Week(s) in Review: January 8

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U16 NPS Tech Project

Four U16 athletes are currently at Burke, Vermont, for two slalom and two giant slalom competitions as part of the National Project Series (NPS); Ryder Sarchett, Marit Kaiser, Jessica Blackburn and Dasha Romanov are representing SVSEF. The NPS Tech Project brings the best U16s together from throughout the country for a week of training and racing; it is a part of the national pipeline intended to prepare athletes for more elite competition. Athletes have the opportunity to qualify to represent the U.S. at the OPA (Seven Nations) Cup in February based on results. 

Women started competition with a slalom in the morning on January 8; Marit Kaiser finished eighth and Dasha Romanov 11th in a field of 30. Jessica Blackburn did not finish her first run of the day. Ryder Sarchett skied out his runs in the men’s slalom, and did not finish his second run in the second men’s slalom in the afternoon. Dasha had an amazing first run in the women’s afternoon slalom, landing the fastest time, but moved down to 18th following her second run. Jessica skied to 13th, and Marit was disqualified in her first run. The project continues today with training.

Although they did not complete both runs of their respective races, two SVSEF clocked the best times on the runs they did complete, which is a substantial success given the field and the stakes; Ryder won the first run of the second race, as did Dasha.



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Jack Smith invited to U.S. Development Team Europe Camp

Based on his success at Snowbird in the GS, Jack Smith has earned an invitation from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Development Team to attend a Europe camp this January. “Jack has been working extremely hard, is very motivated and is skiing well. We wish him luck in Europe,” said SVSEF FIS Head Coach Nate Schwing. With some of the best results so far this year in GS for athletes born in 2001 n the nation, Jack will take this success overseas for two weeks of racing and training. The Development Team is club-based; four men have been named, and for this camp they take an additional six for a total of 10 male athletes.



FIS athletes leave today for a Western Regional FIS elite Junior National and US National tech qualifier. The races at Big Sky are an opportunity to qualify for national-level competition later this season.

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Looking out at Targhee, photo by Addie Rafford

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The Big Mountain team has been getting mileage and experience under their belt; first with a Level One Avalanche yurt trip, and most recently with time at Grand Targhee. At Grand Targhee, the group spent their days hiking, exploring new terrain, including cliffs, and pushing themselves by trying new tricks.
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U.S. Cross Country Championships

Craftsbury Outdoor Center hosted the 2019 U.S. L.L. Bean Cross Country Ski Championships, held January 3-8. SVSEF sent over 20 athletes from Comp, PG and Gold teams to Vermont for the races. Top professional, collegiate and junior athletes from across the country converged for classic sprints and classic and skate distance races; aside from national titles, athletes competing at Nationals were looking to qualify for race opportunities abroad. A record number of SVSEF athletes did so; Peter Holmes, Johnny Hagenbuch, Sydney Palmer-Leger and Sophia Mazzoni all made the cut for U.S. World Junior Championships in Lahti, Finland, which will take place later this month. SVSEF has often had one or two (and twice, three) athletes qualify for World Juniors, but four is unprecedented.

Peter Holmes started off strong with a 11th place finish in the men’s 15km classic on Thursday. Johnny was the top U18 in the nation and 27th overall. For women, Sydney Palmer-Leger was third for U18s in the 10km, and Logan Smith won the U16 category. Gold Team skier Cate Brahms had a good result, coming in 21st overall. Sophia Mazzoni was the fifth U18 finisher (41st overall).

In the classic sprint the next day, Peter Holmes continued his success by stepping onto the American podium in third. He was fourth overall and the first U23. Sophia qualified for women’s senior heats and was the second junior overall, and Logan Smith also qualified for senior heats as a U16. Sydney Palmer-Leger skied to second in junior heats, Sarah Morgan to fifth and Johnny Hagenbuch to fifth.

In Sunday’s mass start, Johnny Hagenbuch led SVSEF in the junior category, winning the men’s 10km freestyle race with a time of 26:27. PG skier Scott Schulz broke the top 10 in ninth. Peter Holmes was again SVSEF’s top finisher for senior men, skiing to 19th overall in the 30km freestyle mass start. Katie Feldman led the women in 17th in the 20km race. Sydney Palmer-Leger made the junior women’s podium in third for the 7.5km, and Logan Smith was 15th and the top U16 finisher.

In the final race on Tuesday, a freestyle sprint, Peter Holmes made heats and moved onto semifinals, and Maddie Morgan and Katie Feldman both made heats for women.

Peter will compete at U23 Worlds, and U18 skiers Johnny, Sydney and Sophia will race at World Juniors in Lahti, January 20-26. Post Grad Head Coach Paul Smith with join them as a coach on the trip. They leave today for Finland to begin training. More information about the upcoming events can be found here.

