The Battle is Back

Even though Sun Valley On Ice concluded its star-studded season with a performance from the one-and-only Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek on August 30, things remain hot at the rink in September.

This year's contestants are in it to win it for the non-profit of their choice. Pictured L to R are Bob Polk, Zach Crist, Emilie duPont, Scott Slonim, Christine Davis-Jeffers. Chris Koch reclines. Not pictured are Maggie Acker, Megan Thomas and George Rizzo. (Photo James Bourret)

This year’s contestants are in it to win it for the non-profit of their choice. Pictured L to R are Bob Polk, Zach Crist, Emilie duPont, Scott Slonim, Christine Davis-Jeffers. Chris Koch reclines. Not pictured are Maggie Acker, Megan Thomas and George Rizzo. (Photo James Bourret)

Battle of the Blades … Bigger, Badder and Better than Ever” returns to center ice on Friday, September 5. This community fundraiser put on by the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club promises to again raise the proverbial roof. If you missed the sold-out events in 2011 and 2012, Battle of the Blades pairs nine local celebrity amateurs with highly accomplished figure skating professionals. Each competes in a professionally choreographed, fully costumed two-minute routine. A panel of celebrity judges provides 50 percent of the final score while the other half is determined by an audience applause meter. To further inspire community involvement, each contestant chooses a non-profit organization to represent. The top three finishers all win cold hard cash for the worthy organization of their choice.

Contestant Megan Thomas and partner pro Ty Cockrum make it looks easy during a rehearsal (photo Becky Smith)

Contestant Megan Thomas and partner pro Ty Cockrum make it looks easy during a rehearsal (photo Becky Smith)

This year’s contestants and their designated non-profits are (in alphabetical order): Maggie Acker for the Animal Shelter, Zach Crist for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, Emilie duPont for the Flourish Foundation, Christine Davis-Jeffers for The Sun Valley Center for the Arts, Chris Koch for Swiftsure Ranch Therapeutic Equestrian Center, Bob Polk for Community School, George Rizzo for Camp Rainbow Gold, Scott Slonim for The Hunger Coalition and Megan Thomas for the St. Luke’s Foundation. The contestants are taking their preparation seriously. Many have limited skating backgrounds but have spent hours with their partners fine-turning programs that will be wildly entertaining.

Contestant Chris Koch hams it up with partner Stephanee Grosscup

Contestant Chris Koch hams it up with partner Stephanee Grosscup

The pros generously giving their time to the fundraiser are familiar faces from the rink. This years’ pros are (in alphabetical order): Darlin Baker, Brent Bommentre, Ashley Clark, Ty Cockrum, Joel Dear, Stephanee Grosscup, Jonathon Hunt, Kim Navarro and Natalia Zaitseva.

Sun Valley's golden girl, snowboard champ Kaitlyn Farrington returns to the event to inspire all the valley's children. Here, she is shown competing in Battle of the Blades 2012 with partner Eddie Gornik (photo James Bourret)

Sun Valley’s golden girl, snowboard champ Kaitlyn Farrington returns to the event to inspire all the valley’s children. Here, she is shown competing in Battle of the Blades 2012 with partner Eddie Gornik (photo James Bourret)

Sun Valley’s own golden girl, Kaitlyn Farrington who took the gold medal at snowboard halfpipe in Sochi will also be in on the fun. Kaitlyn skated in the 2012 installment of the event in between training sessions in New Zealand. Just back from more intensive training in Argentina, Kaitlyn will graciously return to the rink as a role model to all the children and an honored member of the community.

2012 winner Miles Fink-Debray takes a victory lap with partner Natalia Zaitseva in front of the sell out crowd

2012 winner Miles Fink-Debray takes a victory lap with partner Natalia Zaitseva in front of the sell out crowd (photo James Bourret)

The time-proven team of Lisa-Marie Allen and Gia Guddat are the show’s artistic directors and Nick Maricich acts as Prodution Manager. All three brings collective decades of experience to the endeavor. Additional coaching hours were volunteered by Lisa-Marie Allen, Judy Blumberg, Anita Hartshorn and Stefanie O’Neill and Dawn Peterson.

