“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

ALPINE: The I am SVSEF athlete for this week is Ryder Sarchett, a skier on the Alpine IMD Team. Ryder won two out three races at Alpine Meadows last weekend, in the super G and slalom, representing SVSEF at the Western Region U14 Championships. This helped him earn a bid to U16 Nationals the week after next at Sugarloaf, ME. Coach James Tautkus explained how Ryder has demonstrated the SVSEF core values. “Aside from Ryder’s success as an athlete, he is a great teammate to his peers and leads by example. Very few athletes display the desire and determination Ryder Sarchett does. He skis more than most. He watches video more than most. He eats, sleeps and breathes ski racing. To be cool in ski racing you don’t have to be good, ya just gotta love it. Ryder demonstrates both of these characteristics.”
CROSS COUNTRY: From Comp Team Head Coach Ashley Knox:

Kiran Merchant is absolutely wonderful to have as a part of any group. Kiran is fun, generous, welcoming, and incredibly smart. On the ski trails and in the gym, he is a hard worker and will dedicate himself to whatever task he has set for himself. ‘Dirty Merch,’ as we all lovingly know him, has an amazing sense of humor and a quick wit to go with it. He excels in school and brings such a refreshing perspective to this crazy sport we do. He loves training and skiing and from what I can tell, everything it brings with it; good friendships, lifelong fitness, and an appreciation for where we live. We will miss Kiran next year as he takes on his next chapter of adventures at Brown University. 

FREESTYLE: Sawyer Vogel is a skier on the Freestyle Prep Team. Said Freestyle/Freeskiing Prep & Devo Team Manager Jennifer Diehl, “Sawyer is tough, witty and willing to try anything. She is a natural athlete but also works hard to succeed. Her mogul skiing has progressed tenfold this season, and her confidence and technique with her tricks and airs really shines. Skiing with Sawyer makes her coaches feel successful because she listens and works hard on the drills and technique that is being presented to her, then she shows pure joy when she applies what she has learned to her skiing. Sawyer is a magnetic teammate and encourages those around her to jump in and enjoy the day. Keep it up, Sawyer!”
PARK & PIPE: Emma Schmillen, a snowboarder for SVSEF, is this week’s I am SVSEF athlete. Snowboard Team Manager Pat Lee noted that, “Emma entered our program late, after coming to the ‘ride with the team day.’ She had a great time and decided to join the squad. We have all seen progression in her riding on all aspects of the slopes. She is very coachable and has shaken off the timidness we saw when she first entered the program.”



Addie Rafford hits the bumps. Photo by Glen Allison.

SVSEF hosted the USSA Freestyle & Freeskiing Junior Nationals at Sun Valley, March 16-19. SVSEF Athletic Director Phil McNichol reflected on the weekend. “The 2017 USSA Freestyle & Freeskiing Jr. Nationals was a tremendous success. It truly was a St Patrick’s on our side with regards to good luck with the weather. All events went smoothly and the competitors, coaches, officials and families left Sun Valley with the memories of a world-class event experience. We once again congratulate the winners and all the athletes for sharing their talents, efforts and gracious attitudes with our community.”
Representing SVSEF in slopestyle were Will Griffith, Ryan Dobi, Ridge Dirksmeier, Harper Mallet and Ben Fethke. SVSEF athletes who competed in big air were Will Griffith, Joey Markthaler and Ridge Dirksmeier. Will Griffith’s big air trick was a rodeo 720 Japan. Joey Markthaler threw a cork 900 safety and Ridge Dirksmeier went with a Rodeo 540 bow arrow. All of the tricks were performed with style and perfect  execution.
SVSEF halfpipe were athletes Joey Markthaler, Harper Mallet, Ben Fethke, Ridge Dirksmeier, Charlie Price, Lachlan McFarland, Liesel Byres and Hanna Blackwell. Unfortunately, Harper had to pull out of the competition because of injury, which occurred during training. Head Freeski Coach Tyler Conway commended the athlete. “Harper has been training so hard for the competition this week and it is unfortunate that he didn’t get to compete.” Teammates Ridge and Lachlan went out and destroyed the halfpipe – Ridge finished first and Lachlan third in their age class. Ben was second in his age class, while Hanna Blackwell was first in his age class and fourth overall.
Sammy Smith was SVSEF’s top female finisher in the moguls event on Thursday, March 16, ending up in 20th in a field of 71. In the men’s moguls finals on Friday, Holden Largay narrowly missed the podium in a field of 78, finishing fourth overall and third in his M19 age group. Luke Rizzo performed well, ending with an impressive 12th place finish. Brody Buchwalter made the top 30 in 28th.


Gold Team

World Cup Championships, Quebec City

Cole Morgan sprints to the finish in Quebec City.

From Head Coach Chris Mallory:
This past weekend the SVSEF XC Gold Team had three racers competing in the World Cup Finals as part of the US Nations group quota. They were some valuable starts and learning experiences for the guys, and the event and city park setting couldn’t have been better. The city received close to two feet of snow a couple days prior to racing which made for unbelievably good conditions once it set up and mixed in with the manmade base.The sun came out and over ten thousand North American fans packed the venue each day, which featured a rolling 3.5 km loop.
Each of the guys were able to put together a solid race over the three day mini tour. Cole Morgan started things off with a 34th in the skate sprint, narrowly missing the rounds. Matt Gelso had a great classic 15km mass start which went out hard right from the gun, taking 37th. Jack Hegman finished the weekend with an encouraging 15km skate pursuit with the 50th place time on the day.  
Full results here

Gold Team, PG Team, Comp Team

Katherine Estep races against the backdrop of the Canadian Rockies in Canmore.

