November’s News & Notes for the BMT

With three months until the 2021 Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour, organizers are busy planning a new “Virtually Amazing” event which will run from February 1-7 at a ski track near you. Read all about it in November’s News & Notes.

With three months until the 2021 Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour, organizers are busy planning a new “Virtually Amazing” event which will run from February 1-7 at a ski track near you. Read all about it in November’s News & Notes.

Format Change for 2021 Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour

“Our Race, Your Backyard” is the rallying cry for the 48th annual Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour, February 1-7, 2021. We invite skiers of all ages and abilities to take part in our virtual BMT this year by skiing a trail and distance of their choice in their home state or favorite place.

Course distances are 15k and 30 kilometers. Courses will be suggested at various areas and resorts at 10 regions throughout the United States and Canada. We are asking racers to self-time and submit their times via email to We will post daily race updates via our BMT leaderboard and ask you to “Rock the Boulder” by sharing your photos we will be posting to the BMT Photo Wall and our social media sites.

Prizes will be awarded each day in many categories, including Best Costume, Oldest/Youngest Racers, Pacesetter, Team Spirit, Best in Snow and Best in Show (canine category). The week-long festival culminates with a virtual awards celebration and recognition of our participants that will be broadcast on Vimeo.

The entry fee is $39 for adults, $25 for juniors and $125 for families or teams of four. The fee includes an official SWIX race hat, sticker, sponsored items, raffle ticket, and a training plan for racers of all abilities. Trail passes courtesy of the Blaine County Recreation District will be available to skiers in the Sun Valley area. Participants will receive their race packet via mail.

To register, please click here.

Please contact us at if you have any questions. Thank you!

Registration begins for 2021 Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour

Registration for the 2021 Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour opens tomorrow,  Wednesday, July 1.

Formed in 1973, the Boulder Mountain Tour is a cornerstone event celebrating cross country skiing in the Wood River Valley. Starting at Galena Lodge and following the Harriman Trail through the Sawtooth National Forest, course distances are 34 and 15 kilometers. The 48th annual BMT is scheduled for Saturday, February 6, 2021.

Year in and year out, the safety of our racers, spectators, and volunteers is priority number one. With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, safeguarding the health and welfare of all involved with the event is even more crucial.

In light of present circumstances, we have made changes to our pricing structure for the benefit of our racers and respect for their decision-making process. Rather than tiered pricing, race fees will remain the same throughout the registration process.

2021 Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour Race Fees 
Full BMT:    Adult $95, Junior (17 & under) $50
Half BMT:    Adult $80, Junior (17 & under) $45
Half BMT Adult + Child under 10 Combo:  $95
Swix BMT Hat Only  (US shipping included) $40

It is possible that changes to the race format will occur to provide a greater level of physical distancing. To date, no decision has been made to limit the size of the race field, although it is a likely consideration. If it’s determined that capping the size of the field will provide additional safety or compliance with any jurisdictional mandate, it will be announced simultaneously via email to our entire mailing list.

We are enthusiastically and methodically envisioning a memorable 2021 event. We hope you will join us! To register, please go to For any questions or concerns, please contact BMT Race Director Jody Zarkos at or 208.720.1810.

A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, BMT board members are John Reuter, president, Martha Pendl, vice president, Muffy Ritz, secretary, Sue Hamilton, treasurer, Tom Bowman, Svea Grover, Jamie Lieberman, Paddy McIlvoy, Andy Munter, Ivana Radlova, Bob Rosso, and John Seiller.

2020 Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour a grand slam

The sun was shining on the 2020 Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour and Sun Valley Nordic Festival – literally and figuratively. 

The 47th annual race marked the feel-good edition of the BMT. Not only was the weather flawless, adding to a marked cheerfulness by all involved, locals had reason to cheer as the race saw its first local champion in 12 years and the youngest ever race winner. 

Johnny Hagenbuch, 19, a senior at Sun Valley Community School and member of the U.S. Ski Development Team, backed up his potential in the men’s elite field deemed to “be the deepest in the history of the race” by Rick Kapala, SVSEF cross country program director. 

Emerging from the trees in front, Hagenbuch built a strong enough of a lead on the homestretch to turn around and look at his pursuers. He crossed the finish line – alone – in 1:17.07, almost one second ahead of Jordheim and Bie, who were separated by 1/100th of a second. The pair, along with women’s champion, Guro Jordheim, are coached by Miles Havlik, a former racer on the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Gold Team and two-time NCAA National Champion at Utah. 

Pumped! Johnny Hagenbuch wins the 2020 Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour. All photos by Nils Ribi.

Hagenbuch’s victory marked the first win by a skier who grew up in the valley in 12 years. Mikey Sinnott claimed the Harriman Trail crown in 2008. 

The women’s race came down to the wire, with Jordheim narrowly overtaking 2019 runner-up Katie Feldman at the finish to win in 1:25.50.3. Feldman crossed the line in 1:25.50.5, and 2019 champion Erika Flowers was a close third in 1:25.50.9. 

Jordheim, 23, a six-time All American, is competing in her third NCAA Championships this week in Bozeman, Montana. She is the top-seeded skier in the women’s 5k classic and 15k skate in the West Region. Havlik’s Utes won the 2019 NCAA banner in his first season as head coach, and with six veteran skiers, including the Jordheim twins and Bie, competing are looking solid once again. 

