Athlete Profile: Sascha Leidecker


Cross Country Comp Team





wood river high school






debate, ballet, jazz, school



rowan blanchard



definitely ice cream



debate and ski season next year



"go like a RB"




Haig Glacier Camp: Life on Ice

Beneath billowing clouds and amongst the giants of the Canadian Rockies, SVSEF Comp and PG cross country skiers have had the Haig Glacier to themselves for a week of training.
A brief glimpse at life on the glacier. That fresh mountain air will do you good.

Chasing Winter

With summer in Sun Valley, dreams of fresh snowfall, smooth turns and uniform corduroy are undoubtedly replaced by those of brown powder, refreshing alpine lakes and late nights on the patio. But for the SVSEF Alpine USSA Team, snow is never far from the mind. To tide them over until our own mountains are again blanketed in powder, a group of 30 athletes headed to Mammoth Mountain in California to take advantage of the snow that still graces the slopes. The athletes were treated to great hill space and amazing weather for the majority of the trip. The focus of the eight-day camp was slowing things down and getting back to building a fundamental skiing base, an important component to revisit. Coach Will Brandenburg concluded, “it was a super fun and productive camp and I’m stoked about the skiing I was seeing at the end of it!”
To take a break from training, the athletes managed to stay active by biking, hiking, playing field games, playing mini golf and adding in some dry land sessions. They wrapped it all up with a movie and some hot springs soaks.
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Nordic skiers spend hundreds of days training, and comparatively only a handful of days actually racing – so what is it all about? This is a question that surely crosses the mind of each athlete at least once in awhile, when they’re struggling to feel good during a workout or when there seems to be no end in sight to the intervals and lifting sessions and long training blocks.
The Bend Camp, which the SVSEF Nordic program has worked into their summer program for around 30 years, is a time to reset and to remember the benefits and joys inherent in training. It’s an exciting jump start to the summer; a chance for the younger, newer skiers to integrate into the life and times of Comp Team, for Prep Pro skiers to get in some workouts together and for the athletes to remember that it’s possible for the process to be simultaneously fun and memorable and challenging. It’s an opportunity to recalibrate and reinvigorate training goals, and move forward into the rest of the dry land season with new energy and awareness.
“The door you’re trying to unlock with training is to get fit enough that you can move through the landscape and be strong enough to do it; not necessarily because you’re trying to compete in every workout, but this level of fitness provides access to all these other experiences.” Nordic Program Director Rick Kapala, who says this with such facility and conviction, worked with coaches Ashley Knox, Kristen Monahan and Kelley Sinnott to orchestrate a memorable summer camp.
The group spent the first six days in Bend, getting some on-snow time at Mount Bachelor. SVSEF was joined by athletes from West Yellowstone and Jackson Hole. Despite less than ideal snow conditions on the nordic trails, the team was able to take the chairlift to ski mid-mountain, where the groomers provided decent terrain. Afternoons were spent dry land training in the Bend area. This stint was followed by a trek to the Oregon coast, specifically Pacific City, for surf sessions in the morning and dry land sessions in the afternoon for an additional three days. The surfing ultimately amounted to tumbling around in the waves; both this and running in the forest with gigantic moss-covered trees were a welcome change to the geography and climate of the Intermountain West, and were a fitting end to kick off summer training.
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The Alpine Team sets off for a two-week training camp in New Zealand this Thursday, July 21. A group of Nordic Comp Team athletes is currently training on the Haig glacier in Canada, which just received a whopping foot of snow. The team will stay for a week before returning to Sun Valley.

West Yellowstone Training Camp 2015

The SVSEF Cross Country Team's annual on snow Thanksgiving camp in West Yellowstone, MT
Full Camp: Nov. 20-29 (Open to Comp, PG, & Gold athletes)
Half Camp: Nov. 20-25 (Open to Comp & Prep Pro athletes)
Prep Camp: Nov. 20-23 (Open to Prep Pro & Prep Athletes)
See info sheet for more information.
West Yellowstone Thanksgiving Camp 2015

A-Cross-Country Ties to the Greater Ski Community

Out of the woods... Former SVSEF coach and athlete duo - Chris Mallory and Max Durtschi reunite for a backcountry adventure in Lake Placid, New York this past week. Chris is now the Assistant Coach of the University of Vermont Ski Team, and Max is now racing for the U.S.  Biathlon Team! Wherever we go #wearesvsef!

