Welcome to the SSCV 2019-2020 Year End Awards Virtual Recognition

Although we cannot gather together as a community for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s annual Year End Awards Dinner, SSCV remains committed to its end of season tradition of recognizing outstanding performances and/or contributions both on and off snow of SSCV athletes and community members to the SSCV community. As such, we invite you to be a virtual attendee of this awards ceremony.

Please click on the program links in the left hand column (or in the right hand dropdown menu on your mobile device) and hear what SSCV, VMS, and VSSA staff have to say about these outstanding contributors to our community. Join us in sending everyone virtual handshakes, hugs and congratulations.

Vi & Byron Brown Volunteer of the Year Award

Awarded annually to an outstanding SSCV volunteer in honor of Vi and Byron Brown and their outstanding and tireless long-term volunteer contributions to SSCV in a variety of roles both on and off the hill in support of SSCV’s mission.

Vi and Byron Brown
Photo by Preston Utley, courtesy of Vail Valley Medical Center

Vi & Byron Brown Volunteer of the Year

Mickie Eggebrecht

Mickie has been an amazing volunteer this year. She has always pitched in when we sent out “cries for volunteers emails.” Nothing is ever too difficult for Mickie. A single working mother, she always found time to help when we were short of volunteers. Mickie is an asset to Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.

Walter Kirsch Award – Overall 3C Winner

& 3C Athlete Monthly Award Winners

The Walter Kirsch Award winner is selected from among the 3C monthly award winners. Each monthly award winner embodies one or more of SSCV’s core values of Character, Courage and Commitment (the 3C’s).

Walter Kirsch
Longtime Vail resident and one of the founders of The Streeter program

Reiner Schmidt
Walter Kirsch Award Winner and 3C Monthly Winner –  January

Reiner Schmidt

SSCV Nordic athlete Reiner Schmidt has displayed the three C’s of character, courage, and commitment effortlessly on a day-to-day basis the entirety of the season thus far. Reiner is constantly striving to make improvements on and off the snow, staying on top of his schoolwork and always being motivated and focused at practice. His love for sports and competition is contagious and he always sets a great example for his fellow teammates. Above all, Reiner knows what it takes to be a good teammate and competitor, as he is extremely supportive, and is always enhancing the training environment. At a race in Steamboat Springs earlier this winter, the race secretary, who was working in the finish corral at the time, recognized Reiner’s sportsmanship and support for teammates. The race volunteer reached out to our program commending Reiner’s actions, “I just wanted to comment on some great sportsmanship I saw yesterday in the finish area! Reiner Schmidt won the mass start, and then stayed in the finish area as everyone else finished telling them what a great race they skied, how tough the course was, and how proud they should be of themselves. The other racers clearly appreciated the support! I spent the weekend in the finish and was impressed by the politeness of all skiers but few stood out; Reiner was number 1 for me!” This quote speaks a lot to Reiner’s character, courage, and commitment competing at a very high level in his respected age class. While we see this daily, it was a real honor that someone took the time to recognize Reiner for his qualities. This is a young man going out there and doing things the right way, in a way that SSCV can be proud of. Thank you Reiner!

McKayla Meyers
3C Monthly Winner – December

McKayla Meyers

When I first met McKayla, my first impression was that she was friendly and outgoing. While traveling to competitions I have noticed that McKayla has made many friends with other competitors. She is very supportive of everyone and enhances the entire feeling of camaraderie amongst all the competitors. In this regard she is a leader on our team. McKayla has a tremendous amount of courage. The type of skiing that she specializes in can be scary and challenging. She is consistently doing things that push her out of her comfort zone. She has the ability to shut out her fears and venture into the unknown. McKayla’s skiing abilities have improved tremendously over the past 3 years. I attribute this to her diligent hard work and focus during training. When I first started training her, she made a conscious decision to improve her skiing, and has shown great dedication and progress in pursuit of that goal. McKayla’s passion for life and the sport of skiing has made her a pleasure to coach.