Katie Feldman and Guro Jordheim share a laugh after the race.

Cash prizes totaled $8000 in the elite class with $2,500 going to the race winners, $1000 to second place and $500 to third place, along with flowers and BMT special-edition cookies. There is no disparity between men and women regarding cash prizes awarded. 

Age class champions in the Full Boulder were Ella McNeeley, Sarah Kilroy, Jordheim, Mary Rose, Flowers, Kellie Carim, Kathryn Roberts, Brooke Hovey, Barbara Kreisle, Kim Kawaguchi, Elizabeth Youngman, Janet Conway, Linda McClatchy, Andrew Crouch, Jackson Monz, Hagenbuch, Bolger, Gelso, Joshua Korn, Sam Kreig, Joe Jensen, John Bauer, Barry Makarewicz, Kris Thoreson, Steve Moore, Peter Darienzo, Del Pletcher, and Steve Swanson. 

Feeling fine at the start. Luckily, it’s all downhill from here.

Wave class winners (3-7) took home $75 cash courtesy of Zenergy Health Club and Spa. Champions were Sloan Storey, Eloise Zimbelman, Maria Gesior, Naomi Goldberg, and Justin Calvin for the women, and James Roloff, Will Sladek, Ruslan Reiter, Jeff Aken and Clint Mortley for the men. Goldberg and Calvin won their waves outright. 

The Jon Engen Memorial Award to the skiers who improve their times by the most significant percentage year-over went to Hannah Young (17.5%) and Brad St. Clair (31.7%). Jon’s wife, Darlene Young, was on hand to give out the eponymous belt buckles hand-crafted by Foster Weld of Boise. 

Darlene Young (right) is clearly delighted to give the Jon Engen Award to Hannah Young.

A new award this year, Ski It Forward, is given to the nonprofit organization of the winning team’s choice. “Bjorn to Adventure” with Hagenbuch, Bolger, and Bjornsen garnered $1,000 for The Hunger Coalition, who builds healthy community through access to good food and addresses the root causes of food insecurity in Blaine County. 

“There are so many amazing nonprofit organizations on which our community is built and depend. We are happy to contribute to their wonderful work and be a good partner in our quest to create a healthy and happy community,” Jody Zarkos, BMT executive director, remarked. 

Youth was served in the 15k Half Boulder, as overall titles went to 13-year-old Reed Wuepper of Bend, Oregon, in 38 minutes and 15 seconds and 12-year-old Cora Scott of Hailey in 43 minutes and 28 seconds. The pair finished first and sixth overall, respectively. The winning parent/child team was McCallen and Brady Campbell of Hailey. 

The ageless Charley French and Shauna Thoreson at the award bash.

This year’s race attracted 877 (676/201) participants, with 587 racers finishing the Full Boulder and 174 crossing the line in the Half. 

As always, the Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour received tremendous support from its partners in the community and nationwide. Zions Bank was the title sponsor for the sixth consecutive year. Gold sponsors were Sentinel Security, Sue Engelmann of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, and Blaine County Title. 

Silver sponsorships were provided by SWIX, Limelight Hotel, Backwoods Mountain Sports, Elephant’s Perch, Atkinsons’ Market, Power Engineers, Voće Tea, Lutz Rental, Zenergy, Blaine County Recreation District, Galena Lodge, Davis Embroidery, Rossignol, Madshus, Rex Wax, Salomon, Hammer/Heed, TOKO. 

Racers on course.

Bronze sponsors were Sturtevants, Jones Grover Team of Engel & Vølkers, Clear Creek Disposal, Sun Valley Associates, Sun Valley Garden Center, Lizzy’s Fresh Coffee, Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, McCall Remastered, Boulder Nordic Sport, Fischer, Bliz/Swenor/START, and Enjoy Winter.  

Race supporters include West Yellowstone Montana, Sun Valley Community School and Ski Academy, Morgan’s Fine Finishes, Lloyd Construction, Mason Family Restaurants, VAMPS, DONS, Conrad Brothers Construction, Perry’s Restaurant, Wrapcity, Nourish Me, Sushi on Second, The Cellar, Sawtooth Avalanche Center, Lefty’s Bar & Grill, Glow, Wood River YMCA, Pisten Bully’s, Mountain Rides, Wood River St. Luke’s, U.S. Forest Service, and Bluebird Solar. The NordicTown USA Sprint purse was provided by board members Muffy Ritz and John Seiller. 

Half Boulder age-class champions.

The BMT would like to extend its gratitude to Sharon Pyle of Atkinsons for her help in procuring race-bag items and the following amazing companies who made very generous donations to the delight of our racers: Pro Bars, Nuun Hydration, Kate’s Real Food, Betty Lou’s, BoBo’s, Nature’s Path, Wolo Bars, Honey Stinger, NibMor, Raw Rev Bars, Dandies, and Backcountry Bars. 

Jack Weekes created the official poster and artwork for the custom-made socks of the 2020 BMT. A limited number of both are available for purchase at Nils Ribi was the official race photographer. Program contributors include Emily Williams, Mikey Sinnott, Annie Pokorny, Don Shepler, Mary Rose, Matt Gelso and John Reuter. Design by Judy Stolzfus of Judy’s Design House. 

