The Week in Review: 3/14/17


“I am SVSEF” is an opportunity each week to highlight our athletes for demonstrating the core values of the organization.

Sportsmanship • Citizenship • Character • Teamwork • Creativity • Passion • Perseverance


Sebi Radl-Jones

CROSS COUNTRY: From Prep Team Head Coach, Kelley Sinnott:
This week’s I am SVSEF athlete for cross country is Prep Team skier Sebi Radl-Jones. Sebi has been a member of the cross country team since he was old enough to join, and from the moment forward has been an ever-positive, enthusiastic force. This season Sebi has grown into not only a positive team member, but a strong leader on the cross country prep team. He demonstrates all of the core values of the svsef and consequently has a great effect on all those around him.

  • Sportsmanship Sebi is a cheerleader for all of his teammates on the race course or in hard workouts. No matter how he is feeling, he is always encouraging those around him.
  • Citizenship Sebi is the first person to say thank you or offer to help a teammate or coach – he can be counted on both on and off the ski trails.
  • Character Sebi is supportive and positive but also well-rounded and grounded; he is strong when he needs to be, but also compassionate and thoughtful. Sebi stands up for his teammates and is dependable.
  • Teamwork  In an individual sport it can be hard to find the team unity, but it is an important part of a skier’s success. Sebi seems to have realized this at a young age and is always encouraging his teammates, pushing them harder while still cheering for them.
  • Creativity Sebi seems to see the beauty in skiing.
  • Passion While he does balance school work and the cross country team, it is also very apparent that skiing is Sebi’s true passion. He has a true love for the sport, and his energy and passion for it rubs off on others.
  • Perseverance This is a tough sport – it is tough training, tough racing, tough physically and it is tough mentally – yet somehow Sebi’s passion for it never wanes. One of the hardest concepts to grasp in ski racing is that no matter how hard you train and work, sometimes races don’t go your way. The only answer is to push on and keep working; to persevere and keep trying. Sebi might not have his most successful competitive season, but it hasn’t ever affected his hard work and positive mental attitude. He continues to work, to push his teammates and himself and to do so with positivity, passion and more enthusiasm than most people we know.


Zeppelin Pilaro

FREESTYLE: From Jennifer Diehl, freestyle/freeskiing prep and devo team manager:

For this week, Freestyle’s I am SVSEF athlete is Zeppelin Pilaro, who skis on the Freestyle/Freeski Prep Team. Zeppelin possesses a carefree yet passionate approach to everything he does on ski team. He is kind to his teammates, respectful of his coaches, embraces challenges with ease and looks at competition as just another fun experience. His progression in the air and on the snow have come so far this year and all the coaches see great potential in this young, quiet yet dynamic soul. Cheers to you, Zeppelin!

Luke Higgins

PARK & PIPE: The Park & Pipe athlete this week is freeskier Luke Higgins. According to coach Tyler Conway, “he has been sitting back, keeping it mild and waiting for the right time to ramp up his progression. With the warm weather, slushy snow and sunshine, Luke pushed himself to a new degree and took his skiing to a higher level, with bigger jumps and bigger spins. Great job and way to keep the stoke alive!”



Hanna Blackwell at Copper earlier this season. Photo courtesy of Tyler Conway.

Hanna Blackwell, a skier on the Freeski Travel Team, has qualified for the FIS Halfpipe Junior World Championships this year. The event will be held in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, from March 24-26. This is a unique and exciting opportunity for Hanna to get some international experience under her belt. The athlete has been working hard in the pipe this year, and has taken advantage of opportunities to travel regionally throughout the season; this marks a major step up in that regard.



FIS athletes have been competing at Schweitzer Mountain, in fields of 75-90 competitors. SVSEF women started off strong and stayed consistent throughout the week: Haley Cutler took a big win in the giant slalom on March 9, with Erin Smith right behind in second. Four out of the top 10 spots went to SVSEF; Katelyn Rathfon finished eighth, and Skylar Cooley was ninth. Haley kept up the momentum in the following women’s events; she was second in the slalom on March 10, and won another giant slalom race on March 12. In that race, SVSEF again took a number of top spots; Erin Smith finished second, Skylar Cooley seventh and Katelyn Rathfon eighth. On the men’s side of competition, SVSEF showed depth, with different athletes breaking the top ten in each event. Hayden Terjeson was sixth in the men’s super G on March 9, and Spencer Wright was ninth. In the slalom March 10, Filippo Collini and Duncan Fuller went nine-ten. March 11 was another super G, and this go-round it was John Blackburn in fifth and Yuri McClure in ninth. The giant slalom on March 13 saw Duncan Fuller in sixth, and teammates Spencer Wright in 12th and Cooper Dart in an impressive 14th.
Full results


Comp/PG Teams

Eve Jensen. Photo by Hank Dart.

