Friday, December 6, 2013

Jonna Mendes named Ski Academy program director

U.S. Olympic skier takes a new job

Jonna Mendes, new Sun Valley Ski Academy program director. Courtesy photo

     U.S. Olympian Jonna Mendes, 34, has been named program director of the Sun Valley Ski Academy after bringing the fledging program through two years of growth as its director of recruitment.

     The announcement of her promotion came in a Dec. 5 press release from the Community School, an independent school in Sun Valley.

     Mendes was hired in 2011 as the Director of Recruitment for the then-newly launched Sun Valley Ski Academy which is affiliated with the Community School.

     In the past two years, 23 students have moved to the valley to attend Sun Valley Ski Academy and to take advantage of the boarding program, the school announced.

     A ten-year member of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team and a two-time Olympic Alpine racer in Nagano (1998) and Salt Lake City (2002), Mendes won the World Championship bronze medal in Super-G at St. Moritz, Switz. in 2003. She also captured four U.S. national championship titles—two in downhill and two in giant slalom.

     “Picabo Street told us that Jonna was her best teammate during her many years on the national team,” said Community School Head of School David Holmes. “Jonna understands what it takes to be a successful winter sport athlete as well as a successful student.”

     In her new role, Mendes will expand her academic and college placement support for current students in addition to recruiting new students for the program. Mendes said her goal is to help SVSA students enjoy a rich, full high school experience while competing at a very high level.

     “Even athletes racing at the highest level can have a well-rounded extracurricular life at SVSA,” Mendes said. “There is nothing more rewarding to me spending time with student athletes, and my new role will allow me to support them while bringing SVSA the national attention it deserves.”

     Mendes will work closely with Holmes and Rob Clayton, the recently hired executive director of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation.

     “Jonna has a keen grasp of the balancing act required of high level student-athletes,” Holmes said. “She is always there to support their success and happiness."

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