SVSEF Assumes Rotarun Ski Area Operations

© Glen Allison

Since its inception in the early 1950s, the nonprofit Rotarun Ski Area in Hailey, Idaho, has been geared toward building community through engagement in affordable alpine skiing. The Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) will continue to foster this initiative through its recent agreement to take over the management of ski operations for the 2017-2018 season. The organization will manage grooming, staffing, lifts and maintenance in order to continue to offer public session skiing, as well as SVSEF after-school alpine programming with a primary focus on providing affordable learn-to-ski programs for south valley residents.
Jesse Foster, president of the Rotarun Ski Area board of directors for five years and a member of the board since 2011, explained how the two organizations have a symbiotic relationship beneficial for a transition at this time. “Rotarun is the perfect venue for SVSEF to achieve its mission. Without SVSEF participation and programming, Rotarun is not able to complete its mission of providing a community-based seasonal activity facility and offering affordable day and night recreational activities and educational opportunities for people of all ages.” In introducing new programs and increasing participation, SVSEF looks to develop the sustainability of the venue. Said Foster, “SVSEF held its LASAR program at Rotarun last year, and while it was only two days a week for about two thirds of the season, it counted for over half of Rotarun’s skier days.”
SVSEF will be doubling access to south valley youth with the introduction of Rota-Rippers, an additional alpine after-school program. Much like LASAR, the Learn to Alpine Ski and Race program that saw a successful 2016-2017 season, Rota-Rippers is a developmental entry-level ski program for kids starting at five years old. The new Rota-Rippers program will be particularly focused on entry-level and first generation skiers.
SVSEF Alpine Program Director Scott McGrew described the benefits of expanded programming. “We believe that every kid in the Wood River Valley should have the opportunity to engage winter sport, build confidence, and establish a lifelong relationship with the mountains around them. The ability to provide after-school winter programming is a critical role that Rotarun, and its programs, play. For families who are looking to have their children participate in a professional and high quality program, at an affordable cost, this is an amazing opportunity.”
Both Rotarun and SVSEF are eager to maximize the venue’s potential. McGrew continued, “In an effort to keep Rotarun vibrant, financially viable, and culturally impactful, it is critical that the programming is inspired and meets the needs of our lesser-served community. Replicating what is already in place cannot be the vision; rather, leveraging Rotarun’s unique characteristics to expand the spectrum of opportunity for all is the overarching aim.” Foster echoed these sentiments, saying, “The knowledge that SVSEF offers is derived from the fact that they understand what is needed at this location; from how a surface should look, to what makes a hill safe when kids are ripping down the mountain.”
In continuing Rotarun’s mission of serving as a community hub and encouraging a healthy outdoor lifestyle through snowsports, public session skiing will be available with the purchase of a season pass through SVSEF. Community events such as the Arkoosh Cup will continue to be held at Rotarun, with an events schedule and public session skiing hours to be released later this fall.
SVSEF has created the First Turns Initiative, a donor funded scholarship program to help young athletes afford team fees and gear. The First Turns Initiative has a simple one page application process and is specifically geared toward Rotarun programs. If you would like more information about how you can contribute to the success of Rotarun Ski Area and the programs offered by SVSEF, please contact SVSEF Director of Development Cynthia Knight (; 208.726-4129).
To purchase a season pass or find out more about Rotarun objectives and SVSEF programs associated with Rotarun, please visit or call the administrative office at 208.726.4129.

SVSEF Workshop Schedule: Conversations with Dr. Wade Gilbert

SVSEF coaches and staff are invited to attend workshops with Dr. Wade Gilbert on Friday, October 13 and Saturday, October 14. SVSEF will also be hosting a presentation geared towards parents of athletes on Saturday, October 14; the public is welcome to attend.




8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

"Building a Culture of Competitive Excellence"

A workshop for SVSEF leadership and head coaches

Community School Theater, Community School Main Campus

(Lunch provided on location)

4-6 p.m.

"The Athlete Journey, in Pursuit of Excellence"

A workshop for SVSEF Gold Team, Cross Country PG Team, Alpine FIS Team, Mogul and Park & Pipe Travel Teams and all SVSEF staff

Community School Theater, Community School Main Campus



8 a.m.-12 p.m.

"Becoming a Better Coach"

A workshop for all SVSEF staff

Community School Theater, Community School Main Campus

(Lunch provided on location)


2-4:30 p.m.

Follow-up: "Building a Culture of Competitive Excellence"

A workshop and wrap-up with key takeaways for all SVSEF staff

Community School Theater, Community School Main Campus


5:45-7 p.m.

"Parenting Athletes"

This presentation will explore methods and concepts to effectively support, encourage and maintain a rewarding relationship with your child athlete during their sports journey. The presentation is open to the public.

Distance Learning Lab, Wood River High School, 1250 Fox Acres Road, Hailey, Idaho




Dr. Wade Gilbert is an award-winning professor and internationally renowned coaching scientist in the Department of Kinesiology at California State University, Fresno. The professor holds degrees in human kinetics, physical education and education; he has previously taught and studied coaching at the University of Ottawa (Canada), UCLA and Fresno State. Dr. Gilbert has 25 years of experience conducting applied research and workshops with coaches and sport organizations around the world, spanning numerous sports and competitive levels.

Dr. Gilbert has worked with organizations including the United States Olympic Committee, the Coaching Association of Canada, NHL/NHLPA, Cricket Australia, and New Zealand Rugby. He is Editor-in-Chief of the International Sport Coaching Journal and is widely published; Dr. Gilbert recently released Coaching Better Every Season (Human Kinetics) and was lead author of the USOC Quality Coaching Framework. On top of these accolades, he was selected to give the Kristen Marie Gould Endowed Lecture on Sport for Children and Youth at Michigan State University and the Cal Botterill Legacy Lecture at the University of Winnipeg in recognition of his significant contributions to coach and athlete development.    

