Week in Review: February 13

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Big Mountain athletes at Grand Targhee

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Comp, PG and Prep, JNQ, Bogus Basin


Going into the Bogus Basin JNQs, a number of SVSEF athletes had already secured qualification to Junior Nationals. There were a few kids out with illness, but by and large, the kids skied well again, with a number earning podiums and winning races on the weekend. Saturday was a classic interval start, and Sunday was a skate interval start.

A couple of SVSEF athletes had real breakthrough races, which ultimately helped them qualify for Junior Nationals. Sebi Radl-Jones had his best qualifier of the year on a really tough course. The freestyle races on Sunday were really tough, which we haven’t typically seen at Bogus; they had reconfigured the courses with more challenging terrain for these races. Tia Vontver also had a really good race. Tia has been super positive throughout all of her time on the cross country team – she’s a good teammate, a good hard worker, and she doesn’t get too rattled,” said Program Director and Coach Rick Kapala. “The course favored her, as she likes skating more than classic, she’s a good climber, and she’s not super big, so the terrain gave her an opportunity to ski to her strengths.”

Ella Wolter, who had probably already secured a spot at JNs based on results at previous JNQs, was second in the 10km women’s skate race. She’s had good results the last few JNQs (Soho and the first day at Bogus), but it was impressive that she came back out and did it again. “She has never finished second in a JNQ in her career, and she did it in a tough field,” explained Kapala. “For her to be coming into race form in a really strong way right now is really good.”

Johnny Hagenbuch skied great all weekend, as did Sydney Palmer-Leger. Anja Grover came back from a tough weekend in SoHo and skied really strong races, securing a spot on the JN team. “It’s always nice to see kids find their form in this last push before JNs,” said Kapala. Hayden Halvorsen has been rebuilding his fitness after a tough start to season, and he won the first day’s classic race, which was great for him.

This was the third and final Intermountain JNQ. Twenty-one kids from SVSEF have qualified for Junior Nationals; this is the most we’ve ever had. Of 57 total Intermountain spots, SVSEF comprises over a third of those.

The team is now four weeks out from JNs, and is focused on training and keeping the stoke up. Younger SVSEF athletes who have been making progress in their skiing but who were not selected will be headed to BC championships from February 26-March 4 at Salmon Arm.

Sydney Palmer-Leger, who prequalified for JNs, will instead go to Europe to compete in OPA Cup finals. Having already competed in four JNs, OPA Cup finals are a good opportunity to get some more international racing under her belt.


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Sydney Palmer-Leger in first and Ella Wolter in second, women’s U18/U20 10km skate

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U16 girls: Logan Smith (prequalified), Sammy Smith (first JNs), Luci Ludwig, Anja Grover (first JNs)

U18 girls: Tia Vontver (first JNs), Jenna Nurge (first JNs), Ella Wolter, Anja Jensen, Sophia Mazzoni (prequalified), Sydney Palmer-Leger (prequalified), Sarah Morgan

 U20 girls: Lily Brunelle (top non-prequalified skier), Heidi Booher

 U16 boys: Bjorn Halvorsen

 U18 boys: Sebi Radl-Jones (first JNs), Hayden Halvorsen, Johnny Hagenbuch (prequalified), Ted Yewer

 U20 boys: Scott Schulz (prequalified), Adam Witkowski (first overall ranked U18/20 skier), Eli Eppolito

 Olivia Cuneo and Sascha are two U18 female alternates.

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Kevin Bolger, World Cup, Lahti

Kevin Bolger competed in Lahti on the World Cup circuit. In the skate sprint on Saturday, he finished 41st in qualifiers, which took him out of the running for heats. In the classic team relay on Sunday, he was partnered with Logan Hanneman in the 6×1.6km sprint. The duo finished sixth in the second semi, and 12th overall.
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Addie Rafford with the women’s 15-18 win

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Regional Event, Grand Targhee

