The Week in Review: 1/10/17


SVSEF values of sportsmanship, citizenship, character, teamwork, creativity, passion and perseverance are not ones that are newly championed; they are qualities that have held weight and importance for hundreds of years, across many societies, eras, continents. Perhaps we may think of character as the overarching quality that encompasses all of the other SVSEF values; sportsmanship, citizenship, teamwork, creativity, passion and perseverance all fit under the distinction of mental or moral qualities, which, by definition, make up a distinctive individual’s character.
Athletic success is invigorating, affirming and surely within reach of our athletes, in whatever ways they choose to define it. It is certainly something we strive for with these kids, to help them achieve what they have come to define for themselves as success in sport. Perhaps more than this, and in a way not necessarily discernible from an observer’s perspective, our hope is that lessons learned while in the organization become ingrained, so that they may be useful later in life. Yes, an affinity for athletic greatness is all well and good; but in future endeavors, I’d bet that character traits learned here and now will prove much more useful in the different communities, relationships and challenges in which our athletes find themselves.
In 1900, a year before his first term as president, Theodore Roosevelt addressed the importance of character in relation to intellectual and athletic success in an article for The Outlook.

But, in the long run, in the great battle of life, no brilliancy of intellect, no perfection of bodily development, will count when weighed in the balance against that assemblage of virtues, active and passive, of moral qualities, which we group together under the name of character; and if between any two contestants, even in [college] sport or in [college] work, the difference in character on the right side is as great as the difference of intellect or strength the other way, it is the character side that will win. (The Outlook, Vol. 64, 725)

Roosevelt’s assessment of how crucial strong, positive character is for an individual lends itself to SVSEF’s focus on developing “strong minds,” of helping prepare our athletes for whatever is thrown their way, and to set them up for success. 

With this in mind, we’re introducing I am SVSEF: an opportunity each week to highlight our athletes for demonstrating the core values of SVSEF.

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

Here are the I Am SVSEF athletes featured for the week of January 9, 2017:


Ethan Marx
Ethan Marx

Alpine: Ethan Marx, an eighth grader at Community School and a member of the Alpine USSA Team, has worked really hard throughout summer training and into the on-snow season. A goal this season for Ethan has been to make the flip 30 – to place 30th on his first run in order to be the first competitor out of the gate on the second. This past weekend, he narrowly missed his goal with a 31st place finish – his enthusiasm and positivity around the prospect is infectious, regardless of your interest in alpine racer lineups. According to USSA head coach Will Brandenburg, “Ethan is always helping his teammates out, and his actions and words are good for morale; he is the epitome of what we’re talking about when we think of qualities we’re hoping are instilled in SVSEF athletes.”
Taylor Dorland
Taylor Dorland

Cross Country: Taylor Dorland, an eighth grader at the Sage School, is a new member of the Cross Country Prep Team after switching from alpine. Kelley Sinnott, Cross Country Prep Team Head Coach, observed, “learning a new sport can be very difficult and frustrating but Taylor has shown strong character, passion and perseverance through her learning process. Taylor is the kind of skier that manages to grit her teeth and grin at the same time; she is eager to learn and improve but also finds fun in ever part of cross country.”
Eliza Marks (L) with Lily Brunelle at the 2016 Game Dinner
Eliza Marks (L) with Lily Brunelle at the 2016 Game Dinner

Freestyle: Eliza Marks, a 10th grader at Community School, brings a really positive attitude that lends to the dynamic of the Freestyle Team. She shows up training every day with passion and interest. In competition, even on a bad day that doesn’t necessarily go her way, she doesn’t let it get her down and approaches the next challenge with confidence and anticipation. Coach Kurtis Fieguth commended Eliza for “taking to hear the advice we try to give her, and taking it to the snow – she’s made huge improvements over the past month and a half in doing so.”
Arlo Curry

Park & Pipe: Arlo Curry is a seventh grader at the Sage School and is a member of the Snowboard Progression Team. He comes to training with a great attitude, a smile on his face every day and a level of engagement that indicates a profound interest and enthusiasm for the sport. Said snowboard team manager Pat Lee, “Arlo performs to his highest standard at all times. He embraces challenges that arise and is committed and diligent to working through them. On top of that, Arlo is a great communicator, which is really helpful for the coaching staff.”



Comp, PG, Gold Teams

Kevin Bolger, Jack Hegman and Cole Morgan on the podium for U.S. National classic sprint
Kevin Bolger, Jack Hegman and Cole Morgan on the podium for U.S. National classic sprint