A group of SVSEF Cross Country athletes is currently racing in Canmore for Canadian Nationals; many of the top Canadian skiers are in the mix, fresh in from World Cup finals, which just took place in Quebec. Competition got underway on Sunday, with Deedra Irwin taking the final podium spot in a field of 68. The women’s Gold Team placed 3rd-6th in the opening 5km Skate race.
Athletes representing SVSEF range from Comp Team skiers to PGs, guests and Gold Team racers. Head Post Grad Coach Tom Smith noted that the event today featured “ warm spring conditions, making for stellar klister skiing for the interval start classic races on brutally tough World Cup courses.”
In the senior women/overall 10km race on March 21, Gold Team skier Mary Rose took a spot on the podium in second. Teammate Annie Pokorny finished ninth, and Deedra Irwin 11th. In the U16 men’s 7.5km race, Bentley Walker-Broose finished 34th in a field of 100. Katherine Estep had a strong finish, with a top-20 result in 14th in the U16 women’s 5km. PG skier Laura Anderson was 17th in the U20 10km, Bjorn Schou was 14th in the U20 men’s 15km and Carter Ros was 33rd. Gold Team skier Rogan Brown finished 14th in the senior men’s/overall 15km race. The athletes have two more races to go, with senior and U20 classic sprints tomorrow, and U16/U18 classic sprints on Thursday.
Full results here
The season wraps up in Fairbanks for US Super Tour Finals.


Sawyer Kesselheim and Jake Adicoff in Sapporo.

SVSEF alumni Jake Adicoff continued racing at the international level, with another race in PyeongChang, South Korea, before moving on to Japan for the Para World Cup finals. In the men’s 10km classic race in PyeongChang on March 15, Jake finished in third in the visually-impaired class, guided by Sawyer Kesselheim. In Sapporo, Jake continued his streak of podiums, with a silver medal in the 10km in a field of 10 competitors on March 18 and a win in the 5km.
Sapporo 5km
Sapporo 10km



North Series

North Series athletes traveled to Park City for Intermountain Championships, March 17-19. The series featured a slalom, giant slalom and duals. Paige DeHart ended up second overall in giant slalom and took the overall win in the ladies’ slalom. Maya Lightner was fifth overall in giant slalom, and stepped onto the podium with Paige in second for slalom. In U12 duals, Maya took the win. Reece Walther-Porino made a move from bib 62 to 10th in the giant slalom; similarly, Charlotte Davis-Jeffers went from bib 56 to 11th place in the slalom. In the men’s competition, three SVSEF athletes broke the top 10 in the giant slalom overall; Cole Curci was fourth, Max Meucci fifth, and Tucker Smith eighth. In the slalom, Tucker Smith finished on the podium in second for his U10 age group; Cole was 10th for U12s.
Full results here


IMD skiers were at Alpine Meadows in California March 17-19 for the Western Region U14 Championships, where athletes competed in fields of 40-50 of the top Western Region competitors. Marit Kaiser repeatedly broke the top five, with a fourth place finish in the super G, a second place in the giant slalom and another fourth place in the slalom. Teammate Jessica Blackburn was also consistent, finishing 12th in the super G and 10th in the giant slalom. Marit Kaiser had a standout result in the slalom, ending up in fourth; teammate Saba Grossman was just behind in fifth. Anhwei Kirk was 11th in the same race.
Ryder Sarchett took a win on the first day of competition for the men in the super G. Josh Blackburn finished fifth. Nathan Gowe was third in the giant slalom; Josh Blackburn again finished in the top 10 in ninth. On the final day of competition, Ryder Sarchett was again victorious in the slalom. Axel Hattrup had a standout performance, moving up from 51st to finish 11th.
Full results here
IMD athletes were also at IMD Finals at Snowbasin, March 18-19. There were slalom and giant slalom events. In the women’s giant slalom, Dakota Barth was SVSEF’s top finisher in third, followed by Lena Nelson in fifth. Three other athletes were in the top 10, with Mattigan Monschke in seventh, Tanner Lee in ninth and Maile Dorland in 10th. In the men’s U14 category, Russell Stumph was ninth. In the slalom, Maile Dorland had a great race, ending up in second in the ladies’ event. Dakota Barth was fourth and Anabel Viesturs fifth.
Full results here


SVSEF athletes went big at the Western Region U16 Championships in Big Sky, Montana. SVSEF pulled a win in every men’s race and one women’s. Jack Harris topped the podium twice, in the giant slalom and the super G. Bennett Snyder won the slalom by over a second. Wyatt Barth finished second in the giant slalom. Alli Rathfon claimed victory in the super G, while Lily Fitzgerald ended second in the giant slalom.
U16 results forthcoming.    

Seven SVSEF racers have qualified for U16 Nationals at Sugarloaf, including U14 athlete Ryder Sarchett. The team leaves Sunday.


Erin Smith in second and Haley Cutler in first overall. Photo by Brett Jacobsen.

FIS athletes rounded out a week of competition at Schweitzer with a slalom event on March 14. Haley Cutler took the win for the women’s race. Ella Pepin broke the top ten in eighth, and Molly Milgard narrowly missed the grouping, finishing 11th.
Filippo Collini likewise took the win in the men’s race; this was his first overall FIS victory. Teammate Spencer Wright was 11th.
Haley Cutler and Erin Smith ended up first and second overall for women in the series. It was a good week of racing, with many age class and overall podiums over the course of the week.
SVSEF athletes return to their home turf here in Sun Valley for FIS races, which begin on Thursday.
Full results here