Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Valley lost a wonderful person

Our community has lost a treasure. My dear friend, mentor, surrogate mother and counselor Alice Schernthanner has passed away. To say that I loved Alice is an understatement. When I moved to Sun Valley in 1989, not knowing a soul, she took me under her wing. I met her wonderful family. Alice's biological family is large; her Sun Valley family is much, much larger.

Alice taught almost everyone in the valley to ski, and then later, she taught their kids. She was a fabulous instructor because she loved skiing and she loved people and she could communicate the joy. Alice taught me to teach that unsurpassed joy of skiing to children and adults. She taught me how to make a difference—how to change someone's experience from "just a ski lesson" to "I love the feeling I get now that I can fly down the mountain."

Knowing Alice made me a better person. I will miss her terribly. She will always be in my heart. Alice still owes me lunch for graduating from nursing school—I was thinking about dropping out after my crappy first semester, and choosing something else. Alice said, "If you graduate, I'll buy you lunch." I will enjoy a sumptuous lunch in her honor tomorrow. I guess the lesson is, have lunch with your friends now—spend time with people you love, don't be too busy to do stuff with friends. Since I graduated about four and a half years ago, it became a running joke every time I saw her: "Hey, you know you still owe me lunch."

Yeah, I'm still crying—this loss hurts like family. What a privilege to have known her.

Alison Smart


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