The SVSEF Cross Country Comp, PG and Gold teams are currently midway through the 2017 L.L. Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships at Soldier Hollow in Park City, Utah. For many athletes across the U.S., Nationals are a pivotal week of racing; solid results can help an athlete qualify for World Cups, U23 World Championships and Junior Nationals. Top athletes from programs and universities across the nation are in Utah for the events, with numbers in attendance close to 600. Overall, courses were quite hard, which is befitting for a national championship event. “As hard as our trails are at Lake Creek,” said Rick Kapala, SVSEF Cross Country Program Director, “these trails are a little bit harder, in anticipation of U23 Worlds, which will take place at the same venue at the end of this month.”
Competition opened up on Saturday, January 7 with a 15/10km interval start skate race. The first day of racing was not really affected by inclement weather, which hit Sunday. But for the first athletes, which were the junior girls, it was tough all around, with cold temperatures, slow snow and a very challenging course. A standout performance for the day came from Gold Team skier Kelsey Phinney, who has typically been stronger in sprint events; with a 26th place finish in a field of 263 women in the 10km, Phinney is setting herself up as a viable contender for a spot on the team for U23 World Junior Championships; she is currently sitting in second with two more races to go this week.
Sunday’s classic sprint race came a drastic shift in temperature, and with it a downpour of rain. Despite the unfavorable conditions, morale on the SVSEF team was really good; kids handled it in stride and managed the challenges the weather presented quite well, which Kapala feels may be a natural extension of the relatively new normalcy of weather extremes in the West. Athletes competed on a newly designed sprint course, and were on some natural snow. It was unfortunate that the rainy weather fell on a classic sprint day; every team at one point or another struggled in regards to skis and getting the wax right for their athletes across the board.
The highlight of the day for SVSEF was an American podium sweep, in a way, as Kevin Bolger, who won the men’s sprint overall, is a former SVSEF PG athlete, and Gold Team skiers Jack Hegman and Cole Morgan went two and three.
Other than Peter Wolter, the junior squad is relatively inexperienced at this level, so these races are a great first step at exposure to higher level racing, in anticipation of them aging and getting into the mix. SVSEF junior boys skied quite well, with Peter Wolter, Eli Jensen and Keene Morowitz all qualifying for junior heats (the top 30 moved on from the initial qualifier). Morowitz had a very noteworthy qualifier, which was a really good indication that he has found his form.
Junior girls were led by Anja Jensen, who as a 14 year old very narrowly missed qualifying. Said Kapala, “for us as coaches, we look beyond the wins with developing athletes – cause that’s not going to tell the story of a 14 year old racing against 20 year olds. This was a tough course with tough conditions, and these girls are just getting started, as most are sophomores or young juniors.” A number of Jensen’s teammates just missed the cutoff as well.
Going into the next two days of races, Hegman is looking really strong for qualifying for U23s – he needs one more decent race to nail it down. Hegman is sitting in first for qualifying, as Patrick Caldwell pre-qualified with early season results. Morgan is also looking good, currently in second; if selections were made based off of the first two races, he would make the team. As he is a sprinter, he’ll have a chance to cement that seed in the race on Thursday. Phinney is also sitting well, in second on the list with two races to go. Five to six athletes, male and female, can qualify for U23s.
Matt Gelso, who has posted exceptional results this season, is down for now with a head cold; it remains to be seen if he’ll have another start at Nationals. Noted Kapala, “Gelso is going to World Cup races later this month regardless, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense to push him to the point where it impacts him down the road – we’re going day-by-day with him.” The end goal is World Championships, and even though the process for qualification weighs Nationals a bit heavier than Super Tour races, good results in Europe could get him there. “We want him to go to Europe rested, recharged and ready to race to his abilities; a lot of the competitions there fit his ability set really well,” said Kapala.
Today’s race is a 30/20/10/5 km classic. Athletes will be skiing on a condensed 3.75km loop, made entirely of manmade snow as a result of the rain on Sunday. Thursday’s race is a skate sprint.
Full results here

Devo, Prep, Comp Teams

Gretel Huss gets ready to race
Gretel Huss gets ready to race

SVSEF athletes who did not make the trip to Nationals opted for the Snowmaker Classic on Saturday, which is a local classic race. This year, it took place on Sun Valley trails, and athletes selected either ten, five or 3 km for distance. Temperatures were in the double digit negatives when race organizers arrived, and start time was postponed to allow those to rise. This was a good training opportunity for SVSEF athletes, as it gave them experience pushing their bodies on a relatively flat course in extreme temperatures.
Full results here



Lily Fitzgerald on top of the podium
Lily Fitzgerald on top of the podium

It was a good weekend for the Alpine USSA team, which competed in Jackson, Wyoming, at Snow King. The event was a qualifier, and SVSEF saw some athletes who made the top 30 for the first time. As a group, the team is in quite a good position to have a number of skiers qualify for Regionals. Overall, 30 girls and 26 boys will qualify, and there are two more opportunities left to make the cut. It was a cold weekend of racing, which made it hard to get a good warm up; the weekend saw less skiing and more time in the lodge. Said USSA head coach Will Brandenburg, “that makes it tough to be able to get into the groove of the weekend; it makes a major difference. The athletes handled the adjustment well.”
Lily Fitzgerald had an amazing weekend; she swept the races, not just for U16s, but overall, and won by over 1.5 seconds each time. At the Eric Hayes Memorial races, she had success but not as much as she wanted to. According to Brandenburg, “she had a good mindset in training the two weeks over Christmas break; she’s been building on her skiing and getting better, and we’re starting to see that hard work pay off. Another highlight of the weekend was having SVSEF boys on the podium for every U16 race; Buey Grossman took second in the first giant slalom, and teammate Jack Smith was second in both the second giant slalom and the slalom.
Full results here
Buey Grossman in second and Bennett Snyder in fourth in the GS
Buey Grossman in second and Bennett Snyder in fourth in the GS

