Lift Line: Janss Pro-Am Events on Warm Springs

Costumes and GS Races draw professional skiers to the slopes of Baldy

By Laurie Sammis

The 2011 "Cougars" team pose with their fellas for a team photo, including: Karen Holzman, Jane Renolds, Bedford Nabors, Kim Taylor, Samantha Busby and Langley McNeal.

It may look like it … but it’s not all fun and games, parties, costumes and hilarity at the Stifel Nicolaus Weisel Janss Pro-Am events and giant slalom races on Baldy’s Lower Warm Springs this Friday and Saturday. In fact, the Janss Pro-Am is one of the most important fundraisers for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF), a valley organization which provides year-round ski and snowboard training and competition opportunities for athletes from the Wood River Valley and beyond.

And they do a good job of it too! Over the past 45 years, the SVSEF has helped launch many athletes onto the world stage. Past alumni include Christin Cooper, Picabo Street, Reggie and Zach Crist, Lynsey Dyer, Morgan Arritola, Jake Adicoff, Tanner Farrow, Kaitlyn Farrington and Langely McNeal, among many others.

And the program keeps growing with the likes of current SVSEF Snowboarder Chase Josey, who recently claimed the top American male spot in the halfpipe at the World Junior Championships in Spain, or SVSEF Gold Team member Shane Cordeau who took Bronze with a podium finish at the U.S. National Freestyle Championships at Stratton Mountain, Vermont, or Tai Barrymore was recently named to the U.S. Freestyle Pro Halfpipe Team.

And while the development, grooming, nurturing and elevation of all that raw talent is certainly the focus of the SVSEF, some of the serious business of those achievements will be temporarily put on the back burner by each of the thirty-two teams of six (which include one pro racer from the ranks of Olympic, World Cup and Pro Tour athletes, and one junior pro SVSEF athlete, combined with four "citizen" skiers/riders of all ski levels) for the next two days in favor of everybody having a good time and letting their how down in celebration of skiing and riding.

Each team dresses in costume in honor of the race theme and in the spirit of the event’s namesake–former owner of Sun Valley Resort, Olympian, SVSEF supporter, and ski and costume party enthusiast: Bill Janss.

The costumes are always creative, entertaining, and wide open to interpretation of the "Vintage" theme, with many details being acquired only after serious consultation with the staff of the Ketchum Sun Valley Ski & Heritage Museum to ensure authenticity. The race format is a dual slalom that is entertaining for both racers and spectators (for a sneak peek, check out the photo gallery from last year)–and you may even see a few wine bottles racing down the slopes, right alongside a team of Austrian ski instructors or 80′s one pieces.

It makes for great spectating!! So look out for the costumed racers of the Janss Pro-Am this Friday and Saturday–you’re likely to see somebody you know.

JANSS PRO-AM EVENT DETAILS

Handicap races start today (Friday, April 6, 2012) in full costume at 10:30 AM and continue throughout the afternoon on Lower Warm Springs.

Saturday (April 7, 2012) races begin at 10:30 AM, then break for lunch and are followed by the Race Finals–the four top teams competing in a round robin format to determine the winner–after lunch.

Sun Valley Resort’s Limelight Room also hosts the Awards Celebration Dinner and Vintage Party on Saturday night, April 7, 2012.

 

All the money raised by the Stifel Nicolaus Weisel Janss Pro Am goes to help support the 500 youth skiers and snowboarders on the SVSEF’s teams. For more information on the Pro Am or the SVSEF, visit www.svsef.org.

 

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