Friday, November 1, 2013

Zach Crist, SVSEF to offer Big Mountain program

Mini-camps set for this winter

     The Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) is teaming with Zach Crist to offer a Big Mountain program for SVSEF athletes during the winter of 2013-14.

     SVSEF communications director Jody Zarkos announced the Big Mountain program last week.

     Four mini-camps scheduled for Nov. 22-24, Dec. 20-22, Jan. 10-12 and March 21-23 in the local area will offer kids a curriculum of practical life skills, designed to develop a strong foundation for success as athletes and individuals.

     Crist, 40, a SVSEF alumni, competed in alpine ski racing for the U.S. Alpine Ski Team from 1991-98. He was a pioneer in ski cross, winning X-Games gold, silver and bronze.

     A certified backcountry guide, Crist has explored the world and many of his adventures have landed in the pages of magazines, ski films and television shows.

     Zarkos said the SVSEF Big Mountain program will offer skiers and snowboarders a chance to expand their existing education in meaningful ways.

     Crist said, “This will give kids some basic tools to become better prepared for a day on Baldy or in the backcountry. We will teach them the fundamentals of sound decision making, using empirical data, to evaluate and manage risk.”

     The four courses are: Wilderness First Aid, Backcountry Skills, Level 1 Avalanche and Ski Mountaineering.

     Participants can choose one course or take all four. Registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis with SVSEF athletes given first option to sign up. Recommended age to participate is 15-and-older, although 13-year-olds will be considered on the basis of ability or parent involvement.

     The ratio of instructor to students will be 4-to-1 or 5-to-1 with a maximum of 8-10 students per course, although the Wilderness First Aid course can absorb more.

     Aiding Crist with the Big Mountain Program is SVSEF alum Erik Leidecker of Sawtooth Mountain Guides. Leidecker is a graduate of Community School and Dartmouth College.

     “The kids in this program will learn some extremely valuable, yet practical skills,” said Crist.

     Courses are:

     Wilderness First Aid Nov. 22-24 at the SVSEFTrainingCenter: A 16-hour course designed to provide introductory skills in remote care. Cost is $175 per person, with a maximum of 15 participants.

     Backcountry Skills Camp, Dec. 20-22 at Smith Optics Cabin: Crist leads this group into the Sawtooth Mountains for a weekend overnight yurt trip to learn the basic techniques and skills necessary to be a competent member of a backcountry party. Cost is $375, 10-person maximum.

     Level 1 Avalanche Course, Jan. 10-12 on Baldy: Led by Sawtooth Mountain Guides personnel, the AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Course teaches key elements of making sound decisions while traveling in avalanche terrain. It covers trip planning and preparation, observational techniques, terrain analysis and more. Students will learn the elements of companion avalanche rescue and practice using realistic scenarios. Cost to be determined, 10-person maximum.

     Mountaineering Camp, March 21-23 at PioneerMountain Yurt: Learn fundamentals of rope skills, anchor building, belaying, rappeling and their applications on entry-level ski mountaineering routes. Crist will lead a group to the Pioneer Yurt for a weekend of backcountry touring and introductory mountaineering. Cost is $425, 10-person maximum.

     For details on registration or any of the course offerings, contact SVSEF office manager Mimi Crocker, SVSEF office manager, at 726-4129 ext. 101 or



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