SNOWBIRD, Utah — Utah celebrated 60 years of Ute skiing with the Celebration on the Snow reunion, held at Snowbird Mountain Resort, April 18-20.
Over 160 alumni from around the world traveled to Utah for the event. Activities for the weekend included both a Nordic and alpine (slalom) ski race and an all-mountain scavenger hunt. Josh Smullin (men) and head Nordic coach Wendy Wagner (women) won the Ski Up, a four-mile cross country race up the Snowbird service road to the top of the tram. Participants were split into teams of four for the slalom race and scavenger hunt. Team Park City, which featured current Ute Hermann Lager, 1959 Slalom, Alpine and downhill champion Marv Melville, Brita Knockum and Bjorn Bjornstad, was the grand prize winner, with the best combined score in the alpine and scavenger hunt events. The group also won the slalom with a combined time of 3:00.39. A full list of winners is below.
The events culminated with the annual ski team banquet on Saturday evening. The Utes were honored for their 2008 third-place finish, and team awards were handed out. Scott Veenis was a double winner on the evening, being awarded the Jerry Dixon Scholarship and the C.D. Reddish Memorial Award. Eva Huckova and Even Sletten earned the outstanding women’s and men’s skier awards, respectively. Chirine Njeim took home the Alf Engen Sportsmanship Award for her tenacity throughout the season, skiing well and keeping her grades up while taking care of a loved one with terminal cancer.
Former NCAA individual and team champions were also honored at the banquet. Former Utah Ski Director Pat Miller, who coached from 1974-2000, received one of the biggest ovations of the evening.
â€œThe reunion was a smashing success,â€ Director of Skiing Eli Brown said. â€œIt was a great experience to get to know former skiers, reconnect and build new relationship. We hope to use this as a starting point to create a strong bond with our alumni.
â€œOne of the highlights was the slalom race. I had the pleasure of helping at the start and watching the alumni get their game faces on after many years was a hoot! We are already looking forward to the next reunion.â€
Utah Team Awards
C.D. Reddish Memorial Award: Scott Veenis
Awarded to the graduating senior or upperclassmen who has contributed the most to the team, not only in results, but with respect to community relations and promoting the sport as a diplomatic ambassador.
Jerry Dixon Scholarship Recipient: Scott Veenis
David Novelle Outstanding Skier Award: Even Sletten
Awarded to the male athlete who has been one of the most influential factors in the success of the team with outstanding results through the entire competitive season.
Toril Forland Outstanding Skier Award: Eva Huckova
Awarded to the female athlete who has been an important factor in the success and accomplishments of the women’s ski team programs.
Alf Engen Sportsmanship Award: Chirine Njeim
Awarded to the outstanding athlete in either their junior or senior year who has best demonstrated the most inspirational qualities. This award takes into consideration outstanding competitive achievement as well as noteworthy leadership and sportsmanship.
Reunion Results and Awards
Ski Up (Four-mile cross country race up service road to top of tram)
1. Josh Smullin
2. Torin Koos
3. Van Edgtte
1. Wendy Wagner (Utah head Nordic coach)
2. Elizabeth Guiney
3. Giggi Burns
Oldest Ski Up Participant: Bjorn Malkomsen
1. Team Park City (Hermann Lager, Brita Knockum, Bjorn Bjornstad, Marv Melville)
2. Team Sundance (Markus Leunig, Elisa Stephens, Steve Myers, Hensing Rudd)
3. Team Canyons (Will McDonald, Thor Kallerud, Pete Karns, Fred Duberow)
Scavenger Hunt/Poker Run
1. Team Snowbasin (Chirine Njeim, Robyn Newcomb, Marit Lind, Barbro Hatlevik)
2. Team Quebec (Alain Britt-Cote, Markos Leunig, Per-Christian Nicolaisen, Zoe Roy)
3. Team Alta (Eva Huckova, Thor Kalleru, Marita Wtherill-Hart, Kevin Sweeney)
Fastest Woman (who is not a current athlete): Sabrina Leunig
Fastest Man (who is not a current athlete): Markus Leunig
Oldest Female: Marita Wtherill-Hart
Oldest Male: Marv Melville
Grand Prize (Combined slalom and scavenger hunt)
Team Park City (Hermann Lager, Brita Knockum, Bjorn Bjornstad, Marv Melville)