Rising Star Wearing Stripes: Durtschi Joins National Team


Two SVSEF skiers picked up three wins in FIS racing at Mt. Bachelor, Oregon. In the Western Region Speed Series, Kyla Miller finished her season with a pair of victories in downhill. Tanner Farrow won one of the men’s super G’s and was runner-up in downhill.
Miller, 18, made substantial gains as the speed of the series increased. She did not finish the opening women’s super G, but skied to fourth in the next and won both women’s downhills – the first by .75 of a second and the next by .07.
Gold Team racer Farrow, 21, opened with a fourth in super G, followed it with a victory in the second, winning by .14 of a second over Sam Dupratt, who, like Tanner, spent the 2013-14 season on the U.S. Alpine Development Team. Farrow was runner up in downhill (by .16 of a second) to U.S. B Team member Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley), who won three out of four races.
Some of the youngest racers in the field with ’98 birthdays, Duncan Fuller finished all four races finishing 19/24 in super G and 16th twice in downhill. Teammate Yuri McClure went 23/32 in SG and 18th twice in DH. John Blackburn’s best results came in downhill with placements of 34th and 28th.
U16 team member Spencer Wright was runner-up twice to USST member Brennan Ruby in a pair of USSA Western Region super G’s at Mt. Bachelor.


Former SVSEF cross country team member Max Durtschi picked up the sport of biathlon roughly a year ago, and his natural aptitude for marksmanship coupled with his prowess as a cross country skier boosted him all the way to the U.S. Biathlon Team. Durtschi, 23, was a member of the SVSEF Cross Country program for eight years, but started out his 10-year SVSEF tenure as a member of the snowboard team starting in 2003. Max, the son of Kitty and Dr. Martin Durtschi of Ketchum, is currently a junior at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.
"We have greater depth than ever before -- five athletes with top-16 World Cup finishes, a junior with a medal and a rookie with a World Cup point," said U.S. Biathlon Chief of Sport Bernd Eisenbichler. "We have two very strong groups of four athletes per gender on the A Team, who will benefit from training next to each other and together on a daily basis in Lake Placid. With an efficient training set-up and use of the two biathlon venues in Lake Placid starting in May, we will provide our athletes competitive group training mixed with very specific individualized plans."

SVSEF Board of Directors

Jim DeWolfe was named to the SVSEF Board of Directors earlier this month.
Jim is the Managing Member and Chief Investment Officer of Northside Capital Management LLC, a multi-family office investment management company; and Vice Chairman of Jeffrey Slocum & Associates, an institutional investment advisory firm. Previously, Jim held several senior positions at Morgan Stanley & Co., and Thomas Weisel Partners. He served for six years as a founding board member of the Sugar Bowl Ski Team and Academy, and was previously a board member of the USA Cycling Development Foundation.
Jim graduated from the University of Vermont in 1979 with a BA in Economics and Political Science and was an early member of the Stratton Mountain Ski Team.
“(I) had a less than noteworthy ski racing career before and after college, including a ten-year stint on the Masters circuit in New England, all of which have served to permanently scar my technique,” he said.
Jim and wife, Eva, have four children; Sofia, a SVSEF alpine and cross country alum, Kristian, a current member of the FIS team, Lukas, a former member of the cross country team now attending school in his mother’s native Sweden, and Willy, a member of the U12 alpine team.

Rising Juniors, Seniors encouraged to apply for True North Scholarships

Thanks to the generosity of the Kalik Family, three SVSEF student/athletes will be given merit scholarships covering 50 percent of their tuition for the 2015-16 season. Recipients are chosen solely for merit, financial need is not a consideration. Last year’s honorees were Renee Shapiro, Grace Gorham and Wyatt Smith.

All SVSEF rising high school juniors and seniors are eligible for the John R. Kalik True North Award, which is based on a simple one-page essay. Winners will be announced during Olympic Day on Monday, June 29, 2015 at Sagewillow Farm.

Here is the topic question for this year’s essay:

 Has your experience as a member of the SVSEF empowered you and how will you carry this with you into the future?

The True North Award celebrates the spirit of John Randolph Kalik who found his best self in Idaho. Inspired by mountains and starry skies, he discovered inspiration, meaning and purpose. He delighted in joyful fun, transcendence, gratitude, and love. John was killed in a plane crash in 1980 at age 24. We are grateful for John’s legacy and the Kalik Family’s generosity that profoundly and positively impacts the lives of our SVSEF student/athletes.

Student-athletes are asked to submit essays to Jody Zarkos by Monday, June 15. Completed essays may be sent via e-mail to, USPS to P.O. Box 203, Sun Valley, Idaho 83353 or fax (208) 3548.

Olympic Day is a program-wide celebration that features field games and relays for SVSEF team members of all ages. Kids are asked to register for the event by clicking HERE.