Friday, March 8, 2013

College races bring verve to valley

Average age is half-year younger this week

Express Staff Writer

A giant slalom racer makes his way down the course Wednesday on the Warm Springs side of Bald Mountain. Photo by Roland Lane

The influx of about 500 college-age ski and snowboard racers for the U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association National Championships has lowered the average age in Blaine County this week by about half a year, and both Sun Valley Co. and the Sun Valley Marketing Alliance say the event is a great opportunity to expose a new generation of skiers to Sun Valley.

The 35th annual championships—which will determine the top national collegiate teams of the 64 teams competing—began Tuesday and will continue through Saturday, with alpine, snowboarding and freestyle events on Bald and Dollar mountains and Nordic events at the Sun Valley Nordic Center. Daily awards ceremonies will be held at the Sun Valley Lodge Terrace at 4 p.m. The championships will culminate with a final awards ceremony Saturday at 7 p.m. at River Run Lodge. For a full schedule of events, video and audio broadcasts of the events and race results, visit the association’s website at and follow the “Quicklink” titled “USCSA Nationals.”

According to 2010 U.S. Census data, the average age in Blaine County is 40.4 and its population is 21,376. Without calculating for coaches, family members or fans who might have joined the athletes on their jaunt to the valley, the arrival of 500 people whose average age is about 20 lowers the county average age to 39.9.

“The impact of having people of that age group come here and experience what we have to offer is really positive,” said Arlene Schieven, the Marketing Alliance’s president and chief marketing officer. “I think the fact that we’re getting them here and exposing them to Sun Valley is a good thing for the future.”

One of the Marketing Alliance’s objectives is to target younger skiers with its campaigns to introduce them to Sun Valley, whose aging skier population has received limited regeneration from younger shredders over the past several years.

“I think it’s a wonderful time to show off our community to skiers that are college-age,” said resort spokesman Jack Sibbach. “Hopefully, they’ll have a great time, come back and tell everyone about their great experiences in Sun Valley.”

Brennan Rego:

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