Gala celebrates 80 years of ski racing on mountain

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Whitefish High School “Pine Tar” Einan racing to victory in the slalom race at the 1939 Montana State High School Ski Championships. (Photo courtesy Flathead Valley Ski Education Foundation)

The Flathead Valley Ski Education Foundation will hold its annual gala event Showcase of the Chefs — Gourmet Dinner, Wine Tasting and Auction on Thursday, Nov. 29 at the Lodge at Whitefish Lake.

The theme for this year’s event is Celebrating 80 Years of Ski Racing on Big Mountain. While Whitefish Mountain Resort celebrated its 70th anniversary last year, the Big Mountain has served as the venue for the first-ever Montana State High School Skiing Championships in 1939, eight seasons before the opening of the resort.

“Hosting the State Championships in 1939 was an epic story,” said FVSEF Executive Director Tim Hinderman. “Eighty-six competitors from 10 schools around the state traveled to Whitefish and then hiked from town up to the old Hellroaring Ski Club cabins — there was no road yet. They spent two nights camped out at the cabins and two days hiking up and racing on what today is Chair Two terrain. And equally amazing — over 400 spectators made the same trek from town to watch this first-time event!”

Olympians Maggie Voisin, Debbie Armstrong and Hilary Lindh will all be participating in one-of-a-kind skiing experiences to be auctioned at the Showcase of the Chefs.

Voisin is a Whitefish Native and FVSEF Freestyle Team alumna. She qualified for both the 2014 Socci and 2018 PyeongChang Olympic teams in the Slopestyle event. Training in Socci before her event, Voisin fractured her fibula and was unable to compete. She fared better at PyeongChang, finishing fourth and just missing out on a medal. Voisin also won the Gold Medal Slopestyle at the 2018 Aspen X Games.

Lindh relocated with her family to Whitefish from her native Alaska and began coaching with FVSEF in 2016. She represented the U.S. Ski Team in 1988 in Calgary, 1992 in Albertville and 1994 in Lillehammer, winning Silver in the downhill in 1992. She also won Gold in the 1997 World Championship downhill in Sestriere, Italy.

Armstrong, a Seattle native currently living and coaching in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, will be the Guest of Honor at Ski Heritage Days hosted by FVSEF on March 8-10, 2019. She competed in the 1984 Sarajevo and 1988 Calgary Olympics, winning Gold in the Giant Slalom in Sarajevo. Armstrong’s successful career included 18 top-ten World Cup Finishes.

Highlighting the auction are two fantastic ski outings featuring the Olympians — an all-day cat skiing trip with Great Northern Powder Guides and celebrity guests Armstrong and Lindh; and a Whitefish Mountain Resort ski outing with Maggie Voisin following a private fireside breakfast with Voisin at the Whitefish Lake Restaurant prepared by her dad and renowned chef Truby Voisin. Other auction items include ski trips, guided fly-fishing trips, collector’s wine and liquor offerings, artwork, jewelry, ski apparel and equipment, gift baskets from merchants all around the Valley and many more items.

This year’s showcase dinner on Nov. 29, will feature the chefs and entrées from Tupelo Grille, Abruzzo, Wasabi, Whitefish Lake Restaurant, The Boat Club and Three Forks Grille. Auction items include ski trips, guided fly-fishing trips, collector’s wine and liquor offerings, artwork, jewelry, ski apparel and equipment, gift baskets from merchants all around the Valley and many more items great and small.

The Showcase of The Chef’s is hosted each year by FVSEF to celebrate important milestones from the Valley’s skiing history and to raise money for the FVSEF Whitefish Mountain Resort Race Team and the Ski Heritage Center Museum of Skiing.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are $85 per person in advance, $95 at the door. Tickets are available at Sportsman Ski Haus stores in Kalispell and Whitefish, Great Northern Cycle & Ski, the Lodge at Whitefish Lake and online at www.fvsef.org.

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