Week in Review: 12/4/18

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We're back with the Week in Review; a look at what SVSEF athletes have been up to in their competitions and travels.



SVSEF FIS athletes competed at Copper in giant slalom and super G events. In the November 26 giant slalom, Bridger Harrison finished 33rd overall, and Jack Smith did not finish. In the following day’s giant slalom, the roles were reversed; Jack skied to 28th, while Harrison did not finish. Competition switched gears to super G on November 28, with two competitions (one to replace a race intended to be held November 29). Jack Smith, Bridger Harrison and Bennett Snyder all stepped it up with solid runs and a tight grouping in both races. In the morning, Jack was 15th, Bridger 16th and Bennett Snyder 18th. In the second race of the day, Bennett finished 13th, Bridger 16th and Jack 17th; this was a significant result for the team, as it was SVSEF’s first ever U18 podium sweep at a FIS sanctioned competition.


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Cate Brams (l), Johnny Hagenbuch (r), photos by Ian Harvey
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SVSEF Comp, PG and Gold Team athletes spent two weekends racing on the Rendezvous trails in West Yellowstone, Montana. On November 24, athletes competed in a 5/10k freestyle FIS race. Comp team skier Johnny Hagenbuch took an impressive second place in a field of top collegiate and professional athletes, and Gold Team skier Adam Luban took fourth. In the women’s field, Comp team athlete Sydney Palmer-Leger was seventh and Gold Team skier Katie Feldman was tenth. Athletes returned to West Yellowstone for the SuperTour season opener on December 1-2.

The first race of the SuperTour opening weekend was a 1.5k freestyle sprint. First-year Gold Team athlete and former Middlebury skier Adam Luban led the charge, skiing into the men’s final heat and finishing fourth overall behind Andy Newell, Ben Lustgarten and Ricardo Izquierdo-Bernier. Teammate Peter Holmes qualified for semifinals, finishing tenth overall in the men’s field. Top racers in the women’s field for SVSEF were Katie Feldman in 16th, Maddie Morgan in 19th, and Ella Jackson (Aus) in 20th. In the junior men’s field, Adam Witkowski had a solid effort, making it to finals and skiing to sixth overall. Haydn Halvorsen was first across the line in the B final. Jake Jampel was also in the B final, and landed 12th overall. Starting her season off strong was Sophia Mazzoni, who won the Junior Women’s sprint in a time of 3:23.35. Teammate Anja Jensen joined her in the final and on the podium in third. SVSEF had four athletes in the B final; Sydney Palmer-Leger won the B final and finished seventh, Logan Smith finished eighth, Jenna Nurge ninth and Heidi Booher tenth.

Sunday’s race was a 10/15k freestyle. Johnny Hagenbuch mirrored his success from the previous week with a fifth place overall finish in the men’s 15k, and was the first U18 finisher. Peter Holmes tied for eighth, Adam Luban was 13th, and alum Eli Jensen (now skiing for the University of Montana) rounded out the top 20, tied for 20th. Sydney Palmer-Leger led the SVSEF women, skiing to fifth in the women’s 10k. Katie Feldman also broke the top ten in eighth.

In the U18/20 division, Johnny Hagenbuch was first and Scott Schulz fourth. Sydney Palmer-Leger was first for U18/20 women, followed by Anja Jensen in third, Sophia Mazzoni fifth, Lily Brunelle sixth, and Heidi Booher and Jenna Nurge tenth and 11th.





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Adam Luban (r) in fourth in the men's SuperTour sprint

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Gold Team athlete Kevin Bolger is representing the U.S. on the World Cup circuit for the 2018-2019 season. Opening races were held in Kuusamo, Finland; Kevin finished 55th in the 1.4k classic sprint (second U.S. skier behind teammate Erik Bjornsen) and 63rd in the 15k classic. The team moved onto Lillehammer, Norway, where the weekend again began with a sprint, this time freestyle. Kevin was again the second fastest American (after veteran Simi Hamilton), skiing to 61st. In the 15k freestyle race, Kevin was 68th, and in Sunday’s 15k classic pursuit, he finished 59th. The team is currently in Beitostolen, Norway, training for this weekend’s 15/30k freestyle and 4x5/4x7.5k relay.



