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Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Racers Seek Fortune on World Cup Circuit
Saturday, January 20, 2024


Peter Wolter, Sammy Smith and Molly Maybach are squaring off against some of the best skiers in the world this week as they take their place on the World Stage in Europe and South Korea.

But John Steel Hagenbuch, another skier who honed his skills with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, has elected to hit the books at Dartmouth College rather than compete at World Cups this week, despite having blown away the competition at the 2024 U.S. National Cross-Country Championships held last week at Soldier Hollow in Utah.

The U.S. Ski Team athlete won the 20K mass start skate race by 40 seconds over French skier Tom Mancini, who skis for the University of Utah. And Hagenbuch took third in the National Championships skate race.

Joe Davies, a Brit who skis at the University of Utah came in third and Peter Wolter, 25, of Sun Valley, fourth.

Hagenbuch was so far ahead of the others that he had time to proceed to the edge of the finish area and hug his mother before anyone else came in, according to Nordic Insights.

“I live in Utah, am an avid cross-country skier and follow the sport with keen interest,” said K Mureys. “I was in Soldier Hollow watching the competition and the most exciting race of the week was when John Steel Hagenbuch won the 20K skate race going away with a huge lead after a breakaway in the fourth of sixth laps that left all other racers in the dust—or in their ski tracks—far behind him.”

The 22-year-old pre-qualified for the World Cup races in Europe but declined his starts to return to Dartmouth where he is a full-time student. He did race in World Cup Period 1 in Finland, Sweden and Norway where he had his career best World Cup as the top American finisher in 13th place in the 10K skate race in Ostersund, Sweden, on Dec. 10, 2023.

Sammy Smith, and Peter Wolter, both members of the SVSEF Gold Team, are competing in Period 3 of the FIS Cross Country World Cup in Oberhof, Germany, and Goms, Switzerland, through Jan. 21.

Smith just competed in the grueling Tour de Ski in Europe. Wolter, will be taking part in his first World Cup of the season and is slated to race in the 20K mass start classic race today—Saturday, Jan. 20.

“The first Super Tour series was a lot of fun!” said Sammy Smith. “Having some of the top Canadian skiers there definitely raised the level of competition and it was a great opportunity to be in such a competitive environment early in the season. I think it was a good start to the year, but I'm definitely hoping to build off the races and carry momentum into the rest of the season.”  

And carrying momentum into the rest of the season is exactly what Sammy has done. Arriving in Toblach, Italy after some turbulent travels, Smith competed in the the Tour de Ski, a coveted but grueling race series that included seven races in nine days with competitions held in Switzerland and Italy. Inspired by the Tour de France of cycling, the event is held annually in Central Europe and typically has six to nine stages. The combined time (and bonus seconds) of the stages decides the winner of the tour.  

Smith, one of six women competing for Team USA finished in 26th overall in one of the most competitive fields seen in recent history. Smith had a standout day on January 4, finishing 22nd overall in the skate sprint. The US women showed their depth with Jessie Diggens winning the overall title, Rosie Brennan and Sohpia Laukl in 12th and 14th respectively, followed by Smith in 26th. Teammates Novie McCabe and Julia Kern stopped competing after the fifth stage. 

“Sammy (Smith) continued her strong start to the season grinding her way through the Tour de Ski—culminating with the infamous Alpe Cermis Hill Climb to finish 26th overall’, said SVSEF XC Gold Team Head Coach, Chris Mallory. “We are super impressed with her determination and competitiveness to finish the tour and have some great races along the way.” 

Beyond this, Smith will look to the World Juniors in Planica, Slovenia Feb. 5-11 and the Stifel Loppet Cup Feb. 17-18 in Minneapolis, MN. The Stifel Loppet Cup is a COOP FIS Cross Country World Cup, featuring sprint and distance races. The Loppet Cup will bring the world’s best skiers to the United States for the first time in over 20 years.

For live results, go to

SVSEF XC Comp Team member Molly Maybach is competing in the 2024 Winter Youth Olympics and Junior World Championships in biathlon in South Korea. Her first race is slated for today—Saturday, Jan. 20. She recently competed at the 2022 Junior World Championships at Soldier Hollow in Utah.

For live results, go to

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