Athlete of the Month, March 2017 – Holden Largay

Holden at Junior Nationals. Photo by Jeff Page.

The athlete of the month for March is Holden Largay, 18, a member of the Freestyle Travel A Team. Holden joined SVSEF this season as a post grad athlete, after skiing in his hometown of Missoula, Montana through the end of his high school career. This was his first season with a full-time ski program; his recent results have shown the impact from this adjustment. He was the top SVSEF freestyle skier this year, with five overall podiums and a fourth place overall finish at Junior Nationals here in Sun Valley in March. Holden was third in his M19 age group, earning him qualification to the USSA Young Guns Elite Camp in July at Utah Olympic Park.
Most recently, Holden competed at U.S. Nationals in Steamboat Springs, CO, March 30-April 1. In the moguls competition, he made finals, and finished 13th overall in a field that featured top athletes from across the country. In the finals, he nearly scored a perfect 10 on his cork 1080 – one of the hardest tricks in the book – with a 9.7. The last SVSEF athlete to make it to finals at U.S. Nationals was Shane Cordeau, back in 2012 at Stratton Mountain in Vermont.

13th place run at U.S. Nationals

Dual round of 16, vs. U.S. Ski Team athlete Ryan Dyer (lost by decision)

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: 3/14/17


“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


Sebi Radl-Jones

CROSS COUNTRY: From Prep Team Head Coach, Kelley Sinnott:
This week’s I am SVSEF athlete for cross country is Prep Team skier Sebi Radl-Jones. Sebi has been a member of the cross country team since he was old enough to join, and from the moment forward has been an ever-positive, enthusiastic force. This season Sebi has grown into not only a positive team member, but a strong leader on the cross country prep team. He demonstrates all of the core values of the svsef and consequently has a great effect on all those around him.

  • Sportsmanship Sebi is a cheerleader for all of his teammates on the race course or in hard workouts. No matter how he is feeling, he is always encouraging those around him.
  • Citizenship Sebi is the first person to say thank you or offer to help a teammate or coach – he can be counted on both on and off the ski trails.
  • Character Sebi is supportive and positive but also well-rounded and grounded; he is strong when he needs to be, but also compassionate and thoughtful. Sebi stands up for his teammates and is dependable.
  • Teamwork  In an individual sport it can be hard to find the team unity, but it is an important part of a skier’s success. Sebi seems to have realized this at a young age and is always encouraging his teammates, pushing them harder while still cheering for them.
  • Creativity Sebi seems to see the beauty in skiing.
  • Passion While he does balance school work and the cross country team, it is also very apparent that skiing is Sebi’s true passion. He has a true love for the sport, and his energy and passion for it rubs off on others.
  • Perseverance This is a tough sport – it is tough training, tough racing, tough physically and it is tough mentally – yet somehow Sebi’s passion for it never wanes. One of the hardest concepts to grasp in ski racing is that no matter how hard you train and work, sometimes races don’t go your way. The only answer is to push on and keep working; to persevere and keep trying. Sebi might not have his most successful competitive season, but it hasn’t ever affected his hard work and positive mental attitude. He continues to work, to push his teammates and himself and to do so with positivity, passion and more enthusiasm than most people we know.


Zeppelin Pilaro

FREESTYLE: From Jennifer Diehl, freestyle/freeskiing prep and devo team manager:

For this week, Freestyle’s I am SVSEF athlete is Zeppelin Pilaro, who skis on the Freestyle/Freeski Prep Team. Zeppelin possesses a carefree yet passionate approach to everything he does on ski team. He is kind to his teammates, respectful of his coaches, embraces challenges with ease and looks at competition as just another fun experience. His progression in the air and on the snow have come so far this year and all the coaches see great potential in this young, quiet yet dynamic soul. Cheers to you, Zeppelin!

Luke Higgins

PARK & PIPE: The Park & Pipe athlete this week is freeskier Luke Higgins. According to coach Tyler Conway, “he has been sitting back, keeping it mild and waiting for the right time to ramp up his progression. With the warm weather, slushy snow and sunshine, Luke pushed himself to a new degree and took his skiing to a higher level, with bigger jumps and bigger spins. Great job and way to keep the stoke alive!”



Hanna Blackwell at Copper earlier this season. Photo courtesy of Tyler Conway.