3C Monthly Winner – February

Henry Reynolds

Henry Reynolds is a first year U14 nordic athlete at SSCV and VSSA. Henry has been a wonderful addition to the team since day one: he is truly passionate about the sport, very dedicated to his training, and always respectful to his coaches. Henry always supports his teammates, being there for them in good and tough times. He celebrates his teammates’ achievements as if they are his own, congratulating other athletes on the team that have had a good race. After completing his race, Henry often shares helpful tips on the course with the rest of the group who are still waiting for their start time. Although he is fully capable of being at the front of the group during training, we often see him skiing alongside his teammate who might be in the back during long distance training, so his teammate does not feel left behind. A few weeks ago our club hosted Nordic State Championships and we were in need of as much help as we could possibly get. During our training session the morning prior to the state competition, the younger group of nordic athletes was asked to help with the course set up. Everyone pitched in for a bit and then headed to the front of the school for some fun skiing and jumping. Henry was the only one who instead stayed back and helped with more set up without anyone asking him to do so. During our recent two day trip to Snow Mountain Ranch Henry stood out as the most mature and organized member of the group. He did not need to be asked to help with clean up after meals, be reminded to be on time for the van departure, or of the group schedule, or the “lights out” rule. His positive attitude and mature behavior speak a lot about his character. Henry’s commitment to the sport is also obvious to his coaches; he does not miss practice and puts forth great effort during training. Henry created his own nordic trivia game and involved his whole family in the sport; his brother Luke joined the team and VSSA this year and now his parents are into the sport and even race at Vail Nordic town series. It takes courage at his young age to be a leader of the whole family in pursuit of a new sport!

3C Monthly Winner – March

Connie Brogden

Connie has had an amazing season this year getting a full ride on the World Cup for Halfpipe skiing. She joined the Great Britain National Team last year and has been skiing for them this season. Connie was also able to compete in a few Slopestyle events this season in the World Cup Tour. She has always shown great Commitment, Character, and Courage in her skiing both on and off the hill. She never backs down from hard crashes when she is trying to achieve her goal that day. She is always staying on top of her school work while competing in the busy World Cup schedule. In addition, off the hill she always has good things to say to other athletes and peers. She tested her commitment this season by dealing with a season ending injury mid-season. She was working hard to get back on top and be healthy enough to ride at the end of the season contests/training, but we are now dealing with this virus and are not able to train/compete. Connie has always shown great courage and commitment on the hill and giving it her all every time she shows up to a contest or training. Connie deserves the 3C award for all the hard work she has devoted this season!

Les Streeter Awards

Presented annually to the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athlete for the most outstanding performance in each discipline.

Les Streeter
Olympic skier, The Streeter Program was named after Les Streeter

Emma Resnick
Alpine Les Streeter Award

Emma Resnick

Emma finished 4th at the Youth Olympic Games in GS and won all three events at the National Junior Championships in Utah. Emma raced only two SG’s this year. One was at the Youth Olympics placing 11th and the other was at National Jr Champs, which she won. I think this was a great accomplishment. She also placed 5 times in the top 20 in NorAm races, which are the highest level of domestic races we have besides the World Cup. Emma, being a first year FIS athlete, had a great season with success in all events she raced in. Emma is a named US Ski Team D-Team athlete.

Jack Ganley
Freeski Les Streeter Award

Jack Ganley

Jack Ganley was chosen for the Freeski Les Streeter Award because of his outstanding performance this season! Jack worked very hard this season on and off the hill trying to further his skills in Slopestyle, Halfpipe, and Big Air. Jack’s early season dedication and strong work ethic allowed us to push his abilities and help him perform at the highest level. Jack took the overall placing in the USASA Rocky Mountain Division for Open Class Halfpipe Mens. He also made the most finals at NorAm level events personally this season and also took 11th place overall for the NorAm Cup in Halfpipe. While accomplishing these goals, Jack was a team player and always encouraged others to do their best as well. Jack’s performance this season was nothing short of amazing and it was fantastic to coach Jack during this amazing season. It was an easy decision to choose Jack Ganley for the Les Streeter Award this year.