SVSEF Cross Country Gold Team Preview, 2018-2019

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With four young, new athletes joining second year skier Kevin Bolger for the 2018-2019 season, the SVSEF Cross Country Gold Team is looking solid and refreshed going into fall training. We sat down with Head Coach Chris Mallory to get the scoop on the team and how the season is shaping up.
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Kevin Bolger

Age 25
Minocqua, WI
University of Utah
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Cate Brams

Age 22
Belmont, MA
Middlebury College
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Peter Holmes

Age 22
Tahoe City, CA
University of New Hampshire
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Katie Feldman

Age 22
Ketchum, ID
Middlebury College
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Adam Luban

Age 22
Syracuse, NY
Middlebury College
[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built="1" _builder_version="3.3.1" custom_padding="0|0px|54px|0px|false|false"][et_pb_row _builder_version="3.3.1"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="3.3.1" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.3.1"]You have a lot of new athletes on the roster this year – how is the dynamic?
The team dynamic has been great, and they’ve put in some great training this summer. New athletes always bring some fresh energy. Some of them were teammates at Middlebury the last couple years, and Peter was on the EISA circuit as well skiing for UNH, so everyone knew each other coming in. We’ve also had a strong Russian exchange athlete, Anna Bizyukova, and Maddie Morgan, from Salt Lake City, who’s taking a year off from college, training with the Gold Team. There’s always a dozen college athletes here training with SVSEF in the summer as well, so it’s been a big training group.
Any stand out results from last year?
Bolger’s 11th place at the World Cup in Lahti last March certainly stood out, as well as his 2nd place at Nationals in the Sprint. This is a bit of a rebuilding year for us, as we had five athletes finish up their racing careers last season. It’s fun to see a few of them staying in the sport though, with Mary now coaching for SVSEF, and Rogan at BSF. Everyone coming in found their form at some point last year. Holmes had a couple EISA wins last year, finishing the season with an 11th at NCAAs and I’m excited to see him be able to sprint race a bit more this year. Luban also finished the year strong with two top 20s at NCAAs and a 20th place finish in the 50km Classic National Championship. Feldman, who just returned from training a bit in Lillehammer, also had a breakthrough season last year, posting two top 20s at NCAAs. Brams also had her best season yet last year recording a pair of EISA podiums. They’re all hungry to take their skiing further, so it should be an exciting year.
What are your athletes’ goals for the season?
Everyone is at a different place in their skiing; some have their sights on competing well at U23 World Champs, some on racing a full SuperTour calendar with some marathon opportunities, while Kevin’s looking to make the most of a bigger World Cup schedule this year. It will be an exciting year for those racing domestically with World Cup Finals in Quebec again, and some Nation’s group WC starts on the line.
What will the training/race season look like?
Our camp schedule is pretty similar to last year’s, with a few less athletes making the trek down to New Zealand to get on snow. Kevin has had a solid camp down there with fantastic conditions, and the rest of the team has been putting the work in here in Sun Valley. We’ll all head down to Park City in early October for a dryland camp alongside the National Team. In late October we’ll go up to Frozen Thunder to get on snow in Canmore, before the race season gets underway in West Yellowstone. From there, we’ll follow the SuperTour Circuit to Silverstar, Craftsbury for Nationals, Lake Placid, race the Boulder Mountain Tour here in Sun Valley, Minneapolis, Hayward, and Presque Isle, Maine.  
You’ve been the Gold Team head coach for a few years now – has your approach to it changed at all? I imagine it varies from year to year due to the roster, regardless.
Different athletes will always have varying needs, but we try and support each of them along their skiing journey best we can. This sport is way easier with a motivated team and dedicated support staff around you. We’ll always be trying to win ski races, but also hope to connect the younger juniors in our program with the Gold Teamers as much as possible.
Photos: Kevin Bolger, SVSEF Gold Team, SVSEF Gold Team, Midd Nordic, Midd Nordic

SVSEF Workshop Schedule: Conversations with Dr. Wade Gilbert

SVSEF coaches and staff are invited to attend workshops with Dr. Wade Gilbert on Friday, October 13 and Saturday, October 14. SVSEF will also be hosting a presentation geared towards parents of athletes on Saturday, October 14; the public is welcome to attend.




8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

"Building a Culture of Competitive Excellence"

A workshop for SVSEF leadership and head coaches

Community School Theater, Community School Main Campus

(Lunch provided on location)

4-6 p.m.

"The Athlete Journey, in Pursuit of Excellence"

A workshop for SVSEF Gold Team, Cross Country PG Team, Alpine FIS Team, Mogul and Park & Pipe Travel Teams and all SVSEF staff

Community School Theater, Community School Main Campus



8 a.m.-12 p.m.

"Becoming a Better Coach"

A workshop for all SVSEF staff

Community School Theater, Community School Main Campus

(Lunch provided on location)


2-4:30 p.m.

Follow-up: "Building a Culture of Competitive Excellence"

A workshop and wrap-up with key takeaways for all SVSEF staff

Community School Theater, Community School Main Campus


5:45-7 p.m.