Battle of the Blades is definitely a community event, meant to generate money to get more children into the lifelong sport of figure skating.

Langely McNeal won gold during Battle of the Blades 2011 with partner Kelly Smith and some killer 80s music. She returns to the event, but this time in the judges chair

Langely McNeal won gold during Battle of the Blades 2011 with partner Kelly Smith and some killer 80s music. She returns to the event, but this time in the judges chair (photo James Bourret)

“After the first two Battle of the Blades, we were able to offer numerous group lessons for skaters of many abilities, all at an extremely discounted rate,” said SVFSC board member Peter Hendricks. “We were also able to bring children to the rink from the area’s elementary schools to take skating lessons during the traditional ski days. Figure skating pros and hockey players worked with students during these very successful afternoons. Our goal with Battle of the Blades 2014 is to continue and expand on these programs and to get kids on the ice who might not otherwise have the opportunity to skate.”

The amazing cast and crew of the 2012 event celebrate doing good and having fun

The amazing cast and crew of the 2012 event celebrate doing good and having fun (photo James Bourret)

This summer, the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club celebrated its 75th year, making it one of the most venerable and long-running clubs in the country and what better way to celebrate.

Surprises await at every turn and some of them are star-studded. Don’t miss the feel good fundraiser of the year. Tickets are only available online at sunvalleyfsc.com. Get yours today and don’t miss out on what everyone will be talking about Monday morning!

Let the battle begin!

–RES

Celebrating Kaitlyn

There were a lot of familiar faces in the crowd as Olympic gold medalist Kaitlyn Farrington took a well deserved seat Saturday and waited for the celebration to begin

There were a lot of familiar faces in the crowd as Olympic gold medalist Kaitlyn Farrington took a well deserved seat Saturday and waited for the celebration to begin

It is no exaggeration to say that thousands of people came out on Saturday to cheer for Olympic gold medalist Kaitlyn Farrington. Everyone turned out to welcome home the Snowboard Halfpipe champion and to let her know just how proud of our hometown girl we all are.

On a late winter’s afternoon, the band Freeway Revival played while the enthusiastic crowd enjoyed a tasty barbecue and drink specials provided by Sun Valley on the patio outside Warm Springs Lodge. At 4 p.m., it was showtime as well-wishers, packed tight from the Lodge, across the bridge, and onto the lower slopes of Lower Warm Springs, turned their eyes toward the mountain for the colorful downhill parade that announced Kaitlyn was coming

The huge crowd at Warm Springs on Saturday was enthusiastic and festive while they waiting for the arrival of Kaitlyn Farrington -- our golden girl

The huge crowd at Warm Springs on Saturday was enthusiastic and upbeat while waiting for the arrival of Kaitlyn Farrington -- our golden girl

First, instructors from the Sun Valley SnowSports School put on a spectacle, serpentining and criss-crossing their way to the bottom of the hill. Sun Valley’s winter Olympians and Olympic coaches followed. The fine people representing Sun Valley included former Olympians Chuck Ferries, Jonna Mendes, Reggie Crist, Abbi Fisher-Gould and Sondra Van Ert.  Snowboard coaches from the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF), the program in which Kaitlyn grew up and remains a Gold Team member, Kaitlyn’s family and friends then preceded Sun Valley’s sweetheart. The SVSEF’s Jody Zarkos called play-by-play action leading up to the big moment when Kaitlyn rode the slope into the crush of her fervent fans. Scooped up by Whiz McNeal and Sean Glaccum of Sun Valley Ski Patrol, Kaitlyn, American flag in hand, was carried triumphantly to a stage in front of Warm Springs Lodge, where for the next hour, she was feted and celebrated and laden with gifts.