Liz Lemley
Mogul Les Streeter Award

Elizabeth Lemley

Liz took a streak of 7 consecutive wins into Junior Nationals this year. As a 2006 YOB, born just 22 days too young to ski FIS this year, she stayed busy on the regional scene winning everything in sight. Her tear began after a 2nd place at Vail RMF (where she was .01 from the win). The next day she won the Vail dual event. From there it was Aspen (with a 12 point margin), then Aspen duals, then back East for Waterville singles and duals and on to Sugarloaf, Maine for another pair of wins. As a 14-year-old skiing in a U-19 field through all of this, Liz rolled into US Junior Nationals and led the first 2 rounds of qualification. In her second run she threw down with the highest DD of the field. In the top 20 final at Juniors, Liz crashed and the streak came to an end. It’s difficult to say how tough a loss that was. She wanted that one badly. As hard as the defeat came at Juniors, it was the end of an amazing run, a streak of 7 consecutive overall wins at contests East and West. Streaks end. It was a tough lesson to learn, but Liz is on track. She’s still that fearless skier pushing her boundaries, working on skills, and challenging herself, her teammates, and coaches to come up with their best. Liz’s season was incredible. She won every contest she skied, singles and duals, except the first (where she lost by 0.01) and the last (where she crashed after leading both runs of qualification). Crazy!

Haley Brewster
Nordic Les Streeter Award

Haley Brewster

Haley Brewster is the 19/20 Nordic Les Streeter Award Winner. Haley has had an incredible season for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, continuing what has become a very successful few years of racing. We would like to recognize her for her season-long accomplishments. Throughout dryland Haley did an excellent job of training, continuing to build on the skills and fitness that have led her to be one of the top female juniors in the country. This paid off with very strong performances in early season races in West Yellowstone, Montana and Canmore, Alberta. She further followed up with a dominant performance in the opening Rocky Mountain Nordic Junior National Qualifier in Crested Butte. These races set her up for a very strong Senior National Championships where she qualified to represent the USA at the U18 Scandinavian Cup Championships in Falun, Sweden. Haley went on to have a very successful series of races in Sweden and overall a great experience. Unfortunately, upon returning from Europe Haley battled some health issues for the remainder of the season. She was able to persevere through these ailments to still put forth a very strong showing at Junior National Championships. Even though the Championships were cut short and her best event was cancelled, Haley walked away with 4th and 9th place finishes for the two races that were completed. These are very good results given what she has dealt with the past couple of months. While at Junior Nationals, Haley was recognized as the Rocky Mountain Region’s nominee for the prestigious Dave Quinn award. She was selected by a committee of coaches and was also the individual who received the highest number of votes when the RMN athletes on the trip were polled. The award description reads as follows – Each year the USSA Junior Cross Country Subcommittee presents the David Quinn award to recognize a Junior Olympics athlete who best exemplifies the ideals of the cross country ski sport which Dave Quinn expressed through his life. In addition to outstanding results, nominees should have special attributes such as love for the sport, leadership, overcoming hardship, work ethic, etc., which make them unique. For Haley to be recognized by the coaches and athletes in the division for what she has done through the years was a great honor. She goes about her business and has become a great racer, teammate, and role model for our program. She has had another excellent season and we are proud to recognize her performances with the Nordic Les Streeter Award.

Evan Wrobel
Snowboard Les Streeter Award

Evan Wrobel

Evan Wrobel exhibited outstanding performance in many ways this season. Early on Evan attended several events that were a higher level than he was used to. He showed up to each event with confidence in his own snowboarding, and often walked away surprised that his result was better than he’d expected. By the middle of the season Evan was hungry for new tricks, showing up to practice daily with post-it notes covered in tricks to land for the day. His determination paid off and before Evan knew it, he was warming up with runs that used to be the goal for a whole day. He was learning 3 to 4 tricks each time we stopped to hike a rail for an hour. Even after our season was cut short, Evan found ways to keep pushing himself on his snowboard and added even more tricks to his bag. It was a pleasure to watch Evan excel and learn just how far a little bit of hard work and determination can take him.

The George Rau Coach of the Year Award

Presented annually to an outstanding coach at SSCV in recognition of the outstanding contributions to the development of young snowsports athletes of former SSCV coach George Rau.

George Rau
Former ski school instructor and ski club executive director/coach in the early years of SSCV

The George Rau Coach of the Year

Chris Laske

During his five years at SSCV, Chris Laske has done a tremendous job of growing the snowboard program in many ways. Not only has enrollment increased, but the culture amongst the staff, athletes, and families, has reached new heights. Chris brings a positive energy that enables those around him, and his leadership is empowering. For the 2019/20 season, Chris assumed leadership of the freeski program as well, and the benefits have been immediate. Chris has brought the snowboard and freeski staff together. Chris focused on team building from the start, including an all-staff hut trip to begin the season. Chris is equally passionate about freeride and snowboard and is well qualified to lead these programs in harmony. Chris not only excels in his leadership but also manages to continue to have a direct coaching impact on his athletes. His experienced and steady demeanor is a calming presence for his athletes, and his capabilities in coaching rival his abilities as a program director, a powerful combination. Additionally, Chris is always looking for ways to improve his programs and has significantly enhanced fundraising to support his efforts. Chris and his wife have recently built a home in Red Cliff, and as he continues to make his mark on SSCV Snowboard and Freeski, we look forward to watching Chris take both programs to even greater heights!