She’s a beaut! The official BMT poster.

We would like to acknowledge the City of Ketchum for co-hosting our BMT Block Party and Awards Bash, as well as local businesses and sponsors who provided food and drink; The Cellar Pub, Leroy’s, Voće Tea, Wood River Sustainability Center, La Parilla, Sawtooth Brewery, and Zions Bank. 

Race stalwarts include our wonderful aid station sponsors, Galena Lodge, Sun Valley Suns, Sun Valley Community School, Sturtevants, and Girls on the Run spearheaded by Tom Bowman. We would also like to extend our thanks to the road crew with Bryce Turzian and friends. Andy Munter for buses and biffies. John Seiller ran the start for the Full Boulder and Kelley Yeates and Family the Half Boulder start. Prime Time Timing of Wisconsin expertly provided race timing supported by Bobby Noyes, safety measures by the Galena Backcountry Ski Patrol and emergency services by the Ketchum and Sun Valley fire departments, Idaho Transportation Department, Idaho State Police, and Wood River Ham Radio. In acknowledgment of the local ham radio club’s years of service, the BMT donated $500 to the organization in honor of Joe Yelda. The course grooming crew headed up by Eric Rector of the BCRD did an excellent job, and the course held strong all day long. 

Nothing beats those post-race smiles.

The board of directors of the BMT would also like to extend its sincere thanks to the 260 committed volunteers who absolutely make the race what it is year after year. This race would not happen without your dedication, energy, and enthusiasm. Volunteer heads include Ted Angle, Jenny Busdon, Roberta Heinrich, Travis Jones, Rick Kapala, Jim Keating, Eric Rector, Bobby Noyes, Ashton Wilson, John Reuter, Nils Ribi, Gay Riley, Muffy Ritz, Bob Rosso, Jim Keller, James Lieberman, Frank Rowland, Andy Munter, Don Shepler, Pete Stephenson, Mike Wolter, Bryce Turzian, Tom Bowman, Joe Yelda, Mat Hall, Kelley Yeates, Sue Hamilton, Ivana Radlova, Paddy McIlvoy and Martha Pendl. 

Just a few of the amazing people who make the BMT happen. Thank you one and all!


Results Posted for the 2020 Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour

Results from the 2020 Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour are posted as at

Congratulations to all our participants, including race champions Guro Jordheim of the University of Utah, and Johnny Hagenbuch of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation and U.S. Ski Team.

Official awards will be held at Ketchum Town Square tonight at 5 p.m.

Top finishers in the 47th annual Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour were, from left, Ola Jordheim, Katie Feldman, champions Juro Jordheim and Johnny Hagenbuch, Erika Flowers and Max Bie. Photo by Nils Ribi.

Breaking Down the Boulder: Insights from a BMT Champ

How does your BMT story begin? It may end in a sore, tired, and (hopefully) sunburned heap on the snow, swearing off XC ski racing forever. Not to worry, this affliction will heal rapidly once you start trash talking to your friends how you will beat them in the BMT 2020…But what started your BMT career? Are you a glutton for punishment? Did you lose a bet? Maybe you are here to show everyone that an old dog can learn new tricks? I’m sure some of you got suckered in with the, “it’s all downhill” line. If so, I encourage you to strap on your 140 flex boots, lock your heels down, and head to the start line…

For those brave enough to tackle this 1,000 foot descent (lol, it’s all downhill, I promise) on XC gear, here’s six phases of the race to consider. DISCLAIMER: I was a “professional athlete” (making an NFL salary) for 15 years so spend the next three minutes of your life reading this at your own risk. I will not be held responsible for wasting your time nor giving bad advice…

1) Elbows and Ski Poles: The Start

A great marathon race starts as fast and hard as you can to build an early lead. As you’ve seen in the Tour De France, that usually works SUPER well. The start is important, but you’ve got 34 km to ‘race’; spend the start defending your poles and enjoying the gorgeous views – there’s plenty of time to make yourself tired later. At the starting line, mind the short bald man with the bullhorn, he is amusing (especially to himself) and will warn the stragglers of the men’s elite field to allow the elite women who catch them to pass with ease…These ladies have already beaten you by two minutes, let it go!

2) Do Not Color Outside The Lines: The Road Crossing

A kilometer or so into the race is a beautiful strip of pearly white to carry you across Highway 75. I will spare you the “stone grinding” jokes about what happens if you miss this white ribbon (you can’t). Note, this is a great place to knockout your competition, as a small nudge can send your competitor back to ‘go’ without collecting $200 dollars (actually, spending a lot more than $200 on a new pair of skis). In all seriousness, be light on your feet and head up and you will blast through this into Phase 3.

3) You’ll Ski At My Pace and Like It: The Infamous Hawk Hill

One could call this a big climb, but they would also call the Midwest ground zero for big mountain alpine skiing. The challenge here lies in the trail width – it doesn’t afford a three-person wide “I’m more fit than you” contest. This will help those who believe that this is their spot to make a move – trust me, it’s not. Let the trail width save you from yourself. Relax and flow up the hill, look forward to the great view from the top and the fun descent to follow.

