Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Award-Winning Ski Coach Grew Up Through the Ranks
Gabriela Wehner and Sam Adicoff bid for The Maine Event, a lobster and clam dinner for 20 prepared by Baird and Chelle Gourlay and Michelle and Harry Griffith. The dinner, which will also feature music by pianist Alan Pennay and his jazz combo, went for $10,000.
Sunday, November 19, 2017


Peter Challman knew the times he’d spent watching his son ski slalom gates were worth it when it came time for his son to attend his first formal dance.

“Does the thought of asking a girl to a dance make you nervous?” he asked.

“No, I figure it’s just like ski racing,” his son replied. “You stand in the starting gate and you’re all nervous. But the instant you make your move, you know you’ve got it together because of all the work you put in earlier.”

Chris Maxwell tried to get his table to bid up for the table centerpiece.

Ski parents like Challman came together Friday night to celebrate the things kids learn from ski racing at the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation’s 41st annual Wild Game Dinner.

“As you can tell, no great organization ever did it alone,” SVSEF Board President Jim DeWolfe said as he looked over the sell-out crowd of 350 in Sun Valley’s Limelight Room.

The 52-year-old SVSEF is “hugely impactful,” working with nearly a quarter of the 4,000 kindergarteners through high school seniors in the Wood River Valley, noted Executive Director Sam Adicoff. And it’s only through a committed and giving community that many of those youngsters can participate, he added.

Among the young charges selling raffle tickets Friday night was 8-year-old Elle Davis, who moved here a year ago from Salt Lake City.

Kelly Allison presented the skis bearing the names of coaches who have won the Jack Simpson Dedicated Coaches Award to Scotty McGrew. Allison said her father “dedicated his life to his kids—the kids of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation. His desire was that they become not only better skiers but better citizens.”

“What I like most about the ski team is that, if one of you falls, the team supports you,” she said. “Everyone stops and they don’t get to ski until you’ve gotten back up.”

“I’m learning to ski moguls and be a better jumper,” added 12-year-old Hunter McClaren. “I like skiing with my friends and being outdoors.”

Auctioneer Larry Flynn, who was looking forward to receiving a new hip this week, led the bidding on eight packages, fielding $23,000 for a chance to scale five mountain peaks with climbers Ed Viesturs and Erik Leidecker and $11,000 for a week-long stay at the Wilson home in La Paz.

The array of silent auction items included a chair lift donated by Lee and Leslie Nelson  that hearkened back to the time when it took three lifts—Exhibition, Canyon and River Run--to transport 426 people an hour to the top of Baldy.

BCRD Director Jim Keating and his wife Courtney Gilbert introduced themselves to Peter and Kate Geagan, who recently moved to Sun Valley from Park City with their two children, ages 12 and 10.

Other packages included a preseason ski-along with SVSEF Athletic Director Phil McNichol before Baldy opens to the public, a ski outing with U.S. Alpine Ski Team member Nick Krause, a progressive dinner through Scott and Anne Mason’s Ketchum Grill, Enoteca and Town Square Tavern  and a private tour of Boston’s Fenway Park.

There was even a birthday party for 12 kids provided by the Sun Valley Fire Department with a fire truck cake and a chance for the birthday boy or girl to be Mayor of Sun Valley for a day.

A wild bidding war for floral centerpieces yielded a high bid of $2,000.

And Renee Cook and Stephanie Greenawalt came up with a wine pull with a twist. A couple of the wine bottles wrapped in burlap contained wine worth $125. Those who picked one of two wine bottles containing water got a magnum of wine.

Rene Cook and Stephanie Greenwalt touted their “wine pull with a twist.”

“I just believe that every child in the Wood River Valley should have the opportunity to ski and do winter sports,” Cook said.

“The Ski Education Foundation gets kids out and gets them exercise. It lets them enjoy why people live here in the valley,” added Greenawalt, who moved here from Vancouver, Wash., because of the plusses she sees for her own children, ages 6 and 4.

As the dinner drew to a close, the SVSEF awarded the Jack Simpson Dedicated Coach Award to Alpine Program Director Scotty McGrew.

McGrew was, as he put it, “minus one” when the first Wild Game Dinner was held 42 years ago.

“The first thing I remember ever in my life was the ski team,” said McGrew, who was born at the old Moritz Hospital next to the Sun Valley Inn. “For an 8-year-old kid, it suddenly it felt right.”

Over the years, McGrew said, coaches taught him the secrets about life—not their secret powder stashes on the mountain but their secrets for living life.

“They were so authentic,” he said.

After graduating from Wood River High School in 1995, McGrew earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Physiology and another in Cultural Anthropology at the University of New Mexico, before returning to Idaho to get a Master in Business Administration at Boise State University.

He first began coaching at the University of Washington, leading its USCSA Alpine team to regional and national success, before returning to Sun Valley to begin coaching with the SVSEF in 2002.

Doran Key praised McGrew--a husband, father of three and black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

“He’s one of the most patient, passionate persons I’ve ever met in my life,” said Key, who was McGrew’s first coach.

McGrew said it’s good to have anchors like the SVSEF in times when society is changing so rapidly

“Every single day we’re out there with the kids. And that experience cannot change,” he said.


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