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In October 2012, the governing body of the United States Olympic Committee designated the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) as a United States Olympic / Paralympic Training Site for Nordic Skiing.  The path to designation began several years ago and arose initially out of the strong paralympic community in the Wood River Valley. Marc Mast of the Wood River Ability Program and Don Wiseman, then the Executive Director of the SVSEF, recognized that, together, several organizations in the Valley were already functioning on the level of an Olympic training site, spearheaded by the SVSEF.

For several years, if not decades, the SVSEF and its partner organizations Wood River Ability Program (WRAP), Sun Valley Company, and the Blaine County Recreation District (BCRD) have been collaborating and sharing resources to provide exceptional cross-country experiences for youth through professional athletes, both able-bodied and adaptive/paralympic.  The Olympic / Paralympic Training Site designation allows the SVSEF and its partner organizations a platform on which to build and expand the cross-country program to better facilitate training opportunities for Nordic skiers aspiring to the Olympics / Paralympics, to create opportunities for new skiers to experience the sport, and to strengthen the profile of Ketchum/Sun Valley as Nordic Town USA.

About the SVSEF Nordic Training Site

Founded in 1966, the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation is dedicated to providing exceptional snow sports programs for the youth of the Sun Valley Region. Initially focused on alpine skiing, the SVSEF added cross-country skiing in 1972, freestyle skiing in 1990 and snowboarding in 1992.  During its over 45 years of operations, the SVSEF has touched more than 10,000 athletes and hosted over 1,000 events.  It has initiated and/or fostered competitive careers of 18 Olympians, 35 US Ski Team (USST) members, and many more national and regional champions.

Headed by Program Director and recent Sun Valley Ski Hall of Fame inductee, Rick Kapala, a 25-year veteran of SVSEF operations, the SVSEF’s Nordic skiing program is ranked as one of the top-3 in the U.S., was named by USSA as Cross-Country Club of the Year in 1999, 2006, and 2009, and has produced more than six Olympians and Paralympians in the cross-country discipline. Supporting Mr. Kapala are four additional full-time coaching staff and nine part-time coaches, with an average tenure with the SVSEF program of eight years and extensive experience at the national and international level as competitors and/or coaches.

The SVSEF Nordic program has 4 distinct programs - the Development Team, Prep Team, Comp Team, and a two-pronged Elite Development Team which is comprised of the Post Grad Elite Development Team competing at the national level and the Gold Team competing at both the national and international levels. There are 143 athletes in the SVSEF Nordic skiing program for the winter 2012-2013 season, not including the Gold Team.


The SVSEF Gold Teams were created to support athletes who by performance are competing at the highest international levels and are currently on the USST or on the verge of making the USST.   SVSEF Gold Team athletes represent all 4 disciplines - Alpine, Cross Country, Freestyle and Snowboard. The current goal of the Gold Team is to place six athletes on the U.S. Olympic Team in Sochi, Russia in 2014 (“Six at Sochi”).

We are excited to see what the future holds for the SVSEF as we evolve into our role as an Olympic / Paralympic Training Site!

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