"Parenting Athletes"

This presentation will explore methods and concepts to effectively support, encourage and maintain a rewarding relationship with your child athlete during their sports journey. The presentation is open to the public.

Distance Learning Lab, Wood River High School, 1250 Fox Acres Road, Hailey, Idaho




Dr. Wade Gilbert is an award-winning professor and internationally renowned coaching scientist in the Department of Kinesiology at California State University, Fresno. The professor holds degrees in human kinetics, physical education and education; he has previously taught and studied coaching at the University of Ottawa (Canada), UCLA and Fresno State. Dr. Gilbert has 25 years of experience conducting applied research and workshops with coaches and sport organizations around the world, spanning numerous sports and competitive levels.

Dr. Gilbert has worked with organizations including the United States Olympic Committee, the Coaching Association of Canada, NHL/NHLPA, Cricket Australia, and New Zealand Rugby. He is Editor-in-Chief of the International Sport Coaching Journal and is widely published; Dr. Gilbert recently released Coaching Better Every Season (Human Kinetics) and was lead author of the USOC Quality Coaching Framework. On top of these accolades, he was selected to give the Kristen Marie Gould Endowed Lecture on Sport for Children and Youth at Michigan State University and the Cal Botterill Legacy Lecture at the University of Winnipeg in recognition of his significant contributions to coach and athlete development.    

2017 Golf for Gold Recap

Originally slated for September 14 before a heavy downpour demanded postponement, SVSEF’s fourth annual Golf for Gold was held under sunny skies and prime conditions on September 28 at Bigwood Golf Course. The fundraising event drew fifteen teams of four to the green for a nine-hole scramble, followed by dinner on the deck provided by Bigwood Grill.
Taking home the win on the day was the team of Pete Atkinson, Riley Berman, Neil Bradshaw and Will Brandenburg with a 9-under 27. Along with the glory that comes with winning a championship, the team took home Vodka courtesy of Distilled Resources and SVSEF ball caps.
In an unprecedented three-way tie for second with a score of 29, the team of Rick Kapala, Yancy Caldwell, Chase Cleveland and Barrett Molter secured silver by way of a card off on the fourth hole, in honor of the event’s fourth anniversary.
Not wanting in fervor and enthusiasm, Chad Pringle, Brian Caulkins, Kirk Mason and John Shay took last with a score of 38. The team departed with vintage SVSEF caps and face shields. Boasting Longest Drive were Mimi Griswold and Chase Cleveland; for their efforts, they were awarded Sushi on Second gift certificates. Julie Potter and Will Brandenburg earned SVSEF Gold Team jackets for Closest to the Pin.
Thank you to Hank and Heather Minor, who reopened the restaurant for the event and provided a beautiful dinner on the deck, to staff Janet, Mike and George for their hard work and to Billy Weidner and his staff at Bigwood Golf Course. Our thanks also extend to contributors Matt Luck of Pride of Bristol Bay, Sushi on Second, SQN of Sun Valley Distilled Resources, Washington Federal and the SVSEF Gold Team.
Golf for Gold supports the SVSEF Cross Country Gold Team athletes, who compete at the elite national and international levels. This year’s team is comprised of Kevin Bolger, Rogan Brown, Matt Gelso, Jack Hegman, Cole Morgan, Kelsey Phinney and Mary Rose. If you would like to learn more about how to support these athletes in their endeavors, please contact SVSEF Director of Development Cynthia Knight (cknight@svsef.org, 208.726.4129).

Click here for more photos from the event.

2017-2018 Cross Country Gold Team Preview

Jack Hegman and Cole Morgan lead the group at Lake Creek.

It’s a big year for the SVSEF Cross Country Gold Team athletes. Although months away, the 2018 Winter Olympics are doubtless on the minds of many, as they stand as a pinnacle of success. The Olympics are not a short-term, spur-of-the-moment goal; competing at the international level takes commitment, as well as requisite competitive results. SVSEF Gold Team athletes have the potential, with their racing success and their dedication to the sport, to make Olympic dreams a reality.
The Gold Team was incorporated into SVSEF in 2005 as a way to support our athletes in their quest to achieve success at both the national and international levels. Athletes receive financial assistance and access to top-tier training environments; in turn, their involvement in the local community encourages healthy, active lifestyles for younger SVSEF athletes, as well as heightened awareness and support of snowsports.
This year’s team is a veteran squad – with six returning athletes and only one new addition, Gold Team Head Coach Chris Mallory pinpointed goals for the team this season, and touched on the benefits of having a tight-knit training group. “This group is poised to have significant success nationally and internationally. We're looking for a strong start to the season, so we can have our athletes get more international experience and World Cup starts over the second half of the season. These athletes have been pushing each other in training all summer, and that's what you need to collectively raise the level of performance.”
Kevin Bolger, © University of Utah

