Award winners gather at the 2011 season
opener at Mammoth Mountain.
The 2011 Molecule F Speed Series winners
bask in glory after the Aspen races.
The Triple Treat race sponsors Sandy Treat III
and Sandy Treat Sr. with 2010 race winners Pepi
Neubauer, Carol Levine, Mel Loar, Bill Gooch and
Carol Rymer Davis.
members kicking in to support a single race, a weekend of racing, or one of
the major three-race series for amounts ranging from $300 to $700.
“Our racers offer to sponsor various races, and these funds generally go
into the parties and awards,” says Davis. To date, all the races have financial
sponsorship and the waiting list is as long as the liftline at Vail the day after
Christmas. Sponsors include the “Minnesota Connection,” a group originally
from the Gopher State; they also juice up the festivities with piles of swag,
drink tickets and songs to entertain the audience. New sponsors use the
races for promotion, and the membership gives generously to the trophy
table, all of which ensures that no one will come away empty-handed.
RMM wraps up the season with a race at Loveland, sponsored by the Teng-
din family in memory of racer DJ Tengdin. It’s a festive affair with a dress-
up Hawaiian theme and a new twist. The final race of the series will be a
tri-combined event with one run each of slalom, giant slalom and downhill.
“This is a high-energy affair that lots of fun,” says Davis. “After our year-end
party on Saturday, this is a great way to wrap things up for the season.”
It seems that none of the masters divisions are relying on the status quo
any more. “Reinvention is the best word to describe what’s going on with
the ‘new Intermountain Masters,’” says Amy Lanzel, the Intermountain chair.
“We’re reaching out to people in ways we never have before.”
Lanzel points to a revamped web page, online registration, a Facebook
page, a Twitter account, and an amped-up social scene. The party season
opens with a bang at the upscale Sun Peak Clubhouse, where Intermoun-
tain racer, national masters coordinator, and fearless hunter Bill Skinner
supplies the wild game. The socializing will continue nonstop through the
National Championships slated for Park City from March 19 to 23.
With so many races out of commuting range and involving three-day week-
ends, the social component is all the more paramount. Whether it’s the Loritz
Cup in Park City, the Skoch Cup in Sun Valley or the Western Regionals in
Big Sky, the social schedule is as well defined as the race schedule. “These
areas really roll out the red carpet for us,” says Skinner. “There is something
going on every evening after the races.”
The Intermountain season has plenty of highlights, but the brightest will be
the Masters National Championships. The Legacy Lodge at the base of the
mountain will serve as mission control, and events are also slated for the
new USSA training facility, the Center of Excellence. “Park City will be social
central for the week,” says Lanzel. “I can guarantee that we’ll have as much
fun off the slopes as we do on.”
In yet another twist, the Far West
masters uses a unique vehicle to
drive its social life — the Scholarship
Program. And there is no shortage
of socialization at the races. This is
California and Nevada, after all. “
After the races, there are parties at nice
places,” says divisional chairman
Mark Mirviss. “It’s one of the things
that brings us together. We have the
usual array of raffles, prizes, and
awards. But it all revolves around the
scholarship program. It’s a big part of
who we are.”
Essentially, the Far West Masters
have set up a generous scholarship program to benefit young ski racers
from the area. “The recipients don’t have to be the best ski racers,” says
Mirviss. “Sportsmanship, academics, citizenship, and work ethic also play
a deciding role.” It would seem that ski racing ability certainly helps, however, since Far West racers such as USST members Jonna Mendes, Stacey
Cook, Marco Sullivan, Julia Mancuso, and Travis Ganong have won past
“Because of the program, our sponsors really help us out with product,
and we also get many private donations,” says Mirviss. “Some items go into
raffle prizes, and for big ticket items, we’ll have a silent or live auction to help
fund the Scholarship Program.” Far West also received a $100,000 gift last
year from the family of Jeff Wattenmake; it will be exclusively used to fund
an additional college scholarship.
Another infusion of cash to the scholarship fund comes at the year-end banquet, where teams are auctioned off for a dual slalom the following day. The
bidding is heavy and the ringer-quotient is high, as masters teams load up
with junior speedsters, including many of the past scholarship recipients.
For all the divisions, it’s part of a direction change in ski racing. “We are
slowly changing our image from the diehard speed and race freaks,” says
Lanzel, “to a broader social group of like-minded athletes who share a passion for skiing.”
The Minnesota Connection is a
Rocky Mountain race sponsor.
Brandon Dyksterhouse hangs
with Michelle Woloshin and Jessie
McAleer at Sunday River.