The parade in Kaitlyn's honor was a vertical one. Here, Sun Valley SnowSports insructors provide the first wave of skiers and riders down Lower Warm Springs, leading the way down for Kaitlyn who rode down last

The parade in Kaitlyn's honor was a vertical one. Here, Sun Valley SnowSports insructors provide the first wave of skiers and riders on Lower Warm Springs, leading the way for Kaitlyn who rode down last amid deafening cheers

Kaitlyn hopped onto the stage and surveying the scene (and it was a scene) commented, “Holy cow! I can’t believe the crowd that is here today!” Jody replied, “You earned this crowd,” and from there the celebration began in earnest.

Setting the tone for the procession of luminaries who came to honor Kaitlyn, Idaho state Senator Michelle Stennett (D-Ketchum), took to the stage to read a proclamation in her honor from the Office of Governor Butch Otter. The proclamation concluded, “Kaitlyn has achieved her goals with inspiring success. She has been an ambassador for Idaho and taught the world how to cowgirl up.”

Next, Ketchum mayor Nina Jonas said, “Kaitlyn embodies everything we hope and believe and try to be,” and jokingly offered her a necklace in trade for the impressive gold disc that hung around Kaitlyn’s neck.

Chris Koch, mayor Bellevue, Kaitlyn’s hometown in the Wood River Valley, renamed a portion of the bike path in her honor.

1998 Olympian snowboarder Barrett Christy, a friend and mentor to Kaitlyn, put the accomplishment in perspective. “The sport has progressed so much in the past five years with the level of women in snowboarding growing tremendously. Kaitlyn is responsible for that,” she said and continued, “You can’t learn attitude from a coach and that is what Kaitlyn has that sets her apart from the rest. That and her amazing style. That can’t be taught. It’s who she is.”

Kaitlyn was carried through the crowd by members of Sun Valley Ski Patrol

Kaitlyn was carried through the crowd by members of Sun Valley Ski Patrol

SVSEF snowboard coach Andy Gilbert kept the accolades coming. “Kaitlyn is a true original and always has been,” he enthused. “She has always been willing to work hard. In fact, her work ethic is second to none.” He, too, gave a nod to Kaitlyn’s style, calling her an “innovative rider” and simply saying how very, very proud he is of her.

During the few days Kaitlyn had at home (she left Sunday for her next competition), she made time to ride with local children, giving them the thrill of a lifetime. As Jody Zarkos said, “Kaitlyn’s ability to take obstacles and turn them into stepping stones,” truly inspired up-and-coming riders.  Rob Clayton, executive director of the SVSEF, agreed that what Kaitlyn teaches by example is invaluable. Calling her the “gem of the Gem State,” Rob said, “We tell our kids, ‘see that necklace that is hanging around her neck? You can have it around your neck, too, and in the same color if you work really, really hard like Kaitlyn did.’”

Everyone showed their appreciation for Kaitlyn with gifts that included a necklace in the shape of the state of Idaho from Jonas, an engraved golf putter and lessons (evidently she’s working on her game) from Koch and a standup paddle board for the off-season from Clayton.

But the biggest gift and a highlight of the ceremony came when Sun Valley General Manager Tim Silva took to the microphone. After reading a heartfelt letter of congratulations to Kaitlyn from Sun Valley Resort owner Carol Holding, he and Mountain Manager Peter Stearns upped the ante. From Sun Valley, Kaitlyn was awarded a lifetime season’s pass and was presented with a huge rectangular gift wrapped in gold paper. Inside? A new sign reading “Kaitlyn’s Bowl.” The golden girls’ name will now grace the Bowl on Baldy formerly known as Farout Bowl.