Hanna Blackwell, a skier on the Freeski Travel Team, has qualified for the FIS Halfpipe Junior World Championships this year. The event will be held in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, from March 24-26. This is a unique and exciting opportunity for Hanna to get some international experience under her belt. The athlete has been working hard in the pipe this year, and has taken advantage of opportunities to travel regionally throughout the season; this marks a major step up in that regard.



FIS athletes have been competing at Schweitzer Mountain, in fields of 75-90 competitors. SVSEF women started off strong and stayed consistent throughout the week: Haley Cutler took a big win in the giant slalom on March 9, with Erin Smith right behind in second. Four out of the top 10 spots went to SVSEF; Katelyn Rathfon finished eighth, and Skylar Cooley was ninth. Haley kept up the momentum in the following women’s events; she was second in the slalom on March 10, and won another giant slalom race on March 12. In that race, SVSEF again took a number of top spots; Erin Smith finished second, Skylar Cooley seventh and Katelyn Rathfon eighth. On the men’s side of competition, SVSEF showed depth, with different athletes breaking the top ten in each event. Hayden Terjeson was sixth in the men’s super G on March 9, and Spencer Wright was ninth. In the slalom March 10, Filippo Collini and Duncan Fuller went nine-ten. March 11 was another super G, and this go-round it was John Blackburn in fifth and Yuri McClure in ninth. The giant slalom on March 13 saw Duncan Fuller in sixth, and teammates Spencer Wright in 12th and Cooper Dart in an impressive 14th.
Full results


Comp/PG Teams

Eve Jensen. Photo by Hank Dart.

Thirteen SVSEF athletes competed at Junior Nationals in Lake Placid, New York, representing the Intermountain Division. Sarah Goble, a PG skier, raced for the Great Lakes Division, and Bentley Walker-Broose, an Australian skier who has been training with SVSEF, raced as a guest.
According to Program Director Rick Kapala, who coached the IMD team for the week-long event, this was one of SVSEF’s better Junior Nationals in recent years. The team had a number of different kids skiing to the top of their race classes. Said Kapala, “we were fortunate that our athletes stayed relatively healthy this season. The last few weeks of preparation were pretty good; we weren’t struggling with illness, and were able to execute workouts.” This meant that the team was able to arrive at Lake Placid with maximum potential to secure good results. It was also beneficial that some of the athletes have been to JNs in the past, so they knew what to expect, and that this group trains consistently at altitude, which helped the skiers get up and over the hills that were featured on the challenging 2.5km course. All courses were moved to the backup site of the Olympic Jumping Complex from Mt. Van Hoevenberg, due to lack of snow. By the end of it all, they’d seen a little bit of everything weather-wise, from moderate temperatures, to t-shirt and klister weather for the classic sprint, to -6 degrees with 20mph winds on the last day of competition with team sprints.
The kids had a decent first day of racing with the distance skate on Monday. Johnny Hagenbuch took home silver in the U16 men’s division. Kapala felt like the group really warmed to the challenge for the following competition and the rest of the week, with solid results across the board in the classic distance and the relay.
Johnny Hagenbuch on top of the U16 men's 5km classic podium.

Johnny continued his week of strong finishes on Wednesday, making it to the U16 final heat in the classic sprint, and finishing fourth. He won the classic 5km distance race on Friday, and was on the winning relay team for his age class on Saturday. Anja Jensen made the final B heat for U16 women, and finished second in that heat and eighth overall. In his final individual race, Peter Wolter was second in the U20 men’s 15km race. Teammate Eli Jensen finished sixth in the same race. Peter and Eli were on the third-placing relay team on Saturday, and Ella Wolter and Anja Jensen were together on the fifth-placing relay team for U16 girls.
As a club, SVSEF ended the week third in the country. IMD was second in divisional standings. Kapala noted the importance of this. “It means that the standard of competition in our conference is quite high, which is important in our efforts to help our kids elevate their skiing. If the athletes our kids are racing against divisionally are good, they have an appropriate challenge around them. It’s important and encouraging to know this, as it gives our younger athletes the ability to come to the conclusion that there’s no reason we can’t build on the success of this year, and keep the momentum going for next year. They’re still growing and getting stronger, and this gives us something to work towards.”
Full results here

Comp/Prep Teams

Kate Horowitz, Tia Vontver and Comp Team Head Coach Ashley Knox at the Cascade Crest Marathon. Photo courtesy of Kelley Sinnott.