SSCV Student of the Year Awards

Presented to a Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athlete attending an SSCV Academic Partner for their outstanding academic accomplishments while all the while balancing their commitment to their snowsport.
Madison Milligan
Lower/Middle School Student of the Year from Vail Mountain School

Madison Milligan

The SSCV Lower/Middle School Student of the Year Award winner from Vail Mountain School is Madison Milligan. When searching for teacher nominations for the SSCV Middle School Student of the year, one teacher responded “MADISON MILLIGAN!!!!,” written in all caps and with four exclamation points. As an eighth-grader at Vail Mountain School, Madison has demonstrated an impressive aptitude for her studies and served as a model citizen within the school community. I’d be remiss to not mention that Madison’s cat Gizmo was one of the first items that came up when the teachers were discussing why Madison should be nominated. Gizmo has been incorporated into many of Madison’s Spanish projects and written pieces this year. The cat’s fame within the Spanish class is an example of how Madison’s well-written and organized assignments often integrate her personality and humor. Madison’s Spanish teacher mentioned that even in the world of distance learning, Madison has continued to bring positivity and laughter to the classroom. While we miss having her laughter in the building when she is training and racing, Madison’s advisors said, “Madison missed 2 weeks of school and you never knew it. She stayed on top of all of her classes and assignments.” The list of compliments about Madison continued to flood my inbox after we expressed that we’d like to nominate her, “Madison always turns in high-quality work, she is always engaged, she thoughtfully contributes to discussions and group projects. Madison is one of the hardest working students I have ever taught.” It’s clear that Madison’s teachers love working with her. Madison’s science teacher shared a great story about Madison’s science fair project, which Madison started over the summer in anticipation of a busy ski season ahead. She picked a highly scientific topic, studying how plants move based on gravity and light. Her first round of testing didn’t work, and she came back two months later to do it again and got better results. That takes a lot of initiative and commitment to success! Madison deserves this award for her commitment to her academics and athletics. However, what makes her a truly exceptional student and pleasure to work with is the contributions she makes to our school community. She is the partner you want to have in your group, the leader you want to have on your team, the student you want to teach, and her laughter is what you want to have ringing through your school hallway. Congratulations, Madison! We are so proud of you.

Trey Kelsey
Upper School Student of the Year from Vail Mountain School

Trey Kelsey

The SSCV Upper School Student of the Year Award winner from Vail Mountain School is Trey Kelsey. Trey’s grades are impeccable, he works hard, and he took a leadership role on the basketball team this year. Trey has consistently demonstrated a remarkable commitment to athletics while at VMS – he’s been on the golf, fitness, and soccer teams, and most recently took a leadership role on the boy’s basketball team, “Trey was a leader for us all on the team, he brought the energy and competitive spirit to practice everyday and raised the level of competition” – head basketball coach, Caleb Florence. All this, while skiing competitively for SSCV and maintaining high grades. If Corona didn’t stop him, he would have been crushing the boy’s lacrosse team in the Spring. Anytime there’s a conversation about skiers amongst teachers, when Trey’s name comes up, there’s always this moment of “yeah, but we’re not worried about Trey.” Trey is reliable – when there’s work that needs to be done, Trey does it. He’s a pleasure to be around, and during ski tutoring you can find Trey sitting next to Emile in the hobbit hole listening to music, working on calculus, picking away at his senior project, and helping other students solve problems. Since we’ve been out of school he’s learned to dunk consistently on his 9 ft. hoop and has been running to Emile’s house (17 miles away) AND still has straight As. Trey deserves this award for his continued commitment to academic excellence and athletics. He’s a model student – kind, talented, and hardworking. He’s one of those kids you want to track after they graduate because you just know they’re going to be doing something amazing. We are so proud of all of your accomplishments, Trey!

