The SVSEF Freestyle Team’s End of the Season Shoot

The SVSEF Freestyle team celebrates the end of the 2009/2010 season with some fun, turns, and blue sky on Baldy. Thanks to Coach Jeff Page for the video!

SVSEF Freestyle Team Shreds Dollar’s Terrain Park

Watch as SVSEF’s little rippers shred Dollar Mountain’s Terrain Park this spring. Keep an eye out for these kids in the next few years, they are our future!

The 2010 Janss Pro-Am Classic Debuts this Weekend!

Founded in 1988 by Beverly Hay DeChevrieux and sponsored by Thomas Weisel Partners, the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Fundraiser, the Janss Pro-Am is back this weekend! An all-weekend event with 22 registered teams, The Janss mixes a “Pro Racer” with four amateur racers, skiers or snowboarders. The teams then compete for racing titles and costume prizes throughout the weekend of parties and on-snow races. Rumors of costume themes from some of this year’s teams include Mardi Gras, School Spirit and White Trash Wedding. Last year’s champion team, the Community School, is back to defend their title. As is last year’s costume winner, Koth Sports. There has even been sightings of “Bad Cops” and “Indian Princesses”, so keep an eye out on the slopes this weekend for troublemakers in costumes zooming around Lower Warm Springs and around town!

2010 Janss Pro-Am events include tonight’s opening celebration Pro Party at Michel’s Christiana, Friday’s Apres-Ski party at Whiskey Jacques, and Saturday’s Award Banquet and Dinner at the Sun Valley Inn’s Limelight Room.  Benefiting the SVSEF’s Nordic, Alpine, Freestyle and Snowboard teams, this weekend’s event is one of the Foundation’s biggest fundraisers of the year. Big thanks to all that participate and sponsor the fun!

Nordic Coach Rick Kapala and Five Things He Loves About Sun Valley

For the past 23 years, Rick Kapala has been the Nordic coach for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, developing, mentoring, coaching and teaching hundreds of Valley youth. He has coached Olympians, National Champions, world-class coaches, and kids who just love to ski. As the Head Coach and Nordic Program Director, Kapala has two athletes (Morgan Arritola and Simi Hamilton) from his Nordic Olympic Development Team finishing competition at the 2010 Winter Olympics and with 29 years of coaching under his belt. Rick has been named USSA Cross Country Coach of the year three times throughout his career and has coached internationally for the US Team at World Juniors, the World Championships, and the Polar Cup. The SVSEF Nordic Program, under Rick and the rest of the SVSEF staff’s incredible tutelage, was named Program of the Year in 2009.

When coaching skiing, Rick can be found enjoying the many outdoor pleasures of the valley, wrecking havic at the Ski Team Hut or skiing in an ill-fitting Santa suit. 

Five Things this Nordic coach loves about Sun Valley:
1) My wife Bridget.
2) The Ski Team. The kids are all great and the Team is so much of my life.
3) The People.  No shortage of wonderful people who love life and give so much of themselves.
4) The Fishing.  (Keep this one quiet).
5) The Mountains and the Rivers.  The adventures are endless.

Local Olympic Athletes Continue to Make the Valley Proud!

The Vancouver Games are in full swing this week as curling fills daytime TV, Shaun White and Shani Davis defend their gold medals, figure skating draws millions of TV viewers each prime time, Gold medalist Hannah Kearney sets the stage in the moguls, and stars like Apolo Anton Ohno, Lindsey Jacobellis, Jeret Peterson, Kikkan Randall, Kelly Clark, Bode Miller, Julia Mancuso and Lindsey Vonn continue to display the Olympic spirit.

And in this valley, we have our very own Olympic heroes. Graham Wantanabe, Morgan Arritola, and Simi Hamilton continue to represent the Olympic spirit that is so alive in this country and this community.

Two-time Olympian Graham Wantanabe, who hails from Hailey, is one the brightest, friendliest faces of the games. Always with a kind smile and with anecdotes to make you laugh (telling reporters in Vancouver, "Try to imagine Pegasus mating with a unicorn. And the offspring . . . I’d somehow tame it and ride it into the clouds, the sunshine and rainbows. That’s how I feel."), Graham is a role model to snowboarders, athletes, and fans all over the world. During the Men’s BoarderCross comp on Tuesday, Graham made it out of the qualifying rounds as the fastest American, with the second fastest time overall. Unfortunately, a small bobble in the finals eliminated his chance in the medal round, while defending gold medalist, American Seth Wescott went on to win his second gold medal. These games may not have ended as Graham had hoped, the valley and local community continues to be incredibly proud of our Olympic Champion and can’t wait to see him back on the slopes of Bald Mountain sometime soon. Congrats, Graham!