Life After SVSEF: Loni Unser

Read about SVSEF cross country alum Loni Unser's foray into car racing in the latest issue of SVPN.

2016-2017 Annual Report

Our 2016-2017 annual report is here – have a look for season recaps, stats, photos and finances.


SVSEF Marks Olympic Day with Community-Wide Celebration

Sun Valley Olympians and SVSEF Gold Team members take center stage at Olympic Day. Photos by Sue Conner.

Olympic Day 2017 did not disappoint as the Wood River Valley community turned out to pay tribute our local Olympians and Paralympians, herald the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, and celebrate the Olympic spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.
Despite the small town vibe of the valley, we boast big talent on an international level evidenced by the 15 luminaries who graced the stage at Ketchum Town Square Wednesday evening.
On hand to celebrate Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation’s fourth annual Olympic Day were athletes Charles Ferries (1960/1964, Alpine Skiing), Dates Fryberger (1964, Ice Hockey), Terry Palmer (1972, Alpine Skiing), Maria Maricich (1984, Alpine Skiing), Reggie Crist (1992, Alpine Skiing), Greg Randolph (1996, Cycling), Sondra Van Ert (1998/2002, Snowboard), Jonna Mendes (1998/2002, Alpine Skiing), Muffy Davis (1998/2002/2012, Alpine Skiing and Hand Cycling), Hilary Knight (2010/2014, Ice Hockey), Jake Adicoff (2014, Cross Country Skiing), and alpine coaches Michel Rudigoz, Phil McNichol and Ferries.
Also introduced to the crowd was SVSEF’s Gold Team, consisting of elite cross country athletes Mary Rose, Kevin Bolger, Jack Hegman, Cole Morgan and Matt Gelso. Deedra Irwin, Rogan Brown and Kelsey Phinney were unable to attend.
Olympic Day is staged in 160 countries around the world and observed by millions of people who come together to celebrate the Olympic pillars of move, learn and discover. More than 2,100 Olympic Day celebrations were staged nationwide with nearly a million participants.
SVSEF’s incarnation of Olympic Day consisted of a Scavenger Hunt which took 12 participating youth teams throughout Ketchum to find the names of Olympians and Paralympians, everyday items and test their local knowledge. "Team Berrylicious" with Skye Pringle, Scarlett Pringle, Isabella Hattrup, Marley Macco and Channing won the championship with 75 points. "Various Garbonzos" comprised of O.T. Mullen, Walker Pate, Oscar Mullen, Keaton Pate and Paxton Sammis was second with 65 points.
Kids of all ages could also be found testing their physical prowess on Ski Erg cross country trainers, Skier’s Edge, rowing machines, and hockey station with a “shooter tutor,” which received a ton of play with 2018 national women’s hockey team member Hilary Knight in attendance.
Kids take aim at improving their shooting skills at the hockey station.

Once on the square, revelers partook in food and drink provided by local businesses, including The Cellar Pub, Ketchum Grill, The Haven, Dave’s Smokin’ Meats, Sawtooth Brewery and Leroy’s. Dennis McNamara was the grand prize winner of the raffle, taking home a Mammut avalanche backpack and air cartridge donated by The Elephant's Perch. Event support was also provided by Morgan's Fine Finishes and Swire Coca Cola.
Throughout the night, the five-piece band High Mountain Heard with front men SVSEF coach James Tautkus and Luc McCann (whose daughter, Mykala, wowed the crowd with her impassioned version of “Wagon Wheel”) graced center stage.
SVSEF alumni Sondra Van Ert and Muffy Davis.

Three-time Paralympic gold medalist Muffy Davis cut the ribbon on a new panel on the square that bears the names – including her own – of five Sun Valley Paralympic athletes, four of whom are SVSEF alumni; Jake Adicoff and guide Reid Pletcher and Elitsa Storey, as well as Lacey Heward.
SVSEF Executive Director Sam Adicoff remarked, “Unlike past years, Olympic Day wasn’t just for the SVSEF athletes and families. We invited the entire community to participate and share in the Olympic and SVSEF ideals of sportsmanship, citizenship, and character. Based on the extremely positive feedback, we will continue to host this event for Wood River Valley residents and visitors alike in years to come.”
SVSEF board member Charlie Dunn with Juli Roos (left) and Lucimari Bridgeman.