Returning to the team are Rogan Brown, Matt Gelso, Jack Hegman, Cole Morgan, Kelsey Phinney and Mary Rose. The newest addition to the squad is Kevin Bolger, 24, who skied previously with SVSEF as a junior racer. Kevin garnered national recognition last season, when he won the classic sprint at U.S. Nationals against a field of top collegiate and professional athletes. He comes off a strong career at the University of Utah; as a Ute, Kevin qualified four times for NCAAs, and was a two-time All-American.
Rogan Brown, 25, grew up skiing in Durango, Colorado, before earning his bachelor’s in mathematics from the University of Vermont, where he was a member of the ski team. A strong distance skier, Rogan took home two seventh place finishes at the 2017 U.S. National Championships, in the 30-kilometer classic race and the 15-kilometer skate.
Matt Gelso, 29, has been skiing with the SVSEF Gold Team for seven years, following a successful career at the University of Colorado. During the 2016/17 season, he represented the United States at World Cup races in Pyeongchang, the site of the 2018 Winter Olympics, as well as at World Cup Finals in Quebec City. As a result of his exceptional results on the U.S. Super Tour circuit, Matt earned the opportunity to represent SVSEF and the U.S. at midseason World Cup races in Europe. He comes into the 2017/18 with a wealth of experience, having competed for the U.S. internationally, as well as having seen success at the national level; Matt has earned multiple top-three results at U.S. Nationals, and has won an NCAA Championship.
Jack Hegman, 23, another University of Vermont alumni, had a strong first season with the Gold Team in 2016/17. A versatile skier, he posted two top-ten finishes at U.S. Nationals this past January. Jack was selected to represent the U.S. at U23 World Championships, where he skied to 11th place overall in the 30km skiathlon. Jack asserted himself as a top competitor last season, culminating in qualification to represent the U.S. at World Cup Finals in Quebec City.
Cole Morgan, 23, also a former junior skier with SVSEF, had his best season to date last year, earning the right to represent the U.S. at U23 World Championships. He was on the podium at U.S. Nationals, and posted a top-ten result at U23 Worlds. Cole was also selected to represent the U.S. at FIS World Ski Championships in Lahti, Finland. All of this success earned him the right to compete at World Cup Finals in Quebec City.
Mary Rose, 26, grew up skiing for Steamboat Springs and then for the University of Colorado at Boulder. She has represented SVSEF and the U.S. at U23 World Championships, multiple Scandinavian Cup races, Europa Cup races and Europa (OPA) Cup Finals. Domestically, Mary has been successful at U.S. Nationals, with two top-ten finishes, as well as on the SuperTour circuit, with a win and a second place finish. At the 2017 Nor-Am Cup in Canmore, Alberta, Mary took second place in the 10 kilometer classic.
Kelsey Phinney racing at U23 World Championships last season.

In her first season with the Gold Team, Middlebury College graduate Kelsey Phinney, 23, qualified to represent the U.S. at U23 World Championships. At U.S. Nationals, she was the fifth American woman in the skate sprint, and the top U23 athlete. At U23 Worlds, Kelsey powered past the international competition to 16th place overall in the skate sprint. She saw more international competition in Latvia, where she participated in Scandinavian Cup races; her top result was ninth in a skate sprint, against many women who are World Cup ski racers.
The season is off to a strong start already, with half the team coming off two and a half weeks on snow in New Zealand. Said Mallory on what’s coming down the pike, “we're now entering a time of year where our focus intensifies as our team builds towards the start of the competitive season. We'll head down to Park City for a joint training camp with the National Team in a few weeks, and then head to Canmore for early-season on-snow training before the racing kicks off in West Yellowstone in November.”
With sights set on high-caliber national and international competition, financial support is essential for Gold Team athletes to help with the high demands that come naturally with the sport of cross country skiing – substantial time commitment, equipment costs, and travel fares, to name a few. The Golf for Gold fundraiser takes place this Thursday, September 14, with all proceeds from the event going to the Gold Team. If you would like to learn more about how to support these athletes in their endeavors, please visit svsef.org or call the office at (208) 726-4129.