IMD Team

Alpine IMD was in Park City over the weekend for the Park City Jr. IMD Cup. Reflecting on the weekend, head coach James Tautkus said, “this past weekend was a good test of our team’s strength from top to bottom. It affirmed our efforts thus far and indicated where we need to put in the work. As a staff we are very proud of what these athletes have been capable of and hope it encourages them to take their effort to the next level."
SVSEF did well across the events, claiming three out of six first place finishes between men and women. Ryder Sarchett took the men's overall title for the weekend by winning the slalom and the second giant slalom. Anhwei Kirk won the slalom and was third in the first giant slalom. Marit Kaiser was second in both GS races and Nathan Gowe was fifth in the slalom, sixth in the first giant slalom and second in the second giant slalom. Josh Blackburn was fifth in the first giant slalom and his sister Jessica was third in the slalom.
Full results will be posted soon

FIS Team

FIS athletes were also met by extreme cold in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for the IMD Cup events. Temperatures sat around -25 the first day of racing and -26 the second. Athletes faced the elements head on; top finishes were posted by Jake Blackburn, who had two top-ten results in the giant slalom events, Carter Jendrezek, who finished out the weekend in eighth in the slalom, Libby Kaiser, who maintained consistency across all races, going 16-14-11, and Grace Pepin, who jumped up from results in the 40s and 50s on January 6 and 7 to 15th in the slalom on January 8.
Full results will be posted soon


The SVSEF Freeski A-team made a trip to Colorado last week. Will Griffith competed for the chance to make the Rev Tour in slopestyle, and Hanna Blackwell spent her time logging significant training hours in the halfpipe.

Will Griffith competes at Copper
Will Griffith competes at Copper

Griffith skied two stand-up runs, scoring highest on the second. Skiing into the first rail, he spun a front 270 out landing switch, went backwards into the first jump spinning a right side 360 with tail grab landing switch, continued backwards into the second jump spinning a left cork 540 with a Japan grab, skied forward off the third jump spinning a left rodeo 720 with a safety grab, landing forward and sliding the last rail spinning a back 450 out. Griffith, who just turned 16 years old, ended up in sixth place. He competed against Yuki Sato (20 years old) and Gen Sasaki (20 years old), who are both from Japan and who are trying to make a bid for the Olympics in 2018. Said freestyle head coach Tyler Conway, “being at an event like this and seeing what it takes to get first place at this level of competition helps an athlete develop mentally and prepares them for future events.”
Hanna Blackwell also traveled to Colorado to train in Copper Mountain’s halfpipe. This halfpipe is one of two open in North America; the other is in Calgary. Hanna was not the only athlete taking advantage of the feature; David Wise, halfpipe Olympic Gold medalist and three-time X-Games Gold medalist, was training on the same halfpipe. Commented Conway, “it takes a lot of repetition and exposure in the halfpipe to get better. We’re looking forward to having the halfpipe at Dollar complete soon, as it will allow SVSEF athletes to have the advantage of getting in laps and pushing their halfpipe skiing skills.”
Full results here


The Bumpin’ at the Bird course at Snowbird proved more than adequate for SVSEF Freestyle athletes, who took to it this past weekend. The event counts towards overall rankings and for qualifying for Junior Nationals and U.S. Freestyle Championships. SVSEF had four boys in top 10 the first day, with Holden Largay winning overall, and teammates Brody Buchwalter, Luke Rizzo and Alex LaFleur going five-six-seven. On the second day, SVSEF had four in top ten again, but this included different athletes, which speaks to the spread and range of the team. Alex LaFleur made a ton of improvements, and coach Kurtis Fieguth commented that his run on the second day was the best he’s seen from LaFleur thus far. Luke Rizzo was on a similar trajectory, making significant improvements over the weekend – both seemed to learn a lot about their form throughout the events. In the girls’ competitions, Eliza Marks finished strong in duals, with a second place finish overall. Addie Rafford was third in moguls. Said Fieguth, “all of our kids skied really well, especially going up against strong skiers in the division; they really held their own.”
Results can be found here (Sunday’s results aren’t yet posted)

Athlete of the Month, December 2016 – Matt Gelso

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.

Gelso tops the podium at the Super Tour opener in West Yellowstone.
Gelso tops the podium at the Super Tour opener in West Yellowstone.

Matt Gelso, a 28-year old Gold Team cross country skier who has been with SVSEF for going on seven years now, started the season with a bang and established himself as the male leader after period one on the Super Tour circuit, which draws top athletes from across the United States. Matt decidedly won both Super Tour events at the season opener in West Yellowstone, December 3 and 4. He proceeded to net two more commendable results on the circuit just a week later at the Silver Star Nor Ams in British Columbia, with a fifth place finish in the classic sprint event and a second place podium in the 15km skate race. Ending period one of the Super Tour in first has qualified him for World Cup starts in Sweden and South Korea in January and February. Before heading overseas, however, Matt will be competing at U.S. Nationals, beginning this Saturday at Soldier Hollow in Utah.
Classic skiing at a previous West Yellowstone competition.
Classic skiing at a previous West Yellowstone competition.

Chris Mallory, Head Gold Team Coach, expanded on Matt’s preparation and progression, noting that “Matt has certainly found his stride this season. He brought a lot of focus to the training year and I think for him, being able to spend four weeks of the summer and fall on snow this year really helped. He’s been with the Gold Team for seven years now, so he’s got a great amount of experience and knowledge of what he needs to do to find his form.”
Matt is no newcomer to success in the sport, as he has amassed a number of standout results throughout his racing career. From his time as a junior skier in Truckee, California, to his four years as a racer for the University of Colorado to his current place on the Gold Team, Matt has competed at FIS World Cups and FIS World Ski Championships, has secured top-three results at U.S. National Championships and has won an NCAA individual championship. Starting the season off with these strong finishes bodes well for the athlete as he looks to qualify for the FIS World Ski Championships, which take place this year in late February in Lahti, Finland.[osd_social_media_sharing]

The Week in Review – 12/27/16

With the holidays and all, this week’s update is brief – best wishes for a happy and safe new year.