Alumni Spotlight: Corey Warren '04

Photo by Corey Warren

Corey Warren '04 has seen multiple sides of SVSEF; he skied on the freestyle team, and returned a few years later as a coach. He now spends his time as a photographer, videographer and visual designer based out of Seattle. Learn more about what Corey has learned from building a business and pursuing an artistic career, and what lessons he's taken with him from the Wood River Valley. 
What has your journey since living in the Wood River Valley looked like? How was the transition, from growing up here to attending college and to moving to a city? Did you feel prepared for those changes? How did you get started in art and design?
Since graduating from Community School in 2004, I have lived in Portland, OR, Moscow, ID, Bellingham, WA, Ketchum briefly, and now Seattle, WA. I went to four different colleges and managed to still graduate in four years, which was an entire journey on its own. Immediately after graduating from Western Washington University in Bellingham in 2008, my best friend let me in on a business idea and we started as partners in a skate/snow/gallery/print shop. I wore many hats and co-created INNATE, whose brand mantra was “a natural philosophy,” and encouraged the discovery and implementation of the innate talents of each and every individual for the greater good. We had a five-year run and disbanded in 2013. I had a short stint in Idaho coaching ski team for a season before moving back to Seattle to settle into my new life as a freelance creative. Now I’ve spent almost four years in Seattle and I’m finally finding my rhythm, uncovering the potential of the city and learning every step of the way. The transition from Idaho to Oregon to Washington was pretty natural and I did feel prepared, especially coming from Community School. This probably isn’t the time or place for it but one thing no one seems to be prepared enough about is the reality of finances and credit, which is an immediate and hard-hitting reality for many when they leave for school and become increasingly more independent from their parents. We need to implement more realistic curriculum in addition to the existing stuff.
Did you have a sense for a while that you wanted to start your own business, or is that something that developed over time or with certain experiences?
My whole family is pretty creative and have run their own businesses my whole life, so I think a lot of my creativity comes from being around it all the time and having cultivated it slowly over my entire childhood. I was always starting new businesses and coming up with new products and logos, so it evolved naturally into college when I needed to have a focus. The internet has been an incredible resource for me to get inspiration, post my own work and get feedback, and discover what’s happening in every little facet of art, design, film, etc. I’m a super visual and tactile person, really aesthetically incentivized with an A-type personality, so design and art are really natural outlets for me to make sense of the world.
You’ve got this company, Idahome, which resonates with a lot of locals. You’ve been in Seattle for a number of years – what parts of Idaho did you take with you, in addition to the inspiration for that brand? What are the goals and values of the company?
In regards to Idahome, I try to keep the glory, the grit, and the grandeur alive with the content I post and the products we sell, which are limited. The topography design, the county lines design, and the classic are all mountain/geography inspired and resonate with locals. Idaho is raw and genuine, it’s fresh and clean and represents the center of the universe to me— everything revolves around Idaho in my world; I’ll always gravitate back there, in my mind or physically. I’d like to grow Idahome to the point that it’s self sustaining and I can focus on design and marketing. I’m always trying to find the best products with the smallest ecological and humanitarian footprint, and the content of the work will always remain positive, uplifting and showcase the natural beauty of Idaho. I’d really like to lock in some long term ecological partners to form alliances with people on the ground doing work and speaking up for the environment.
On the most challenging aspect of building a company:
Building a company is an expression of one’s own passions with the caveat of having to make a profit. It’s firstly a challenge to balance the idea of making money on your passions with keeping them separate and pure. Secondly, you can’t be risk-averse and need to be willing to dive head-on into uncomfortable situations and put more on the line than you’re used to, because it’s greater than yourself and affects more people than one. Lastly, momentum and consistency are key, and that takes dedication and persistence. It goes without saying all these qualities are not readily accessible in everyone and running a business separates one type of person from another. Idahome is still in its infancy and should be seeing some growth over the next couple years! Stay tuned.
How do you keep yourself motivated and inspired as an artist?
On motivation and inspiration… it’s a fickle thing! I can’t always conjure it but I’m finding that one has to at least be in touch with their own schedule and what times of day are best for which types of work. I am a night owl and produce a ton of my best conceptual work at night. Newly born creations are best for mornings, and finishing ongoing projects for the evening. I like to use the days to play and exercise/ get errands done so the evening I can lock into my flow and be productive. Schedule is paramount to creativity but so is spontaneity, so again, a balance…. such is life, eh?
Aside from your own businesses, you work for Matador Network; what do you do for them, and what do you enjoy most about working there?
I’m a freelance content producer for Matador Network, which means I travel to destinations around North America for various clients of theirs, and create video and photo content for their brands. Sometimes I cover events, sometimes I create an entire experience for the viewer with a montage of all the activities one can do in a particular area. Sometimes I do more commercial work but the majority is destination marketing content. I love the travel and schedule, and the opportunity it’s afforded me to learn the art of run and gun film making (essentially making short, loosely-scripted documentary films out of your backpack).
How do you describe the value of a program like SVSEF? What aspects of the program have you carried over or applied to your current jobs, or any steps or experiences that have come in between?  To life in general?
The SVSEF was an incredible family for me as a child. I can’t think of a better structure for a kid to engage with, or a better organization to grow within. The discipline, autonomy, and self confidence are the biggest things I took away from the program. Knowing I was capable of accomplishing my goals, small or large, is a huge part of my identity and growth into who I am now. We are incredibly fortunate to have a ski culture so accessible to us in the WRV, because it’s such an unrealistic and rare lifestyle to be able to live.
You coached for SVSEF for a bit; what was that like, to return to the program from a different standpoint?
Coaching that one season was an incredible, surreal experience for me. Seeing that program from the coach’s perspective was a trip, with the reversal of roles catching me off guard at first. Coaching ski team is the most fun job ever, and I was just reminded of how incredible both Sun Valley and the SVSEF program are. The role the the SVSEF has in children's’ lives is paramount to their success in life and I mean that wholeheartedly. The structure, experience and character building that happens there is invaluable, and to be packaged in such an encouraging lifestyle is what makes it so unique and special.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
I can’t be sure that this is the best advice I’ve ever gotten, but here are a few things:

  • Never do two illegal things at the same time.
  • Be true to yourself and surround yourself with people that make you the best person you can be.
  • Enjoy the process and practice gratitude… life slips by quickly and it’s important to remain in a state of awe and amazement at the experience we get to have, uncomfortable or not. Gratitude is the attitude!
  • It’s not about staying out of the rain, it’s about learning to dance in the storm!

