SVSEF Athletes Race on National Stage at Western Region Elite FIS Tech Series

Ryder Sarchett Takes Third Overall in Giant Slalom Plus Top 20 Finishes for SVSEF

Some of the country’s best men and women junior and collegiate alpine ski racers qualified to compete in Sun Valley between Jan. 10-13 at the Western Region Cup #2 FIS Elite Tech Series. Both men and women competed in two days of slalom and two days of giant slalom with their eyes set on lowering their FIS points and ultimately working their way toward the next level of ski racing in North America—the NorAm Series.


Finnigan Donley and FIS Coach Sue Schwartz by Heather Foster

Consistent weather and clear skies over the four days provided optimal racing conditions. The week’s slalom races were held on Hemingway into Greyhawk and the giant slalom on Warm Springs. “The support from Sun Valley Company to allow us to run a dual venue ski race made a huge difference, and the impression left on the competitors and the Western Region helped elevate Sun Valley as a host site for major competitions of moving forward,” said Will Brandenburg, SVSEF Alpine Program Director and the event’s Chief of Race. “We couldn’t do this without Sun Valley, the SVSEF staff, coaches, ski patrol, and volunteers, including parents, and former athletes,” he continued. “We drove a FIS minimum penalty and that only happens maybe ten times amongst hundreds of FIS events across the country in any given season.”

The event served as a U18 and U.S. National Qualifier with field sizes of ninety athletes. SVSEF athletes put themselves in great position to qualify for both of these major events.

Kai Subith by Tim Carter

“We’re excited about where our SVSEF FIS team is headed,” said Brandenburg. “They’ve raised the bar high for themselves and we’re proud of their efforts,” he continued. “Each of our athletes had moments of extraordinary skiing, and having our U18 athletes winning individual runs and placing top 10 overall in an event of this caliber is exceptional.”

On the men’s side, SVSEF Alumni and U.S. Ski Team member, Ryder Sarchett, placed third overall in Thursday’s giant slalom. SVSEF’s Finnigan Donley and Kai Subith laid down fastest runs overall in slalom and giant slalom respectively this week against high-level collegiate athletes and athletes much older than them from across the U.S.A. Colin Hanna and Nils Galloway showed their talent and speed with top 10 finishes in Monday’s slalom event, which made a huge impression given they are still U18 ski racers. Carter Sammis held his own with two top 20 finishes in slalom.

“We’re excited to finish this series on a high note in front of a home crowd, and with the athletes showing so much support for each other,” said Gladys Weidt, SVSEF FIS Head Coach. “Our athletes did really well across the board and we saw improvements throughout the week, which is a great sign for the season and what we can continue to build upon,” she continued.


Jessica Blackburn by Jim Grossman

On the women’s side, Logan Lindstrom kicked things off with a 14th overall finish in Monday’s giant slalom. Two women on the SVSEF FIS team were born and raised in the Wood River Valley and have grown up through the program—Jessica Blackburn earned a top 13 overall finish in Tuesday’s giant slalom and 19th in Wednesday’s slalom; and Saba Grossman snagged 23rd in Monday’s giant slalom, 20th in Wednesday’s slalom, and 16th in Thursday’s slalom. Paige DeHart, competing up to the U18 class, placed top 25 overall in Wednesday’s slalom and moved up to 17th overall in Thursday’s slalom.

Next up for the SVSEF FIS team—various members of the team will travel to Big Sky, MT for the Western Region FIS Devo series Jan. 21-24, to the University of Utah FIS U race at Park City, UT Jan. 23-25, and then another Western Region Elite FIS series at Park City, UT and Snowbird, UT Feb. 1-4.

Complete race results can be found at


Lead Photo of Ryder Sarchett by Tim Carter.