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SVSEF Scholarship Recipient Battles Through Injuries, Disappointment
Tuesday, October 3, 2023


Josie Sarchett has been named as the second recipient of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation’s Ashley Snyder Briggs Scholarship.

The scholarship will provide $10,000 towards tuition and expenses for the high school-aged female alpine athlete per year for the next nine years.

The Ashley Snyder Briggs scholarship is awarded to the athlete who consistently shows love and passion for alpine ski racing, shows dedication both on the hill and in the classroom, intends to pursue the sport after high school and demonstrates an appropriate need for financial support to chase their dreams in ski racing.

"We are so happy that we can help and support the athletes of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, and thrilled to present this year’s scholarship to Josie Sarchett,” said Ashley Snyder Briggs. “Her dedication, perseverance, positive attitude, and passion for the sport of ski racing make her our ideal candidate and we are excited for her upcoming season."

Sarchett’s journey as a ski racer has continuously unveiled her true character as an athlete determined to realize her own potential.

“When I think of Josie's last two seasons as a U16, there were setbacks due to injury that probably left her with frustration that her season didn’t go quite as she hoped,” said Nate Schwing, Sarchett’s U16 head coach at SVSEF. “Josie handled the adversity she experienced these last two seasons through pure perseverance, perspective, and passion.” 

In Sarchett’s first season as a U16 in 2021/22, she injured her knee in early to mid-January while training for Super G. The injury kept her off skis for about six weeks, causing her to miss two of the three qualifiers for Western Regionals. Sarchett came back in time for the third qualifier at Sun Valley at the Laura Flood Memorial Race. She was in a position where she had to ski really well to qualify for Western Regionals, an event she would have easily made if she had been healthy to race the previous two qualifiers. 

“Sarchett had one week of training coming off the knee injury prior to the Laura Flood series, so we weren’t sure what to expect,” said Schwing. “She lit up the series, finishing seventh in the first GS, ninth in the slalom, and was in the top 10 after the first run of the second GS race. Unfortunately, she went out in the second run and wasn’t able to accumulate enough points to qualify for Western Regionals with just two finishes.”  

Sarchett qualified for a second-tier championship called Tri Divisionals, a series for U14 and U16 athletes who do not qualify for their regional championships. It was not the level of championship competition Sarchett had hoped for. “She could have opted to skip this championship, but we challenged her to go and compete,” said Schwing. “There is value to competing when you are one of the favorites to win or medal, and the pressure to perform to these expectations is real. It’s a good exercise to perform under pressure and expectations.” 

Sarchett competed at Tri Divisionals and finished the series strong with two second place finishes. She followed this up with a third place at the Snow Cup in Snowbird, Utah, the final race series of the season. 

Sarchett’s second year as a U16 in 2022/23 presented different challenges. She sustained a concussion in December and subsequently missed most of the December training and the team’s first race series at Snow King, Wyo. A nagging back injury also continued to present itself causing frustration and challenges to maintain momentum.

“Early season training is important for athletes to build their confidence for the season ahead,” said Schwing. “The way this past season started for Josie wasn’t ideal. My hope is that a fresh start for Josie as a first-year FIS team athlete, and, hopefully, an injury-free season, are just what she needs to find the confidence and consistency we know she’s capable of!”

Sarchett has proven her dedication to training and performing at the highest level and is serious about maintaining a standard of fitness. In the off-season, she has been known to put herself up against the boys—always wanting to push herself to be the best she can be. Once the snow flies, she can often be found skiing powder on her own or with friends—she just loves to ski!  

“While Josie has voiced disappointment in her results and performance, she is always grounded with her perspective and is able to spin disappointment into something that is just part of the process,” said Schwing. “She gravitates towards girls or boys who have the same drive, and she’s just an all-around great teammate.”

Ashley Snyder Briggs, for whom the scholarship is named, grew up skiing and racing with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation between 1974-1985, from her first turns on Baldy through high school. After graduating from Sun Valley Community School, she went on to ski race for Middlebury College’s Division 1 team.

Snyder Briggs has remained closely tied to the Wood River Valley community and to SVSEF through her family and her nephews’ participation on the ski team, and has witnessed the consistent trajectory as a ski club over the years.

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