How have you come to define success?
Defining success takes experience, plain and simple. One has to live life and learn what they resonate with, what makes them tick, what incentivizes them and what challenges them. When our moral framework is developed, we are able to build on a foundation of understanding about the world that informs our choices and how we can stretch ourselves to achieve our goals. Success can be so many things to so many people…to me, success is having true friends, having a healthy mind and body, and continuing to cultivate a sense of awe and wonder about the world until the very end. Success is having a positive and long-lasting effect on people and the world around you.

Congratulations to the Class of 2017

Back row, L-R: Addy Jacobsen, Cooper Dart, John Blackburn, Peter Wolter. Front row, L-R: Brody Buchwalter, Hayden Terjeson, Spencer Wright, Blake Deilke, Erin Smith, Filippo Collini, Lukas DeWolfe, Katelyn Rathfon. Missing from the photo: Charlie Lamb, Noah Leininger, Kiran Merchant, Keene Morawitz, Sage Rheinschild, Nikki Sabiers, Alexandra Schaffner.

Graduation from high school is a milestone for SVSEF athletes, and not just from an academic perspective. Student-athletes who have participated in SVSEF programming have managed to juggle academic requirements with time-intensive training and competition schedules – not to mention all of the other hobbies and interests they have invested in beyond school and snowsports. This year, SVSEF saw 19 student-athletes graduate from high school and from the organization; 16 from Community School and three from Wood River High School. Of those, 10 athletes have made their way through the programs and teams of SVSEF since they were 12 years old or younger.
Twelve SVSEF athletes are going on to top colleges and universities across the country. Making the transition to higher education programs are Brody Buchwalter (Montana State), Cooper Dart (Bowdoin College), Blake Deilke (University of Denver), Lukas DeWolfe (University of Puget Sound), Addy Jacobsen (Western State University), Kiran Merchant (Brown University), Keene Morawitz (Dartmouth College), Katelyn Rathfon (St. Mary’s College of California), Sage Rheinschild (Santa Barbara City College), Nikki Sabiers (Montana State Honors Program), Alexandra Schaffner (Whitman College), and Peter Wolter (Middlebury College). Keene Morawitz and Peter Wolter will both continue in their sport of cross country skiing at their respective schools; Keene will represent the Big Green at Dartmouth, and Peter will race for the Panthers at Middlebury.
Six graduates will be staying with SVSEF for a post grad year on the alpine FIS team. John Blackburn (deferred at Montana State University), Charlie Lamb, Noah Leininger, Erin Smith, Hayden Terjeson and Spencer Wright (deferred at University of Denver) will continue to train and compete under the tutelage of top FIS coaches here in the Wood River Valley.
The final graduate is Filippo Collini, who attended Community School as an international student and was a member of the FIS team. Filippo will return to Italy for another year of school.
With the graduation of our athletes, we look forward to seeing how courage will supersede conformity, how passion will dispel fear of failure, how a sense of self will bolster resilience, and how all of these qualities will support an inclination to embrace opportunity, gain new perspective and continue to grow as individuals and as community members. Congratulations, Class of 2017!

The Week in Review: 3/21/17


“I am SVSEF” is an opportunity each week to highlight our athletes for demonstrating the core values of the organization.

Sportsmanship • Citizenship • Character • Teamwork • Creativity • Passion • Perseverance

ALPINE: The I am SVSEF athlete for this week is Ryder Sarchett, a skier on the Alpine IMD Team. Ryder won two out three races at Alpine Meadows last weekend, in the super G and slalom, representing SVSEF at the Western Region U14 Championships. This helped him earn a bid to U16 Nationals the week after next at Sugarloaf, ME. Coach James Tautkus explained how Ryder has demonstrated the SVSEF core values. “Aside from Ryder’s success as an athlete, he is a great teammate to his peers and leads by example. Very few athletes display the desire and determination Ryder Sarchett does. He skis more than most. He watches video more than most. He eats, sleeps and breathes ski racing. To be cool in ski racing you don’t have to be good, ya just gotta love it. Ryder demonstrates both of these characteristics.”
CROSS COUNTRY: From Comp Team Head Coach Ashley Knox:

Kiran Merchant is absolutely wonderful to have as a part of any group. Kiran is fun, generous, welcoming, and incredibly smart. On the ski trails and in the gym, he is a hard worker and will dedicate himself to whatever task he has set for himself. ‘Dirty Merch,’ as we all lovingly know him, has an amazing sense of humor and a quick wit to go with it. He excels in school and brings such a refreshing perspective to this crazy sport we do. He loves training and skiing and from what I can tell, everything it brings with it; good friendships, lifelong fitness, and an appreciation for where we live. We will miss Kiran next year as he takes on his next chapter of adventures at Brown University. 

FREESTYLE: Sawyer Vogel is a skier on the Freestyle Prep Team. Said Freestyle/Freeskiing Prep & Devo Team Manager Jennifer Diehl, “Sawyer is tough, witty and willing to try anything. She is a natural athlete but also works hard to succeed. Her mogul skiing has progressed tenfold this season, and her confidence and technique with her tricks and airs really shines. Skiing with Sawyer makes her coaches feel successful because she listens and works hard on the drills and technique that is being presented to her, then she shows pure joy when she applies what she has learned to her skiing. Sawyer is a magnetic teammate and encourages those around her to jump in and enjoy the day. Keep it up, Sawyer!”
PARK & PIPE: Emma Schmillen, a snowboarder for SVSEF, is this week’s I am SVSEF athlete. Snowboard Team Manager Pat Lee noted that, “Emma entered our program late, after coming to the ‘ride with the team day.’ She had a great time and decided to join the squad. We have all seen progression in her riding on all aspects of the slopes. She is very coachable and has shaken off the timidness we saw when she first entered the program.”