SVSEF Freestyle Team takes on training and competition in Colorado

Alex LaFleur

The SVSEF Freestyle Team spent two weeks leading up to the holidays in Colorado for training and competition. The first week was comprised of camps in Vail and Aspen, where athletes were able to apply tricks they have been working on all summer in the Air Barn. Brody Buchwalter made a big breakthrough, as this was his first time back on snow after taking last season off due to injury.
The second half of the trip took place in Winter Park for U.S. Selections, where the top 50 athletes in the country competed for starts in NorAm and World Cup events. The caliber of the athletes in the field was extremely high; there were four U.S. Ski Team athletes, U.S. athlete Bryon Wilson, winner of a bronze medal at the 2010 Olympic games, and several international athletes. Holden Largay and Eliza Marks led the charge for SVSEF, and both earned an alternate spot on the tour. Largay finished 18th in the mogul event on December 19, and Marks’ best finish was 34th in dual moguls on December 22.
Freestyle athletes next compete at the Intermountain Season Opener in Snowbird, January 6-8.
Complete results

Freeskiing takes advantage of park and pipe features in Park City

freeski_1617_park-city-camp_dec_01Six SVSEF freeski athletes made their way to Park City December 18-22 for some valuable training on park and pipe features, as they are not yet available here in Sun Valley. Skiers had access to two medium/large jumps, which enabled them to work on slopestyle runs. The athletes were also able to spend time on nearly 20 different rail features, which were changed around each night for variety. In total, the group fit in three and a half days of skiing, with the added bonus of being able to practice on the 20x12-foot trampolines at the Center of Excellence.

Alpine FIS competes at Steamboat

SVSEF alpine FIS athletes competed in three slalom races in Steamboat, December 19-21. Erin Smith led the women on December 19 in 16th, followed by Skylar Cooley in 21st, PG skier Ruby Marden in 24th and PG Ella Pepin 36th out of a total of 68 athletes. Duncan Fuller and John Blackburn recorded DNFs for the day. The next day, Skylar Cooley finished 23rd and Ruby Marden, a postgrad, finished 46th in a field of 78 competitors. Teammates Erin Smith and Ella Pepin (PG) recorded DNFs. Duncan Fuller was 31st in the men’s event, which saw a total of 67 athletes, and John Blackburn had a DNF. In the final slalom on December 21, Marden landed 35th in a field of 57 women, and teammates Cooley, Pepin and Smith did not finish. Duncan Fuller cruised to 43rd in the men’s race, which fielded 71 athletes. Right behind him in 44th was teammate John Blackburn.
Complete results

FIS Athletes Start Off Strong at Copper

March 23, 2016 - Ketchum, ID: Erin Smith racing in the U.S. Alpine Championships Women's Combined at the Sun Valley Resort.
March 23, 2016 - Ketchum, ID: Erin Smith racing in the U.S. Alpine Championships Women's Combined at the Sun Valley Resort.

SVSEF alpine FIS skiers had a successful start to the season on snow with super G and giant slalom races down at Copper Mountain in Colorado. Athletes competed in two super G and two giant slalom events. In the women’s first super G on November 28, Haley Cutler, a SVSEF PG athlete, skied to 15th place. Skylar Cooley was 18th and Erin Smith was 24th. Kipling Weisel, a SVSEF Gold Team skier, grabbed the win in the men’s event on the same day with a time of 1:06.81. John Blackburn was 34th and Spencer Wright was 39th. In the second super G race on November 29, Cutler finished sixth, Smith 8th and Cooley 22nd. In the men’s race, Wright was 42nd and Blackburn 45th. The athletes transitioned to giant slalom for the following two days. On November 30, Cutler cruised to 17th and Ruby Marden to 49th. Cooley and Smith did not finish their first run of the day. Blackburn skied to 55th on the men’s side, and Wright to 76th. On December 1, Cutler finished 11th, Smith 23rd and Cooley 38th for the women. Blackburn skied an impressive race, as he started with bib 76 and finished in 28th in the men's event. Filippo Collini skied into 57th and Wright finished 64th.
Full results:

Cross Country – West Yellowstone Rendezvous Results

Rogan Brown in the men's 10km skate race.
Rogan Brown in the men's 10km skate race.