4) Enjoy Your Next 20km: The Blowup

This overlooked bump will inform you immediately as to what kind of day you are having. A SNEAKY uphill that takes 30 seconds to ski but can put you one minute or more ahead (or behind) someone who started it with you. I have watched President Truman drop Fat Man AND Little Boy on legit racers here…However, if you are feeling good, this can be a great place to strut your stuff.

5) Fruit Of The Loom Is Not Going To Cut It: The (Sometimes) Cold Part

If you begin your clothing layers like with the same piece as Walter White in the first episode of Breaking Bad, you may regret it. “Frostbite Flats” translates directly in skier to “wear your wind briefs.” Even if it is warm on the day of the race, wind block material can’t hurt. This section of the course (from Baker Creek to the finish) contains great open skiing, where you can ski big and let your skis glide out. Don’t forget to enjoy the amazing views of the Boulders and the Big Wood River!

6) Move It Or Lose It: The Finish

I’ve been the one moving it – and also the one losing it. The end of the race is narrow, twisty, and FLAT. Think tactically, save energy, and do NOT start sprinting too early! The final drag is long, so be patient and time your ‘move’ such that you die (metaphorically only please) at the finish line, not 10 feet before it.

Remember these six phases and you might have a good race, or not, it’s really up to you. Write your own BMT phases; hopefully they involve fun racing, good weather, great snow, and amazing people. Enjoy your time on the Harriman Trail, it’s a beautiful place and you only get to race on it once a year (if you’re lucky)!

Matt Gelso is a retired professional ski racer, formerly with the SVSEF Gold Team. As a member of the University of Colorado NCAA Ski Team and the U.S. Ski Team, he raced throughout the U.S. and Europe in World Cup and World Championship competitions. He now deals commercial and residential real estate in the Wood River Valley with Paul Kenny & Matt Bogue Real Estate. He is the 2018 Boulder Mountain Tour champion.


Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Boulder Mountain Tour

Every year, on the first weekend in February, hundreds of enthusiastic skiers line up at Galena Lodge to race the 34 kilometers to the finish line of the Boulder Mountain Tour. For the racers, their journey is just beginning. But for the race organizers and volunteers the sound of the starting gun represents the conclusion of months of careful preparation, and sets in motion the final, masterfully planned, process of executing a world-class race.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Boulder Mountain Tour. From coordinating bib bags to managing aid stations to timing, our tight-knit community makes this race happen again and again. Most have been involved with the BMT for more than two decades and remain dedicated supporters of this iconic event.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and we thank everyone for their unflagging enthusiasm and expertise!


Ted Angle

Head of Volunteers
Ted Angle
Years volunteering: 34
Hometown: Seattle, Washington
Skiing start: I started skiing on the West Seattle golf course in grade school. Skiing in one form or another and playing in the snow has always been a part of my life.
History with the BMT: I like to support and get involved in the things I have a strong interest in and passion for. I started out as a racer in the Tour, and evolved into a volunteer. I have held many volunteer positions over the years: aid station set-up, trail maintenance, timer, communications relay, parking assistance, and now the head of volunteers. I enjoy working with like-minded folks who want to help.
What keeps you involved with the BMT? I get the satisfaction that I’m helping to support and perpetuate a sport and lifestyle that has so many benefits: camaraderie, healthy workout, a beautiful setting. This is a great XC skiing community; easy to work with and a joy to recreate with.

Gay Reilly and Roberta Heinrich

Bib Bags
Gay Riley
Years volunteering: 22
Hometown: Nevada. Wood River Valley resident for 45 years
Skiing start: I cross-country ski and snowshoe in the winter – anything to play outside.
History with the BMT: In 1998 the Ketchum Chamber of Commerce, under whose umbrella the BMT had previously been managed, hired Roberta Heinrich and myself to move the race forward as its own entity. We oversaw the race with the BMT board of directors from 1999 through 2002. We have stayed on the committee since then organizing our beloved bib bag volunteers!
Favorite part about the BMT? The people we work with. Those devoted, tireless members of the BMT committee as well as the ever-changing roster of engaged volunteers.

Bib Bags
Roberta Heinrich
Years volunteering: 22
Hometown: Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota
Skiing start: I began cross-country skiing in 1971 and have been an on-again, off-again skier ever since. I appreciate the physical benefits of the sport and the incredible system of trails that are available here in one of the most beautiful areas in the country
History with the BMT: I began racing in the BMT in the mid 1980s. Since that time, I have been aware of the importance and potential of the race on a community level as well as its national significance in the Nordic world. From 1999 to 2002, my business partner and I were co-directors of the BMT. We grew the race to 1,000 racers, 350 volunteers and 33 committee members.
What keeps you involved with the BMT? There is a true sense of community, purpose and pride in putting together a world-class race. I continue to participate because I believe it is truly a great event for our community and because of the people I have come to know and work with over the last 20 years.