From Prep Team Head Coach, Kelley Sinnott:
The SVSEF Cross Country Team travelled to Bend, Oregon this past weekend to compete in the Cascade Crest Marathon at Mt.Bachelor. Skiers from both the Comp Team and Prep Progresssion team raced three different distances, on what ended up being a warm yet wet, snowy day on the Bachelor trails.  Landon Paschall and Cooper Roquet competed in the 25km race and Taylor Dorland in the beginner 10km race, while the rest of the skiers entered the 12.5km x four person 50km relay category. Teams were: Team “Kelley Rocks”; Fisher Gardner, Logan Smith, Luci Ludwig and Blake DeHart, Team “Sioux City Sasparilla”; Chloe Tanous, Jenna Nurge, Kirsys Campbell, and JHSC coach Tamsen Kaylor,  Team “You’ve Probably Heard Of Us”; Kate Horowitz, Tia Vontver, Kiran Merchant and SV coach Ashley Knox.
The fast skis paid off for the Sun Valley crew, which notched a good set of podiums:
Cooper Roquet was third overall in the 25km and first in his U18 men’s age class, while Landon Paschall was second in the U18 men’s age class. Taylor Dorland finished first in the women’s category and second overall in the 10km individual race. In the relay category, “Sioux City Sasparilla”  was first in the women’s division, Team “Kelley Rocks” was first in the mixed division and Team “You’ve Probably Heard of Us” was third in the mixed division.
Full results here

Gold Team

Cole Morgan, Jack Hegman and Matt Gelso are off to Quebec City for World Cup Finals, March 17-19. Deedra Irwin traveled back home to the Midwest, and won the Great Bear Chase 50km skiathlon in Calumet, Michigan; the event had a field of 20 women, and featured both classic and skate technique.
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

Athlete of the Month, February 2017 – Kipling Weisel

Photo by Sarah Brunson/U.S. Ski Team

The Athlete of the Month for February is Kipling Weisel, an alpine Gold Team skier, an alumni of the program and a current member of the U.S. Alpine C Team. Kipling has spent the 2016-2017 season making his mark on the FIS NorAm Cup circuit, competing against top athletes from across the country, as well as from Canada. Sanctioned by the International Ski Federation, NorAm Cup requires qualification, and is a step below the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup. In 16 races, which opened up with competition at Lake Louise in British Columbia, Kipling has secured 10 top-10 finishes, including three podiums. His current NorAm Cup ranking following competition at Copper on February 11 is an impressive sixth out of 130 athletes. Kipling’s growth and strong placement this season shows that he has a lot of potential, building off of natural athleticism, a deep drive and focused training. SVSEF Athletic Director Phil McNichol commented on his progress. “Kipling is having a breakthrough season. It’s exciting to see an SVSEF athlete moving up the ranks in the U.S. Alpine National Team.”
Photo by Michael Bingaman

Kipling’s versatility has been evident throughout the winter; he has scored in four disciplines at NorAms, and has proven through this series and beyond that he’s a top contender. Kipling recently took a big step internationally, finishing ninth in the European Cup alpine combined at Sarntal, Italy, and has managed to fit in University races as well as FIS competitions between NorAms. He secured six top-10 results (three of those were podium finishes) in University competition, took home a win and a second-place finish in FIS races, and most recently made the podium in third in a European FIS giant slalom event at Turnau, Austria, March 3.
Kipling is currently attending Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, taking the fall and winter off to travel, train and compete. His ability to balance education and sport and to apply ample focus to each aspect has been instrumental to his success. We’re excited to see where he goes with both his skiing and his studies.

The Week in Review: 2/28/17


“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


Maya Ligthner

ALPINE:  North Series Head Coach Scott McGrew spoke to Maya Lightner's hard work and dedication, as she is this week's I am SVSEF athlete for alpine.

Maya Lightner has brought an incredible amount of focus and energy to her training these past few weeks. She battled it out with her friend and teammate Paige DeHart for the overall Monroe cup win this week. It is great to see maya working hard and having the results to back up the drive and passion she has. Great job this past week maya and congratulations! Maya has been a gracious teammate both on off the field and we are excited for a strong end to the season for her.