Back on Snow: An Update from New Zealand

An update from Cross Country Gold Team Head Coach, Chris Mallory:

For the past two weeks, we’ve had part of the SVSEF Cross Country Gold Team training down in New Zealand at the Snow Farm, putting some good time in on snow. A few other U.S. clubs along with the National Team also made the trek down, so the training group has been terrific. While we had spring like conditions for the first part of the camp, we’re smack dab in the middle of winter now after a fresh six inches came down last night. Week one we were based out of Wanaka, making day trips up to the Snow Farm while also getting out for some scenic trail runs. Since then, it’s been all about logging k’s on their 40km network, working technique and speeds into sessions, as well getting out for an epic crust cruise. We’re about to get into some racing with the New Zealand Games happening the next three days, which will be a good close to the camp.


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The SVSEF Nordic Legacy Project: Sagewillow Roller Ski Trails and Roller Ski Treadmill Facility

Gold Team skier Mary Rose takes to the Dumke Family Sagewillow Campus Roller Ski Trails at Community School.

For cross country skiers, the dryland season is a critical time for training, when hours stack up and a foundation is built in anticipation of winter. SVSEF cross country skiers have it pretty good in terms of summer training opportunities – the valley is teeming with trails suited for long runs, and a substantial, well-maintained bike path system features heavily in roller ski workouts. Ask any New England skier who grew up bouncing along on old rough pavement with traffic zooming by, and you’ll realize how ideal this situation is. How does one build upon this and maximize potential? With the Nordic Legacy Project, SVSEF, in partnership with Community School, has taken the initiative to advance the athletic level of its programming. Critical to athlete progression is technical work, calculated fitness assessment and targeted training. Phase One of the Nordic Legacy Project has focused on these facets of the sport in the form of acquiring a state-of-the-art roller ski treadmill and paving a 1.5-kilometer loop, specifically for roller ski workouts. Both elements of the new roller ski facility are located at Community School’s Dumke Family Sagewillow Campus.
Coach Paul Smith gives the treadmill a test. Click on image for video.

As far as Program Director Rick Kapala knows, SVSEF is the only club in the U.S. with its own treadmill at its disposal. There are other treadmills around the country, but they are associated with university testing labs – meaning that club skiers may be able to use them for training, but they are not necessarily readily available.
A primary benefit of the roller ski treadmill is that it enables coaches to effectively assess fitness improvements. As a controlled environment, where speed, incline and length of time can be monitored, the treadmill allows accurate comparisons to be made when looking at an athlete’s fitness over time. Kapala noted that SVSEF has done things in the past like running assessments on normal treadmills, but this sport isn’t running; it’s skiing, and it employs the upper and lower body simultaneously. Therefore, the best way to get a measure of progress during training is to utilize testing protocol on a roller ski treadmill, which most accurately represents the movements made on snow.
Another advantage of the treadmill is the immediacy it brings to focused technique work. On the wall in front of the treadmill is a large mirror, meaning athletes can watch themselves and their body positioning in real time. As a stationary piece of equipment, coaches can now stand beside their athlete and give constructive feedback more effectively. Instead of instantaneously trying to keep up with the athlete, avoid people and cars and dogs, and assess the athlete’s form as they’re wont to do on the bike path, coaches’ attention is solely on the athlete. The adjustment features of the treadmill also make technique work more effective, as parameters may be set; a skier won’t run out of hill while focusing on V1 technique on the treadmill.
A third benefit of SVSEF’s new equipment is the ability to do specific kinds of workouts. Kapala gave the following example:

Let’s say somebody wants to work to improve his or her aerobic threshold. We can put them on a treadmill at exactly the speed and incline that they need to be at to work that particular heart rate zone and develop the capacities they’re focusing on. When you're in an outdoor setting, the terrain is always changing. So it’s a lot easier to dial in exactly what we want to work on.

