Season's greetings: 2017 Wild West Game Dinner a rousing success

The Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation celebrated its 41st annual Wild West Game Dinner Friday at the Limelight Room in Sun Valley.
A sold-out crowd of 360 guests were on hand to help honor Scott McGrew, SVSEF’s alpine director and the 2017 recipient of the Jack Simpson Dedicated Coaches Award.
The Jack Simpson Dedicated Coaches Award honors a past or present SVSEF coach who best exemplifies the values of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation. This is a coach whose unique character fosters and draws out the best qualities in each young person. The honoree leads by example, emphasizing good sportsmanship, self-reliance and appreciation for our mountain environment and sport. The Jack Simpson recipient has an unconditional dedication to young athletes and the important job of coaching.
Past recipients of the Simpson award include Jim Savaria (2004), Lane Monroe (2005), Michel Rudigoz (2006), Rob Keisel (2007), Craig “Cheeso” Kjesbo (2008), Doran Key (2009), Rick Kapala (2010), Jon French (2011) and Ruben Macaya (2012).
Macaya, SVSEF’s former alpine director who predated Scotty for 13 years, was on hand with Kelly Simpson Allison, Jack’s daughter and SVSEF alumna, to present the award to McGrew, who responded in turn.
“Skiing became a vehicle that provided a childhood to a young boy who wanted nothing more than to be around the great personalities who shared their secrets, who lived life from the inside out and helped to shape a sense of place and belonging into the heart of a kid. It was my school, my church, my tribe, my place.”
“The Ski Education Foundation is a place where we can, as a community, embrace the timeless qualities of perseverance, courage, and independence. As we move through the latest iterations of technology and the implications it has on the lives of our children, we can rest assure that the values that anchored this experience 52 years ago remain our True North.”
Thanks to our very philanthropic community, guests enjoyed live and silent auctions. The “Five-Year Plan,” five climbs over five years with renowned mountaineers Ed Viesturs and Erik Leidecker garnered $22,000 – the high bid of the evening. Winning bidders also took home vacations to Mexico, Hawaii, lobster dinners, artwork, textiles and an assortment of items that represent the best of the valley and beyond.
In honor of McGrew and his contributions to SVSEF, Freddy Johnson donated a lead gift of $25,000, which garnered two matches.
Guests enjoyed a venison and quail duet plate created by Sun Valley executive chef Ken Pratt. Kristine and Stan Baty donated wine for the event, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Former longtime resident Larry Flynn was the evening’s emcee and the Sammy Steele band of Seattle had the capacity crowd kicking up their boots. Heather Minor Events created the décor and staging for the event.
SVSEF athletes sold raffle tickets throughout the fall for a 2017-18 Sun Valley season ski and golf passes. Winning salespeople were Scarlett Carruth with 54 tickets sold, Madda Mourier-Floyd with 48 and Ruby Campbell with 40. The intrepid trio takes home prizes provided by Soundwave of Ketchum, including Skullcandy Mix Master headphones (first place), JBL Charge 3 portable speaker (second place) and Skullcandy Ambush speaker (third place).

Ketchum’s Dotty Sarchett opted for the grand raffle prize of the ski pass and Nicholas Lube of Hailey received the golf pass. Raffle tickets were drawn by Tim Silva, general manager of Sun Valley Company, and Peter Stearns, SV Co. mountain manager.
The Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation would like to thank everyone who contributed to the event from our patrons, donors, volunteers, athletes, coaches, and staff. Perhaps our sentiments are best summed up by McGrew himself.
“It took a tremendous effort on behalf of my parents to provide this opportunity for me.  It took a tremendous effort on behalf of the entire Wood River Valley community to provide this opportunity for me. The gratitude for my experience stays with me to this day. I will never be able to give as much as I have received.”
Photos courtesy of Becky Smith.