Sun Valley General Manager Tim Silva and Mountain Manager Peter Stearns present Kaitlyn with the new trail sign that changes Farout Bowl on Baldy to Kaitlyn's Bowl

Sun Valley General Manager Tim Silva and Mountain Manager Peter Stearns present Kaitlyn with the new trail sign that changes Farout Bowl on Baldy to Kaitlyn's Bowl

Finally, Kaitlyn returned to the podium simply to thank her hometown supporters. “It is my pleasure to be up here today and I am so thankful for it all,” she said. “Thank you for believing in me and thank you for helping me get to the Olympics. I want to share it all with you and share this gold medal with you.”

The crowd went wild.

Kaitlyn, preparing to be celebrated by luminaries, smiles at some of her biggest fans -- the children who she inspires

Kaitlyn, preparing to be celebrated by luminaries, smiles at some of her biggest fans -- the children who she inspires

The celebration continued well into the evening with a street party, more live music, great food and the raffling off of a new GNU snowboard autographed by Kaitlyn.

A great time was had by all.

Congratulations, Kaitlyn. Thank you for letting us share your moment in the sun.

–RES

NBS Hits the Slopes and the Town

A member of NBS shows how it's done (Tal Roberts Photography)

A member of NBS shows how it's done (Tal Roberts Photography)

The National Brotherhood of Skiers (NBS) arrived in Sun Valley earlier this week and club members are taking the mountain, and the town, by storm! For the hundreds of participants here from every corner of the country, this year’s NBS Mini Summit is a gathering of friends old and new, an opportunity to enjoy Bald Mountain’s radical, and not so radical, runs, and one big party.

Tuesday, for instance, saw Adventure Races on Baldy. Something like a scavenger hunt for grown ups, these races, that were sponsored by REI, had skiers and riders exploring the hill in a madcap manner. Later that day, the famous NBS extended themed, happy hour du jour was titled, “50 Shades of Black.” Wednesday, brought Mardi Gras to Sun Valley one week early when beads, umbrellas and Fat Tuesday festivity turned River Run Lodge into a small corner of New Orleans.

Earlier that day, NBS members enjoyed a delicious barbecue on the patio at River Run Lodge overlooking the Big Wood River. The sun was bright, the sky blue and the lunch was made even more special with an appearance from Kaitlyn Farrington, the Wood River Valley native who just won the Gold Medal in the Sochi Olympics in snowboard Halfpipe. Kaitlyn chatted with NBS participants, enjoyed lunch al fresco, posed for photos and soaked it all in.

Olympic gold medalist and local golden girl Kaitlyn Farrington, joined NBS participants at lunch and posed for lots of photos with fans

Olympic gold medalist and local golden girl Kaitlyn Farrington, joined NBS participants at lunch and posed for lots of photos with fans

NBS was founded in 1973 by Art Clay and Ben Finley who were determined to create a national Black Ski Summit. During an interview Wednesday at the base of Baldy, Clay remembered the club’s beginnings. “Back then very few African Americans could really ski,” he said, “Very few of us had ever been to a real ski resort.” According to the organization’s website, Clay and Finley, “moved forward with a proposal to bring together 13 black ski clubs for an event which was called ‘A Happening’, but was later changed to ‘Black Summit’. The purpose was ‘to identify and discuss problems and subjects which were unique to the black skiing population, ski and socialize,’” according to Finley.

Members of the elite Team NBS took to Baldy's slopes this week (Tal Roberts Photography)

Members of the elite Team NBS took to Baldy's slopes this week (Tal Roberts Photography)

Today, according to Clay, “the NBS has thousands of participants and continues to grow. We also offer a scholarship program to help kids who would never have a chance to ski get on the slopes and to support the hopes and dreams of our elite athletes.” Members of NBS have competed in the Paralympics and Olympics. The organization now includes 60 clubs representing 43 cities and a membership of 3,000. It is one of the largest ski organizations in the country and its Summit conventions bring together the largest gathering of skiers and riders in the United States.