Lower/Middle School Student of the Year from Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy

Brooklyn DePriest

The SSCV Lower/Middle School Student of the Year award winner from Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy is Brooklyn DePriest. Brooklyn has been an excellent Yeti and we are proud to present him for student of the year. I’d like to note a couple of quotes from our staff: Mr. Stevenson said “In all of his extensive travels, Brooklyn was consistently on top of getting all of his work done but just as importantly he reached out several times during that time to get feedback and to get even further ahead so he could better focus on comps, his dedication has been amazing throughout the whole year.” Ms. Sopuch stated, “Brooklyn’s huge smile and friendly attitude always brighten up my day and my class. One of my favorite memories of Brooklyn was when I asked him what he thought was the hardest part about being a teenager and he told me “the mentality.” When I asked him what he meant by that he said that it’s challenging to set your own goals and meet them. I respect how Brooklyn is his own best competitor and how he maintains high expectations for himself at all times. Even despite his travels, he stayed organized and at the top of his studies. He’s a role model for other students by showing that you can be at the top of your sport and still be the nicest person. He is always raising others up and never bringing them down.” VSSA is proud to present Brooklyn DePriest.

Elsa Perkins
Upper School Student of the Year from Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy

Elsa Perkins

The SSCV Upper School Student of the Year award winner from Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy is 10th grader Elsa Perkins. Ms. Perkins exemplifies the 4 C’s of Character, Courage, Commitment and Compassion each and every day at school, in sport and in her relationships with others. As her English teacher Ms. Brandl says, “Elsa doesn’t just excel, she shines while doing it. She is an exemplar at hard work at school, and at her sport. She really enjoys learning and applies all of herself to everything she does. She does all this while smiling, being friendly and funny. She is a treat every day for her teachers and her peers.” As Ms. Wheatley says “Elsa takes on every challenge head on.” She is always cheerful and hardworking. VSSA is proud to present Elsa Perkins as the 2019-2020 Upper School Student of the Year.

Upper School Student of the Year from Winter Tutorial

Sophie Stocker

Sophie Stocker is the SSCV Upper School Student of the Year Award winner from SSCV Winter Tutorial. Sophie has a rigorous course load as well as a busy training and competition schedule, and manages it all with grace! She comes to class prepared to learn and can handle anything you throw at her. She uses her study halls well to stay up with her elective classes. She interacts kindly with the other students and participates in all of our advisory activities. She always has a genuine and sincere “thank you” for her tutors at the end of each session. Sophie has grown as a student and an athlete over the course of her time in Winter Tutorial, and even visibly over the course of this season, becoming more confident in herself as a student, an athlete and a member of our community. Each week, in advisory, she is thoughtful about the goals she sets for herself, reaching small achievements in pursuit of her long-term objectives. Whether she is working to ace her school testing, be more intentional in her training, or branch out into new hobbies like cooking, yoga, or piano, she tackles each challenge that comes her way.

The Terresa Herbst Teacher of the Year Award

Recognizing a Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy teacher for their outstanding contributions in support of SSCV full-time athletes in honor of Terresa Herbst. Terresa was the founding academic director at Vail Valley Academy, which was established as an SSCV academic partner, and later transformed into the Vail Tutorial Academy, setting the framework for SSCV’s Winter Tutorial program and Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy, all in support of the mission of SSCV.

Terresa Herbst
Terresa Herbst, long-time educator and USSA official/on-hill volunteer

Kelsey Jorck
Terresa Herbst Teacher of the Year from Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy

Kelsey Jorck

Kelsey Jorck, a Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy teacher, has won the Terresa Herbst Teacher of the Year Award. Kelsey is in her 3rd year as our 5th-grade teacher and served as an Academic Coach and Winter Tutorial tutor for SSCV prior to joining VSSA. As one parent and fellow colleague said “She is an amazing mentor and teacher to our students. The kids love her and she is always coming up with such great lessons in every subject she teaches.” Kelsey runs an incredible 5th grade classroom where she works tirelessly to prepare our 5th graders for their upcoming middle school experience. She challenges our students daily and prepares compelling and engaging assignments for students. Her classroom provides students with outstanding structure that allows kids to thrive and Ms. Jorck knows her kids. A parent this year after conferences said: “Ms. Jorck knows my child so well, she knows him as a reader, a writer and as a person.” We are proud that our 5th graders’ first experience when they join VSSA is with such a strong teacher.

