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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of Dec 31, 2003 - Jan 6, 2004


Sun Valley Snowboard Team among the country’s biggest

Bursting program thrives
under coach Andy Gilbert

Express Staff Writer

Andy Gilbert, director of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation’s Snowboard program, has reason to be excited.

In fact, he has about 86 reasons. With 85 athletes on his roster, Gilbert may lead the largest snowboard program in the country. "Even the big academies back east have only 30 to 40 kids in their programs," said a proud Gilbert.

And for the 86th reason, Gilbert has one very notable addition to his program: Sun Valley’s inaugural half-pipe.

The mountain has finally caught up with progress as it fills this glaring void. A pipe is a fixture at a majority of resorts. Now, Sun Valley can finally compete with the others.

Even without a home pipe to train on, last year’s snowboard team was a regional force often outperforming athletes from mountains sporting pipes and terrain parks for years.

For Gilbert, this year starts with the task of managing such a large number of pupils while still trying to expand.

"Trying to grow while also maintaining the quality of it all—that’s the juggling act," he explained.

With a growing staff of talented and involved coaches, Gilbert’s quality control concerns seem unfounded.

His team is at its strongest. Most top performers from last winter are back and at the top of their games.

Noteworthy athletes include David Kunz, Yancy Caldwell and Fraser Donald. These high school seniors are mainly half-pipe and freestyle competitors and have all competed in Grand Prix events.

Alpine snowboard racing, though not the main focus of the ever growing renegade snowboard culture, is alive and well within the SVSEF.

"The main focus of the media are the freestyle events," said Gilbert. "But we have made some moves within the team to make sure the alpine program won’t go away."

After all, Sun Valley’s snowboard team alumni feature outstanding racers.

Graham Watanabe, since recovering from knee surgery, is currently racing on the U.S. Snowboard Team, traveling throughout the country to compete in GS events.

C Team coach Nate Galpin is a former U.S. Snowboard Team member as well as a Sun Valley Snowboard team alumnus. Moving Galpin to the head of the C team will ensure future life for alpine board racing.

In addition to Galpin’s race experience, Gilbert also picked up half-pipe coach A.J. Grabos and Jacob Tyler, former snowboard program director at Mission Ridge as well as a half-pipe coach at Jackson Hole.

"Our staff is really strong and the kids seem to be responding. The pipe has only been open for a few days, but it’s paid off already as we can go over and train," said Gilbert.

Coach Gilbert is planning for the future, even in the season’s early stages.

"After this season, we are going to lose most of our top guys," he said.

Responding to this harsh truth, Gilbert has started to bring younger and younger athletes to compete at larger and larger events.

In fact, Caldwell was the only senior who made the recent trip to Park City for the season’s first Chevy Truck Grand Prix.

Among the younger boarders competing was 15-year-old Jeremy Black who "rode really well, strong" while he "gained experience and confidence," according to coach Gilbert.

Of the up-and-coming boarders, Gilbert pointed out a few names to watch: Spencer Cordovano, Bobby Flanigan, Sarah Betts and Scarlet Caldwell.

Cordovano has made himself known with "an awesome work ethic," while performing well in the pipe and GS alpine.

Flanigan can "do it all in freestyle events," Gilbert said, and is also capable of performing in every freestyle category: slopestyle, half-pipe, hand rails and more.

For the girls, 16-year-olds Betts and Caldwell (Yancy’s younger sister) will both travel to the Mammoth Mountain Grand Prix Jan. 9. Meanwhile, Scarlet’s older brother Yancy will look to join a world-class group of snowboarders.

The upcoming weekend at Mammoth will feature a boardercross race acting as a qualifier for the FIS Junior Championships.

Boardercross is an event that features several boarders in a race over varied terrain. Yancy Caldwell is in contention for Junior Worlds in the Czech Republic.

"He’s a pipe specialist, but he runs a mean race," boasts Gilbert.

With the new Sun Valley half-pipe, Gilbert is hoping to have some home events. There is a tentative pipe event on Warm Springs in February. There will also be events at Rotarun in Hailey on March 7.

All in all, Gilbert is maintaining his composure through an extremely exciting time.