Kapala and his coaches have already seen the positive effect of having the treadmill for athletes with injuries. As it’s a very safe, flat, reliable surface, athletes on their way to recovery from injury can utilize the treadmill for workouts, both for rehabilitation of that injury and to stay on track. Whereas he or she may not be cleared to train outdoors, the treadmill adds a dependable alternative.
The cross country program is hoping to eventually develop the treadmill in concert with a robust sports physiology testing lab. Kapala explained that, “it will not only benefit our own team in terms of more accurately assessing aerobic and anaerobic development, but also may allow us to provide service to the community. By being able to partner with a university such as Boise State University, we can engage a level of expertise as a resource, and we really think that can help us down the road.”
In addition to the treadmill, the Sagewillow Campus now features roller ski trails; 1.5 kilometers of paved road, with limitable access to cars in order to provide a safe setting for roller skiers. Without the distractions related to the bike path; namely, other users, dogs, cars at road crossings and unpredictable conditions, athletes and coaches are able to optimize their effectiveness with training. SVSEF, in conjunction with Community School, has already used the loop to this effect; the 2017 Cross Country NNF/U.S. Ski Team National U16 Camp was just hosted in Sun Valley, and featured workouts at Community School’s Dumke Family Sagewillow Campus. Coaches were able to execute high velocity training sessions with a large group of athletes in a safe setting, and were able to conduct some really great workouts. On top of that, the program is seeing that it’s not only the older, experienced athletes who are benefitting from the paving of the new roller ski facility. Said Kapala, “it’s a perfect place to take younger skiers to work on their roller ski skills. The pavement is super smooth, the terrain is very forgiving and there are a lot of terrain elements there that allow coaches to be able to work on V1, work on V2, and have it all be so close that it’s really easy to organize practices there.” He explained that, “it’s hard to manage younger kids on the bike path. With the loop setting at Sagewillow, they are constantly going by. The effectiveness of coaching goes up, because the facility lends itself to this looping, where you get a chance to work with kids in a variety of terrain, frequently.”
Even with the new loop, athletes still utilize the bike path for training, for variety and for specific workout goals. The proximity of the bike path to the athletic complex allows for flexibility; you can pull right out of Sagewillow, and you're on the Elkhorn system. All in all, Kapala believes that the roller ski facility “really lends itself to creative and effective training design.” In looking forward, he noted that there is potential to do additional paving in future phases, which would only broaden the possibilities for that creativity.
Upcoming phases of the Nordic Legacy Project include renovations to the interior of the Lake Creek hut, which hasn’t seen any such improvements since building completion in the early 2000s. Another aim is to purchase both transportation and trail maintenance vehicles. If you’d like to learn more about the Nordic Legacy Project, or if you’re interested in contributing, please contact Rick Kapala (rick@svsef.org), Cynthia Knight (cknight@svsef.org) or Sam Adicoff (sadicoff@svsef.org).
SVSEF would like to thank everyone who has helped make this project a success – from the donors, to the Community School​ Board of Directors, the SVSEF Board of Directors, and to all of the local businesses – thank you so much for your contributions and support.

Preview of the 2017 Cross Country NNF/U.S. Ski Team National U16 Camp, Sun Valley, July 23-30

Athletes on the new rollerski sprint training loop at Community School's Dumke Family Sagewillow Campus. Photo by Paul Smith.

Although the U16 camp is held in a different region and location each year, the focus remains the same. Athletes are here to train hard, walk away with some new sport knowledge and build community; ultimately becoming better athletes in every way. This year’s camp takes place in Sun Valley over the course of seven days, with athletes training at Community School’s Dumke Family Sagewillow Campus, Lake Creek Hut and around the Wood River Valley. Athletes will be staying at the Community School Residence Hall.


The group

The top 50 male and female U16 athletes from across the country are invited to the camp, based on performance at Junior Nationals. Each region is afforded a few discretionary picks, as well.
Rick Kapala, SVSEF cross country program director and U16 camp director: It’s by design this big, unwieldy beast of a camp – we want to capture as many as possible in this talented group of young athletes, and get them to identify with the sport in a really positive way. What we know about younger ages is you can’t really pick winners and losers. You can only really identify a group. So this group is big, because we want to throw as big a net around as big a group as possible. As they move up through the U.S. Ski Team training camp food chain, if you will, the groups that are selected as they get older become inherently smaller. This U16 camp is the first step for many of the kids in the U.S. Ski Team Development Pipeline; that’s why we have 20-25 boys and 20-25 girls from across the country at this camp.

The coaches

RK: I’ve been doing it every year (myself and three other people started the camp and the other three are gone), but there’s another couple coaches who have been, by and large, helping on and off over several years. So it’s a nice mix of people who have been at the camp and know how it flows with some other people. Every year we have eight to ten coaches who come and help with the camp; we have coaches from NCAA institutions, we have top club coaches – and this builds better relationships and fosters more cooperative relationships among them. It’s a little bit less of, “we need to beat them” and a little bit more of, “how can we work together to push the sport forward?” We also oftentimes have a few younger coaches at the camp, and it’s a great coaches educational tool.

The speakers

RK: All of the athletes on national team are so hyper-focused for the Olympic Games that’s it’s really hard for them to put in any extra time for travel, and they have a really big camp coming up in New Zealand in a little bit; we didn’t really want to push that. We have our own Gold Team here and so they’re going to do a panel. The Gold Team that we have is great because we have national champions, NCAA champions, U23 world championship team members and people who have been top 10 at U23s. You get a variety, and just like we have a wide range of kids here who are all different personality types, our Gold Team is a wide range.