Adrian Kearney Award

Presented annually to a graduating Alpine Age Class athlete who exhibits a true passion for skiing and a love for life in the mountains.

Adrian Kearney’s family

Adrian Kearney Award

Jackson McGlasson

As soon as Jackson was accepted to SSCV/VSSA the family uprooted itself to move to Vail so Jackson could start skiing in our U14 program. This was in April of 2019, and Jackson made our very first pre-season training session. SSCV U14 athletes were still in school and skiing in the mornings only, so coaches had time to help Jackson with his skiing for some time after the training sessions. Jackson was eager and focused, hungry to make changes in his skiing, as he didn’t make the U14 championships that season. Jackson had never done the ski school drills we do at Vail, so he was really in a challenging position, not only learning new vocabulary and new drills, but also trying to develop strong skills. In season, Jackson continued his skills development.  The coaches also noticed how much additional skiing Jackson did on his own time free skiing and park skiing as well as building jumps! This was proof of his incredible passion for skiing! The very first U14 Qualifier was a GS in Winter Park. Jackson won this event, an exciting affirmation of all of his hard work, hard work that comes from a passion for the sport. Jackson also made the U14 championships and had a podium at the event….once again his passion drove his success. Hats off to this boy, whose love of the sport keeps him charging hard!! Congratulations Jackson McGlasson.

Paul Cuthbertson Award

Awarded annually to a current second year U16 alpine athlete moving into the FIS alpine program for the upcoming season who exhibits a true passion for skiing and a love for life in the mountains.

Paul Allen Cuthbertson
May 18, 1998 – May 19, 2019
“Live for those you cannot”

Paul Cuthbertson Award Recipient

Spencer Peterson

Spencer loves participating in skiing and outdoor sports for the simple fact of loving the experience and the environment. He is more concerned with expressing himself on the mountain, and enjoying the day, than any specific race result. This very much reminded us of Paul, in their similar love of the outdoors, and ability to stay in the moment.

Downhill Racer Award

Presented to the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athlete with the most outstanding performances in Downhill and Super G.
Downhill Racer Award

Trent Pennington

Starting off the season, Trent had very specific goals of competing in the Youth Olympic Games. He focused intently on the path to qualify for the event and delivered tremendous early season results at the Copper NPS Super G and Beaver Creek GS races. Once he was at the YOG event he led Team USA in the standings with a 17th place in GS and 20th place in Super G (only 1.32 seconds off the winner). After returning home, Trent refocused his sights on making the US Development Team. At the US National Junior Championships in Snowbasin, UT, Trent rattled off some impressive results against his U18 competitors. When it was all said and done, he won the NPS Super G and GS titles for the U18s. By doing so, he made criteria for the US Ski Team’s Development squad. Trent has shown tremendous courage this season overcoming many obstacles and missteps. Never once did he doubt himself, he was patient, hardworking and determined to find a way to reach his goals.

Thomas Pitcher Award

Presented annually to the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athlete who demonstrates the highest level of commitment to the sport of ski racing and academic excellence.

Thomas Pitcher

Thomas Pitcher Award

Cleo Braun

Cleo continued to persevere with major back issues this season and finally began to ski like we all knew that she could by making the podium in the Jr. National slalom finishing 2nd. She would have surely improved further had the season not been cut short. Cleo has been identified by the U.S. Ski Team as one of the most promising junior skiers in the country and is a member of the NTG (National Training Group). Cleo is also a very dedicated student which has enabled her to be accepted by several top universities. The combination of her ski racing talent and her strong academic performance will make her a high profile recruit for these schools. Cleo’s dedication and determination to excel both academically and athletically make her a very deserving recipient of this award.

Craig Kelly Memorial Award

Presented annually to the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail snowboard athlete who demonstrates the finest combination of athletics, citizenship and academic excellence.

