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