Nordic skiers and SVSEF Olympic Development Team athletes, Morgan Arritola and Simi Hamilton made their Olympic debuts this week. Arritola, who only began skiing seven years ago, finished as the second fastest American female in the 10K sprint race. Her finish at the middle of the pack, in 34th place, serves as a successful beginning to what we can only hope is a long and successful Olympic career for Morgan. Simi Hamilton, too, had an incredibly successful beginning to his Olympic story. Simi made it past the qualification round in Wednesday’s Individual Sprint and finished as the fastest American man in 29th place.

Both Morgan and Simi are expected to race in the coming pursuits so don’t miss your chance to cheer on more local heroes! Morgan will compete again Friday in the 15K Pursuit, starting at 12 pm (Mountain Time Zone) and Simi will race in Saturday’s 30K Pursuit, beginning at 12:30 pm (Mountain Time Zone).

Sun Valley USSA Freestyle Frenzy Videos

Two weekends ago, Sun Valley Resort and the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) hosted a USSA Freestyle Frenzy. The four-day event included a slopestyle event on Dollar’s Terrain Park, a halfpipe competition on Lower Warm Springs, and two days of mogul competition on Baldy’s new mogul course, Race Arena. Check out the videos below to see local and regional kids show their stuff!

A Successful First Olympic Race for Morgan Arritola!

Morgan Arritola, a Sun Valley local and a Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Olympic Development Team member, finished her very first Olympic race today in Whistler.

Arritola was the second fastest American female in today’s 10-Kilometer individual freestyle. She finished 34th overall in a strong field of 78 women. With her coaches, US Ski Team Teammates, parents, and SVSEF Nordic Coach Rick Kapala all there to cheer her on, Morgan raced a great race today. Congrats to our little speed racer! Watch for more from Morgan as the week continues!

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Fresh snow, big sun and plenty to do around town!

Under blue skies and with three feet of new snow in the last two weeks, January is coming to a close in Sun Valley. With the 2009/2010 season only halfway done, don’t even bother thinking about spring yet! Head up on the mountain and shred, enjoy a beer on the decks of Roundhouse or Warm Springs and work on your goggle tan, get your heart rate pumping and head uphill on your Nordic skis, and make sure to enjoy any of the happenings around town.

The first annual Sun Valley Nordic Festival kicks off tomorrow with a week full of events, workshops, clinics, and parties all leading up to the main event, the Boulder Mountain Tour next Saturday. (

Tomorrow, Saturday, January 30th, is also the first ever January Rail Jam at the 511 Building. The event will take place at the 511 Building parking lot on Leadville Avenue between 5th and 6th streets. Boarders and skiers will ride the rails, including the steep stairway down to the parking lot while DJ Spicetrain spins the soundtrack, with a $500 prize going to the rider with the best tricks. There will be food, drinks, and music, with all proceeds benefiting the SVSEF and Mountain Town Events. Check it out from 7-10pm tomorrow night and don’t miss the afterparty at the Roosevelt following the competition. Organized by Sun Valley Snowboard Team coach, Andy Gilbert and the city of Ketchum, the January Rail Jam is the first of its kind around town and promises to be a good time.

With two local athletes heading to the Olympics next month, as well as a third SVSEF athlete being named to the Olympic team yesterday, our community definitely has something to celebrate. Simi Hamilton, an SVSEF Olympic Development athlete and Nordic skier from Aspen, CO, was named yesterday to the 2010 Olympic Team. After a standout season that has included a US National Championships and a trip to the World Championships, he will now join Graham Wantanabe and Morgan Arritola in representing Sun Valley and the US at the Vancouver Olympics. Come celebrate and show support for our local athletes as the SVSEF and Sun Valley Company throw them a send-off party Sunday, January 31st at the Sun Valley Nordic Clubhouse from 4pm-6pm. A part of the Sun Valley Nordic Festival, the Olympic Send-Off Party will honor our newest Olympic heroes as well as local Para-Olympians Elitsa Storey, Andy Soule, and Mark Bathum.

Now head out and enjoy that epic Sun Valley sun and we’ll see you around town.

Graham Wantanabe headed to the Olympics!

Local snowboarder and Boardercross competitor, Graham Wantanabe, has officially nabbed a spot in the Vancouver Games! Wantanabe, another SVSEF Olympic Development athlete, Wood River High School graduate, and lifelong Sun Valley resident, will compete in his second Olympic Games in February.

After he did not qualify for the 2006 Winter Games, Graham attended as a Wax Tech for the US Snowboard Team. But when a teammate was unfortunately injured during training, Graham was in the right place at the right time and filled the vacancy on the Olympic squad. But this year, Graham has taken a more traditional route and qualified at last week’s snowboardcross World Cup in Stoneham. Graham’s second place finish concretes his spot on the Olympic Team. Read the entire story: click here.

Don’t miss Graham next month and send him tons of Sun Valley love!

SVSEF “Our Gang”