The goals

1. Build community

RK: We’re trying to identify talent, and we’re trying to get them to connect to the sport by creating a culture around the U.S. Ski Team Development Pipeline that really fosters the positive messages associated with sport. We have to recognize that many of these talented athletes at this age are also engaged in other sports. So a big part of this is to build community among this group of athletes and get them to identify with the sport so that, as they continue to evolve and grow in it, they ultimately pick cross country. Aerobic talent is aerobic talent, so it’s not surprising that some of our best kids are really good at running, or really good at biking or swimming. And they’re being courted by those other sports as well, so we have to be aware of that.

2. Impart ski knowledge

RK: Every evening is an opportunity for us to give the athletes very very detailed, and hopefully insightful, sport knowledge. We recognize that no camp in and of itself is going to be an adequate substitute for training at home really effectively. You have to be able to utilize your club at home and take the motivation and information that you get from a camp like this, which often is being reinforced by the coach at home. Its not a strategy of the U.S. Ski Team to have the Development Pipeline be a replacement for home programs; we are just simply a support system for those programs. We’re reinforcing messaging, which is really key in a way that is hopefully transformational – that encourages change in behaviors. Because you can message people all day long, but without a consequent change for the better, you’re talking in the breeze.
One of the biggest things that we message regarding sport education is having a flexible, adaptive mindset. When athletes come to something like this, they’re going to see some differences, because they’re shoulder to shoulder with all these other really good kids who they may not really know that well. Being at this camp demystifies the approach that the other kid may be using, but they also may be getting some really poignant, powerful lessons like, “well, that kid isn’t cutting the workout short.” Or, “this kid is actually paying attention when a coach is talking about form.” It’s that sort of learning that occurs organically in this kind of really heightened opportunity.
Not every moment is this opportunity for creative insight. Artists don’t work that way, and neither do people whose work requires a lot of psychological engagement partnered with skill application – not every day is focused or the best day. So one of the things about a camp like this, is it really sort of elevates your psychological readiness and your physical readiness to take a jump forward. And that’s what we hope happens.

3. Challenge athletes to train hard

RK: These kids are starting, through their successes in skiing, to identify themselves as potentially unique athletes that have the set of capacities that will allow them to grow and excel in the sport. A training plan for the week looks like double days every day, except the day we run the Harper’s hill climb time trial, and then they get an afternoon off. So they’ll have five days of double days and two days of single days. What’s really cool about doing the camp in a place like here, surrounded by these beautiful mountains, is we’ll do a long peak-to-peak over distance the final day of the camp. For a lot of kids, they may not have spent any real time in the mountains yet, so that’s a good introduction for them.

The aftermath

RK: We do a lot of tracking with kids in the camp. We see a lot of kids who are in the middle of the selection process elevate, which makes the competitive standard in the country better. This is an important thing to understand - when the camp is big, one of the ways we push skiing ahead is not just by trying to make the faster kids faster, but by trying to make the middle kids faster, because it holds the faster kids to a higher standard. So we’re trying to elevate the whole group, and that’s what we see happening. We see kids in the camp improve during the week, but we’re also seeing that the standard at JNs, which is the primary way we have to assess these athletes, is tightening, is getting better. It’s getting harder to bust into the top 10 now than it was 10 years ago. Is that just because of this camp? Certainly not. There are more coaches doing a better job and who are better engaged, but it’s one of the pieces of the puzzle that’s so important. And for most of the kids, the first really big international opportunity is the Scandinavian series, where the U.S. sends its six best boys and girls to some place in Scandinavia; the oldest kids in this group will become eligible for that trip this coming winter. We’re seeing that the lion's share of kids who go are coming through this camp. And that’s not surprising, because we’re taking the top kids – but we’re also seeing improvement of performance at the Scandinavian series every year, incrementally. And again, it’s all this collective effort on the part of the home coaches and the part of camps like this, and reinforcing the same messages. We’re just trying to create this landscape where there are many opportunities for kids to engage with the sport, challenge themselves, learn and progress.
Athletes arrived last night; training begins today and continues through Sunday, July 30.

SVSEF Marks Olympic Day with Community-Wide Celebration

Sun Valley Olympians and SVSEF Gold Team members take center stage at Olympic Day. Photos by Sue Conner.

