The Flintstones. © Glen Allison

If there’s anything this group does well, it’s costumes and celebrating SVSEF. The theme for this year’s 20th annual Janss Pro-Am Classic was “Cartoon Classics,” and participants did not disappoint. The Flintstones made a memorable appearance, rolling in with a footmobile to the show’s intro music. Where was Waldo? An anomaly of the books that had you squinting at the page for minutes, scanning and searching for the man with the striped shirt and hipster glasses, Team Where’s Waldo was everywhere – couldn’t miss ‘em. Had someone crashed the party, attendees would’ve been all set with the vigilante/superhero powers of Sturtevants Superwomen, Batman and Avengers. The list of exceptionally creative teams and costumes goes on; it was a blissful three days of walking and talking among the characters that colored childhoods and still intrigue generations today.

The title sponsor for the second year in a row was Bentley Motors and Tom O’Gara. Guests had the opportunity to test drive the Bentayga, Bentley’s world-class sports utility vehicle.

The three-day event began on Thursday with a cocktail party and pro presentation at Michel’s Christiania, graciously hosted by Carol and Paul Fremont-Smith, Jr. and Michel Rudigoz. The celebration was held in honor of Gary Black Jr., an iconic member of both the local and national alpine skiing community, who supported SVSEF as board member, board president and parent. Gary passed away last month. His wife Heather and friend Steve Porino spoke to Gary’s enthusiasm, passion and positivity that affected so many people in so many ways.
Heather Black speaks at Michel’s Christiania. Photo by Kat Cannell.

Despite bouts of snow and rain on Thursday, the skies cleared in time for racers to soak up the rays as they sped down the dual slalom course on Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1. A total of 20 teams participated in this year’s event.
The final four teams that contended for the Janss Cup were Archie, Beetle Bailey, Lee Gilman/South Park and Thomas the Tank Engine. With Pro Toni Standteiner’s clutch performance, Archie took third place. Thomas the Tank Engine sped to second, and the overall winner of the perpetual Janss trophy was Lee Gilman/South Park, comprised of Kyle Coshow, Tor Jensen, James Fisher, Mike Pfau, Pat Savaria and Wes Powell.
Lee Gilman Most Inspirational racers voted on by participants were Heather Flood Daves, pro athlete for Cat in the Hat, and David Pyle, of the same team. Also determined by popular vote was best costume, also sponsored by Lee Gilman. This year’s runner up was Team Saturday Morning Cartoons, with Liz Brown, Julie West, Paige Lethbridge, Charlotte Gourlay, Tatum Minor and Connor Farrow appropriately donning jammies and cereal boxes throughout the weekend. Taking home the win were the Flintstones, with Andy Cooley, John Jendrezak, Mimi Griswold, Curtis Pepin, Lucy More and Jared Goldberg impressively portraying the Stone Age characters with both accuracy and unbridled confidence.
Overall Janss Cup winner, Lee Gilman/South Park. Photo by Becky Smith.

Best crash went to Laura Blackburn of Fat Albert and Buzzy Yokoyama of Tom and Jerry. Best role player (for living dramatically during the Janss) went to Hailey Duke of Sturtevants Superwomen and Steve Porino of the Jetsons. Fastest recreational racers this year were KJ Savaria with a qualifying time of 21.56, and Teagen Palmer at 22.32. Both are SVSEF alumni. KJ and Teagen were also part of the winning team for the speed cup, along with Carl Rixon, Hunter Storey, Harlan Collins and pro Biche Rudigoz of team Batman. Again, all athletes are SVSEF alums. Avengers placed second and South Park third.
Our gratitude extends to auctioneer Larry Flynn and the band Marmalade Hill for an energy-filled evening at the gala dinner. SVSEF is also very proud of graduating senior Katelyn Rathfon for her terrific speech and Steve Porino for his refreshing insights. As always, announcer Kevin Clarke was on point, as was the race and timing crew of Chelle Gourlay, Baird Gourlay, Brian Ros and Brian Caulkins.
As well, we could not have hosted this event without the generosity of Robert Cimino, who provided the Warm Springs party venue, or the volunteers who lended their time and energy to keep the party going. Special thanks to photographers Kat Cannell, Becky Smith and Glen Allison for capturing the good times, and Spencer Cordovano and Chase Cleveland of Spencer Cordovano Video Production (SCVP) for their beautiful cinematography and editing of our video, “We are SVSEF.”
Waldo and Stan move through the gates. © Glen Allison

The Janss is held in honor of Bill Janss, who supported SVSEF for years. His wife Glenn described his impact and vision well; it was important to Bill that “every child had the chance to learn to ski and to benefit from this, knowing that that opportunity would serve them well into their futures with positive attitudes, confidence, and a desire to achieve.” Thank you, to our pros and participants, for gathering in Sun Valley to celebrate and support SVSEF. Thank you to Heather Flood Daves, Mike Hattrup, Bob Legasa, Connor Farrow, Bob LaPoint, Scott McGrew, Mike Gowe, Jonna Mendes, Phil McNichol, Miles Fink-Debray, Dan Herby, David Chodounsky, Biche Rudigoz, Hailey Duke, Drew Merklinghaus, Jared Goldberg, Toni Standteiner, Wes Powell, Jim Slanetz and Zach Crist.
Saturday Morning Cartoons at the gala dinner. © Glen Allison

51 years strong, the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation is dedicated to the growth and development of its athletes, ever mindful of its philosophy of Strong Minds, Strong Bodies, Strong Futures.
The immediate and tangible outcomes of these efforts are easy to identify; podiums, gains in strength and technique and significant improvements in results are noteworthy achievements, and surely things to be proud of. What most athletes who graduate from the program seem to most fondly recall, however, are the memories they made with their teammates and friends. It’s the lessons they learned and the characteristics they developed in their experiences with SVSEF that resonate with clarity in their everyday lives. The Janss is an opportunity to celebrate these ideals each year and to keep the momentum going, in hopes that an impact, whether great or small, is made in the lives of the young members of this community.
Thank you one and all for supporting us in our endeavors.
Special thanks go out to our sponsors for the event.
Title sponsor: Bentley Motors and Tom O’Gara
Titanium sponsors: Rixon & Cronin KW Luxury Homes and Columbia
Platinum sponsors: Knob Hill Inn, Lee Gilman Builders, Stan and Kristine Baty, Sun Valley Company, Paul and Carol Fremont Smith, Jr., Michel’s Christiania, Dr. Tom West, Sturtevants and That’s Entertainment
Gold sponsors: Coca Cola and Mountain Khakis
Silver sponsors: Smith Optics, Lutz Rentals, Fits, Pennay’s at River Run, Go Pure, Coal, At Your Place, Beyond Coastal, Hang Em Right, Chums and First Lite
Bronze sponsors: Galena Lodge, Clear Creek Disposal, Mahoney’s Bar & Grill, Davis Embroidery, SQN Sport, Starbucks, Patron, DRinc and Brass Ranch
Contributors: Atkinsons’, Bigwood Bread, Neecy’s, Perry’s, Power Engineers, Sushi on Second, Lost River Outfitters, Watkins Distributing, Wrapcity, Zenergy, Sysco, Despo’s, the Pioneer Saloon, Liz Brown, Tabasco, The Cellar and Knob Hill Grill