipe team, meaning he will represent the U.S. in Pyeongchang. Read the official announcement here.



A number of SVSEF alumni are currently racing on the East Coast college carnival circuit. This past weekend, college teams from the northeast met at Sleepy Hollow in Huntington, Vermont, for the St. Michael’s Winter Carnival; 12 former SVSEF athletes competed, representing Bowdoin, UNH, UVM, Dartmouth, Middlebury and Bates. Day one was a 10k/5k classic, and day two was a 15k/10k freestyle race. Top results came from Peter Wolter, a freshman at Middlebury this year, who took second in the men’s 15k freestyle; Katie Feldman, who was sixth in the women’s 5k classic, and Sam Wood, who finished sixth in the men’s 15k freestyle. Katie and Sam are also Middlebury athletes. The next EISA competition is the UVM Carnival, February 2-3.

Week in Review: December 12, 2017




SVSEF alumni Chase Josey was based at Copper Mountain in Colorado last week for the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix, an Olympic qualifying event. Each country can only have four athletes competing in each event at the Winter Olympics; with only three more qualifying events left, the stakes are high. Josey took seventh overall in halfpipe finals on Saturday, December 9, and was the fifth American finisher. He had qualified fourth in his heat on Thursday. Chase next competes at the Dew Tour in Breckenridge this week (Thursday and Friday), which is another Olympic team selection event.

Travel Team

Five athletes from the Travel Team are headed to Colorado for a week of on-snow training at Breckenridge/Keystone. Sawyer Largay, Ally Olearain, Will Griffith, Ridge Dirkesmeier, Cate Seay and Charlie Bingham will take advantage of features and terrain in Colorado. In addition, athlete Ridge Dirksmeier is also making the trek to the centennial state to compete at a Rev Tour event at Copper.


Mogul athletes Rainey Wilson and Luke Rizzo have qualified for U.S. Selections, based on a top-60 U.S. ranking. They will be competing at Winter Park in Colorado from December 15 through December 21. Athletes will have the opportunity to compete in both moguls and dual moguls, in an attempt to qualify for starts in NorAm events and possibly U.S. World Cups. The top 20 finishers at this selection event will qualify for NorAms.

Lily Brunelle and Eve Jensen race at Winterstart. Photo by Mike Brunelle.


PG/Comp/Prep: Winterstart

To kickoff the season, SVSEF, the BCRD and Galena Lodge hosted its annual Winterstart race at Galena. 80 competitors, which included junior racers from SVSEF, Utah Nordic Alliance (TUNA) and Bogus Basin, participated in four different skate distance races: 1.5km, 3km, 6km and 9km.
Thanks to the BCRD, Galena Lodge and volunteers for their support of this event!

Kevin Bolger rounds the bend.

Cole Morgan (3) and Jack Hegman (4) on the men's classic sprint podium.

Gold Team: Silverstar SuperTour

The cross country Gold Team traveled to Silverstar, BC to round out period one of the domestic SuperTour race circuit. Saturday was a classic sprint. Gold Team skier Cole Morgan won the prelim; this was a big win, since Olympic selection is based on prelims, not the final heats. Teammate Kelsey Phinney was second in the women’s prelim. At the end of the day, SVSEF walked away with a number of top finishes in the finals, with Morgan third overall, Jack Hegman fourth and Phinney fourth for women.
Sunday was an interval start freestyle race: 15km for men and 10km for women. Jack Hegman made the podium in second place, while first-year Gold Team skier Kevin Bolger finished fourth, keeping him in the running for Olympic Team selection. The team is back in Sun Valley for a few weeks of training and recovery before they head to U.S. Nationals in Anchorage, which begin January 3, 2018.


With the Eric Hayes memorial race officially moved to Snow King, FIS athletes who are currently competing there will be joined by FIS and USSA teammates this coming weekend. At FIS-sanctioned races at Snow King, Hayden Terjeson broke into the front of the pack in the men’s giant slalom on December 11, taking tenth place. Lily Fitzgerald did the same in the ladies’ giant slalom on December 10, placing ninth. Racing continues today and tomorrow with slalom events.

Creating a Culture of Excellence: SVSEF Benefits from Workshop with Dr. Wade Gilbert

Leading the discussion at the Community School Theater.