On Saturday, November 26, SVSEF cross country skiers got back into the swing of racing in West Yellowstone, Montana, after spending a week of training on the Rendezvous Ski Trails there. West was hit with about a foot of snow the day before the Comp and Prep contingents were to depart Friday, November 18 – the athletes, who were prepared for a continuation of the running and roller ski training they’ve been stacking up all spring, summer and fall, stepped onto snow on Saturday, November 19. With two sessions a day, the skiers were fitting in a hefty amount of on-snow hours. Gold and PG skiers arrived Monday and got some solid time on snow before the races that were scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.
Both races were FIS-sanctioned and drew athletes from across the U.S., most of whom consider West Yellowstone a staple in their schedule for early winter on-snow training. In the men’s 10km skate race on Saturday, Gold Team skier Rogan Brown powered into second place with a time of 20:59.1, behind SMS T2 skier Patrick Caldwell, who claimed victory in 20:32.4. Teammate Jack Hegman wasn’t far behind, taking fourth place overall, only .3 seconds out of third. PG skier Eli Jensen had a standout race, with a 17th place finish overall and a win in the U20 age group. In the women’s 5km skate on Saturday, Gold Team skier Mary Rose took sixth, Annie Pokorny 14 and Kelsey Phinney 16 in a field of 76 competitors. Comp Team skier Eve Jensen was 43, Lily Brunelle 51, Ella Wolter 55, Sophia Mazzoni 56, Laine Allison 59 and Katherine Estep 69. In the U16 men’s race, SVSEF’s Johnny Hagenbuch took the win in a time of 11:28.7 in a field of 24 on the 5km course.
Sunday featured a 10km/5km classic race. Gold Team skier Matt Gelso looked strong throughout and claimed silver in the men’s division, which included 70 athletes. He broke a pole with .5km to go, but was able to maintain composure and secure his spot on the podium. According to Chris Mallory, Gold Team Head Coach, most of the athletes opted to double pole the course, as the biggest climb was taken out of the race due to conditions. Gelso was one of only two skiers in the top ten to choose to use classic skis and kick wax. In the women’s 5km classic with a field of 74, Deedra Irwin was just out of the top ten, skiing to 11. PG Kae Fink came in 23, and teammate Sarah Goble was second in the U20 category and 32 overall. Kat Paul, an Australian skier who has skied for SVSEF in the past, was 34, Kirsys Campbell 54, Jenna Nurge 56, Chloe Tanous 57, Laura Anderson 63 and Michaela Petty 69.
With an influx of skiers throughout the week and warm temperatures, Mallory commended the organizers of the event, as they “put together some really good tracks with only a few inches of snow on the ground.” SVSEF Comp Team athletes head back to West Yellowstone today to join Gold and PG skiers who stayed there to get more training on snow – they’ve been getting in some good intensity workouts, and conditions should be better this weekend as a few more inches accumulated on Sunday. A total of 30 SVSEF athletes will compete in the SuperTour opener that was moved from Bozeman, Montana, for lack of snow there.
Results from last weekend can be found here.

Race to the Top

SVSEF Gold Team cross country skier Matt Gelso drives it home to take third in the men's race division of the Baldy Hill Climb.

It’s a beast of a thing, to book it straight up the side of a mountain, with little to no variation in grade that might grant one a moment of reprieve. A total of 172 competitors determined to tackle Baldy by foot, and 24 by bike, for the 38th annual Baldy Hill Climb on Saturday.
Although there were no new course records set on Saturday, the fields were competitive across the board for the 1.86 mile, 3,140 foot climb. The SVSEF Cross Country Gold Team swept the podium in the men’s race division, which had a field of 59 competitors. Newcomer Jack Hegman hammered to the top of Baldy to take the win in a time of 35:31. He was 27 seconds off the record of 35:04, set by former SVSEF Gold Team cross country skier Miles Havlick in 2004. Teammate Rogan Brown was in second with a time of 35:55, and Matt Gelso rounded out the podium with a time of 36:05.
In the women’s field of 38 racers, SVSEF skier Mary Rose claimed the overall title with a time of 44:13. Rose is a repeat champ, having last won the race in 2014. Second-year Gold Team skier Deedra Irwin was the second woman to finish, with a time of 46:01. SVSEF Cross Country Comp Team coach, Kristen Monahan, took a break from her normal role to jump into the fray; Monahan had a strong showing with a third place finish in 46:46. Gold Team skiers Kelsey Phinney and Annie Pokorny finished fourth and fifth in 47:34 and 48:17, respectively.
The Cheeso Double had an impressive showing this year with 18 racers opting to hoof it to the top twice. Racers competed in the bike race first, which wound up the Cold Springs trail, took a momentary breath on the chairlift, and then ascended the mountain again on foot in the race category. Sawyer Kesselheim won the men’s Cheeso Double in a combined time of 1:44:49. Second was Eric Chizum (1:47:32), and Bill Nurge was third (1:51:48). Naty Nurge took the win in the women’s event with a combined time of 2:21:21; she was followed by Isabella Smith in second (2:33:19), and Muffy Ritz in third (2:35:55).
There were some repeats in bike podiums from the Cheeso Double; Eric Chizum won the men’s race (1:05:38) and Sawyer Kesselheim was second (1:05:43). SVSEF alum Reid Pletcher crossed the line in third (1:08:44). Naty Nurge won the women’s bike division (1:26:09), Muffy Ritz cruised to second (1:32:58), and Isabella Smith finished third (1:34:17).
A big thanks to our sponsors ­­– Sun Valley Resort, Sturtevants, The Elephant’s Perch, Backwoods Mountain Sports, Sun Summit, Durance Cycleworks, Salomon, Perry’s Restaurant, Apple’s Bar & Grill, Johnny G’s Subshack and Lefty’s Bar & Grill, and to our volunteers; we couldn’t put on this event without your help and generosity.
Kinder Climb
Hiker, Overall
Hiker, by Gender
Men’s Race
Women’s Race
Race, by Age Group
Cheeso Double