This visit marks the NBS’ fourth trip to Sun Valley. The first was in 1975 for the Black Ski Summit. Members came back in 1998 for the club’s 25th anniversary. NBS returned again to enjoy the area’s blue skies and great conditions in 2012. They couldn’t wait to come back this winter. “The hospitality here is amazing,” club president Diana C. Starks enthused. “Everyone makes us feel so welcome. The skiing is also great. We have members who are at every level, beginners to experts, and Sun Valley makes it fun and challenging for everyone. Our novice skiers and riders take some lessons with the Sun Valley SnowSports School and then often go out afterwards to practice with friends or other members of the group who may be more experienced.”

Even after 40 years, NBS founder Art Clay (shown here during an interview at River Run Lodge) never tires of seeing new friends and old

Even after 40 years, NBS founder Art Clay (shown here during an interview at River Run Lodge) never tires of seeing new friends and old

This camaraderie is what Clay said he values most, after 40 years of events. “My favorite thing about NBS happening on an annual basis is that I get to see folks I haven’t seen for maybe a year, or maybe for 40 years,” he said. Every meeting brings together old members and new and creates memories that last a lifetime.

The group has ample opportunity for members to spend time together. Skiing and riding during the day turns into themed extended happy hours in the afternoon and parties and dinners into the evening. Starks said these themed events allow different clubs from around the country to host their friends and to contribute to the festivities. “We love our themed events,” she laughed. Ketchum and Sun Valley have also rolled out the welcome mat to the NBS with Shop Around opportunities at local stores and many chances to sample the best of our valley.

It's been a terrific week to enjoy everything that makes Sun Valley special

It's been a terrific week to enjoy everything that makes Sun Valley special

Sun Valley is thrilled to have the NBS back and thanks all its members for bringing their skills and enthusiasm to our slopes. Please come back again soon!

–RES

Our Golden Girl Comes Home

With a high school drum line providing the backbeat and water cannons announcing that a VIP was on board, the Delta jet bringing Olympic gold medalist Kaitlyn Farrington home, touched down Monday afternoon.

The golden girl with her Olympic gold medal

The golden girl with her Olympic gold medal

The excitement inside the terminal at Friedman Memorial Airport was palpable, the pride, collective, as the large crowd craned its collective head, hoping to catch a glimpse of the golden girl. Supporters holding signs of congratulation thronged the waiting room and media from all over the state and region were well represented.

Support from every part of the community was on display when Kaitlyn Farrington returned home

Support from every part of the community was on display when Kaitlyn Farrington returned home

Hundreds of local students came to the airport and lined the impromptu parade route, cheering for Kaitlyn

Hundreds of local students came to the airport and lined the impromptu parade route, cheering for Kaitlyn

Kaitlyn, who grew up on a ranch in Bellevue and took her first turns on a snowboard in Sun Valley as a member of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF), returned to the Wood River Valley wearing the huge gold medal she earned in Sochi, Russia, as queen of the Halfpipe. Pitted against the top women in the sport, three of whom had won Olympic gold themselves, Kaitlyn dominated the event, earning a score of 91.75, and delivering two runs that showcased her style, skills and self-assurance.

She was met inside the terminal not only by supporters, but by the Mayor of Bellevue, Chris Koch. “On behalf of the Wood River Valley, we welcome you home,” Koch announced, and continued, “now the celebration can really begin because you are home with friends and family.” With that, he handed Kaitlyn the Key to the City of Bellevue.

Kaitlyn prepares to accept the Key to the City from Bellevue Mayor Chris Koch

Kaitlyn prepares to accept the Key to the City from Bellevue Mayor Chris Koch

With the Key to the City in one hand, and her medal glinting around her neck, Kaitlyn was modest and understated in her comments. “Thank you for supporting me through the years,” she smiled with her signature dimpled grin, “Thank you for getting my family to the Olympics, as well.” This referenced local fundraising efforts that helped pay for her parents, Suz Locke and Gary Farrington, to be in Sochi cheering their daughter to gold.