Continuing education is a widely-applied concept; doctors jet off to conferences to learn about new processes, new findings, new techniques. Graphic designers, business owners and chefs alike take advantage of similar opportunities to stay on top of the latest and greatest in their respective industries. For athletic coaches, it’s no different. Educational development in the field of coaching allows for a larger knowledgebase, and the potential for greater impact on athletes.
With this in mind, SVSEF hosted a two-day workshop on October 13 and 14, geared towards coaches and staff, athletes and parents. SVSEF Athletic Director Phil McNichol spoke to why the organization orchestrated the event. “Great coaches are those who view themselves as teachers and are on a constant quest for continued learning and improvement. We are just doing our best to provide quality opportunities for coaches to advance their craft.”
The aim of the workshop was to provide accessible opportunities for learning, and to open up discussion about how we, both as an organization and as individuals, can improve. “Our goal for the organization and staff was to explore our purpose, and why we provide programs and coach sport,” said McNichol. “This is the first step in gaining a deeper understanding of team values and how we can better apply a framework of coaching principles.”
The workshop was conducted by Dr. Wade Gilbert, an award-winning professor and internationally renowned coaching scientist in the Department of Kinesiology at California State University, Fresno. With 25 years of experience conducting applied research and workshops and being involved with coaches and organizations all over the world and at a large variety of competitive levels, Gilbert brought a wealth of knowledge in physical education, human kinetics and education to his workshops in Sun Valley.
McNichol expounded on the level of professionalism Gilbert brought to the talks. “Dr. Gilbert is a leading expert in the science of coaching, talent development and sport organization principles. His work is grounded in applied knowledge through scientific research. It provides the framework to build organizations around a culture of excellence and quality coaching. This workshop was all about what SVSEF strives to be.”
SVSEF Athletic Director Phil McNichol, board member Steve Porino, Dr. Gilbert and Lisa Dirksmeier at the parent discussion.

Two sessions were geared towards coaches and staff, and addressed the ideas of building a culture of competitive excellence and becoming a better coach. Gilbert opened up discussion by sharing his intention for the workshop: he wanted participants to leave with a good view of the patterns and principles of the organization and to engage in critical reflection, in order to better identify where and how improvements can be made. He explained ways in which, on both a personal and organizational level, we can shape behavior and mold a culture that is supportive, evolving and moving towards success. Gilbert drove home his argument that in order to instill behavioral changes, it’s the environment that needs to be cultivated and shaped, by bringing to light insightful testimony to this effect. Setting up a learning community, implementing detailed action plans and focusing on the quality of coaching are all key to making this happen. The workshop encouraged discussion and sharing, with individual and group exercises interspersed between lecture segments.
A separate session invited older SVSEF athletes to delve into their personal and team process and journey. It was intended to expose them to concepts and methods that, if applied, will help them improve as they continue involvement in sport. The series closed on Saturday night with a parent-focused talk, which provided access to research and information on sound athlete development. Gilbert started by asking parents why they put their children in sport – the answers varied from wanting kids to have a sense of sportsmanship and friendship, to hoping they learned about how the body works and moves, to simply wanting them to have fun.
Gilbert pointed out, in support of these answers, that involving kids in sports shouldn’t be thought of as an investment – that the return on investment is in the here and now. Statistics show a surprising drop in numbers of youths in sport; whereas 45% of U.S. kids ages six through 12 played team sports 2008, it has since dropped to 37%. In an industry that is unique from international counterparts (other countries have federal resources that govern sports, and along with that, governing bodies and restrictions), Gilbert encouraged an open mind and a focus on the top reason why kids start athletics in the first place: to have fun.
McNichol, who has worked at a national, elite level as head coach of the U.S. Ski Team, has been to many clinics, conferences and presentations on coaching and sport development. His takeaway from Gilbert’s workshop was that it was by far the most impactful he has attended. “This was not unexpected,” said McNichol,  “as I knew something of Dr. Gilbert and his material. However, I had not anticipated so much verification of what works in coaching and team management. Nor did I expect to learn so much about the science that is now confirming and supporting these principles.”
SVSEF is continuously looking to improve the quality of coaching, learning, and experience for its athletes; workshops like this one help the organization to continue moving in that direction.