FIS Skiers Bring the Heat Down Under

Ella Pepin gets a run in at Roundhill

As a part of their New Zealand training trip, the FIS crew raced in the Cardrona FIS series August 1 and 2. The athletes competed in giant slalom and slalom, and competed against skiers from around the world; Germany, Canada, South Korea, Great Britain and Italy were some of the countries represented at the races. A total of 14 SVSEF FIS skiers and two alumni competed; John Blackburn, Duncan Fuller, Yuri McClure, Noah Leininger, Ian Hanna, Carter Jendrezak, Jake Blackburn, Matt O’Connor, Max Noddings, Filippo Collini, Stockton Troyer (SVSEF Alum), Will Snyder (SVSEF Alum), Ruby Marden, Ella Pepin, Skylar Cooley and Grace Pepin represented the organization.
In the ladies’ giant slalom, Skylar Cooley and Ella Pepin had strong results in a field of 45 skiers, finishing 12th and 19th, respectively. Standout performances in the men’s race came from Yuri McClure, who posted his second best point result ever and placed sixth out of 91 racers. Filippo Collini made huge strides, rising to 20th place from start number 83. Will Snyder, a SVSEF alum, finished 16th.
In the slalom races the next day, Ella Pepin broke the top 10 with a ninth place finish in a field of 40 racers. Skylar Cooley was right behind her in 10th, and Grace Pepin had a strong race, landing in 12th. A number of SVSEF men had notable results in the slalom. John Blackburn finished 17th out of 84 competitors, which was his career best FIS point result in slalom. Filippo Collini was 21st, again moving up significantly in the start list, this time from 70th. Matt O’Connor finished 24th, also making big gains from his start number of 79. Yuri McClure was 26th, Carter Jendrezak was 30th, Max Noddings was 35th and Jake Blackburn was 37th.
The FIS athletes will continue training at Roundhill Ski Area until they travel to Coronet Peak for two giant slalom and two slalom events, August 8 through 11.
For full results:
Ladies’ Giant Slalom
Men’s Giant Slalom
Ladies’ Slalom
Men’s Slalom

Bumps, Jumps, Air, Park & Pipe: 2016 Junior National Freestyle/Freeskiing Championships

Junior Freestyle/Freeskiing National Championships featured SVSEF athletes on their home terrain.

Despite warm temperatures and the occasional spattering of rain, Junior Freestyle/Freeskiing National Championship events were beautifully orchestrated and well-attended in Sun Valley this past week. Athletes from across the country brought their A-game to the slopes of Baldy and Dollar mountains, where they competed March 10-13.
It was a big undertaking, and Freestyle and Freeskiing Program Director Andy Ware acknowledged the effort that went in to making the event a success.
Said Ware, “I love this community.  We took on one of the largest and most difficult USSA freestyle and freeskiing events to produce and not only made it happen, we made it an incredible experience for everyone who participated.  Those were the worst weather conditions we could have had and [we] still pulled off events. Many of the teams and families from around the country have never been to the Wood River Valley and they were amazed not just with the beauty of it but with the welcoming feeling of everyone here.”
Thursday was the first day of competition; the men took to the moguls, while the women started off with slopestyle. On Friday, roles were reversed; the men competed in slopestyle, while the women attacked the mogul course. Alex LaFleur skied strongly to 14th place overall in the men’s mogul, the best finish by a SVSEF skier in eight years in the event. SVSEF’s Hunter Diehl was third in his age class. In the women’s slopestyle, Hanna Blackwell was third in her age class. On Friday Alvaro Jiraldo skied well in the men’s slopestyle event and took home 24th overall and eighth in his age class. Sammy Smith, who competed in the women’s moguls, was 29th overall as an F11; she was one of the youngest competitors out there.
Competition continued on Saturday with the halfpipe at Dollar Mountain and aerials at Baldy on Roundhouse slope. Jed Waters finished in 16th in the men’s halfpipe, while the women had a strong showing with fourth, seventh and eighth place finishes by Hanna Blackwell, Liesl Beyer and Amanda Brown.
The week of events ended Sunday with the big air competition at Dollar and the dual mogul competition for both men and women on Roundhouse slope. Jedson Waters finished in the top 20 in the big air event, taking 14th overall. Hanna Blackwell finished the weekend on a high note with a fifth place finish on the women’s side.
Commented Ware on the events overall, “It was an amazing display of athleticism from athletes around the country on both Baldy and Dollar.  Watching kids perform such incredibly difficult aerial maneuvers and skiing so fast with so much competitive pressure on them is just incredible.”
The professionalism and care put into making the competition a great one would not have been possible without help from the local community. Ware noted, “I am so grateful to our local sponsors; Atkinson’s Markets and Sun Valley Sotheby’s Realty, Dembergh Brown Builders and Sturtevants Mtn. Outfitters. The many parent volunteers who donated their time, the SVSEF and the Sun Valley Company for putting so many people and resources towards this event.”
Overall top 3/SVSEF members 
Men’s Moguls, March 10

  1. Abe Studler, M19, Eastern
  2. Jack Kariotis, M19, Intermountain
  3. Jesse Andringa, M19, Rocky

SVSEF athletes:
14- Alex LaFleur, M17
38- Wilson Dunn, M17
39- Hunter Diehl, M15
49- Henry Cherp, M15
65- Luke Rizzo, M15
Women’s Slopestyle, March 10

  1. Rell Harwood, F15, Intermountain
  2. Marin Hamill, F15, Intermountain
  3. Caroline Claire, F17, Eastern

SVSEF athletes:

  1. Hanna Blackwell, F17

Men’s Slopestyle, March 11

  1. Quinn Wolferman, M19, Northern
  2. Joseph Lauer, M19, Intermountain
  3. Nathan Miceli, M19, Intermountain

SVSEF athletes:
24- Alvaro Jiraldo, M17
26- Jed Waters, M15
82- Will Griffith, M17
Women’s Moguls, March 11

  1. Olivia Giaccio, F17, Rocky
  2. Hannah Soar, F17, Eastern
  3. Maggie Ryan, F19, Rocky

SVSEF athletes:
29- Sammy Smith, F11
43- Katie Markthaler, F15
55- Devon Brown, F17
56- Eliza Marks, F15
58- Addie Rafford, F15
Men’s Halfpipe, March 12

  1. Cody LaPlante, M15, Far West
  2. Felix Coudouy, M17, Rocky
  3. Keenan McIntyre, M19, Rocky

16- Jed Waters, M15
21- Joey Markthaler, M13
22- Ridge Dirksmeier, M13
27- Will Griffith, M17
29- George Murray, M13
30- Sam Ware, M13
36- Trey Potter, M19
37- Charlie Price, M13
38- Alvaro Jiraldo, M17
53- Dylan Mills, M13
59- Lachlan McFarland, M13
61- Luke Higgins, M13
Women’s Halfpipe, March 12

  1. Marin Hamill, F15, Intermountain
  2. Zoe Atkin, F13, Intermountain
  3. Svea Irving, F15, Rocky

4- Hanna Blackwell, F17, Intermountain
7- Liesl Beyer, F11, Intermountain
8- Amanda Brown, F13, Intermountain
Men’s Aerials, March 12

  1. Patrick O’Flynn, M19, Eastern
  2. Michael Lillis, M17, Eastern
  3. Justin Schoenefeld, M19, Central

Women’s Aerials, March 12

  1. Winter Vinecki, F19, Intermountain
  2. Megan Smallhouse, F15, Eastern
  3. Tyra Izor, F19, Eastern

Men’s Big Air, March 13

  1. Kiernan Fagan, M15, Rocky
  2. Scott McLaughlin, M19, Northern
  3. Mac Forehand, M15, Eastern

14- Jedson Waters, M15
44- Ridge Dirksmeier, M13
25- Will Griffith, M17
35- Alvaro Jiraldo, M17
43- Joey Markthaler, M13
76- Trey Potter, M19
Women’s Big Air, March 13

  1. Caroline Claire, F17, Eastern
  2. Isabella Gold, F19, Far West
  3. Nikita Rubocki, F17, Intermountain

5- Hanna Blackwell, F17
Men’s Dual Moguls, March 13

  1. Abe Studler, M19, Eastern
  2. Jesse Andringa, M19, Rocky
  3. George McQuinn, M19, Rocky

Women’s Dual Moguls, March 13

  1. Hallee Ray, F19, Rocky
  2. Sophia Marseilles, F19, Far West
  3. Hannah Soar, F17, Eastern

AERIALS - USSA JR Champs 2016_AE
BIG AIR - USSA JR Champs 2016_BA
DUAL MOGULS - dualsofficialresults
4 freestyle girls

SVSEF competitors Katie Markthaler, Eliza Marks, Addie Rafford and Devon Brown are all smiles. Courtesy photo.

Smiles for Miles as Fink-Debray bags eighth Baldy Hill Climb title

Dedicated athlete and trainer Miles Fink-Debray collected his eighth Baldy Hill Climb championship Saturday, completing the 1.86-mile, 3,140 vertical foot course from the bottom of Warm Springs to the top in 37 minutes and 57 seconds. With the victory, 27-year-old Fink-Debray became the only man to win the BHC eight times, breaking a seven-victory tie with Michael Tobin. Cross-country skier Henry Gorman was second in 38:51 and Gus Pelican third in 40:26 and second in the Cheeso Double.

“That was pretty impressive for Gus to be on podium for the double and the racing class,” SVSEF coach and co-organizer Tom Smith said.

Cheeso Double record-holder Brooke Hovey tackled the course on foot this year, winning in 43:33 to best a field of 23. She finished eighth overall in the 82-strong racing class. SVSEF Cross Country Gold Team member and last year’s champion Mary Rose was runner up in 50:24. Angenie McCleary was third in 51:43.
A Wayne Gretzky-like 99 turned out for hiking class, with Michele Hampton celebrating a recent birthday topping the field by more than a minute, clocking in at 54:38 to runner-up Scott Montgomery’s 55:43. Perennial competitor Tricia Swartling placed third in 56:38.
Connor, Bill and John Campbell combined to win the family class in 2:46.41.
In the 400-foot Kinderclimb, Nick Fehr, Michael Fehr and Lucy Lamoureux finished in under six minutes. Macy Devore and Will Lamoureux clocked in in less than seven minutes and Cody Lloyd, Ethan Chizum and Thijs Lloyd were under the 11-minute mark.
Richard Feldman barreled his way to a new course record in the biking portion of the Cheeso Double, completing the 2,600 vertical, nine-mile Cold Springs course in 59:54, lowering Josh Berry’s standard of 1:03.31 by more than three and a half minutes. He went on to place seventh overall in the climb and win the Double in 1:42.54. Pelican was second in 1:44.56 and Eric Chizum third in 1:54.07.
“I think Richard Feldman was one of the more impressive performances of the day, breaking the record by that much,” Smith remarked.
Janelle Connors captured the women’s Double division in 2:41.46. Eva DeWolfe finished second, just 1:23 off Connors’ first-place pace. Third place went to Brett Stevenson in 2:51.18.
Feldman claimed the biking crown ahead of Josh Berry, who lowered his personal best to 1:01.04. Pelican was third. Rebecca Rusch was the top woman and seventh overall in 1:17.35 followed by Connors and DeWolfe.
Racing class champions (youngest to oldest) were 19-under: Libby Kaiser (1:05.25), 20-29: Rose (50:24), 30-29: McCleary (51:43), 40-49: Hovey (43:33), 50-59: Kim Kawaguchi (54:29), 70-79: Gabriele Anderson (1:02.46), 19-under: Lukash Platil (41:23), 20-29: Fink-Debray 37:57, 30-39: Ceja Ramon (44:23), 40-49: Greg Lindstrom (41:56), 50-59: Jon Engen (44:35), 60-69: Cleve Johnson (56:23), and 70-79: Del Pletcher (57:48).
The event attracted 205 participants.