Addie Rafford hits the bumps. Photo by Glen Allison.

SVSEF hosted the USSA Freestyle & Freeskiing Junior Nationals at Sun Valley, March 16-19. SVSEF Athletic Director Phil McNichol reflected on the weekend. “The 2017 USSA Freestyle & Freeskiing Jr. Nationals was a tremendous success. It truly was a St Patrick’s on our side with regards to good luck with the weather. All events went smoothly and the competitors, coaches, officials and families left Sun Valley with the memories of a world-class event experience. We once again congratulate the winners and all the athletes for sharing their talents, efforts and gracious attitudes with our community.”
Representing SVSEF in slopestyle were Will Griffith, Ryan Dobi, Ridge Dirksmeier, Harper Mallet and Ben Fethke. SVSEF athletes who competed in big air were Will Griffith, Joey Markthaler and Ridge Dirksmeier. Will Griffith’s big air trick was a rodeo 720 Japan. Joey Markthaler threw a cork 900 safety and Ridge Dirksmeier went with a Rodeo 540 bow arrow. All of the tricks were performed with style and perfect  execution.
SVSEF halfpipe were athletes Joey Markthaler, Harper Mallet, Ben Fethke, Ridge Dirksmeier, Charlie Price, Lachlan McFarland, Liesel Byres and Hanna Blackwell. Unfortunately, Harper had to pull out of the competition because of injury, which occurred during training. Head Freeski Coach Tyler Conway commended the athlete. “Harper has been training so hard for the competition this week and it is unfortunate that he didn’t get to compete.” Teammates Ridge and Lachlan went out and destroyed the halfpipe – Ridge finished first and Lachlan third in their age class. Ben was second in his age class, while Hanna Blackwell was first in his age class and fourth overall.
Sammy Smith was SVSEF’s top female finisher in the moguls event on Thursday, March 16, ending up in 20th in a field of 71. In the men’s moguls finals on Friday, Holden Largay narrowly missed the podium in a field of 78, finishing fourth overall and third in his M19 age group. Luke Rizzo performed well, ending with an impressive 12th place finish. Brody Buchwalter made the top 30 in 28th.


Gold Team

World Cup Championships, Quebec City

Cole Morgan sprints to the finish in Quebec City.

From Head Coach Chris Mallory:
This past weekend the SVSEF XC Gold Team had three racers competing in the World Cup Finals as part of the US Nations group quota. They were some valuable starts and learning experiences for the guys, and the event and city park setting couldn’t have been better. The city received close to two feet of snow a couple days prior to racing which made for unbelievably good conditions once it set up and mixed in with the manmade base.The sun came out and over ten thousand North American fans packed the venue each day, which featured a rolling 3.5 km loop.
Each of the guys were able to put together a solid race over the three day mini tour. Cole Morgan started things off with a 34th in the skate sprint, narrowly missing the rounds. Matt Gelso had a great classic 15km mass start which went out hard right from the gun, taking 37th. Jack Hegman finished the weekend with an encouraging 15km skate pursuit with the 50th place time on the day.  
Full results here

Gold Team, PG Team, Comp Team

Katherine Estep races against the backdrop of the Canadian Rockies in Canmore.

A group of SVSEF Cross Country athletes is currently racing in Canmore for Canadian Nationals; many of the top Canadian skiers are in the mix, fresh in from World Cup finals, which just took place in Quebec. Competition got underway on Sunday, with Deedra Irwin taking the final podium spot in a field of 68. The women’s Gold Team placed 3rd-6th in the opening 5km Skate race.
Athletes representing SVSEF range from Comp Team skiers to PGs, guests and Gold Team racers. Head Post Grad Coach Tom Smith noted that the event today featured “ warm spring conditions, making for stellar klister skiing for the interval start classic races on brutally tough World Cup courses.”
In the senior women/overall 10km race on March 21, Gold Team skier Mary Rose took a spot on the podium in second. Teammate Annie Pokorny finished ninth, and Deedra Irwin 11th. In the U16 men’s 7.5km race, Bentley Walker-Broose finished 34th in a field of 100. Katherine Estep had a strong finish, with a top-20 result in 14th in the U16 women’s 5km. PG skier Laura Anderson was 17th in the U20 10km, Bjorn Schou was 14th in the U20 men’s 15km and Carter Ros was 33rd. Gold Team skier Rogan Brown finished 14th in the senior men’s/overall 15km race. The athletes have two more races to go, with senior and U20 classic sprints tomorrow, and U16/U18 classic sprints on Thursday.
Full results here
The season wraps up in Fairbanks for US Super Tour Finals.


Sawyer Kesselheim and Jake Adicoff in Sapporo.

SVSEF alumni Jake Adicoff continued racing at the international level, with another race in PyeongChang, South Korea, before moving on to Japan for the Para World Cup finals. In the men’s 10km classic race in PyeongChang on March 15, Jake finished in third in the visually-impaired class, guided by Sawyer Kesselheim. In Sapporo, Jake continued his streak of podiums, with a silver medal in the 10km in a field of 10 competitors on March 18 and a win in the 5km.
Sapporo 5km
Sapporo 10km



North Series

North Series athletes traveled to Park City for Intermountain Championships, March 17-19. The series featured a slalom, giant slalom and duals. Paige DeHart ended up second overall in giant slalom and took the overall win in the ladies’ slalom. Maya Lightner was fifth overall in giant slalom, and stepped onto the podium with Paige in second for slalom. In U12 duals, Maya took the win. Reece Walther-Porino made a move from bib 62 to 10th in the giant slalom; similarly, Charlotte Davis-Jeffers went from bib 56 to 11th place in the slalom. In the men’s competition, three SVSEF athletes broke the top 10 in the giant slalom overall; Cole Curci was fourth, Max Meucci fifth, and Tucker Smith eighth. In the slalom, Tucker Smith finished on the podium in second for his U10 age group; Cole was 10th for U12s.
Full results here


