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...
Skiing & Riding
The best up-and-coming ski racers in the West will be descending upon Sun Valley again for the annual Spring Series.
This final stop in the FIS's Western Regional Spring Alpine Series runs from April 1-6th and will include two Super G, Giant Slalom and Slalom races on Baldy for both genders. The Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) and Sun Valley Resort are hosting the event and more than 200 participants in the 16 to 21 year-old range will be coming from throughout the West, and will be joined by some of the top collegiate skiers from the East and Midwest.
"Basically, these are the best juniors skiers. They are the top tier of the system. They are skiers that hope to rise up and ski on the World Cup tour or eventually for the Olympic teams of their respective countries," Phil McNichol said.
Phil is the chief of race for the Spring Series. He explained that the FIS is essentially the foundation for U.S. Ski Team and works a bit like the multiple levels of European soccer. Skiers who perform the best during an FIS season get called up to ski on the next level, the Continental Cup, and those who excel there rise up to the annual World Cup tour, where the top skiers are selected to become Olympians every four years.
"Most of these skiers still have their eyes set on skiing for their country and you could see some of these kids on the national team in the future, or even at the 2018 Winter Olympics," Phil said, about the race that usually creates a buzz and an air of excitement within Sun Valley's skiing community. The Spring Series is not just an opportunity for some of Sun Valley's best skiers to show off their stuff, it's also a great time for the valley to embrace its role in the ski world.
"The races are important to the entire community," said Ruben Macaya, SVSEF'S alpine race events coordinator and recently retired long-time alpine director.
"I remember going to Sun Valley for the spring series when I was racing back in the early `60s," said Bill Marolt, the retired chief executive for the U. S. Ski Association. "It was the most fun event of the year."
To keep that tradition alive and flourishing, this year's Spring Series will include an awards presentation party, including live music by Taylor Bushman, food and drink, at the Ketchum Town Square on the last day of the Spring Series, Thursday, starting at 6:30.
"We are excited to get the community more involved in this event," Phil said, explaining that after a short hiatus, the FIS returned to Sun Valley last year. They are also trying to use this year's Spring Series as a sort of testing board for next year's2016 U. S. Alpine National Championships, which Sun Valley will be hosting for the first time since 1950.
"We really want the community to get fired up for this event," Phil said.
Besides the top-notch racing and closing party, here are a couple other highlights from this year's Spring Series:
- A unique program offering guidance to a successful life following a career in skiing will be presented the Community School on Friday, April 3, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Speakers will include Olympic medalist Christin Cooper, Saucony President Richie Woodworth, two time Olympian and pro racer Otto Tschudi, former Goldman Sachs partner Kipp Nelson, and George Macomber, vice president of career and education for USSA.
-Following the races on Saturday, April 7, Apples Bar and Grill will host a street party during a very special award ceremony for the giant slalom and slalom. The end of season spring fling begins at 3:00 p.m. and will feature music, beverages and food. Picabo Street, named after one of Sun Valley's most talented athletes, will be closed for the festivities.
Skiing & Riding
It seems only fitting that Sun Valley would join the Mountain Collective, especially when you realize it includes not only some of the best skiing in the West, but on...Read More
While San Juan Capistrano has its returning swallows and New Orleans has its famous jazz festival, Sun Valley has a few impressive spring traditions of our own. But unlike those...Read More
The best advice I ever got about living and working in a ski town came from a short and fiery native Idahoan named Mark Fisher. “The only way you...Read More
Skiing & Riding
It may be the middle of March, but the month is not even close to going out like a lamb – at least on the slopes of Warm Springs. In...Read More