Jenny Busdon

Jenny Busdon
Years volunteering: 20-plus
Hometown: Staffordshire, England
Skiing start: Nordic skiing has always been my passion for many years. My husband, Nello, and I graduated from the Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors and developed a successful after-school ski program for kids in Whistler. My family competed in European Loppet races and many local races. When we moved from Canada to the USA in 1984, it was the dry snow of Sun Valley that was the big draw. To use blue wax instead of klister was a delight!
History with the BMT: I have volunteered to head the BMT registration room for the past 20-plus years. I love the energy that this race brings to the community; being in the registration room you witness this first hand. It is great to see the familiar faces that come from all over the USA and Canada each year to enjoy what this race offers.
What keeps you involved with the BMT? I love to give back to this community I adore and to the sport of Nordic skiing that brings me so much joy. I entered the Boulder Mountain Tour for the first time in 1985 and continued to do it until four years ago. Having participated in so many races (I won a gold medal in the Masters Worlds, racing for the USA in Canmore, Canada in 1995) the BMT is very special. I was inducted into the Sun Valley Ski Hall of Fame in 2012.

Mike Wolter

Race Secretary
Mike Wolter
Years volunteering: 15-plus
Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Skiing start: I was born into a family who loved skiing, and began skiing at the age of two. I ended up competing at the collegiate level and beyond, traveling and racing in many national and international events. I moved to Ketchum after a conversation with Rick Kapala convinced me to continue ski racing. Today, my two amazing kids are both continuing their ski racing in college as SVSEF alumni, and enjoying the life of skiing like I did…How lucky am I to be part of a multi-generational family of skiers?
History with the BMT: I attended and raced for the Montana State University Ski Team in the mid-80s where I became good friends with Jon Engen. We decided to race the Boulder Mountain Tour together in 1989. Unfortunately, the weather turned just before the race and the roads were closed. We had to cancel our trip, but race organizers were so kind and still sent us our gift bags!
What keeps you involved with the BMT? I competed most of my life and am so happy I can now return the favor! I have many great relationships from a lifetime of skiing, now I get to reconnect with many old friends who come to participate in the BMT every year. The BMT stands out from other marathon ski races thanks to the views down the course, the participants, and the people who put the event together (now and in the past!). The best thing I’ve learned about volunteering for the BMT are all the people involved…who they are, what they do, and why they appreciate this sport as much as I do.

Andy Munter

Buses and Biffies
Andy Munter
Years volunteering: 40-plus
Hometown: Duluth, Minnesota
Skiing start: I did some cross-country skiing in college while working part time at a local ski shop, but it wasn’t until I got to Ketchum that it became much more of a lifestyle. I skied the Boulder most years and lots of other fun races around town. And then, lots of days with now 38-year-old baby Henry on my back, young Henry in a sled, and little kid Henry skiing on his own.
History with the BMT: My first experience volunteering for the BMT was in the late 70s when there was a call for help building a temporary bridge across the Big Wood where the Murphy Bridge now stands for race day. I showed up and was totally entertained watching three icons in early Nordic skiing; Bob Rosso, Joe Czismazia, and Phil Puchner use ropes, winches and an old Jeep to put a bunch of logs in place for the race the following week. I was amazed at their dedication to making the race work.
What keeps you involved with the BMT? The BMT’s history sets it apart from other races. It is called the Boulder Mountain Tour for a reason. Although the majority of skiers have always been skiing as fast as possible, many locals would enter the “tour” with lunch and maybe a bottle of wine in their backpack, especially for all those years that the trail was groomed only for the race. Some of that energy still exists with people that ski it every year as a community event, with less importance placed on their finish time. Working on the BMT is not just about the race, I also see the passion of the lifestyle and connection to snow and winter that the skiers embody. When I’m shuttling out-of-town skiers, I consistently hear them comment on how beautiful the Boulder Mountains are, how great the tracks are, and how friendly the community is. All reminders of the gratitude I feel for what an incredible community we live in, including our generous race sponsors and agency partners who make the BMT possible every year.

Rick Kapala

Chief of Start 
Rick Kapala
Years volunteering: 30
Hometown: Detroit Michigan. Has lived in Wood River Valley since 1987
Skiing start: 1974
History with the BMT:  I have skied a few BMT’s but mostly have helped with the start crew. I learned the “start trade” from Bill and Annie Vanderbilt way back when. In my role and that of the Sun Valley Ski Foundation Nordic Team is that the SVSEF Nordic staff and parents as well as other supportive volunteers have committed to owning the organization of the BMT start. That is where all the fun begins!
What keeps you involved with the BMT? A couple things. The enthusiasm of the skiers is really amazing. Folks just love being a part of the event. And, the fellow volunteers are really motivated to deliver a great experience to all the participants and that powers all of us to stay involved and give back to the community.

Erin Zell and Don Shepler

Food + Start
Erin Zell and
Don Shepler
Years volunteering: 14
Hometown: All over the place, mostly Virginia
Skiing start: We started skiing by breaking trails up and down the mountains in Oregon on winter routes, we never spent much time on groomed trails until we moved to the Wood River Valley. Our first groomed experience was in the free learn-to-ski clinics at Galena during Demo Days with Bob Rosso. We immediately got skate and classic skis and never looked back!
History with the BMT: We inherited our role with the BMT when we started operating Galena Lodge. Galena plays a few roles in the BMT. First off,  we are the start location, everyone is dropped off at the Lodge to await the start of the race. We also provide the soup and cookies at the end of the race. Though this is not strictly a volunteer role, we provide some staff volunteers to help us with this role. We serve close to 60 gallons of soup and about 1,500 cookies and brownies that day. It takes the better part of an entire workday for one person to bake and package all the cookies and brownies (even after they are mixed). We trade off racing the event or managing the food tent at the finish line each year and they’re down at the finish setting up and heating soup before the racers even start!
What have you learned volunteering at the BMT? We pretty much just love being involved with the BMT. From the racers that come up to check out the course early to the volunteers that show up at 6 a.m. the day of the race to the support staff that helps us set up and take down the food tent, it is all an incredible community day! Volunteering allows you to be involved in an event in a different way. It is rewarding, engaging and fun without the pressure of having to race. It is so important to support community events, they are the backbone of our community.