Katherine Estep

CROSS COUNTRY: From Ashley Knox, Head Comp Team Coach:

Katherine Estep has quietly put more work into ski team and working towards her goals than she would ever let on to. She is sweet, hardworking, modest, and holds herself to the highest standard. This year she faced the disappointment of having her goal of making Junior Nationals just within reach, only just to miss it – not for a lack of effort or ability. In that disappointment, Katherine was graceful and still the smiling girl who we as coaches love having around. We could see her determination, focus, and resolve already shifting to what she needs to accomplish and do now in order to make sure she reaches her goals and beyond next year.

Toby Rafford

FREESTYLE: Toby Rafford is a young athlete who is making his way up, and really leading the charge for the younger athletes. He just qualified for Junior Nationals, held here March 13-19. According to coach John Grigsby, Toby has been working hard on learning a back-full (back-flip with a 360) and just qualified that on snow this past weekend. He is hoping to use it at Junior Nationals. Said Grigsby, “Toby has turned over a new leaf and has really shown that he’s dedicated to improving.” Beyond his efforts on the snow, Toby is always on top of his grades.
Ryan Dobi

PARK & PIPE: Ryan Dobi, an athlete on the SVSEF Freeski Team, has put in the work and has been trying a new run in slopestyle all season. At first he wasn’t landing his slopestyle run in competition. Coach Tyler Conway said that, "despite this, Ryan has been sticking with the goals that he set in the beginning of the year; he has practiced and worked hard at perfecting his run, which earned him a top spot in the slopestyle event over the weekend."




From Andy Gilbert, SVSEF Snowboard Coach

L-R: Caleb Hothem, Jack Verhaeghe, Walker Pate

The SVSEF Snowboard Team traveled to Jackson Wyoming to compete in the USASA Big Mtn. West Snowboard Series.
Athletes competed in slopestyle at Snow King Resort on Saturday, February 25. The team was made up entirely of U12 athletes. Although small in stature, the athletes rode with confidence, on a course that featured a rail box combo, medium sized jump, to bigger jump, and larger rail package. Nico Lerner stepped onto the podium in second with a solid run consisting of clean straight airs and solid rails. On the ladies’ side, Channing Curci took the win for Breaker Girls 12-13 with a frontside air and a “chicken salad” grab on the jumps and clean rails. Maddie Hothem landed in second with clean straight airs and good amplitude. Olive Gilbert took the silver in the Menehune Girls. Jack Verhaeghe and Walker pate went one and two in the Menehune Boys 10-11. Jack went frontside 360, method air to nose press on the box feature. Walker landed backside 360, frontside 180 and a clean box feature.
Sunday in the halfpipe at Teton Village, the kids really stepped up their game. Nico Lerner took the gold in the Grommet Boys 8-9 with good amplitude and solid grabs. Olive Gilbert took a silver medal in the Menehune Girls 10-11 group with an ally oop 360 and good straight airs. Maddie Hothem had good amplitude all day which landed her in third in the Breaker Girls 12-13 division. In the same group, Channing Curci pulled down a silver medal with a run that featured  frontside 360 to half cab. And in the Menehune boys 10-11 group, the Sun Valley boys pulled the podium sweep! Caleb Hothem, who went huge all day and was leading after his first run, ultimately finished third. Walker Pate had runs that showed good tail and creative spins, and finished second. Taking the win with great amplitude and good trick selection was Jack Verhaeghe.
The pipe and park at Dollar has been paying off and is only getting better as we get into the best training time of our season. Up next, the team heads to Park City for our series finale, beginning on Thursday, March 2. After that will will know our National Championship Team and will begin preparing for that event the first week of April.


Ryan Dobi on top of the podium.

The SVSEF Freeski Team competed in the USASA Jackson Hole slopestyle, halfpipe and rail jam event over the weekend. There were a number of podiums, with Harper Mallet taking first and scoring the highest hun of the day in the Freeski Breaker (12-13) boys category. Joey Markthaler shared the podium with him in third. Ryan Dobi, Freeski Junior (16-18), won all three events for the weekend. Kyle Kope, Freeski Youth (14-15) narrowly missed the podium, with a fourth place in the rail jam.
The team heads to Park City this coming weekend, March 2-5, for King of the Wasatch Series Finals. All events are AFP Bronze Level certified ski events and Rev Tour qualifiers if the athletes meet the requirements to compete in Rev Tour competitions. This is the last competition of the Big Mountain West series, and the final opportunity for athletes to qualify for USASA Nationals, which are held in April at Copper Mountain in Colorado.
Full results here

Cross Country

Prep and Devo Teams

Quinn Closser, Christine Estep and Taylor Dorland post-race.

