Sun Valley instructors teach Mother Nature a lesson to allow the slalom to go off.
If Sun Valley hosts it, they will come. That seemed to be the message coming out of the 2010 Skier’s Edge
Masters National Championships. Racer-friendly Sun Valley is a favorite site for masters racers with its
challenging terrain and strong race organization. Having the races in late March, when sunburn becomes
more of a hazard than frostbite, also proved to be popular. And come they did. More than 240 racers participated in the four-event competition, making this the best-attended such event since 2006.
USSA’s national masters coordinator, Bill Skinner, was ecstatic about not only the participation numbers but
also the number of top racers in attendance. “Even in the women, we had racers in all classes from 1 to 11,” he
said, “and they were good all the way from Anna Droege and Nancy Auseklis in the Class 9s and 10s to Erika
Hogan and Jenny Badger in the Class 1s.”
When all the usual suspects gather for the national championships, the competition is always fierce, but this
time around, an infusion of local coaches and racers in the men and women’s fields gave this series an extra dose
of high-octane energy. Racers not too distant from their FIS racing days — including Robin Sarchett, Carl Rixon,
Nate Schwing, Jean Rudigoz, and Erika Hogan — set the pace in their respective age classes and upped the ante
for the entire series.
Bob Sarchett, one of the multitude of local masters racers and the father of Robin Sarchett, did the recruiting,
but it was an easy sell. “All these racers were on the U.S. team or close to it,” said Sarchett. “They had a ball. I think
we’ll see more of them, and hopefully they’ll start a trend of attracting more young racers into the masters. Having them here really raised the bar.”
Appropriately enough for a national event, the challenges, including the competition, were plentiful. The terrain
for the super and GS might seem moderate, but it’s sneaky-steep, and as for the slalom hill, it’s just plain steep.
Regarding the weather, with a speed event (super combined) first on the calendar, racers just knew that the shelf
life of the near-perfect conditions prior to the races was bound to expire. Read on for the race rundown.