The holidays in Sun Valley are unique. From the snow-covered peaks (and ski runs!) that surround the Wood River Valley, to the old-fashioned charm of the Sun Valley Village and the decidedly European feel of the Resort, Christmas in Sun Valley is straight out of a beloved picture book. I have spent more than 30 Christmases in Sun Valley and while I certainly appreciate all that the Resort does to keep current (our amazing snowmaking and grooming, the gorgeous Lodge remodel, The Spa, and new
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 fact, Baldy will be buzzing for the next few weeks with some of the best ski racing anywhere. From Alpine Masters Nationals to the Spring Series, it is an exciting time in Sun Valley with even more elite ski racing action planned for the coming years.
Ski racing has always been a huge part of Sun Valley’s heritage and both the Alpine Nationals Masters and FIS Western Region Spring Series will bring some of the best racing talent to Baldy’s Warm Springs side this spring (photo courtesy Nick Maricich)
“Ski racing has always been a very important part of Sun Valley’s heritage and we are reinvigorating that tradition,” said Nick Maricich, Sun Valley SnowSports Supervisor. “Starting in the 1940s and going well into the 70s and 80s, Sun Valley was one of the premiere ski racing destinations in the world. Most of the U.S. National Team and many of the elite international ski racers came to Sun Valley to train and compete. This spring we have great racing on Baldy and we are really excited to announce that the U.S. National Alpine Championships will be here in 2016 and 2018.”
This truly is a marquee event and will be a great opportunity to showcase what makes Sun Valley special. With the U.S. National Alpine Championships, come the best U.S. Olympians and Olympic hopefuls. The event also brings a primetime television special, parties and celebrations of ski racing. “In 2016, the Audi/Sun Valley Spring Festival will feature dual slalom races, town parties and the reinstatement of the Greyhawk venue on Baldy as a pre-eminent ski racing destination,” Maricich said. “2018 is really exciting because it is an Olympic year.”
Some of the best racing action anywhere in the U.S. is also about to come to Baldy this year when the 2015 United States Ski Association (USSA) Alpine Masters Nationals returns from March 15 – 20. Some of the nation’s best adult skiers will descend on the Sun Valley Resort will to participate in four events: slalom, giant slalom, super-G and super combined to vie for the title of national champion.
Sun Valley will bring a very strong group of 40 participants, including these talented and fast women racers, to the Masters event this week (photo courtesy Nick Maricich)
“We are expecting 250 top competitors to race over the week on Warm Springs and Hemingway,” Maricich explained. “Sun Valley will field a strong local team of 40 racers. We have a talented and committed group of adult skiers from the ages of 25 to well over 90 and they are excited to get into the courses.” Other highlights of the week include a Welcome Party at the Limelight Room at the Sun Valley Inn and Awards Parties each evening. The National Awards Banquet will be held at River Run Lodge at the conclusion of the event.
Michel Rudigoz, former U.S. Ski Head Coach and former SVSEF Head Alpine Coach, is acting as chief of race for the U.S. Nationals. He said he could not be happier that Sun Valley is hosting these prestigious ski racing events. “It’s very, very exciting to have this kind of racing happening in Sun Valley again,” he enthused. “This is an amazing mountain and a great place to race. Combine that with our snowmaking, grooming and top race staff and you can’t get a better venue. Coaches are excited, the ski industry is excited -- it’s great for everyone.”
Some of the best adult racers in North America will be at the starting gate this week for the Masters Nationals. Here, USSA Masters Chair Bill Skinner prepares to race in a past event (photo courtesy Nick Maricich)
The momentum continues to build when the Spring Series comes to town. This FIS Western Region race hosted by the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation and Sun Valley Resort draws elite U.S. Ski Team Members and the other top skiers in the west. From April 1-6, Ladies and Mens racers will prove their mettle in super-G, giant slalom and slalom courses. But it’s not all work and no play for the skiers and their fans. This year’s event incorporates parties featuring live music, big fun and a dual Slalom head-to-head team event on Lower Warm Springs with a cash prize. If you want to see some great ski racing, come cheer on the athletes.
Also contributing to the culture of ski racing in Sun Valley, the World Pro Skiing Foundation is offering a free mentoring event in conjunction with the Spring Series. The roundtable talk hosted with the USSA will take place at the Community School in Sun Valley on April 3 and 4 at 5:30 p.m. A panel will talk to young ski racers about opportunities, ideas and career path guidance for a successful life following their racing career.
The athletes competing in the Spring Series bring talent, excitement and speed to the courses on Baldy (photo courtesy Nick Maricich)
As World Pro Skiing Foundation board member Mike Hundert explained, “it is important to keep things in perspective, balancing athletic pursuits with other life experiences to best prepare for what’s ahead.” Olympic medalist Christin Cooper, Saucony President Richie Woodworth, two-time Olympian Otto Tschudi, former Goldman Sachs partner Kipp Nelson and USSA Vice President of Career and Education George Macomber will form the panel, sharing their experience and advice with young ski racers. For more information on this event, click HERE or call 970.236.6505.
There are some great Sun Valley lodging packages available with the Masters’ races and Spring Series week. Please call 800.786.8259 for specific information. Come to Sun Valley, enjoy spring skiing and watch – or participate in -- some terrific action on the slopes!
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