A total of 275 athletes from the Intermountain Region, as well as from Alaska, descended upon the Lake Creek trails in Ketchum for this year’s Intermountain Youth Championships. The IYCs are a great opportunity for younger athletes to get a feel for what competition is like, to interact and race with other teams, and to see how their training throughout the season has paid off.
The weekend started with an individual start skate race, ranging from one to five kilometers, determined by age group.Athletes competed in a combined downhill and obstacle course in the afternoon, making their way down Torin’s Tucker (older athletes) and Big Biathlon (younger athletes), and navigating over bumps and through fencing mazes and bamboo forests.Sunday’s race was a classic mass start, on the same course as the skate race the day before, and seeded based on results in the two events the previous day.
All athletes skied well throughout the weekend, taking advantage of having trained on the course all season. Notable performances came from Sammy Smith, who won all three events in the U12 girls' division, and teammates Anika Vandenburgh and Berekely Canfield who found the podium multiple times throughout the weekend (Anika finished second in the skate and second in the downhill, while Berkeley was third in the downhill and second in the classic). Julia Sinnamon finished second for U10 girls in the downhill. Logan Smith also found the podium in each competition, with two second-place finishes in the skate and downhill behind Alaska's Quincy Donley, and a win in Sunday's classic race, after pulling away from the pack about halfway through. Luci Ludwig skied strong throughout, and ended the weekend with a third place finish in the classic. In her first race for SVSEF, Addy Bevers took bronze in the women's novice division in the skate race. Sebi Radl-Jones finished third in the U16 5km race, second in the downhill and third in the classic. Christine Estep finished her season as a Prep Team skier with a win in the U16 girls' classic race on Sunday.
The U14 Cup awards the top ten U14 athletes, based on their races throughout the season. Logan Smith won for girls, and teammate Luci Ludwig was third overall. Anja Grover made the top ten in eighth.
The Sportsmanship Award went to Jackson Hole Ski Club, and the Overall Team Award, given to the team with the highest points for the weekend, went to McCall.
Full results here


North Series and Mini World Cup Teams

Reece Walther-Porino, © Glen Allison

SVSEF hosted the Monroe Cup this past weekend, named in honor of former SVSEF executive director Lane Monroe. Lane also coached with the U.S. Ski Team. The event was well-attended, with nearly 200 competitors. Said Scott McGrew, Alpine Program Director and Head North Series Coach, “It was good to see the Mini World Cup crew in action. This was their first opportunity to compete at the North Series, and the weekend presented a great opportunity for the athletes to get some experience in an event with a larger field.”
A big thanks to Steve Porino for announcing during Saturday’s race, and to volunteers who helped make the event run smoothly.
The overall Monroe Cup winners were Maya Lightner (SVSEF) and Sebastian Brunner (JHSC), who were the overall U12 winners for the weekend. These two athletes will have their names engraved on the Monroe Cup trophy, shared over the years by many USST members, NCAA athletes, and other stellar kids from the past 20 years.
Full results here

IMD Team

Ryder Sarchett, in first place.

The IMD Team was at Snow King in Jackson for their final qualifier, where conditions were great, with a good show of sunshine to balance out the cold. SVSEF stepped it up, with athletes winning five out of the six races; they competed in two slalom events and one giant slalom. Ryder Sarchett swept the weekend, winning all three events for men. Jessica Blackburn won the second slalom, and Marit Kaiser topped the girls’ podium in the giant slalom. Head Coach James Tautkus commended his athletes for “bringing it to the racecourse this past weekend; it was rewarding as a coach to see everything we’ve been working on come alive, from top to bottom. This team really knows how to step it up when they need to; when there’s pressure, or when they’re on the line, they resort to second gear.”
Full results here

Laura Flood Memorial Cup 2017 – Results

Kaia Jensen cruises through the slalom course. (photo by Jim Grossman)

February 11

Ladies' Slalom
Men's Slalom

February 12

Ladies' Slalom
Men's Slalom

February 13

Ladies' GS
Men's GS

Athlete of the Month, January 2017 – Cole Morgan

Each month, we’ll be featuring an SVSEF athlete who has been selected by program directors in recognition of exceptional results in their respective sport.


