A reminder that applications for the John R. Kalik True North Scholarship Award are due February 24, 2017. The award is given to three rising junior and/or senior athletes, and covers half of an athlete's tuition for a season. The application consists of a one-page typed essay. The essay topic is: Which SVSEF core value (sportsmanship, citizenship, character, teamwork, creativity, passion, perseverance) has had the greatest influence on you, and how have you applied it to other aspects of your life?
Essay submissions will be reviewed by a panel, and award recipients will be announced at their respective team banquets at the end of the winter season. Questions and/or essays may be submitted to Jody Zarkos.


ALPINE: Kaia Jensen is this week’s I am SVSEF athlete. Says coach Brett Morris, “Kaia has been working really hard all year and especially these past couple of weeks, going out on her own repeatedly working on drills and trying to make some adjustments to here skiing. Additionally, her attitude has been phenomenal, always keeping positive and trying to see the best in situations even when results aren’t going her way. At Schweitzer speed Kaia, entering her first FIS speed (DH and SG) series did a great job. She got down from one run of SG and had the biggest grin on her face just from the thrill and joy of running the course. Her time didn’t matter; she just had pure fun.”
CROSS COUNTRY: According to Dave Bingham, Cross Country Devo Head Coach, “Zach Quesnel is one of those first-to-come, last-to-leave kids that shows up ready to rock. As a lead dog of the hard charging “Omega” Team, Zach dives in to every practice like a golden lab goes after a thrown stick. Despite a somewhat quiet demeanor, Zach manages to project an enthusiasm for sport that fellow athletes just want to be part of. Not surprisingly, Zack’s mom and uncles are all SVSEF alumni, solid community contributors, and just plain great folks. Congrats to Zach for being coaches’ pick for athlete of the week!”
FREESTYLE: This past competition, coaches saw a lot of progress in Luke Rizzo’s skiing. Dedication to his workouts during the year have moved him up through the rankings. Luke is polite, respectful, consistently there and puts in the work; he is an exceptional role model for the younger athletes growing up in the program.
PARK & PIPE: Ridge Dirksmeier is at every practice, giving 100% and pushing himself and his teammates to be their best selves. A quality that is important for making improvements is a good attitude; Ridge certainly brings this, and is open to learning more about the sport and what he can do to make strides.



FIS/USSA Teams – Laura Flood Memorial Cup

Alli Rathfon competes in the GS on Monday. © Glen Allison

The Laura Flood Memorial Cup took place last weekend on Baldy, despite heavy rain that closed down the mountain for two consecutive days. This was a U16 qualifier, as well as an open USSA race. All teams decided to stay an extra day and race on Monday – a race occurrence – since the event was a qualifier and conditions ended up working out. A huge thank you goes out to Sun Valley Company, SVSEF staff and all of the volunteers who made this event a resounding success, despite the extreme weather and the conditions and changes that ensued.
Snow conditions set up to be extremely icy – Will Brandenburg, SVSEF Head USSA Coach and a former World Cup and Olympic skier, observed that “it ended up setting up like a World Cup venue for the GS race on Monday – it was the type of surface that people try to make – we got lucky.”
Strong results came from both FIS and USSA athletes. SVSEF women took five of the top ten spots in both slaloms events, with Lily Fitzgerald taking the win on Saturday and Merumo Ishimaru claiming first on Sunday. The men took went one through four on Saturday, with Charlie Lamb claiming victory. They took three of the top ten spots on Sunday; Filippo Collini was first, followed by Bennett Snyder in second. FIS athlete Haley Cutler won the women’s giant slalom on Monday, with teammate Alli Rathfon in second. Maddie Ferris broke the top ten, finishing sixth. The men finished strong, with five in the top ten on the final day of the weekend. Filippo Collini again took the win.
Emma MacGuffie earned the unofficial move-up award for the weekend, cruising from starts in the 80s into the top 15 and top 10 in the two slalom events, securing a spot for regionals. The SVSEF U16 athletes have proven their strength as a unit this season, having secured a win at every U16 event throughout the last two qualifiers – in 12 races total, SVSEF has had seven different winners – Lily Fitzgerald, Bennett Snyder, Jack Smith, Merumo Ishimaru, Buey Grossman, Alli Rathfon and Wyatt Barth have all reached the top of the podium.
The overall Laura Flood Memorial Cup winners this year were Filippo Collini and Merumo Ishimaru. The overall award is based on the second slalom race and the giant slalom, as the event has historically featured these two events. Filippo won the men’s slalom on Sunday, as well as the giant slalom on Monday. Merumo won the Sunday slalom and was 29th in the giant slalom.
Full results here

FIS Team

Erin Smith in the SG at Copper. Photo by Brett Jacobson.

Three FIS athletes competed at FIS-sanctioned races in Copper over the past week, which saw top racers from throughout North America, as well as a few U.S. Ski Team World Cup speed racers. Haley Cutler finished the nine-race series with five top-15 overall finishes, helping her earn 11th place overall in the final Nor-Am Series Downhill standings. On top of that, she secured a top-10 finish in the U.S. National Championship Downhill race, also held at Copper.
This was Erin Smith’s second Nor-Am Series; the athlete managed to score her first Nor-Am Series points (these are given to the top 30 overall finishers). Skylar Cooley, despite having just come off a nasty flu, earned her first Nor-Am at Copper, from Nor-Am points earned in the super-G races.
Coach Brett Jacobsen applauded the athletes for their “hard work, solid attitudes and impressive skiing” in a high-caliber field.
Full results here

Cross Country

Comp/Prep Teams

Ella Wolter and Jenna Nurge compete in skate sprints on Saturday. Photo by Mike Wolter.