Pete Stephenson

Bag Transfer Coordinator
Pete Stephenson
Years volunteering: 30+
Hometown: Newport Beach, California
Skiing start: I was invited to join a group of skiers from the Elephant’s Perch on a tour out to Boulder City in 1974. It was my first time on skis. We were on wooden skis and klister for the 14-mile round-trip journey. Looking back, it was incredible spring corn skiing. I kept trying to telemark and would just crash and burn. A friend skied up after one of my crashes and asked, “You wonder why we do this? That’s why! You crash and burn, and get back up!” That’s all I’ve done here since.
History with the BMT: In the early days of the BMT, everyone who raced helped put the race on. Many hands make light work. In the 1980s, I became a paid fireman and stopped racing, but stayed on with the race committee as bag transfer coordinator.
What keeps you involved with the BMT? For me, volunteering is what you do for your community. It has always been an important part of my life. I love running into people in the grocery store who say, “See you at the BMT” and I get to wave and yell back, “Yep, you will!” My favorite part of race day is working with volunteers to meet racers just after the finish line with their bag of dry clothes. The look on those skiers’ faces and their appreciation is the most incredible moment. I’ve stayed involved with the race for moments like those and because of the other passionate, dedicated people I get to work with. It is just a whole lot of fun, and the only way to spend the first weekend in February!

Tom Bowman

First Aid Stations
Tom Bowman
Years volunteering: 25-plus
Hometown: Salinas, California
Skiing start: When I was in college, I rowed for San Diego State University and eventually made the U.S. National lightweight rowing team, so I had a solid aerobic background when we moved here. Cross-country skiing shares many of the same traits as rowing; your fitness and technique are equally important.
History with the BMT: I volunteered for many years on the start set up crew and finish line. Last year, I learned the complexities of setting up the four aid stations along the course. I was recruited to the Board of Directors a few years ago when the BMT was transitioning from being run for many years by Kevin Swigert.
What keeps you involved with the BMT? I continue volunteering to be able to feel that in whatever small way, I am contributing and making a difference to one of the very important pieces of our community. One of the things that makes our community so strong is the individual commitment to volunteer and non-profit organizations. The most rewarding part of volunteering is being a part of the community institution, which is the BMT.

Bobby Noyes

Back Up Timing
Bobby Noyes
Years volunteering: 18
Hometown: Long Island, New York
Skiing start: I started skiing as a way to enjoy the snow in New York. It would snow for a few hours, and I would bust out my first pair of wooden skis with three-pin bindings as a teenager and get out in my backyard.
History with the BMT: I used to compete in the 1980s. The trail was only groomed a few weeks before the race happened, so it was your only chance to get out and ski the course. Eventually, the BCRD started grooming all the time and you didn’t have to race to ski the trail. I decided that if I wasn’t going to race anymore I might as well help out, and started helping with back up timing.
What keeps you involved with the BMT? It isn’t about what you’re doing but the people you’re doing it with. My daughter was a competitive XC racer with the SVSEF team, and I started volunteering to help with timing at her races. I ended up timing for the BMT because of my experience helping at those races. I’ve competed in other long-distance ski races and the BMT truly stands apart. It is a really great event and its fun working with other people who are supporting it.

Nils Ribi

Nils Ribi
Years volunteering: 20-plus
Hometown: Bitterroot Valley, Montana
Skiing start: My father was a member of the Swiss national biathlon team, each winter he brought me and my brother to Sun Valley to ski when we were young. While we skied on Baldy, he would go off and cross-country ski with Leif Odmark. There is nothing more calming for the soul than enjoying the beauty of nature while exercising on snow.
History with the BMT: I began working at the BMT start area, after a few years, we created a crew to focus on setting up all the start area sponsor banners to make sure they looked excellent for the sponsors and participants. For the past thirteen years I’ve also volunteered my photography for BMT publicity.
What keeps you involved with the BMT? The most rewarding part of volunteering at the BMT for me is seeing so many happy faces of friends and people you don’t know having a great time all on one day. We live in a great community filled with wonderful, giving volunteers and it is special to work with and be around them.