Photos by Glen Allison (l) and Paul Smith (r)

Cole Morgan, a first-year Gold Team skier, has been making his mark in cross country sprint races this season. Following promising early-season Super Tour finishes, Cole approached U.S. Nationals at the beginning of January with confidence and tenacity, skiing smart qualifiers and heats that landed him in third on the American podium in the classic sprint. With this result along with earlier season points, Cole qualified to represent the U.S. at World Championships in Lahti, Finland, which will be held this month. Following these successes, Cole represented the U.S. at the U23 World Championships at Soldier Hollow, Utah. His focus at the week-long event was the classic sprint; if any pressure was felt, this being the only race he would partake in for the week, it went unnoticed by spectators; Cole skied all the way into the semifinals, where he finished fifth in his heat, putting him in ninth overall. This result secured his selection to the U.S. Team for World Cup Finals, which will be held in Quebec City in March.
Cole is originally from Bozeman, Montana. He spent a post-graduate year skiing for SVSEF back in 2012, before attending the University of Vermont. He leaves for Finland on February 16.

The Week in Review: 2/7/17



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

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

Here are the I Am SVSEF athletes featured for the week of February 7, 2017:

Jett Carruth

ALPINE: Jett Carruth is an eighth grader at Community School and a member of the Alpine IMD Team. Said James Tautkus, Head IMD Coach:

Jett has always had the speed but has struggled putting a whole run together. At the end of January Jett opted out of going on the road and took advantage of staying at home to train. He took a step back from his speed and worked on his focus of execution and technique. The result of his effort materialized into his first hardware ever. Jett placed 5th in the first SuperG qualifying race at Snowbasin over the weekend and backed it up with a 14th and 12th thus proving to himself that if he puts in the work the results will follow. A real inspiration to his teammates and coaches.

Chloe Tanous

CROSS COUNTRY: Chloe Tanous is a tenth grader at Community School, and this is her second year on Comp Team. Ashley Knox, Head Comp Team Coach, observed:

She has quietly made significant gains in both her technique and fitness. She is the kid that shows up, puts in the work, and always has a positive attitude. Chloe doesn’t really draw much attention to herself, but really adds to the dynamic of the team and sets a great example of how hard work pays off. She is quietly motivated, she has great internal motivation and knows herself well. Chloe brings a great attitude and, as with every kid, we know she has days that are easier and days that are harder, yet is a constant positive presence and is constantly driving to make gains in her skiing and reach her goals.

Hunter Diehl

FREESTYLE: Hunter Diehl has been chosen this week, for his commitment in the past few weeks (he’s had near perfect Air Barn attendance). Hunter is a tenth grader at Community School. Said John Grigsby, Freestyle Head Coach, “Hunter’s focus and commitment has really shown through and has really paid off, as is evident with his improved results. On top of that, Hunter doesn’t shy away from lending a hand; he’s been a great helper with course maintenance.”
Jack Verhaeghe, photo by Cory Smith

PARK & PIPE: Jack Verhaeghe, a sixth grader at Community School, has been described as hard-working, fired up, focused. Pat Lee, Snowboard Team Manager, has observed how Jack’s stoke and passion make waves on the team:
“​Jack is a hard-working snowboarder, he is always fired up when he shows up for team. he has been focusing on half pipe and slopestyle. He excels in just about every field of competition, even slalom and giant slalom; he likes to go for the all-around competitor experience. Jack has a strong passion for competition and it shows every time he crosses the finish line, always giving it 100%. He is an awesome teammate, always keeping the stoke high, slapping high fives and giving props to the rest of the crew. We have only had a halfpipe for a one and a half weeks and I have watched him progress every time we strap in. I am fired up on his performance this week as he has proved himself to be a well-rounded athlete.”