Olympic Day 2017 did not disappoint as the Wood River Valley community turned out to pay tribute our local Olympians and Paralympians, herald the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, and celebrate the Olympic spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.
Despite the small town vibe of the valley, we boast big talent on an international level evidenced by the 15 luminaries who graced the stage at Ketchum Town Square Wednesday evening.
On hand to celebrate Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation’s fourth annual Olympic Day were athletes Charles Ferries (1960/1964, Alpine Skiing), Dates Fryberger (1964, Ice Hockey), Terry Palmer (1972, Alpine Skiing), Maria Maricich (1984, Alpine Skiing), Reggie Crist (1992, Alpine Skiing), Greg Randolph (1996, Cycling), Sondra Van Ert (1998/2002, Snowboard), Jonna Mendes (1998/2002, Alpine Skiing), Muffy Davis (1998/2002/2012, Alpine Skiing and Hand Cycling), Hilary Knight (2010/2014, Ice Hockey), Jake Adicoff (2014, Cross Country Skiing), and alpine coaches Michel Rudigoz, Phil McNichol and Ferries.
Also introduced to the crowd was SVSEF’s Gold Team, consisting of elite cross country athletes Mary Rose, Kevin Bolger, Jack Hegman, Cole Morgan and Matt Gelso. Deedra Irwin, Rogan Brown and Kelsey Phinney were unable to attend.
Olympic Day is staged in 160 countries around the world and observed by millions of people who come together to celebrate the Olympic pillars of move, learn and discover. More than 2,100 Olympic Day celebrations were staged nationwide with nearly a million participants.
SVSEF’s incarnation of Olympic Day consisted of a Scavenger Hunt which took 12 participating youth teams throughout Ketchum to find the names of Olympians and Paralympians, everyday items and test their local knowledge. "Team Berrylicious" with Skye Pringle, Scarlett Pringle, Isabella Hattrup, Marley Macco and Channing won the championship with 75 points. "Various Garbonzos" comprised of O.T. Mullen, Walker Pate, Oscar Mullen, Keaton Pate and Paxton Sammis was second with 65 points.
Kids of all ages could also be found testing their physical prowess on Ski Erg cross country trainers, Skier’s Edge, rowing machines, and hockey station with a “shooter tutor,” which received a ton of play with 2018 national women’s hockey team member Hilary Knight in attendance.
Kids take aim at improving their shooting skills at the hockey station.

Once on the square, revelers partook in food and drink provided by local businesses, including The Cellar Pub, Ketchum Grill, The Haven, Dave’s Smokin’ Meats, Sawtooth Brewery and Leroy’s. Dennis McNamara was the grand prize winner of the raffle, taking home a Mammut avalanche backpack and air cartridge donated by The Elephant's Perch. Event support was also provided by Morgan's Fine Finishes and Swire Coca Cola.
Throughout the night, the five-piece band High Mountain Heard with front men SVSEF coach James Tautkus and Luc McCann (whose daughter, Mykala, wowed the crowd with her impassioned version of “Wagon Wheel”) graced center stage.
SVSEF alumni Sondra Van Ert and Muffy Davis.

Three-time Paralympic gold medalist Muffy Davis cut the ribbon on a new panel on the square that bears the names – including her own – of five Sun Valley Paralympic athletes, four of whom are SVSEF alumni; Jake Adicoff and guide Reid Pletcher and Elitsa Storey, as well as Lacey Heward.
SVSEF Executive Director Sam Adicoff remarked, “Unlike past years, Olympic Day wasn’t just for the SVSEF athletes and families. We invited the entire community to participate and share in the Olympic and SVSEF ideals of sportsmanship, citizenship, and character. Based on the extremely positive feedback, we will continue to host this event for Wood River Valley residents and visitors alike in years to come.”
SVSEF board member Charlie Dunn with Juli Roos (left) and Lucimari Bridgeman.

Athlete of the Month, January 2017 – Cole Morgan

Each month, we’ll be featuring an SVSEF athlete who has been selected by program directors in recognition of exceptional results in their respective sport.


Photos by Glen Allison (l) and Paul Smith (r)

Cole Morgan, a first-year Gold Team skier, has been making his mark in cross country sprint races this season. Following promising early-season Super Tour finishes, Cole approached U.S. Nationals at the beginning of January with confidence and tenacity, skiing smart qualifiers and heats that landed him in third on the American podium in the classic sprint. With this result along with earlier season points, Cole qualified to represent the U.S. at World Championships in Lahti, Finland, which will be held this month. Following these successes, Cole represented the U.S. at the U23 World Championships at Soldier Hollow, Utah. His focus at the week-long event was the classic sprint; if any pressure was felt, this being the only race he would partake in for the week, it went unnoticed by spectators; Cole skied all the way into the semifinals, where he finished fifth in his heat, putting him in ninth overall. This result secured his selection to the U.S. Team for World Cup Finals, which will be held in Quebec City in March.
Cole is originally from Bozeman, Montana. He spent a post-graduate year skiing for SVSEF back in 2012, before attending the University of Vermont. He leaves for Finland on February 16.