He said, "Most of our athletes are returning and moving through the program. Things are changing—we got our half-pipe and if things go well, which it seems they already are, we will continue to grow. It’s a fun time to be involved."

The next event will be a USASA slopestyle at Snowbird along with GS and Slalom races in Park City from Jan. 2-4.




Sun Valley
Snowboard Team

Snowboard team director—Andy Gilbert (10th year).

Coaches, staff—Head coach Andy Gilbert, Jacob Tyler, A.J. Grabos and Jon French (travel team); head coach Noah Richter and Ciam Parten (home team); head coach Nate Galpin, Kai Robrahn and Chatham Baker ("C" team); head coach Billy Olson, Mike Connelly, James Young and Dana Monson ("D" team).

·Travel team—Sarah Betts, Kjell Ooms, Sidney Parkhill, James Anderson, Jens Peterson, Jeremy Black, Tristan Beckman, Ed Sawicz, Spencer Cordovano, Fraser Donald, Austen Butler, Shane Haile, Cristina Walsworth, Houston Shaw, Bobby Flanigan, Yancy Caldwell, Scarlet Caldwell, Patrick Hurley, Michael Kunz and David Kunz. (Tuition $2,350, for competitive riders, on-snow Wednesday through Sunday).

Home team—Hans Howard, Henry Parkhill, Heather Black, Ben Cardozo, Katie Fiaschetti, Scott Fairfax, Nick Schutz, Nhi Pham, Scott Carlsen, Thorin Dickey, J.J. Martin, Cody Edison, Peter Driscoll, Scott Pike, Joey Stevenson, Jacob Smith and Tara Cappel. (Tuition $1,700, minimal travel, on-snow Wednesday through Sunday).

"C" team—Gavin Admire, Hannah Brooks, Alexander MacMillan, Mal Prior, Fynn Funke-Riehl, Mattias Fostvedt, Brendan Freund, Austin Cruz, Lily Jensen, Nate Theobold, Kenny Ballou, Colton Jones, Billy Rheinschild, Lexi Korobkin, Wyatt Bunce, Ross Bird, Maddie Kate Currie and Bryce Young. (Tuition $1,130, introduction to gates and plenty of free riding; on-snow Thursdays, weekends and holidays).

"D" team—Kyle Clark, Paul Davis, Nick Howard, Ryan Roemer, Taylor Rivello, Cooper Rodgers, Olivia Mason, Michael Nero, Kelly Collins, Chase Josey, Kelsey Brennan, Will Harder, Andy Mallea, Molly Higgins, Benjamin Broderick, Lucas Jaramillo, Ellen Davis, Barrett Admire, Harrison Fitch, Hailey Rheinschild, Cal McCarthy, Rickie Jeneson, Cary Reinemann, Josh Morell, Bria Gillespie, Freya Dickey, Rusty Williams, Josh Olbum, Josie Bunce, Jack Higgins, Nathan Kniffen, Isabel Rumpp and Lucy Paisley. (Tuition $600, for younger riders, on-snow weekends).






Sun Valley Snowboard Team 2003-04 schedule

December 17-20
Chevy Truck U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix Park City (Utah), HP/PGS

January 3
Intermountain Snowboarding Series Snowbird (Utah), slopestyle

January 4
USASA giant slalom, slalom Park City (Utah), GS/SL

January 6-12
Mammoth Grand Prix Mammoth Mt. (Ca.)

January 17-18
Intermountain Snowboarding Park City, slopestyle/SP

January 25-26
Intermountain Snowboarding Park City, GS/SL

January 31-February 1
Intermountain Snowboarding Jackson Hole (Wyo.), HP, SBX

February 7-8
Intermountain Snowboarding Brighton (Utah), HP/GS/SL

February 21
Boardercross Soldier Mountain

February 22
Intermountain Snowboarding Halfpipe Sun Valley, HP

March 15-21
U.S. Open Stratton Mt., Vt.

March 22-27
USASA Nationals Angel Fire (N.M.)

April 3-4
Chevy Truck USSA Nationals TBA


NOTES: Many of the events are sanctioned by the United States of America Snowboard Association (USASA)….The February 22 halfpipe event at Sun Valley is tentative.



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