Cross country Comp and Prep skiers competed in their final JNQ at West Yellowstone. Saturday was a skate sprint; the snow set up really well and the crew did a great job grooming, following a day of rain and sloppy snow on Friday. There were a number of SVSEF athletes who had their best-ever results on Saturday. Katherine Estep had her best result to date, finishing fifth overall and reaching the A final. Keene Morawitz  had his best skate sprint result, qualifying for the B final. Lily Brunelle also made B finals. Overall, it was a good day for SVSEF, and the race helped solidify qualifying for Junior Nationals for a number of athletes.
The final JNQ race on Sunday was a classic mass start. Highlights for the day were Peter Wolter skiing to a win in the U18/U20 men’s 10km, in his last effort as a SVSEF athlete. Eli Jensen brought up a solid fourth. Henry Raff and Andrew Siegel both secured positions on the Intermountain JN team. PG skier Sarah Goble, despite battling illness all weekend, still managed to ski to third. In the men’s U16 race, Johnny Hagenbuch was third in a closely contested race. The U16 girls had a strong day, taking first, third and fourth; Sophia Mazzoni took the win, skiing hard off the front of the pack. Laine Allison threw down a big result, out-lunging teammate Anja Jensen for third and cementing her position for Junior Nationals.
SVSEF qualified 13 athletes overall to represent the Intermountain Division at Junior Nationals. On top of that, Sarah Goble, a PG skier, will represent the Great Lakes region, and Bentley Walker-Broose will compete as a guest skier; he is an Australian athlete who has been training and racing with SVSEF.
SVSEF athletes qualified for Junior Nationals:
U16 girls
Sophia Mazzoni
Anja Jensen
Ella Wolter
Laine Allison

U16 boys
Johnny Hagenbuch
Cash Dart

U18-20 girls
Lily Brunelle
Eve Jensen

U18-20 boys
Peter Wolter
Eli Jensen
Andrew Siegel
Henry Raff
Keene Morawitz
Full results here
Full IMD JNQ rankings here


Sammy Smith on top of the overall moguls podium on Saturday.

Freestyle athletes were in Deer Valley, Utah for moguls and duals. Athletes competed on the longest course they have been on to date, and one of the toughest; it was used a week previous as a World Cup competition venue, with Olympic-caliber athletes competing. The course was 250 meters long, which is a quarter longer than the average mogul course.
A heavy downpour of rain plagued training on Friday, before it transitioned to snow, making conditions more challenging on Saturday with six to eight new inches. On Sunday, everything froze; with an icy, hard surface, conditions were tough.
Saturday was a singles event, with tough competition on the men’s side in the form of former U.S. team members. SVSEF had four athletes in the top 15 in the men’s competition and five in the top 10 in the ladies’ event; the highlight was an overall win for 11-year old Sammy Smith in a field of athletes up to eight years her senior, who threw a 360 to a backflip. (Sammy’s performance over the weekend qualified her for Nationals, which will have to wait, as the minimum age requirement to compete is 14.) In the men’s competition, Alex LaFleur was eighth, Brody Buchwalter 10th, Henry Cherp 11th and Luke Rizzo 12th. In the ladies’ event, Sammy was first, Addie Rafford wasn’t far behind in fourth, Esmee Verheijen finished seventh, Katie Markthaler ninth and Eliza Marks tenth.
Sunday’s first competition was a singles run to seed for duals later that day. Addie Rafford was second overall and Sammy Smith third. Luke Rizzo led the SVSEF men in fourth, followed by Alex LaFleur in fifth. Toby Rafford, a young gun, had a stand out performance with a sixth place finish, and Ben Anderson made the top ten in seventh. Toby hung with the older athletes and was able to qualify for Junior Nationals. Luke’s result helped him qualify for Nationals, which are at Steamboat at the end of March.
In duals, Luke was fourth and Alex fifth. Addie finished on the podium in second for the ladies, Sammy Smith was fourth and Rainey Wilson was eighth.
This was the last event for Intermountain qualification for Junior Nationals. A full list will be released next week of qualified athletes.
Full results here


Phebe Erickson and Aidan Green competed in Mammoth at the Rev Tour, despite the rugged weather that shut down the freeski aspect. Phebe finished 18th in the women’s field of 50 and Aidan was 17th in the men’s competition.
Payton Bacca just left for Junior Worlds in the Czech Republic yesterday, to represent the U.S. in boardercross. The event takes place February 18.
The Snowboard Team had a small crew head over to Bogus Basin for the USASA slopestyle event. Nico and Sebastian Lerner, Maddie and Caleb Hothem Chelsea Kelley from Australia competed for SVSEF. Everyone came home with some hardware; Nico got fjrst in his age division, Sebastian secured a win and Caleb was second in their division, Maddie Hothem was first for girls, and Chelsea finished first for the younger girls’ division.


Freeskiing events at the Mammoth stop on the Toyota U.S. Revolution Tour were cancelled due to weather (wind, heavy snow). The next stop is Seven Springs, PA, March 6-8, and will feature freeski halfpipe and slopestyle.
The Jackson Hole Big Mtn. West Series was also cancelled due to weather. A couple of SVSEF athletes who live in Boise decided to stay home and compete in a USASA slopestyle event at Bogus Basin; Kyle Kope ended up in third place, and Ryan Dobi was first in his age group. Results have not yet been posted.