The Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation’s new $1.5 million renovated training facility could help it become the best snow-sports development program in the United States, Executive Director Rob Clayton said Friday.
Clayton spoke during a ribbon-cutting ceremony and party to commemorate the opening of the facility and new offices at the base of the Warm Springs ski lifts in Ketchum. He delivered the opening remarks of the ceremony, and praised everyone who contributed to the project, allowing it to be finished on time and on budget.
“What we’ve done here is create a springboard for our organization to move into the future,” Clayton said. “This will allow us to do the best possible job we can with the SVSEF. We have the newest and arguably the best training center in the country.”
The center is the only designated Olympic and Paralympic training facility for Nordic skiers in the northwestern United States, although other types of athletes will be able to use it.
“It’s our responsibility to use this facility to bring the best out of our program,” Clayton said. “Our vision is to be the best snow-sport development program in the nation. I don’t think we’re truly the best yet, but that’s the goal I have for this organization.”
The new facility includes many new features, including big-screen televisions, new lockers, a sophisticated boot storage system and a ski preparation area that Clayton called “fantastic.”
One of the most significant parts of the renovation was the purchase and remodel of the building’s third floor to build new offices.
The six-month project began demolition on June 4 and was completed on Oct. 30, just before the Nov. 1 deadline.
Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little attended the ceremony, and spoke of his excitement for the facility’s future.
“The circle of success I see all over Idaho is epitomized here, where people give their time, money and leadership to great success,” Little said. “This is a great example of what we can do in Idaho to help our children. If we all work in the same direction and are on the same page, all of these young athletes here will have great opportunities.”
SVSEF Communications Director Jody Zarkos told the Mountain Express there were many challenges associated with the project, but she was impressed with the determination and work ethic of both the developers and people who worked on the construction.
“One of the biggest challenges for us was dealing with the construction dust,” Zarkos said. “It was very tough keeping the logistics and organization while keeping the business running during this renovation. For example, it was easy to remodel the locker rooms, but when we pulled them out, the building had severe decay and needed repair.”
Both Zarkos and Clayton praised project manager Morley Golden for his acute attention to detail. They also cited his work ethic and leadership as a major reason for the project’s being finished on time and on budget.
With the new facility completed, Zarkos said, she is very excited for the future of the SVSEF.
“We will try and foster each athlete living up to his or her potential,” she said. “We want to promote not only great skiers but also great people. This building allows us to start fresh, and infuses us with a great attitude.”
Eric Avissar: firstname.lastname@example.org