Next stop for Kaitlyn? She, her parents, and SVSEF snowboard coach Andy Gilbert will be driven in a convertible through Bellevue. The champion will then ride a ladder truck with local firefighters through Hailey and Ketchum to the SVSEF headquarters located at the base of Warm Springs at Bald Mountain. Hundreds of well-wishers are expected to line the streets and cheer for our golden girl.

Kaitlyn shows off that amazing medal next to Jason Carter, sports director at KMVT

Kaitlyn shows off that amazing medal next to Jason Carter, sports director at KMVT

A party is also in the works for Saturday, March 1, at the base of Warm Springs. Festivities begin at 2:30 p.m. at Warm Springs Lodge with live music and food and beverage specials from the Sun Valley Resort. At 4 p.m., an official ceremony honoring Kaitlyn will be held on the Warm Springs Deck, followed by a street party on Picabo Street between Jane Lane and Lloyd Court. Old Death Whisper will play, Apple’s Bar & Grill will provide food and libations, and everyone is invited.

For more on all the events, stay tuned to this blog.

Congratulations, Kaitlyn Farrington on your enormous accomplishment and for making this entire valley proud. Welcome home!

–RES

Olympic Fever

There is nothing like a heavy snowfall to set the mood for the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympic Games. As millions gathered electronically Friday night to watch the world’s best athletes convene at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi, a large crowd congregated in downtown Ketchum at Whiskey Jacques as light, fluffy snow accumulated quickly outside.

Go, Team! A large crowd gathered in downtown Ketchum to enjoy the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games. The event was hosted by the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation

Go, Team! A large crowd gathered in downtown Ketchum to enjoy the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games. The event was hosted by the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation

The evening, hosted by the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, drew many avid skiers and snowboarders to cheer on Team USA as well as the local athletes representing the Wood River Valley. Three talented women who call the Sun Valley-area home have the town’s strong and vocal support.

Olympics HQ Friday night was Whiskey Jacques in downtown Ketchum

Olympics HQ Friday night was Whiskey Jacques in downtown Ketchum

Snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington, 24, grew up in the Wood River Valley is a product of the SVSEF snowboard program. Andy Gilbert, head development coach of the SVSEF snowboard team told Transworld Snowboarding, “Kaitlyn was part of the first wave of kids that benefited from Sun Valley investing in a halfpipe program. When she started high school and we saw her competing and holding her own, she graduated to bigger events and really got on the radar. All of the coaches that have been involved with Kaitlyn’s training from the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation over the years are really proud of her accomplishment. It’s great to see the excitement and support our entire community has for her and her family.”

Snowboarder Katilyn Farrington Tweeted this photo out of herself in Sochi @KatilynFarr

Snowboarder Katilyn Farrington Tweeted this photo out of herself in Sochi saying she had 'already made a mess of herself' before the Opening Ceremony even began @KatilynFarr

Kaitlyn became the first women’s rider to perform a backside 900 and is known for her high-octane enthusiasm, determination, super positive attitude and calm. She told Transworld Snowboading, “I’m proud to join the ranks of the legendary athletes who have participated in both the winter and summer Olympic Games before me, and who also call Sun Valley home,” said Farrington. “This is something I’ve been working toward for a long time, and heading to Sochi and competing on the world’s stage is going to be 100 percent fun!”

February 12 is go time for Kaitlyn, as the three rounds of qualification, semi-final and finals will be held that day.

Bringing her Sun Valley roots to center ice, standout women’s hockey forward Hilary Knight is definitely one to watch. This Sun Valley resident will join her teammates in a run for the gold. Knight, 24, made her Olympic debut at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C. That year, she was part of the team that won the silver medal.

Sun Valley resident Hilary Knight started out the Sochi Olympics strong, scoring less than a minute into the first game

Sun Valley resident Hilary Knight started out the Sochi Olympics strong, scoring less than a minute into the first game

Hilary is already shining in the Sochi Games. In Team USA’s first game against Finland, she scored 53 seconds into the first period and also made an assist in a game that ended 3 -1 in favor of Team USA. This set the tone for what we can expect from Hilary and her team in the coming weeks.

