Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation designated as U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site

By U.S. Olympic Committee | Nov. 06, 2012, 2 p.m. (ET)

The Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation has been officially designated as a U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site for cross-country skiing, as announced today by the United States Olympic Committee and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. Wood River Ability Program, a Paralympic Sport Club, is the Paralympic sport provider for the official training site.

Established in Sun Valley, Idaho, in 1966, SVSEF provides year-round training and competition opportunities for youth athletes in the Wood River Valley. As a U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site, SVSEF will offer resources, services and facilities to U.S. National Governing Bodies and their athletes, while creating an elite training environment that positively impacts performance.

“The Wood River Valley has shown a strong commitment to assisting America’s finest athletes pursue excellence,” said Alicia McConnell, USOC director of training sites and community partnerships. “We applaud their efforts and look forward to a valuable partnership with both the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation and USSA.”

SVSEF is the 15th designated training site across the U.S. In addition to field of play training, the sites also offer comprehensive athlete services, including sports science and medicine, top-level coaching, media exposure, local funding opportunities, and the shared idea and spirit to help athletes achieve their Olympic and Paralympic goals.

“This site designation will provide focus to Sun Valley’s effort to continue to enhance their training venues and athlete support programs,” said Luke Bodensteiner, USSA executive vice president of athletics. “Sun Valley has been a strong part of the Olympic development pipeline, and this partnership will open up additional opportunities for athletes looking to train there.”

The Wood River Valley – which consists of the cities of Bellevue, Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley – boasts 100-150 inches of snow annually, while offering more than 125 miles of groomed trails. In recent years, the area has served as a training ground for local athletes who have gone on to compete in the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, including Morgan Arritola, Simi Hamilton and Andy Soule, who was the first American to win an Olympic or Paralympic medal in the sport of biathlon.

“Sun Valley already had a strong reputation for its world-class training facilities,” said Don Wiseman, SVSEF executive director. “This designation confirmed our region’s commitment  to affording American athletes the ability to take advantage of the area’s natural resources, as well as the community spirit, excitement and passion for cross-country skiing.”