Calvin, Scott, Owen and Tizz Miller all made it to the top.

“I think it went really well,” Smith said. “Overall, results were a little bit slower than the past due to the re-grading of the ski run. It made for a really tough course. But I think it is a testament to how strong the field was as people still had really good times. It was a great day.”
Smith went on to thank community sponsors and supporters, including Sturtevants, Sun Valley Company, Backwoods, The Elephant’s Perch. Durance Cycleworks, Solomon, Sport Stat USA and Sun Summit.
“We would also like to thank the ski team parents for volunteering and making it happen. It’s a huge community event that would not take place without their help and the support of our sponsors,” Smith said.
2015 Baldy Hill Climb Results 
Racing Class
Hiking Class 
Cheeso Double Class
Biking Class

Results from Spring Series, U16 Nationals and USASA Nationals.

Check out today's results from Spring Series, U16 Nationals and USASA Nationals. SVSEF athletes, like Aidan Green, are flying high.

April 02, 2015

Western Spring Series
The second and final super giant slalom was staged in today’s Western Spring Series on Bald Mountain.
68 started the men’s race, won by Luke Mathers of Rowmark Ski Academy in 1:24.08. The 17-year-old Mathers bested yesterday’s champion Bronson Wright be .34 of a second. James Lebel of Lake Tahoe was third in 1:25.08.
Will Brandenburg, a member of the SVSEF Gold team, was eighth in 1:25.26. Will Harder bounced back from a DNF the day before to finish in 22nd place. Yuri McClure was 25th, Will Snyder 28th, Austin Savaria 29th, Tanner Josey 34th, Griffin Curtis 37th, Wyatt Smith 38th, Duncan Fuller 40th, John Blackburn 43rd, Kristian DeWolfe 47th. Jay Fitzgerald was one of 12 men who did not finish the course.
19-year-old Canadian Rae Swette won the women’s super G, clocking in at 1:29.61. Madison Ostergren of Rowmark was runner-up in 1:29.91. Yesterday’s champion, SVSEF’s Haley Cutler, was on the podium in third place in a minute 30 flat. Teammate Kyla Miller was 12th, Ruby Marden 17th, Ella Pepin 25th. Ava Mazzoni and Teagen Palmer did not finish.
Tonight’s speed awards will be staged at Ketchum Town Square at 6:30-8:30 p.m. There will be food and refreshments and live music by local favorite Tyler Bushman. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.
Men’s giant slalom and ladies slalom will be held tomorrow and Saturday. Disciplines reverse on Sunday and Monday.
Following racing on Saturday, April 7, Apples Bar & Grill will host a street party during a very special award ceremony following the giant slalom and slalom. The end of season spring fling begins at 3 p.m. and features music, beverages and food. Picabo Street, named after one of Sun Valley's most talented athletes and two-time Olympic medalist, will be closed for the festivities
U16 Championships
SVSEF’s Lily Fitzgerald stepped up on the podium for a second time at the U16 National Championships at Sugarloaf, Maine. The 13-year-old Fitzgerald was the bronze medalist in the U14 class in the ladies’ giant slalom and 15th overall. Katelyn Rathfon skied to 20th place. 26 out of 43 starters did not finish the race.
Hayden Terjeson was the lone finisher for the SVSEF men today in the men’s giant slalom. Terjeson was 23rd overall. Charlie Lamb and Matt O’Connor did not finish their first runs. Spencer Wright was disqualified.
USASA Nationals by coach Nate Farrell
USASA nationals is a wrap and the Sun Valley Snowboard Team had an awesome time! Today Elk Spencer, Aidan Green, and Tague Higgins competed in halfpipe. Elk, who fractured his wrist yesterday, was riding in a full length arm cast! Unfortunately, he took a pretty bad fall in his first run, and had to go down in a toboggan for the second day in a row. But he's a trooper, and luckily a huge bruise and a sore back were the only consequences. Aidan Green was blasting ten foot airs, three times the size of the rest of the field. Unfortunately he couldn't lay a run down. Tague Higgins rode well, but had some trouble on his alley oop mctwists, and couldn't set down a full run either.
Nationals was a great time for the athletes and the coaches, and Sun Valley had a great showing. New friends were made, goals were reached, and lasting memories created. Thanks to all the parents, athletes, and all the volunteers and USASA staff for making 2015 nationals one to remember.