The Sunny Korfanta Ski Race, is always a ‘Sunny’ day
Girls Under 8
1st-Paiyzli Baker, 2nd-Samantha Prior, 3rd-Bryn Arny
Courtney Skinner awards special sportsmanship award to Kelby Woolf
by Terry Allen
February 18, 2015
On Saturday, February 14th, the annual Sunny Korfanta GS (giant slalom) Ski Race was held at White Pine Ski Area. The event is sponsored by the Sublette County Ski and Snowboard Association (SCSSA). The race is held each year to honor Albert "Sunny" Korfanta, who is known as "The Father of Skiing in Sublette County."
Twenty-five official ski and snowboard competitors between the ages of four and fifty donned race bibs and competed in eleven different classes on the Giant Slalom (GS) course set up under the Little Spirit lift. The fun race is open to all who wish to participate. Winners are based on the best of two runs.
Fran Korfanta and Alberta McAndrews, daughters of Sunny, attended the race and were thrilled to be there and support the kids. "It is always a wonderful day when we can honor our Dad," Fran said. "It is always a ‘Sunny’ day." "Dad would have enjoyed all the different ages that participated in the ski race," said Alberta. "He was always honored that they named the ski race after him."
The Gold Medal finishers in each class were: Paiyzli Baker, Canyon Schell, Sean Ruckman, Sydney Wise, Araya Finley, Rosie Douglas, Trevor Moritsch, Dalton Plew, Kelby Woolf, Coleman Griffith, Charles Johnson, Colten Briggs and Mike Stauthamer. The remaining medal winners and participants results can be found at the SCSSA website: http://www.sublettecountysnowsports.org/
Silver medalist, Samantha Prior, age 4, was very happy with her performance. "The race was very good," she said. "Turning was my favorite part…but I hated following my Dad. I like to be out front."
Bronze medalist, Bryn Arny had praise for the course volunteers. "The course was set really good," she said. "The snow was a little soft though, because it was so warm. My favorite part was going around the gates."
Lat Straley was very pleased with the quality of the athletes. "We have some great young athletes coming up," he said. "These young kids are developing a love for a lifetime sport, and are the beginning of a great ski team for Sublette County."
A Wyoming native, Sunny seemed to have a hand in every pot his entire life. He earned All State honors in football, basketball and track. He worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps. He went to pharmacy college and became a pharmacist. He was an assistant postmaster under Kit Carson. He bought Kit Carson’s drug store. He participated in wilderness search and rescues. He ran the first ambulance. He was instrumental in the building and running of the ski resort…then known as Surveyor Park. He climber Gannett Peak four times and summited Fremont Peak numerous times. He coached various sports at the schools for no pay. He started a water skiing event on Fremont Lake. The Pinedale High School football field was named in his honor.
Sunny was the honored recipient of the "Pioneer Award" from the Intermountain Ski Areas Association in 2003, and named a "History Maker" in 2007 by the University of Utah, J. Willard Marriot Library Ski Archives and in 2008 was inducted into the Intermountain Ski Hall of Fame. You can see photos and artifacts from the "Sunny" era at the Alf Engen Museum at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City.
Take a look at this vintage Youtube video on Sunny to see a few photos. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0qRZf3F6rc
In the obituary written by Sunny’s family, it states: "The true measure of a man is not what he acquires in a lifetime, but what he leaves behind."
So, take a drive up to White Pine and take a run down "Sunny’s Hill." He left it behind, just for you.
Photos by Terry Allen