Big Mountain West Series

The Big Mountain West Series features five stops throughout the winter, which lead up to Nationals. Last weekend was the third stop and was based here in Sun Valley at Dollar. It was a well-attended event, with four boardercross competitions, as well as slopestyle and halfpipe. According to Andy Gilbert, SVSEF Snowboard Coach who is no stranger to staging events here, having orchestrated a number himself over the years, commented that, “the word is out that we have some of the best venues in the country as far as park and pipe goes. We had a group from Mt. Bachelor show up this year and riders from Montana, so we’ve had a pretty good showing. USASA kids who are trying to qualify for Nationals are putting us on their calendars, because we have great venues and put on very professional events.” With amazing parent volunteers and event organizers, the standard has been set for a level of professionalism that’s expected at this event.
Standout performances in snowboarding for the weekend came from Jack Verhaeghe, who rode really well in the pipe; he was first in the halfpipe for the boys’ 10-11 age division. Jack competed in all four events, and did well throughout; he podiumed in boardercross (first, two seconds and third) and was second in slopestyle. Maddie Hothem also had a great weekend with great results (second in 12-13 age class for halfpipe, second in boardercross #4). According to Gilbert, “she’s a young rider who is starting to figure out her game plan and how she wants to do things. She’s getting more confident all the time and riding really well.” Channing Curci saw good results (third in boardercross #4, third in slopestyle and third in halfpipe for 12-13 age group), as did Walker Pate (fourth male in 10-11 age group in halfpipe) and Tague Higgins (seventh in slopestyle for 12-13 aged boys). Zoe Bacca secured a win in the 12-13 girls group in all boardercross competitions.

Ridge Dirksmeier on course.

On the freeskiing side of things, Ridge Dirksmeier topped a field of 20 boys in the 12-13 age class in slopestyle. Joey Markthaler was fourth and Harper Mallett fifth. Will Griffith won the open class. In the halfipipe, Ridge Dirksmeier again won in the 12-13 age class, and teammates Harper Mallett, Dylan MIlls and Lachlan McFarland went fourth fifth and seventh. Tyler Conway, Head Freeskiign Coach, noted that, “as a team, we are gaining strength, and people are noticing that SVSEF is a Freeskiing powerhouse with lots of potential.”
SVSEF athletes represented well on their home turf, with an athlete stepping up onto nearly every podium for every age group throughout the weekend. Gilbert attributed the snowboard team’s comfort transitioning into the pipe to all the freeriding they’ve put in and all the miles under their feet with all the snow we’ve had; “for us to be able to put a halfpipe in front of them at this point is less daunting due to how much riding they’ve done leading up to it.” Gilbert also offered praise to the SVSEF coaching staff, who have worked hard to recognize where an athlete might need some work, and to tailor training based not necessarily on age but on how and where they’ll best be able to improve on that particular skill that could use more attention. As a result, the ages are intermixing, and teammates are building friendships and relationships regardless of their differences in years. This camaraderie is not bound to training; you’ll see an eight year old cheering on his thirteen year old as she makes her way down the course, and vice versa.
On top of the awards for specific event results, SVSEF presented the Beverly Hay Snowboard Cup for combined freestyle performances (halfpipe and slopestyle). The award is named for Beverly (Hay) De Chevrieux, who has been a huge, integral Snowboard Team supporter since day one. As a SVSEF board member, she was instrumental in ushering in the formation of the team, and continues to this day to champion the program and the kids who participate.
The trophy lives at the SVSEF Warm Springs office, and past recipients include Olympian Graham Watanabe and Olympic Champion Kaitlyn Farrington. This year’s winners were Malia Quigley (Park City), who was first in slopestyle (65.25) and first in halfpipe (81.25), and Hunter Goulet (Park City), who also won both slopestyle (90.00) and halfpipe (83.00).
Full results here
The next venue is Jackson Hole for the Big Mountain West Series, which the team is looking forward to visiting. The features are smaller, allowing athletes to throw tricks they might not be able to here.


IMD Team

The Alpine IMD Team traveled to Snowbasin over the weekend for their second qualifying event, which featured a training run and three super G races. Marit Kaiser had a solid showing throughout, with three top-ten finishes (eighth, second and fourth). Jett Carruth had a breakthrough weekend, earning his first hardware with a fifth place in the men’s first race. He was the top male SVSEF finisher in that race. He followed that up with a 14th and 12th, and was the team’s third fastest boy. Other notable finishes came from Jessica Blackburn, who was seventh and fourth in the first two races, Logan Lindstrom, who finished 11th in the first race, and Anhwei Kirk, who finished 10th in the second women's race. Not far behind Jett in the first men's race were Nathan Gowe in 10th, Colin Hanna in 14th, and Joe Goitiandia in 15th. Ryder Sarchett was fifth in the second and second in the third men's races. Nathan Gowe was a rock, finishing in 10th all three races.
James Tautkus, IMD Head Coach, noted that “the remainder of the 37 SVSEF athletes competing showed their strength with solid intensity and finishes. For many it was their first super g race experience. The coaches are very proud of the results, however choose to hang their hats on the technical and tactical gains from the mid season speed block. There is a lot of competition season left, with great experience and effort to help them all excel further.”
Full results here

North Series Team

IMD girls at Brundage.