On the slopes, Jasmine Campbell who was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands but moved to Sun Valley when she was ten, will race for the U.S. Virgin Islands’ ski team. Jasmine, 22, will compete in the giant slalom and slalom. Jasmine is the only winter athlete representing the USVI and she proudly carried the flag in the Opening Ceremonies. She follows in her father John’s footsteps. He skied in the 1992 Winter Olympics on the Virgin Islands’ team.

Jasmine Campbell spent much of her childhood training on Sun Valley's slopes. Now she puts her considerable skill to use for the US Virgin Islands' Ski Team (photo: Virgin Islands Olympic Committee)

Jasmine Campbell spent much of her childhood training on Sun Valley's slopes. Now she puts her considerable skill to use for the US Virgin Islands' Ski Team (photo: Virgin Islands Olympic Committee)

The enthusiastic crowd at Whiskeys, and gathered around widescreens throughout the Wood River Valley, were probably also cheering Olympic competitor Ashley Wagner. Ashley performed this August in Sun Valley On Ice on her road to Sochi.

On Saturday, our local children, many with Olympic dreams of their own hit 12” of fresh powder Saturday morning (with up to 10” more expected to fall over the weekend). I imagine many members of the SVSEF alpine, snowboard and freestyle teams, as well as the athletes of Sun Valley’s Free Ride program saw their podium-potential as they floated down the perfect slopes. Who knows who among them may be the next Kaitlyn Farrington or Jasmine Campbell.

Three of SVSEF's outstanding D-Team coaches -- Doran Key, Susanne Connor and Orlie Sather -- training the next generation of Sun Valley Olympians

Three of SVSEF's outstanding D-Team coaches -- Doran Key, Susanne Connor and Orlie Sather -- training the next generation of Sun Valley Olympians

Olympic fever is a wonderful affliction to get. Go Team USA! Go Team Sun Valley! We are very proud of all of our Olympic athletes and Sun Valley’s longstanding tradition of producing some of the world’s top athletes.

Check HERE for the full Olympics television schedule.

–RES

Lift Line: Six@Sochi aims to get local athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics

The Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation’s Gold Team has big Olympic dreams.

By Katie Matteson

The Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) has a storied history of cultivating elite winter athletes. For over 40 years, the SVSEF’s ski, snowboard, freestyle and Nordic teams have coached, trained and taught local athletes to be the best athletes they can be, encouraging "strong minds, strong bodies, strong futures." Each winter, over 500 local skiers and boarders join the teams, learning discipline, balance, commitment and how to enjoy skiing and snowboarding for a lifetime. Whether these athletes go on to become professional athletes or just well-rounded community members, the SVSEF plays an important role in the development of the local participants. Athletes like Kristin Cooper, Picabo Street, Graham Watanabe, and the Crist Brothers are all alums of the SVSEF. They are also all Olympic athletes.

Based on this tradition of elite athleticism, the SVSEF has now launched an additional mission, "Six@Sochi," with a goal of getting six SVSEF athletes at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. These athletes, members of the SVSEF’s Gold Team, are all at the top of their discipline and the Sochi Olympics are within their grasp. This year’s Gold Team (many of whom are current US Ski or Snowboard Team Members) includes Nordic racers Morgan Arritola, Simi Hamilton, Chelsea Holmes, Matt Gelso, Mike Sinnott and Alexa Turzian, Alpine racers Tanner Farrow, Teagen Palmer and Kipling Wiesel , snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington, and freestyle skiers Tai Barrymore and Shane Cordeau.

Here is a roundup of a few of these local athletes, Nordic skiers, freestyle skiers, bump skiers, snowboarders and alpine racers. So next time they pass you on a Nordic trail, ride up the lift with you or boost out of the halfpipe on Dollar right in front of your astonished eyes, you might just be in the company of a future Olympic Champion. (Athlete profiles courtesy of the SVSEF).