John Reuter

Finish Area Construction
John Reuter
Years volunteering: 8-plus
Hometown: Bethel, Maine
Skiing start: I began racing in the Bill Koch Youth Ski League as soon as I could shuffle on snow and be incentivized by a lollipop at the finish. I skied through middle school, high school, and most of my time at Bates College.
History with the BMT: I had skied the BMT a few times and Bob Rosso approached me about serving on the board. Aside from my roles on the board (they made me Board President when I didn’t show up for a meeting one day) I’ve worked at the start line several times. The last two years I organized the race finish. It takes several days, and I’ve been blessed to have a crew of wonderful volunteers to set up and take-down everything you see at the SNRA finish. I’m grateful to Nappy and his crew for having done this work for the last century, it’s no small task!
What keeps you involved with the BMT? Despite having been involved in this race for about 10 years – as a skier, volunteer, board member – it took me until 2018 to fully get it. Specifically, I remember two moments. The first, I was in Atkinsons’ Market a day or two before the race, and everywhere you looked, people were obviously here to race. You know the look – they’re fit, wearing Nordic clothes, and look confused in the aisles of an unfamiliar grocery store. The impact was obvious, our little town was filling up during an off-peak week in February! The second moment was watching local David Lloyd trying to keep up with his smiling 5-or-6 year-old son as he crossed the finish line. The impact of a local event like this is captured in moments, and it’s moments like these that make the Wood River Valley a great place to live.  Volunteers make the community go round. Period.

Bob Rosso

Chief of Course
Bob Rosso
Years volunteering: 47
Hometown: Newport Beach, California
Skiing start: We used to roll up to these old ski areas in the mountains of California and then we would make the run up to Mammoth. One year I wanted to get away from the scene, I heard about Sun Valley from some friends, packed all my belongings and the rest is history. In the 70s, the cross-country skiing was out on the golf course. It was a great crew of people.
What keeps you involved with the BMT:  It’s the basic stuff. All my life I have been active in sports; surfing, biking, running, skiing, swimming…The people I have met through these sports are really important to me, and the people that help are the lifeblood of our community. It really makes a difference when you step in to help, and someone steps up with you. When that happens, nothing can stop you and the energy it takes to make these events go year after year.

Emily Williams

Writer Emily Williams grew up chasing her family as they were kayaking rivers, climbing peaks, and skiing the powder of the Wood River Valley. Her passion for the outdoors grew as she did, deepening with every new adventure. She started cross-country skiing on the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation’s Devo Team in third grade and never looked back. She is now the Head Coach of South Devo and Striders cross-country ski programs with SVSEF. 

Consistency and Flexibility Are Key To Successful Fall Training Schedule

Fall months for cross-country skiers can be rather challenging. Weather is a major variable and sometimes motivation can be lacking with cold weather, rain/snow, and a lack of daylight making it difficult to get out the door. As challenging as it may be, it is important to stay consistent in your routine during the transition periods while also being flexible with the ever-changing weather. Even though the snow is starting to fly, we still have some time to get into ski specific shape.

First, I suggest looking at the weather for the coming week and building your training schedule around that. Plan the indoor workouts for the poor weather days and your outdoor sessions for the clear fall days. Always have your running shoes with you in the fall in case it randomly starts snowing and rollerskiing becomes too dangerous or the trails are too wet for mountain biking.

A coach with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, Mary Rose’s cross-country athletes tackle dryland training at Dollar Mountain. 

We spend all summer building lower body strength and endurance by running, hiking and biking; Fall is the time to start incorporating upper body exercise and speed into your routine. Getting into the gym for basic strength (pull-ups, push-ups, dips) will pay off once you hit the trails. If your gym has a ski erg, utilize that for your warm-up or build a session around ski erg intervals. Getting on the ski erg 1-2 times a week will quickly build strength and set you up for a great winter season!

Start regaining foot speed and explosiveness during the fall months by incorporating ski walking or bounding into your routine. Build training plans with 1-3 intensity sessions per week. One to two of the sessions should be threshold and the other session should be speed focused. If you are on a distance run, do speed bursts of 10-15 seconds every 5 minutes. Pick varying terrain to teach your body how to move fast in different types of terrain. A few of my favorite threshold interval sets are 4 x4 minutes, 4×8 minutes, and 4×12 minutes. I like to switch up how I construct the workout.  Sometimes I pick a set loop for each interval. Other times I do intervals on a bigger loop and each interval is done in a different section with different terrain.

Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation is very fortunate to have a rollerski treadmill- this becomes a key training tool especially in the fall with poor weather*. We use the treadmill 12 months a year for technique work, accommodating injuries, and lactate testing. This has become a great resource because of the quality workouts that can be accomplished, regardless of weather and daylight.

There are many ways to get into ski shape in the fall, you just have to find what works best for you. The key to success in the winter is to stay consistent with exercise, in the summer and fall. Stay motivated by mixing up the workouts and being flexible with the weather conditions for that day. Call a buddy and get out there!

See you on the trails!
Mary Rose

*The treadmill has recently been opened to the public for private rollerski, bounding, or ski walking coaching sessions. It is a great tool for cross-country skiers of all abilities to work on technique, test lactate levels, and do intervals in a safe and controlled environment.  If you are interested in the treadmill contact Mary Rose at to schedule a session!


Summer Training with Mary Rose: Do What You Love

After I retired from the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Gold Team, I went straight into coaching for Sun Valley SEF. It was time for me to move on from competitive skiing, but that doesn’t mean that I will ever move on from the sport. The transition away from being a full-time athlete was pretty smooth because I still love being active, and I always loved training, so my life didn’t really change.

Being a Nordic skier, we are privileged with how we train for skiing. It is essential that we mix up our workouts between running, biking, rollerskiing, and strength. When I was skiing competitively a lot of my training included exploring the wilderness around Sun Valley by running, biking, or skiing.