Thirteen SVSEF athletes competed at Junior Nationals in Lake Placid, New York, representing the Intermountain Division. Sarah Goble, a PG skier, raced for the Great Lakes Division, and Bentley Walker-Broose, an Australian skier who has been training with SVSEF, raced as a guest.
According to Program Director Rick Kapala, who coached the IMD team for the week-long event, this was one of SVSEF’s better Junior Nationals in recent years. The team had a number of different kids skiing to the top of their race classes. Said Kapala, “we were fortunate that our athletes stayed relatively healthy this season. The last few weeks of preparation were pretty good; we weren’t struggling with illness, and were able to execute workouts.” This meant that the team was able to arrive at Lake Placid with maximum potential to secure good results. It was also beneficial that some of the athletes have been to JNs in the past, so they knew what to expect, and that this group trains consistently at altitude, which helped the skiers get up and over the hills that were featured on the challenging 2.5km course. All courses were moved to the backup site of the Olympic Jumping Complex from Mt. Van Hoevenberg, due to lack of snow. By the end of it all, they’d seen a little bit of everything weather-wise, from moderate temperatures, to t-shirt and klister weather for the classic sprint, to -6 degrees with 20mph winds on the last day of competition with team sprints.
The kids had a decent first day of racing with the distance skate on Monday. Johnny Hagenbuch took home silver in the U16 men’s division. Kapala felt like the group really warmed to the challenge for the following competition and the rest of the week, with solid results across the board in the classic distance and the relay.
Johnny Hagenbuch on top of the U16 men’s 5km classic podium.

Johnny continued his week of strong finishes on Wednesday, making it to the U16 final heat in the classic sprint, and finishing fourth. He won the classic 5km distance race on Friday, and was on the winning relay team for his age class on Saturday. Anja Jensen made the final B heat for U16 women, and finished second in that heat and eighth overall. In his final individual race, Peter Wolter was second in the U20 men’s 15km race. Teammate Eli Jensen finished sixth in the same race. Peter and Eli were on the third-placing relay team on Saturday, and Ella Wolter and Anja Jensen were together on the fifth-placing relay team for U16 girls.
As a club, SVSEF ended the week third in the country. IMD was second in divisional standings. Kapala noted the importance of this. “It means that the standard of competition in our conference is quite high, which is important in our efforts to help our kids elevate their skiing. If the athletes our kids are racing against divisionally are good, they have an appropriate challenge around them. It’s important and encouraging to know this, as it gives our younger athletes the ability to come to the conclusion that there’s no reason we can’t build on the success of this year, and keep the momentum going for next year. They’re still growing and getting stronger, and this gives us something to work towards.”
Full results here

Comp/Prep Teams

Kate Horowitz, Tia Vontver and Comp Team Head Coach Ashley Knox at the Cascade Crest Marathon. Photo courtesy of Kelley Sinnott.

From Prep Team Head Coach, Kelley Sinnott:
The SVSEF Cross Country Team travelled to Bend, Oregon this past weekend to compete in the Cascade Crest Marathon at Mt.Bachelor. Skiers from both the Comp Team and Prep Progresssion team raced three different distances, on what ended up being a warm yet wet, snowy day on the Bachelor trails.  Landon Paschall and Cooper Roquet competed in the 25km race and Taylor Dorland in the beginner 10km race, while the rest of the skiers entered the 12.5km x four person 50km relay category. Teams were: Team “Kelley Rocks”; Fisher Gardner, Logan Smith, Luci Ludwig and Blake DeHart, Team “Sioux City Sasparilla”; Chloe Tanous, Jenna Nurge, Kirsys Campbell, and JHSC coach Tamsen Kaylor,  Team “You’ve Probably Heard Of Us”; Kate Horowitz, Tia Vontver, Kiran Merchant and SV coach Ashley Knox.
The fast skis paid off for the Sun Valley crew, which notched a good set of podiums:
Cooper Roquet was third overall in the 25km and first in his U18 men’s age class, while Landon Paschall was second in the U18 men’s age class. Taylor Dorland finished first in the women’s category and second overall in the 10km individual race. In the relay category, “Sioux City Sasparilla”  was first in the women’s division, Team “Kelley Rocks” was first in the mixed division and Team “You’ve Probably Heard of Us” was third in the mixed division.
Full results here

Gold Team

Cole Morgan, Jack Hegman and Matt Gelso are off to Quebec City for World Cup Finals, March 17-19. Deedra Irwin traveled back home to the Midwest, and won the Great Bear Chase 50km skiathlon in Calumet, Michigan; the event had a field of 20 women, and featured both classic and skate technique.
Full results here