 

Kaitlyn Farrington: US Snowboard Team Member

Kaitlyn Farrington

As a junior in the SVSEF Snowboard Program Kaitlyn always showed potential in the halfpipe, then she exploded to the top of the ranks last year. In 2010 Kaitlyn dominated the results and was recognized as one of the best women halfpipe riders competing. A few of Kaitlyn’s successes in 2010: Winter Dew Tour Overall Champion; won the European X-Games, beating Vancouver Olympic Gold Medalist Torah Bright; and was on the podium 6 of her last 7 competitions. Needless to say, Kaitlyn was named to the US Snowboard Team and is looking for the Gold in Sochi.

 

 

 

 

Shane Cordeau: US Ski Team Member

Shane Cordeau

Shane was born and raised here in Sun Valley.  He grew up chasing his father, 4x World mogul champion, Joe Cordeau all around Baldy.  Those ski lessons paid off and in 2009 Shane finished 2nd on the Nor-Am Mogul tour earning a spot on the U.S. Freestyle ski team.  Shane got his rookie season off to a fast start finishing 1st at the U.S. Freestyle Selections event in December 2010.  He followed that up with a 4th place at the U.S Olympic Trials in Steamboat Springs, Co., two weeks later.  Shane made his World Cup debut at Deer Valley, UT., in January 2011.  Shane was the highest qualifying American and finished an impressive 13th overall.  Shane had two more top 25 results in World Cup competitions before suffering a season ending injury. Now fully recovered Shane has set his sights on this coming season, "I am ready to continue my pursuit of taking over the World Cup circuit during the next four years leading up to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

 

 

 

Tai Barrymore: SVSEF Gold Team Member

Tai Barrymore

Tai returns to the SVSEF Gold Team after another successful season of Half-pipe competitions. Tai is one of the youngest athletes competing in the Dew Tour, North Face Open, U.S. Grand Prix, and X Games. Tai travelled to 4 different countries on 3 different continents and competed in 10 halfpipe events last year.  It was a whirlwind season.  He made the finals of every major event he entered and remained healthy throughout the year.  His results include:

2010 Dew Tour-Breckenridge, Co 14th

2010 U.S. Grand Prix-Copper Mtn, Co 19th

2011 North Face Open-Northstar, Ca 9th

2011 SFR French Open-Tignes, Fr, 1st

2011 World Cup- La Plange, Fr, 13th

2011 Euro X Games- Tignes, Fr, 16th

2011 World Superpipe Championships- Whistler, Ca 14th

2011 New Zealand Open- Cadrona, NZ, 7th

The IOC has officially announced that Ski Half-pipe will be included in the 2014 Olympics.  Tai is focused on competing at that event.  He is excited for another whirlwind season competing in one of the most dynamic and physically challenging ski disciplines in the world.  Tai continues to train year round with our younger athletes; mentoring, encouraging and supporting the team.  He is an inspiration to all of our athletes and is living proof that you can get there from here!

 

Morgan Arritola: US Ski Team Member

Morgan Arritola

Morgan is currently regarded as one of nation’s top female Nordic athletes.  At the young age of 25 she already has an impressive list of results tallied to her name, including over a half dozen podiums at National Championships, competitive world-class results at numerous World Championships and the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.  Morgan’s athletic talents extend beyond skis to the XC running trails where during the 2011 summer she chalked up two national titles- one at the XC running Half Marathon National Championships in Bend, OR., and the second in the XTerra Half Marathon National Championships in Ogden, UT.  Morgan is primed for an outstanding 2011-12 ski season and will be a legitimate contender in any distance race she enters the entire season.

Carrier Highlights:

21st Place 30K Mass Start Skate 2011 World Ski Championships Oslo, NOR

19th Place 15K Mass Start Skate 2010 World Cup La Clusaz, FRA

22nd Place 30k Mass Start Skate 2009 World Ski Championships Liberec, CZE