The North Series Team traveled to McCall, Idaho, where they battled wind, rain and snow throughout the weekend. The event included two U10/U12 slalom races. Head coach Scott McGrew was pleased with the effort made by the team, saying, “Slalom can be a tough at times because of all the moving parts and the heightened potential for mistakes and DQ’s. That being said, we were proud of the way everyone carried themselves and brought out a new level of skiing. The collective progress we have made in the past two weeks has been staggering!”
In the first slalom event, Maya Lightner and Paige DeHart went one and two for U12 girls; teammates Laura Daves and Lowie Watkins went four and five. Reece Walther-Porino and Natalie Gowe made big gains, each moving up a significant number of spots. Max Meucci, Tor Johnston and Hank Moss did the same in the men’s race, moving up from rankings in the 60’s to third, 10th and 14th, respectively.
In the second race, Maya and Paige again went one and two, this time with Paige on top of the podium in first. SVSEF girls dominated the race, taking nine out of the top ten spots. Goldie Kirk was fourth, Chloe Vogel fifth, Lowie Watkins sixth, Reece Walther-Porino seventh, Charlotte Davis-Jeffers eighth, Isabella Hattrup ninth and Laura Daves tenth. Cole Curci was second for men, and Max Meucci stayed steady for the weekend, landing in eighth. In the U10 division, Scarlet Carruth skied a strong race, finishing third.
Full results here

FIS Team

Spencer Wright in second and Duncan Fuller in third earlier in the week at Schweitzer.

The FIS Team finished up a week of racing at Schweitzer Mountain in northern Idaho with giant slalom and super G races. Yuri McClure finished second in the men’s giant slalom on February 1, John Blackburn was fourth and Spencer Wright 10th. The women raced a super G the same day. Erin Smith skied a great race, taking the win for the day. Teammate Skylar Cooley was fourth and Katelyn Rathfon 10th. In the men’s giant slalom the next day, Spencer Wright and Duncan Fuller finished 14th and 17th. The women had another super G race, and Erin just missed first again, coming in second. Skylar was again fourth, and Katelyn was eighth.
Full results here
Earlier recap here
Haley Cutler headed to Colorado for the NorAm series. At Vail, she was 42nd in the first slalom and 45th in the second, February 1-2, in a very competitive field with top U.S. athletes, as well as Canadian and European skiers. At Copper, she finished 38th in the February 3 giant slalom, 31st in the giant slalom the next day, 14th in the first downhill and ninth in the second. Erin Smith headed down to join her after Schweitzer, and was 45th in the giant slalom, 25th in the first downhill and 26th in the second.
Results from Vail
Results from Copper


Mary Rose in third (photo by Nils Ribi).

SVSEF took part in the Sun Valley Nordic Festival, which included Town Sprints and the Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour.
A 400-meter course was set up in west Ketchum, around which teams of two competed in A, B, youth and exhibition categories. The husband-and-wife team of Brian and Caitlin Gregg won the overall competition by a hair, beating out the local duo of Gold Team skiers Mary Rose and Cole Morgan. The sprints were a nice showcase and a good way to kick off the Nordic Festival. The real deal for SVSEF athletes was the Boulder Mountain Tour, the 34km race from Galena Lodge all the way down the Harriman, which was met with fresh snow and extremely varied conditions, and boasted what some have claimed to be some of the toughest conditions yet in the 42-year history of the race. SVSEF Comp and Prep Team athletes who have their sights set on the last JNQ event next weekend in West Yellowstone opted to not participate in the Boulder. Top finishes at the Boulder came from Gold Team skiers Rogan Brown, who was fourth overall in the field of 631, and Mary Rose, who was third in the women’s category. Deedra Irwin was fourth for women and teammate Annie Pokorny was sixth. In the Half Boulder, Prep Team skier Crosby Boe finished eighth overall in the field of 200, and fourth for women. Teammate Quinn Closser was ninth overall and the fifth female finisher.
BMT results here
Half BMT results here
The last cross country JNQ event takes place this coming weekend in West Yellowstone, with freestyle sprints on Saturday and a 5k/10k mass start classic race on Sunday.


Freestyle Travel Teams head to Deer Valley this Thursday for the Deer Valley Mogul Grand Prix.