IMD skiers were at Alpine Meadows in California March 17-19 for the Western Region U14 Championships, where athletes competed in fields of 40-50 of the top Western Region competitors. Marit Kaiser repeatedly broke the top five, with a fourth place finish in the super G, a second place in the giant slalom and another fourth place in the slalom. Teammate Jessica Blackburn was also consistent, finishing 12th in the super G and 10th in the giant slalom. Marit Kaiser had a standout result in the slalom, ending up in fourth; teammate Saba Grossman was just behind in fifth. Anhwei Kirk was 11th in the same race.
Ryder Sarchett took a win on the first day of competition for the men in the super G. Josh Blackburn finished fifth. Nathan Gowe was third in the giant slalom; Josh Blackburn again finished in the top 10 in ninth. On the final day of competition, Ryder Sarchett was again victorious in the slalom. Axel Hattrup had a standout performance, moving up from 51st to finish 11th.
Full results here
IMD athletes were also at IMD Finals at Snowbasin, March 18-19. There were slalom and giant slalom events. In the women’s giant slalom, Dakota Barth was SVSEF’s top finisher in third, followed by Lena Nelson in fifth. Three other athletes were in the top 10, with Mattigan Monschke in seventh, Tanner Lee in ninth and Maile Dorland in 10th. In the men’s U14 category, Russell Stumph was ninth. In the slalom, Maile Dorland had a great race, ending up in second in the ladies’ event. Dakota Barth was fourth and Anabel Viesturs fifth.
Full results here


SVSEF athletes went big at the Western Region U16 Championships in Big Sky, Montana. SVSEF pulled a win in every men’s race and one women’s. Jack Harris topped the podium twice, in the giant slalom and the super G. Bennett Snyder won the slalom by over a second. Wyatt Barth finished second in the giant slalom. Alli Rathfon claimed victory in the super G, while Lily Fitzgerald ended second in the giant slalom.
U16 results forthcoming.    

Seven SVSEF racers have qualified for U16 Nationals at Sugarloaf, including U14 athlete Ryder Sarchett. The team leaves Sunday.


Erin Smith in second and Haley Cutler in first overall. Photo by Brett Jacobsen.

FIS athletes rounded out a week of competition at Schweitzer with a slalom event on March 14. Haley Cutler took the win for the women’s race. Ella Pepin broke the top ten in eighth, and Molly Milgard narrowly missed the grouping, finishing 11th.
Filippo Collini likewise took the win in the men’s race; this was his first overall FIS victory. Teammate Spencer Wright was 11th.
Haley Cutler and Erin Smith ended up first and second overall for women in the series. It was a good week of racing, with many age class and overall podiums over the course of the week.
SVSEF athletes return to their home turf here in Sun Valley for FIS races, which begin on Thursday.
Full results here

The Week in Review: 3/7/17


“I am SVSEF” is an opportunity each week to highlight our athletes for demonstrating the core values of the organization.

Sportsmanship • Citizenship • Character • Teamwork • Creativity • Passion • Perseverance


Tommy Hovey

ALPINE: Tommy Hovey, who skis on Devo, is this week’s I am SVSEF athlete for Alpine. Observed Brian Caulkins, head devo coach, “Tommy started the season strong and continues to work hard to improve his skiing. Every weekend he comes ready for more feedback and advice. He does not shy away from more advanced topic, such as being more patient in the turn, but instead listens, learns, and applies consistently.Tommy is a wonderful teammate and is always willing to help others. He is humble, fun to be around, and respected by all. We can’t wait to see Tomy’s trajectory over the course of the next month! Tommy also had the fastest time at the Kindercup for all ski team age groups.”
Anna Gilman

CROSS COUNTRY: This week's I am SVSEF athlete is Anna Gilman, a member of the Croy Devo Team. Throughout the season, Anna constantly impressed her coaches with her upbeat nature, her words of kindness towards teammates, and her level of maturity. She always came to practice ready to learn, play, and enjoy the outdoors; she was a great example to younger athletes on the team. In the face of adversity, Anna has proven her ability to rise to the occasion, as demonstrated at the Devo Triathlon this past weekend. In the midst of the blizzard, her ski fell off, and she was unable to get it back on. Anna finished the race on one ski, showing perseverance and a positive attitude to make the most of an unfavorable situation.
Simone Williams and Lainee Ludington

FREESTYLE: This week we have two athletes for Freestyle, stepsisters Simone Williams and Lainee Ludington. The pair just joined Freestyle Devo this year. According to Jennifer Diehl, freestyle and freeskiing prep and devo team manager, "Simone 'Mo' and Lainee are two delightful step sisters on the Freestyle Devo Team. They are not only supportive and encouraging of each other, but they grant the same courtesy and respect to every teammate. They make new friends, listen to their coaches, and put in 150% at training. They have come so far in their skiing this season because they put in such tremendous effort. They also try everything with a smile: moguls, powder, boxes, rails, and racing. These two individuals are exceptional and they both exhibit everything SVSEF. We are so proud of you Lainee and Mo!"
Sebastian Lerner

PARK & PIPE: Pat Lee, snowboard team manager, had a lot of good things to say about this week’s I am SVSEF athlete, Sebastian Lerner. “Sebastian is calm cool and collected, always showing up with a smile on his face to training. He and his brother, Nico, have attended every event so far on the USASA Big Mountain West schedule. Prior to the Park City event, Sebastian showed up to train on his days off, showing he has great drive and motivation. The training paid off, as he battled his way onto the podium in Park City. I'm super stoked to see him standing up on the podium with a great group of competitors in a tough age bracket.”


