Out of the gate: the 51st Arkoosh Cup

Sunday, February 14thRotarun hosted the 51st running of the iconic community event, the Arkoosh Cup. With a field of 150 skiers and riders, the chill of the overcast February day was offset by the excitement of the athletes 

The day was split in half, with alpine girls and all snowboarders running in the morning, and alpine boys running in the afternoon. From pole-less U6 athletes that needed a little push to get out of the start, to U12 athletes tagging gates as they cut down the line, the race was an opportunity for skiers and riders of every level to put their skills to the test.

However, this year’s running of dual-format Arkoosh included distinct feature from years past: pro-tour style starting gates, donated by the Bob Beattie Ski FoundationThe racehorse-style gates work as follows: once each athlete is in the gate and both courses declared ready, a light display to the immediate right of the gate begins to count athletes down. On ‘Go, the gates shoot open. 

“The start gates added a whole other element. They keep everything running smoothly and on time. There’s no confusion among the kids on when to go depending on what we say. Plus, it gets the kids fired up. The kids are excited, and we are excited!” Alpine Program Director Will Brandenburg reported from the hill. 

It is thanks to the generosity of the Bob Beattie Ski Foundation that SVSEF gets to heighten the Arkoosh Cup experience with this technology. Named for US coaching legend Bob Beattie, the Bob Beattie Ski Foundation mission is to “bring happiness through [its] work in skiing,” by making skiing fun and accessible to all athletesOne of the ways in which they execute this is through their advocacy on behalf of ‘pro-style’ racing. 

Beattie brought ‘pro-style’ racing to the center stage of professional skiing in the season of 196970the same year as the first Arkoosh Cupwhen he established the World Pro Skiing Tour. WPST was designed to capture the attention of viewers through the thrill-inducing, pro-style’ dual format, which in turn would grow a larger ski racing fanbase in the US. The ultimate goal of the circuit was to give athletes a way to make a sustainable living off of ski racing professionally 

While it is the legacy of Beattie’s World Pro Skiing Tour that the Foundation looks to preserve, it is far from focused on the professional level alone; one of the Foundation’s central strategies to proliferate pro-style skiing in the US is to bring the event to young athletes 

Of course, while any dual-style race taps into the thrill, it’s not fully authentic ‘pro-style’ without the racehorse start gates. When you get put in a horse gate, you get pumped up. You go as fast as you can go. You’ve got to make sure you are sitting on your skis well, and that you’re in the zone as soon as those gates open.” Explains Terry Palmer, who in addition to working with the Bob Beattie Ski Foundation, is also an Olympian, ex-US Ski Team athlete, ex-World Pro Skiing Tour athlete, and of course, full-time Sun Valley local legend. “The dual format is meant to be fair, since you switch courses for each run. It always brings out good sportsmanship; you are able to go over to the person you beat and give them a high five, tell them, ‘next time you’ll get me, or I’ll get you.’” 

So is the spirit of pro-style racing: fiercely competitive and wholeheartedly playful, earnest and fair. It was that exact energy that hung in the air on Sunday. Kids who complained about being matched against a notoriously fast competitor always managed to find that extra gear needed to close the gap in the course; athletes went from competitive banter to wishing their competitors good luck before entering the start gate with them. There were equal parts friendliness to fire pent up behind those start gates, and there was plenty of both. 

SVSEF would like to reiterate our gratitude to the Bob Beattie Ski Foundation for helping turn this year’s Arkoosh Cup up a notch with the donation of pro-style start gatesCongratulations to Conway Selznick and Fleur Brazil, this year’s overall winners of the Arkoosh Cup! 

Results: 

SNOWBOARD: 10 & Under, Women: 1. Vivian Smith. 10 & Under, Men: 1. Enzo Schmillen 2. Quin Enoch & Rylan Olson 3. Bolden Enoch 4. Cameron Cardella. 11 & Over, Women: 1. Callie Allen 2. Emma Lurie 3. Camille Armeen. 11 & Over, Men: 1. Charles Nelson 2. Miles Hatzenbuehler 3. Henry Georgiades 

U8 WOMEN: 1. Lauren Larrabee 2. Téa Smither 3. Arielle Ries 4. Alta Questad 5. Katherine Morrison 

U8 MEN: 1. Jasper Pollock 2. Logan Steel 3. Jack Kantor 4. Alex Grant 5. Jackson Hudyma 

U10 WOMEN: 1. Savannah Pringle 2. Camille Reid 3. Taylor Rundell 4. Olivia Harrington 5. Jennings Fraser 

U10 MEN: 1. Henry Questad 2. Corbin Flood 3. Cash Mintz 4. Coen Lamb 5. Dillon Wyman 

U12 WOMEN: 1. Fleur Brazil 2. Sasha Preuss 3. Elliot Leahy 4. Skye Pringle 5. Skylar Jensen 

U12 MEN: 1. Conway Selznick 2. Sawyer Morgan 3. Tommy Hovey 4. Wyatt Limburg 5. Harrison Black