Craig Kelly
April 1, 1966 – January 20, 2003
An American professional snowboarder known as the “Godfather of Freeriding”

Huck Palmiter
Craig Kelly Memorial Award

Richard “Huck” Palmiter

We chose Huck to receive the Craig Kelly Award this year for demonstrating the finest combination of athletics, citizenship, and academic excellence in many ways. Huck always takes his time snowboarding and dryland training quite seriously and is determined every day to better his skills and develop himself into a world class snowboarder. He pushes his abilities basically every time he’s on his board. His snowboarding abilities improved by leaps and bounds this past season. He had a great competition season and landed on the podium many times. Every once in a while, Huck might have an “off” day. No problem, not every day can be 100% charge. On those off days, he is more than willing to push the others in their snowboarding skills and is more than willing to help film and/or get Insta clips of the others. Instead of pouting, he just has fun keeping it low pace while encouraging others to push themselves. While pushing himself and others on snow, Huck continues to keep his grades up and not fall behind. All season long, he was proud of his grades and how he has kept that “academic excellence” at top notch. It’s difficult to maintain the balance of a great GPA while pushing snowboarding/competitions to a higher level. I feel Huck represents this award in a very good fashion. He will go far in life and in snowboarding.

Zeke Pierce Memorial Award

The Zeke Pierce Memorial Award is given annually to an SSCV member who exhibits a love of skiing and riding that transcends their competition discipline. The recipient has a passion for skiing in all its many forms, pushes limits while taking responsible risks, and embraces the variables of weather, terrain and conditions that makes skiing and riding so special. A passion so deep that it exhibits a way of life, love for the environment and respect for all who share this love.

Zeke M. Pierce
September 13, 1997 – July 18, 2013
Zeke’s love of adventure and the outdoors gave rise to his athleticism where he spent 10 years racing with SSCV

Fletcher Taylor
Zeke Pierce Memorial Award

Fletcher Taylor

Fletcher was chosen for the Zeke Pierce Memorial Award because of his overall love for skiing and the mountains. A first year member of the full-time middle school park and pipe freeski team this season, Fletcher was able to find success in many aspects of skiing throughout the year. He was a top contender for the podium at all of his USASA events, especially in halfpipe. Even though his primary discipline was park and pipe, Fletcher’s love for all aspects of skiing led him to try to compete in both skier cross and big mountain events. His skills translated very well and he was able find joy in both of those disciplines as well. As a freeskier he loves any day on the mountain and will make the best of any weather conditions the day may present. He shows up day in and day out with a desire to expand his love for skiing and the mountain. As long as he has his skis on he is one happy kid! That is why we nominated him for the Zeke Pierce Memorial Award.

Gaynor Miller Award Winner & Gaynor Miller Snowsports Nominees

Nominated from each snowsport for exhibiting the highest standards of Sportsmanship, Teamwork and Dedication. This athlete’s overall performance is an example to be followed.

Gaynor Miller
A founder of the Vail Resort Association

Gaynor Miller Award Winner and Nordic Gaynor Miller Nominee

Molly Blakslee

Molly Blakslee has won the 2019-2020 Gaynor Miller Award. Molly exhibits the highest standards of Sportsmanship, Teamwork, and Dedication. Molly’s overall performance is an example to be followed. This award description does an excellent job of describing Molly Blakslee and who she is to our program. Throughout her time with SSCV, Molly has been excellent: she is a tireless hard worker and sets a great example for her teammates. Annually we conduct a team exercise at our fall camp asking program members to write up a 3C nomination for a teammate that they feel is most deserving. Through the years many teammates have chosen to write about Molly Blakslee for this exercise. They always recognize her for her leadership qualities, how she sets standards for others to follow, how she is positive with herself and her teammates and how she is always kind while being competitive. For her to be noticed and identified by her teammates year after year is quite an accomplishment. She is one who quietly leads through her consistent actions and efforts. Molly has been in the program for 8+ years and she continues to stay motivated and improve. This past summer she was able to put forth very consistent high quality training while working a physically demanding summer gardening job. She also participated in a service trip to Kenya where, once again, she was able to get out and and run regularly with the locals and keep up her fitness while having an amazing experience. This level of commitment has helped her have a very strong competitive season and led her to have her best results this season at Junior Nationals Championships. The nordic program is proud to nominate Molly Blakslee for this year’s Gaynor Miller Award.

Alpine Gaynor Miller Nominee

Carissa Cassidy

Carissa exemplifies all the best attributes of a good teammate. She is always supportive of those in her group and is the consummate good sport even when she is struggling. Her attitude is always positive and she is empathetic when others are struggling. Her dedication to her skiing is inspiring and she lifts the level of training and racing by example. She’s always early for training and puts one hundred percent effort into every session. Carissa has been identified by the U.S. Ski Team as a promising prospect and is a member of the NTG (National Training Group).