Freeski & Snowboard

Will Griffith, Ridge Dirksmeier and Ryan Dobi

Freeski and snowboard athletes were in Park City, Utah, for their last USASA Big Mountain West series event of the season. This was the final opportunity for athletes to qualify for USASA National Championships, which will be held at Copper Mountain in Colorado in April. With four days of competition, athletes took on two halfpipe and two slopestyle events, which was double the normal amount of competition in one weekend that they’ve seen this season. ,The event hosted between 65 and 110 competitors each day, depending on the discipline. Freeski athletes had great performances throughout, with some reaching the podium for the first time this season. The team brought 10 athletes to the competition. The Snowboard team also brought 10 athletes to compete in the double-header; by the end of the weekend, a total of 10 SVSEF snowboarders stood on podiums.
Head Freeski Coach Tyler Conway gave a breakdown of the first slopestyle event. “The first day of slopestyle was a good warm up for the team and a chance for athletes to get adjusted to the course and fly through the air in Park City. Slopestyle is a sport where you need to go fast, take chances and do so with finesse, control and style.”
Just missing the podium on the first day were freeski athletes Ridge Dirksmeier, Joey Markthaler and Will Griffith.
Nico Lerner on top of the halfpipe podium, photo by Alexia Lerner.

In the Snowboard Grommet (8-9) division, Nico Lerner had a stellar performance on the day and took the win. For Snowboard Menehune (10-11) boys, Jack Verhaeghe built on a solid season with a third place finish, followed by teammate Walker Pate in fourth.
The second day of the event featured halfpipe competition. In the Freeski Breaker boys category (12-13), Ridge Dirksmeier took the win. SVSEF had great grouping, with Dylan Mill in third place, teammate Lachlan McFarland in fourth, Luke Higgins in fifth and Joey Markthaler in sixth. In the Freeski Open women’s class, Hanna Blackwell finished first.
Two SVSEF athletes made the podium in the Snowboard Breaker (12-13) girls competition, with Maddie Hothem in second and Zoe Bacca in third. Nico Lerner continued his streak with a win in the Snowboard Grommet (8-9) boys category. Jack Verhaeghe and Walker Pate hung tight again, each stepping up a spot in the Snowboard Menehune (10-11) boys competition, into second and third. In a field of six athletes, Elk Spencer finished second for Snowboard youth (14-15).
Hanna Blackwell

Saturday again featured slopestyle competition, although the format was altered due to conditions. Conway explained, “the weather rolled in with heavy winds, making it hard to ski the slopestyle course. This forced race officials to switch to a one-run competition for the day. Everyone in the field had one opportunity to put down their best run for the conditions that day.” For the Freeski Breaker boys, once again it was Ridge Dirksmeier in third and Joey Markthaler in fourth. In the Freeski Menehune category, Ben Fethke took the win. Ryan Dobi made his way into third place in the Freeski Junior men category; likewise, Will Griffith finished third in the Freeski Open men’s category.
For snowboarders, Nico Lerner found the podium for a third time, this time in third. Brother Sebastian Lerner was also third in his age class, Snowboard Menehune (10-11).
Sunday was the final day of competition, which took place in the halfpipe. This time taking the top spots for the Freeski Breaker boys were Joey Markthaler in first and Lachlan McFarland in second. Just missing the podium was Dylan Mills, who finished fourth. Teammate Sam Ware skied to fifth. In the Freeski Menehune boys’ class, Ben Fethke finished second. Ryan Dobi again reached the podium for Freeski Junior men, taking second place. In the Open Freeski women’s class, Hanna Blackwell took her second win for the weekend.
The Lerner brothers finished the weekend strong, with Nico finishing second in Snowboard Grommets and Sebastian third in Snowboard Menehunes. Elk Spencer claimed second for Snowboard Youth.
The Freeski Team next competes here at home at USSA Junior Nationals at Dollar Mountain, starting March 16 and running through March 19.
3/2 Slopestyle 1 Results
3/3 Halfpipe 1 Results
3/4 Slopestyle 2 Results
3/5 Halfpipe 2 Results


Update from Gold Team Head Coach Chris Mallory

Kelsey Phinney in a skate sprint in Latvia.

This weekend the Cross Country Gold Team was racing far and wide, with athletes competing in Latvia at Scandinavian Cups, at the West Yellowstone Rendezvous and in Truckee, California at the Great Race Marathon. Kelsey Phinney joined the Norwegian Henning Ski Club for a weekend Mini Tour in Latvia, gaining a great amount of experience racing some of Scandinavia's fastest women and World Cup regulars. Her top result came in the skate sprint where she qualified in sixth place, and finished the day in ninth.
A large part of the men's team made the drive over to West to compete in the 25/50km marathon races there. Jack Hegman and Cole Morgan won the 25km classic and skate races, while Rogan Brown battled BSF's Silas Talbot in the 50km to eventually take second place in a sprint to the finish.  There were many familiar faces from the Sun Valley cross country community taking part in West, all enjoying the perfect course conditions this year.
Finally, Gold Team veteran Matt Gelso took the hometown win in the 30km Great Ski Race in Truckee. This year's event sounded very similar to the 2017 Boulder Mountain Tour, with 6-10 inches of snow on the course and tough light, making for a slow and tough grind to the finish.
Next stop for three athletes on the team (Cole Morgan, Jack Hegman, and Matt Gelso) are the World Cup Finals in Quebec City, March 17-19. These will be the first ever World Cup starts for Cole and Jack, competing against the 50 best athletes on the World Cup, but on North American soil.