SVSEF Big Mountain athletes competed at a regional event at Targhee, February 9-10. This event served as a qualifier for Nationals. Athletes took one run on Saturday and one on Sunday for a final combined score. Frances Cherp won her 12-14 year old age group after day one, with a score of 29.7667. She finished second overall after her run on Sunday. Ry Mann was 20th for 12-14 boys. Addie Rafford had a great weekend, winning the 15-18 female age group. She put together two solid, winning runs. Cailin Chandler was third after the first day, and 11th after Sunday. Molly Kucher and Tanner Lee both moved up from their first runs, finishing fifth and seventh, respectively, for 15-18 females. Elle Mann was 13th for 15-18s. For 15-18 males, Max Moss skied to second overall, Thor Jaramillo fourth, Bruce O’Donnell seventh, Jake Lunn ninth and Toby Rafford 11th. Toby had a solid effort on Saturday, with a third-placing run on the day.
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Travel, RevTour and Aspen Open, Colorado

by Tyler Conway
Five SVSEF freeski athletes are currently in Colorado for the Toyota U.S. Revolution Tour and the Aspen Open. Athletes will compete on the X Games course and at Copper Mountain in the 22’ halfpipe; this is a good opportunity to compete at some great venues.
At the Rev Tour on Tuesday, Harper Mallet placed sixth in the Rev Tour halfpipe. Unfortunately, Ridge Dirksmeier could not put down a run in finals. Outstanding job goes out to the boys for making it to the finals with no halfpipe to train on at home or in the Intermountain Division.
At Aspen, Tuesday was the first day of practice, and the competition is fierce. The talent and the skill of the amateur athletes on the X Games course is impressive. Athletes have one more day of slopestyle, halfpipe and big air practice before competitions start on Thursday. Events run through Saturday. Ridge Dirksmeier, Harper Mallett, Will Griffith, Joey Markthaler and Charley Bingham will compete this week.
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Maya Lightner (5), Paige DeHart (1), first super G

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IMD, Jr. Intermountain Cup Super G Qualifier, Snowbasin


It was a tough weekend with lots of adversity from weather and the race organizer. As a whole we mostly had successes. It’s fun and affirming to have some of the top results but as a coach you want success for everyone on the SVSEF roster. I think each one of our athletes has a run or two they can hang their hat on last weekend. That’s the best we can hope for as we head into the last training block before the final qualifier.

SG 1 – Paige DeHart 1st, Maya Lightner 5th, Asia Angel 14th; Will Kogelmann 5th

SG 2 – Maya Lightner 2nd, Paige DeHart 5th, Lowie Watkins 9th; Cole Curci 2nd, Will Kogelmann 6th

SG 3 – Ruby Crist 5th, Lowie Watkins 10th, Izzy Gaggero 14th, Asia Angel 15th; Cole Curci 2nd



FIS Women, Nor Ams, Snow King

FIS women competed at Snow King Nor Ams, with fields of about 60, and top athletes from the U.S., Canada and Europe. Erin Smith’s best finish was 23rd in the giant slalom on February 8. Alli Rathfon was 41st in the February 7 giant slalom, and Merumo Ishimaru’s best result was 38th in the February 8 giant slalom.




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Bennett Snyder at Sun Valley Nor Ams, photo by Tim Carter

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FIS Men, Nor Ams, Sun Valley

SVSEF athletes had the opportunity to compete on their own hill at Nor Ams at Sun Valley last week. Bennett Snyder, Bridger Harrison, Blake Bathum, Jack Smith and Max Noddings, as well as alums Kipling Weisel, Tanner Farrow and Spencer Wright represented SVSEF in the giant slalom and slalom races out Warm Springs. Kipling finished 11th in the first slalom, Jack was the top SVSEF finisher in the next day’s slalom race in 32nd, followed closely by Bennett in 33rd. Tanner was 26th in the first giant slalom event, and 22nd the next day (also GS). Jack was 29th in the final competition.




FIS MEN, NPS, Snow King

FIS men are at a National Performance Series (NPS) event at Snow King; the races feature the top U19 athletes in the country. Representing SVSEF are Jack Smith, Blake Bathum, Finn Mallinen, Charlie Snyder, Bennett Snyder, Max Noddings, Bridger Harrison, Buey Grossman and Cassell Lefevre. In the first race on February 10, a GS comp, Jack Smith was the top SVSEF finisher, just off the podium in fourth. Max Noddings had a good race, finishing 11th. Jack again took forth in the 2/11 giant slalom. In the 2/12 slalom, Bennett Snyder was SVSEF’s top racer in 20th. Racing concludes today with another slalom race.


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Jim Baldwin Memorial, Squaw Valley

SVSEF athletes traveled to Squaw Valley for the Jim Baldwin Memorial. It was a one run moguls event. Tilly Babcock was fifth for F13s, Rainey Wilson was second for F19s, Nick Rubenstein 12th for M13s, and Erik Babcock had a solid run for M17s, finishing third.