Mary Rose (right) and Liz Stephen exploring the Idaho backcountry.

I have instilled a lifestyle that allows me to stay fit year-round. In the springtime, you will find me backcountry skiing in all the different mountain ranges surrounding Sun Valley. You will also find me squeezing in the perfect spring skiing conditions at Galena and on the Harriman Trail. I spend most of my days outside doing what I love, skiing! Backcountry skiing and cross-country skiing in the spring help me build up my endurance base. Without even considering this training, I am putting in big training hours, simply by exploring.

Once the snow is gone, I rely on my running shoes and bike to explore. There are so many places I have yet to experience around Sun Valley and that is my biggest motivator when it comes to exercise. During the weekdays, I try to get outside once a day for either a bike or run and on the weekends I try to climb one or two peaks. I no longer focus on intervals sessions or how many hours my training plan says. Instead, I focus on what will bring me the most joy. I love getting outside with good friends who share the same passion.

On rare occasions, I will jump into a running interval or two with my athletes to help them with their technique or to keep them motivated to dig deeper. Intervals are not a top priority for me. However, it is good to squeeze in a couple here and there.

While I am far from the perfect training plan for cross-country racing, I stay fit by doing what I love! The most important thing to do for Boulder Mountain Tour prep is to get outside and enjoy your time, especially in the spring and summer. Training hours will build up, and you will get fit in no time.

Born and raised in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Mary Rose is a former SVSEF Gold Team athlete. Mary represented the United States at the Under 23 World Championships as well as the Colorado Buffaloes at the NCAA Championships where she earned two team National Championships. Now that her professional racing days have come to an end, Mary has decided to call the Wood River Valley home and pass on her sport knowledge as a ski coach for the SVSEF.

Nordies on top of the mountain! From left, Mary Rose, Chris Mallory, Matt Gelso, Peter Harris, and Kevin Bolger on top of Galena Peak.


Zions Bank Remains Title Sponsor of Boulder Mountain Tour

The Boulder Mountain Tour is delighted to announce Zions Bank remains the event’s title sponsor for the fifth consecutive year.

Tracy Groll, Regional President of Idaho Resort Banking, remarked, “We enjoy partnering with the BMT because it supports the local community and we believe it’s extremely important to invest and participate in the communities where we have a presence.”

Bob Rosso, a longtime board member and local business owner, concurred, “We are really thrilled to have Zions back as our title sponsor. Zions has really terrific people who back us up, give us support, and share really creative ideas. It is an excellent relationship and one we are very appreciative of.”  

Boulder Board President John Reuter added, “Long-term sponsorship is incredibly important for the BMT because it allows us to make educated planning decisions toward growing the event and maximizing the positive impact of the BMT on the community as a whole. Specifically, Zions’ five-year sponsorship has allowed us to increase our marketing and outreach, improve our timing and results, modernize our website, and deliver a “presentation” to visitors that highlights this amazing valley in which we live.”

2019 Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour champions Peter Holmes of Sun Valley and Erika Flowers of Bozeman. Photo by Nils Ribi.

Salt Lake City is the corporate headquarters for Zions Bank, which does business in 10 different western states in the U.S. In addition to Idaho and Utah, Zions and its subsidiaries have locations in Oregon, Washington, California, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas. There are two branches in the Wood River Valley in Ketchum and Hailey. (Tip: Check out the freshly-baked cookies offered every Friday).

Notable among Zions Bank’s BMT enthusiasts are Mark Garfield, Senior Vice President of International Banking, who participates with his whole family. This year, seven skiers related to the family were in the field, and Garfield semi-jokingly says that one of the criteria to marry into the family is being able to ski the Full Boulder.

“That is exactly the case!” Garfield exclaimed.

Of course, being a zealous cross country skier helps, and Garfield is a prime example of how Zions encourages its employees to exercise and take care of themselves and how that philosophy spreads to the greater community as well.  

“As a bank organization, we are encouraged to stay active and healthy and have incentives to do so. I believe the handful who do participate (in the Boulder) recognize the superb course conditions and beautiful landscape Sun Valley has to offer,” Groll said.

Community is at the heart of the Boulder Mountain Tour, and that is readily apparent in the remarks offered by both Groll and Reuter.

“Having Zions Bank remain as our title sponsor demonstrates Zions’ long-term commitment to supporting our local community. The BMT is technically just a ski race, but it’s actually a celebration of Wood River Valley – its natural beauty, its welcoming people, its local businesses. Zions Bank understands that supporting the BMT is really supporting the place we call home,” Reuter remarked.

“I think the biggest thing I would like people to know is that we really do support our community – whether it’s a sporting event, the arts, nonprofits, or cultural – it’s important to us. We are invested,” Groll said.

The Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour is the premier cross country ski marathon in the western United States. Held annually on the first Saturday of February, the Tour’s 34k route travels from Galena Lodge on the historic Harriman Trail in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area to the finish line across from SNRA Headquarters. There is also a 15k Half Boulder that begins at Baker Creek. The event attracts upwards of 1,000 people with more than 50 percent of participants from out of town, representing 23 states and three countries. This year’s race is on Saturday, February 1, 2020. Registration opens on July 1 at 

Skiers make their way down the BMT course. Photo by Steve Butler.