Comp and PG Teams

Johnny Hagenbuch, on his way to second place in the U16 men's 5km skate race. Photo by Hank Dart.

A total of 15 SVSEF athletes are currently in Lake Placid, New York, for the USSA Cross Country Junior Championships, colloquially known as Junior Nationals. The event hosts regional teams from across the U.S., as well as some international athletes. Races were supposed to take place at Mt. Van Hoevenberg, but rain washed away that plan; they are now being held at the Olympic Jumping Complex down the road, which is the training base for U.S. Biathlon. Event organizers have set up a 2.5km loop of manmade snow for the event.
U16 skier Johnny Hagenbuch started the week off right in the men's 5km individual start skate race, which took place Monday, March 6. Johnny skied into second place in a field of 67 of the best cross country athletes in the nation, representing Intermountain and SVSEF. In the U20 women’s 5km, PG skier Sarah Goble was fourth, and was the third American finisher. In the U20 men’s 10km skate, Peter Wolter was the fifth American in the men’s U20 10km race, and PG skier Eli Jensen was the sixth. Andrew Siegel, a PG, was another top-20 finisher, ending up in 12th. In the women’s U16 5km event, Sophia Mazzoni came in 18th, followed closely by teammate Anja Jensen in 19th. The next event, a 1.5km classic sprint, takes place on Wednesday, March 8.
Full results here

Devo Team

Devo athletes from Croy and Lake Creek congregated at Lake Creek on Saturday, March 4 for the annual Devo Triathlon to close out the season. The event combined a downhill, an obstacle course, and a skate segment into one race. Despite the storm that rolled in as the event started, athletes navigated the course with composure. This event was also included the end-of-the-season banquet, and athletes received awards for a job well done.
(Results are on their way)


Mini World Cup

Athletes took to Dollar Saturday and Sunday for the final Mini World Cup races. Saturday was a super G; the second run was cancelled due to blizzard conditions. Sunday was a Komi race on Cozy; the course started at the road on Cozy, with a slalom running down to the town start. From there, a GS course ran to the finish.
Mini World Cup Team Head Coach Tor Jensen was pleased with the positivity and camaraderie at the event. “ It was great to see the excitement and energy, and to see these athletes out ready to go in tough weather with limited visibility on Saturday. To hear them cheering for their teammates over the radio was awesome; they did a great job and it is really fun to see how much they are all improving.”
In the super G, Paxton Sammis took the win for the boys, followed by Tucker Smith and Abel Marx. Taylor Hovey won in the girls’ race; Eden Gardner was second, and Josie Sarchett third. In the Kombi event, Tucker Smith took the win, with Paxton Sammis second and Owen Walker third. Taylor Hovey again won for the girls, followed by Jodiewillow Maguire in second and Josie Sarchett in third.
The Mini World Cup team will finish up the season this coming Sunday with a skills test.
SG results here
Kombi results here


USSA athletes headed to Bogus Basin for the Trudi Bolinder Speed Qualifier, which was a U16 qualifying event. Although the event initially intended to host three USSA scored super G races, one was cancelled due to weather. SVSEF claimed victory in both the men’s and women’s competition on March 3, with Lily Fitzgerald and Jack Smith standing on top in both races. Alli Rathfon finished second in both events, and SVSEF had four female athletes in the top 10 in the first race and three in the second. Bennett Snyder made the podium in the men’s first super G, finishing third. SVSEF also had four male athletes in the top 10 in the first race. Jack Smith took another win on March 5, with Buey Grossman not far behind in fourth.
Full results here
Based on results from qualifiers throughout the season, a number of SVSEF U16 athletes have made the cut for IMD Championships. Look here for the list, coming soon.

U12 and U10 Athletes qualify for IMD Championships

A total of 31 SVSEF athletes have qualified to attend IMD Championships, which will be held March 17-19 in Park City.
U12 Girls: Paige DeHart, Maya Lightner, Goldie Kirk, Laura Daves, Reece Walther-Porino, Chloe Vogel, Isabella Hattrup, Lowie Watkins, Charlotte Davis-Jeffers, Asia Angel, Natalie Gowe, Ruby Crist, Maeve Bailey, Ava Agnew, Scarlet Rixon, Jodiewillow Maguire, Ripley Scales, Eden Gardner
U10 Girls: Taylor Hovey
U12 Boys: Cole Curci, Max Meucci, Tommy Normand, Tor Johnston, Sacha Stern-Pre, Hank Moss, Zephyr Carruth, Bodin Lee, John Tumolo, Eric Parris, Owen Walker
U10 Boys: Tucker Smith


Photo courtesy of Jennifer Diehl.

Athletes between the ages of three and 12 took to Dollar for the 61st annual Kindercup on Sunday, March 5. The local event attracted over 300 kids, who made their way down the slalom course in good spirits, through bouts of spattering snow and wind. The event was not limited to alpine racers, and saw athletes from SVSEF cross country, freestyle and freeskiing programs.
Full results here


Alumni Chase Josey competed in his final event for the season, the halfpipe at the Burton U.S. Open. In qualifiers on March 2, Chase finished in ninth position, securing a spot in the finals on March 4 (the top 10 moved on). In the finals on Saturday, he solidified another top result for the season, finding his way onto yet another podium in a major international event. Chase finished in third place behind Shaun White and Australian Scotty James.
Full results here