Friday, October 14, 2011

Jonna Mendes named Ski Academy recruiting director

U.S. Ski Team star comes to Sun Valley

     Tahoe’s Jonna Mendes, 32, a U.S. Ski Team teammate of Sun Valley’s Picabo Street, was named this week as director of recruiting for the Sun ValleySkiAcademy.

     Steve Shafran, SkiAcademy executive director, said the selection of Mendes underlines the mission of the academy—to provide an elevated level of athletic training combined with the independent education of the CommunitySchool in Sun Valley.

     “The appointment of Jonna speaks to the commitment we have to get our Academy up and running,” Shafran said. “There are only a handful of people who have the influence and reputation in skiing on a national level we wanted for our program, and Jonna is one of them.”

     Community School Head of School David Holmes and Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Executive Director Don Wiseman also welcomed the addition of Mendes.

     The newly created snow sport academy is a partnership between the CommunitySchool and SVSEF.

     A native of Santa Cruz, Calif., Mendes began skiing at age 4 when her family moved to the Lake Tahoe area of California. She spent 10 years with the U.S. Ski Team before retiring from international ski racing competition in May 2006.

     She was a two-time Olympian (Nagano 1998 and Salt Lake City 2002). Mendes won the World Championship bronze medal in super giant slalom at St. Moritz, Switzerland in 2003. She captured four U.S. national championship titles—two in downhill and two in giant slalom.

     Mendes has worked with the USST national alpine development system the past four years and has experience with fundraising that will help the Sun ValleySkiAcademy, Shafran said.

     She said, “Since I left ski racing, I’ve truly enjoyed working with young ski racers. I’m excited about bringing outstanding young skiers to Sun Valley and believe it will be a rewarding experience for not only me, but more importantly, for SVSA students.”

     Mendes and her husband, Will O’Toole, and their 14-month-old son, Declan, are planning to move to the WoodRiverValley this month after participating in receptions for potential academy applicants in the San FranciscoBay area.

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