The history of ski racing in Sun Valley is as rich and as impressive as anyplace in the country. And the future is looking pretty bright, too. It is as if the slopes of Baldy and Dollar were blessed by the ski gods, Ullr and Skadi, to groom the fastest and strongest skiers and snowboarders to ever ride on snow. Sun Valley has been home to the best in the alpine sports scene since shortly after inventing the world’s first chairlift back in the 1930s. It’s a tradition that’s staying strong and is proudly on display as Sun Valley hosts events like last weekend...
The excitement in and around the Sun Valley ice rinks was palpable this weekend because reigning Olympic Gold Medals ice dance pair, Meryl Davis and Charlie White were, as they say, in the house. But before performing two graceful, moving and perfect programs at Saturday night’s Sun Valley On Ice, the champions showed grace of another sort.
Olympic champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White showed their gold medal style during a practice session at Sun Valley last weekend
Sophie Hansen, 12, from Salt Lake City was treated first-hand to this grace. Currently on a wait list for a liver transplant, she and her family planned an end-of-summer special vacation to Sun Valley so Sophie could see the superstars perform. When representatives from The Primary Children’s Hospital of Salt Lake City reached out to let Sun Valley know Sophie was coming, Jennifer Uhrig, director of the Sun Valley Recreation Department, quickly set the wheels in motion. Hansen is a huge fan of skating and especially of White and Davis.
Utah skater Sophie Hansen, who faces some medical challenges, had the chance to meet her idols rinksidee
"We received a message from Primary Children's Hospital that Sophie and her family had tickets to attend the ice show Saturday night and asked if there was any way for her to meet her idols," said Uhrig. "Immediately, we wanted to make sure this would happen. Rink manager Scott Irvine suggested she attend the rehearsal Saturday and we planned on her being backstage during that time. We knew she would be able to get photos and autographs but we had no idea that it would turn out the way it did. Meryl and Charlie were so gracious and wonderful."
It's not every day an Olympic gold medalist gives you a lift
The meet and greet turned into much more when Sophie was asked to lace up her skates and take to the ice with the gold medalists and Dancing With the Stars celebs. Sophie, who is a figure skater (and trains at the same rink as Sun Valley On Ice’s “Jumpin’ Joe” Sabovcik) was lifted overhead by Charlie and skated like a champion with all the pros. Charlie also presented her with a Sun Valley goody bag filled with swag. That night at the show, Sophie proudly wore her new Sun Valley sweatshirt and settled onto a new blanket laid on the bleachers. And Sophie and her family, as well as the rest of the huge crowd, were treated to a flawless, breathtaking performance that no one will forget.
It was Sophie's dream to just meet Meryl and Charlie but it turned into so much more
"Sophie’s family said that she had an amazing time in Sun Valley," said Primary Children’s Hospital spokesperson Sandra Orton. "Her mother said she couldn’t stop smiling and that the experience made her entire year."
One more golden performance featuring Evan Lysacek is scheduled next weekend for the final Sun Valley On Ice of the season on Saturday night, August 30. The 2010 Olympic gold medalist, Evan holds ten major titles in the sport and is one of the most magnetic, athletic and graceful skaters ever to take to the ice. Evan has strong ties to Sun Valley and his shows beneath the stars are a hot ticket.
Special thanks to Meryl Davis and Charlie White for sharing their special magic with the audience Saturday night and a very special audience of one on Saturday afternoon.
This was a day to remember for a young aspiring skater
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