In addition to the four who qualified for Junior Worlds, Comp Team athlete Logan Smith had a standout series. At just 14 years old, Logan pre-qualified for Junior Nationals, and also qualified for the U18 Nordic Nations Cup in Scandinavia. She is also the second alternate for Junior Worlds, based on her results at Nationals.




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Blake DeHart and Alex Shafer coming into the finish

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Snowmaker Classic

SVSEF hosted a local race at Lake Creek on January 5. Distances included 1, 3, 5 and 10km, and 56 athletes came out to compete. Competitors ranged from age 5 to 92. Thanks to our volunteers for making the execution of the race a breeze! 



World Cup

Kevin Bolger was selected by the U.S. Ski Team to race the Tour de Ski, which is arguably the most exciting stint of World Cup action. He was invited based on his results in the Davos sprint, in which he just missed heats in 31st.

In the opening freestyle sprint of the Tour de Ski in Toblach, Italy, on December 29, Kevin charged to an impressive 13th overall in qualifiers. He moved onto heats and finished 21st overall. Kevin was 71st in the 15km freestyle race on December 30, also in Toblach, and narrowly missed heats in the next freestyle sprint in Val Muestair, Switzerland, on January 1st, landing in 34th.

Kevin’s results



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Tilly Babcock, far right, in second. Photo by ID One Foundation

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Sammy Smith, photo by ID One Foundation

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Freestyle athletes headed to Snowbird in Utah for a qualifier for Junior Nationals. Sammy Smith led the charge; she placed fourth overall the first day in the two-run single moguls comp, won her age group (F15), and was second overall on the second day in the one-run single mogul comp in the morning. She again won her age group, and had the fastest time and highest air score of the day. Significantly, she bested two girls who have recently competed in World Cup events, and one who represented Norway at the Olympics in Pyeongchang. Tilly Babcock had a great weekend, coming in third for her F12 age group on Saturday, as did Rainey Wilson, who was also third for her age group on Saturday (F19). Drake Lovelin, for whom this was his first regional competition, won his age group (M11) on both Saturday and Sunday. Sunday’s dual event was cancelled due to poor visibility; it snowed 17 inches over five hours. The team heads to Park City for competition this Saturday and Sunday for divisional championships, which are another opportunity to qualify for junior nationals.

The team will compete locally on January 26-27 as part of the Sun Valley Freestyle Spectacular on Roundhouse slope – mark your calendars and come support SVSEF athletes on their home turf!




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U.S. Selections

U.S. Selections for freestyle athletes took place December 16-22 in Winter Park, CO. High caliber athletes bulked up the start lists; there were internationally-ranked World Cup athletes from Japan, Australia, Norway, Sweden and Austria in attendance. SVSEF athletes did well; Luke Rizzo ended up top-40 both days. Rainey’s best result was 47th.
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Snowboard athletes with their hardware at Snowbasin.

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By Snowboard Head Coach Andy Gilbert

A small crew went to Snowbasin with parents over the weekend to dip their toes in the slalom and GS waters.

While traditionally not a discipline that we train very often outside of freeriding, it is a huge tool as far as fundamentals and skill-building goes. We had a gate training day prior to the trip which was well received and beneficial.



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Alum and 2018 Olympian Chase Josey took some time to shred with the Snowboard Team before heading to Laax in Switzerland.

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For Christmas weekend, the SVSEF Snowboard Team tried to really mix things up. Rather than run “human slalom” with the crowds, the coaches decided that setting a few stubbies on Cozy with the Alpine team would be time well spent.

Big shout out to Nate Schwing and his coaches for helping make this happen! It was great to see the different disciplines all working together and using the same space.

Sunday saw the team in the classroom with Lindsay Mann, SVSEF Mountain Awareness Coordinator, for an avalanche course. The session covered the basics of what to look for, warning signs, general safety and more. This will be followed up with a 2-hour field study later in January. The importance of this information cannot be overstated. The team seemed to really soak it in, and hopefully this will be the beginning of their continued backcountry safety information. Lindsay really made the information accessible and easy to understand for the kids and is a huge asset to our programs. Thanks, Linds!

We followed up the class with a team lunch at the Hot Water Inn! Mark Oliver and the crew at 3 Jerks Jamaican BBQ are putting out some amazing food; if you haven’t had a chance to try it get in there now! Mark is a SVSEF alumni and has created something pretty special in Warm Springs! He has always supported snowboarding so we wanted to support him. The purpose of the team lunch was to bond a bit, talk about the upcoming season, goals and being a better team as a whole. The most successful teams we have had both on and off the hill were the ones that spent quality time together as a group. We are getting ready to get into the travel portion of our season and things like this help set the tone.

Then it was off to Dollar to close out the weekend!
All in all, a very diverse weekend, just like the sport of snowboarding – that’s how we like it!

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We are making progress with the installation of the new Supertramp in the Air Barn! Keep an eye out for an edit showing the whole process, coming soon.