Freeski Gaynor Miller Nominee

Kate Pitkin

Kate Pitkin is the freeski nominee for the Gaynor Miller award this year. Kate displays an extraordinary dedication to the sport of skiing. Her attendance is amazing and she often skis on her days off. Even with the season ending early this year Kate still had over 100 days on snow. Kate shows appreciation for her privileged position by taking full advantage of it. Kate does not care if she has new equipment or if people think she is a good skier. She just skis for the pure love of it. With this passion Kate quietly leads our team with an example to be followed. Kate’s dedication proved beneficial as she nabbed the best results of her ski career this season. Not that she cares, she just wants to go skiing.

Mogul Gaynor Miller Nominee

Nash Lucas

Nash took the win at Rocky Mountain Divisional Champs this year. It wasn’t his first win of the year, just the latest peak in a long climb. On and off the hill, Nash has stepped up as a team player taking the lead at home in helping with course preps, running team warm ups, encouraging the young kids, and being an anchor for the mogul squad. At school, an area where he has struggled, Nash has worked hard (sometimes engaging a tutor for help) to improve his grades. This year he was able to stay above water and got more training. More time on snow and a little breathing room academically put him in position to travel to his first FIS NorAms. While he didn’t cruise to immediate success at that level, Nash skied clean and earned points. It’s clear from his last 3 years he’s capable of a crushing a long steady grind. He’s been consistently notching his way up the US rankings from 113 to 28th in the US. Nash also trains and competes with the Mountain Bike Team. His strength is downhilling, but he digs in on the climbs as well, which is a good analogy for his overall journey. From bringing on a tutor to help with school, or going solo to get extra sessions at Woodward to fixing a jump he was struggling with, Nash has gone the extra mile and come out stronger. Having been in that struggle, Nash knows how important support can be, and he’s there for his team helping out wherever he can. I’m proud to name Nash as our 2020 Gaynor Miller Nominee.

David Retzlaff
Snowboard Gaynor Miller Nominee

David Retzlaff

When looking at what it takes to get to the top level, David Retzlaff exhibits the discipline needed. His focus and dedication to slopestyle has earned him impressive results this season. After winning two NorAms and getting two other 4th place finishes, Dave was awarded the 2nd place overall NorAm Cup title for 2019-20 season. Moving his World Cup FIS ranking to 8th overall when compared to all US competitors and 31st overall in the world, he earned himself four World Cup starts this season. Outside of results, Dave is looked up to by the whole team. Being one of the most polite, respectful human beings I have ever met, we strive to have our team follow in his footsteps. He has proven that being good at snowboarding is only 50% of what it takes to make it. The other 50% is how you represent yourself as a person in order for brands and US Team coaches to get behind you. Dave has done this all and that’s why he was chosen by ALL our snowboard coaches as the Gaynor Miller Nominee.

Zella Gorsuch Award

Awarded annually to the person with the greatest contribution to the advancement of skiing in the Vail area.

Zella and Jack Gorsuch
Photo from Climax, Colorado ca. 1939

Kaia Moritz
Zella Gorsuch Award

Kaia Moritz

Established in 1977, the Zella Gorsuch Award is given to the person with the greatest contribution to the advancement of skiing in the Vail area. Ski & Snowboard Club Vail is honored to present the 2020 Zella Gorsuch Award to Kaia Moritz. In recent years Kaia has assumed leadership board roles overseeing Governance, the Annual Campaign and the Capital Campaign. She oversaw a restructuring of board governance with a committee structure, specified term limits and based on best practice standards. Under her leadership the significant growth in Annual Campaign support has been a key contributor to the ability for SSCV to strengthen the quality of the coaching staff and enhance staff retention. Most significantly, Kaia led the successful capital campaign for the full funding of the Golden Peak Expansion, allowing SSCV to realize its decades old primary initiative. In all of these areas Kaia has led by doing. Kaia’s organization in all these areas of board leadership has been critical to our success. Kaia is a former SSCV athlete and current parent of three athletes. Her parents Kathy and Erik are among the most committed long term supporters of the club with Erik a former recipient of the Zella Gorsuch Award. Kaia’s efforts on behalf of SSCV have been selfless and foundational toward the realization of our strategic initiatives and vision. Kaia is an exemplary example of the difference someone can make “for the kids”.