Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Janss Fundraiser Includes a little Fishing in the Fondue
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Stephanie Schmidt representing the utility company in Monopoly heads out of the starting gate on lower Warm Springs.
 
Sunday, March 31, 2019
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Shannon Avery nearly choked on her bagel with lox and cream cheese as she realized that the jailbird from her Monopoly team was set to go against Donald Trump in the first race of the Janss pro-Am Classic.

“Maybe you can give him a get out of jail free card!” Phillip Macaulay told Bill Cimino--all in good fun.

The games people play took to the slopes of Bald Mountain this weekend as the 22nd Annual Bill Janss Pro-Am Classic played out to raise money for 700 kids in the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation.

 
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The Monopoly team was comprised of Stephanie Schmidt, Kevin Doyle, Philip McCaulay, Shannon Avery, Celina Cimino-Avery and Bill Cimino.
 

Heather Black played the part of Mrs. White and 10-year-old Harrison Black the part of Mr. Green in the game of Clue. Banks Gilberti showed up wearing a red lightbulb nose as part of “Operation.”

Derek Agnew, Katherine Rixon, Amanda Porino and others showed up as Dominos. And U.S. Ski Team racers Zach Crist, Tanner Farrow and Wally Rothgeb joined the Pac-Man team.

DeeDee Campbell, Mike Fisk and others resurrected their childhood game of Cops and Robbers. And Olympic downhiller Jonna Mendes picked her favorite game show “The Price is Right” with Robin Engelhardt, Johnnie Michael and others playing the roles of Bob Barker and the lovelies holding up the blenders.

The 144 participants were encouraged to indulge in marathon costume wearing, skiing, partying and sleeping in their costumes for the duration of the three-day event.

 
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Even the backs fit the costumes of the Monopoly team.
 

“I like that they wear costumes—it gives everyone a chance to express their creativity and themselves in a fun way,” said volunteer Todd Hoyle, who moved to Sun Valley from Seattle on a full-time basis in June. “I’m just here helping with an attitude of gratitude. This is a first-class, world-class organization in a great community. And this event is plain fun.”

The costumes weren’t always the most aerodynamic—Michael Phelps would never have been caught swimming in the big round plastic cups Lee Gilman Builders’ Beer Pong team wore.

“It was interesting skiing in those—a little constricting but it was all in fun,” said Toby Citret.

Event organizer CC McCarthy designed what may be one of the most engaging, fun-filled gala dinner events ever. There were plenty of games to play leading up to the dinner with fondue dipping perhaps the favorite.

 
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Call of Duty hammed it up for the OneFunPhotoBooth. The team was comprised of Buzzy Yokoyama, Jason Hahn, Willie Pyle, Chase Rados, Zach Zien and Aaron Fabish.
 

Riley Berman of the Go Fish team even managed to reel in his fondue, a wading tube providing plenty of elbow room as he did.

Diners played Bingo for 250,000 air miles throughout the course of the dinner, and teams competed in Jeopardy-like game with such questions as “Name something many people do just once a week.”

Scotty McGrew, executive director of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, noted how the program has 15 alumni in NCAA athletic programs.

Sun Valley Community School Junior Johnny Hagenbach made his signature mark on the world stage, he noted, helping to win the United States’ first ever gold medal in the cross-country Junior World Ski Championships in Finland. And he noted that 14-year-old Jessi Keefe was in Park City this week undergoing the tests he needs to become a full-fledged member of the U.S. Paralympic Ski Team. Keefe recently captured third place in a Paralympic race against older competitors.

 
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Melania and Donald Trump, played by Lauren and Michael Halstead, take their place alongside Kim Jong-Un played by Robert Beall and a secret service man played by Stefan Sohlstrom.
 

The Janss Pro-Am raises funds for the 700 youngsters taking part in Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation programs, including alpine, Nordic, freeskiing, snowboarding and Big Mountain skiing.

“I coached snowboard for seven, eight years and it’s an amazing program,” said Josh Keefer, a member of the Beer Pong team. “It gives the kids a chance to pursue a dream doing something the rest of us love. The Janss-Pro-Am is amazing, too—it’s like playing dress-up. How fun is that?!”

Brent Cooper, the stepson of Bill Janss in whose memory the event was created, returned to his childhood home from California to attend the weekend’s events.

“I love the Janss Race—it’s all about Bill, all about giving back. My mother (Glenn Janss) taught me always give, and we’re a blessed family,” he said. “Bill Janss was never about making money so much as providing for the future of Sun Valley. I remember when I was 13 overhearing Bill and Wally Huffman  having a discussion about snowmaking. Wally kept protesting that snowmaking was not a money maker. But bill told him: Let’s get snowmaking going. He was always about the future and he could see the future.”

The future—the generations to come--is what the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation is about, Scotty McGrew told those attending the gala dinner.

“We as coaches get up in the morning believing this experience may be the biggest experience this child ever has.”

Stories like Johnny Hagenbuch’s gold medal are the stories dreams are made of, he added.

“And this is the organization in the community that makes this happen. An enriched and empowered life—that’s the work we’re doing. Every day and every week—and tonight, too.”

WATCH Eye on Sun Valley's video coverage of the Janss Pro-Am Classic at 7:30 tonight--Sunday, March 31--on Cox Cable Channel 13 and 1013. The program repeats daily at various times.

 

 

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