Nine brave and bold local celebrities will be lacing up their skates and showing off their skills at Battle of the Blades … It’s Back, returning to Sun Valley ice on September 8, 2012.

This year’s lineup is (in alphabetical order): Snowboard champion Kaitlyn Farrington, Baldy Hill Climb winner and skier Miles Fink-Debray, firefighter/paramedic and animal rights advocate Lara McLean, bicycle enthusiast Billy Olson, restaurateur Keith Perry, Sun Valley Adaptive Sports leader Erin Rheinschild, Ketchum retailer Bob Rosso, science teacher Hannes Thum and family practitioner Cortney Vanderburgh. Each will compete for the thrill of victory and cash awards to be donated to the nonprofit of his or her choice. The top three finishers win money for their cause.

Check back to this web page for updated bios on the contestants and the announcement of which nonprofit they will represent.

It’s game on for this year’s event! Blades are about to fly!

You can also keep up with the event on Facebook at Battle of the Blades Sun Valley.


Hannes Thum is a wildly popular science teacher at the Community School's Upper School. A 2003 graduate of the school, he returned to teach three years ago. His courses include Biology, Geology, Environmental Science and Idaho Ecology. A coach for the Upper School Soccer team, he also helps with the school's outdoor Leadership Academy's backcountry ski program. In his free time, he is an avid backcountry skier and a dedicated fan of the road trip. He once did a 25,000-mile lap around North America. No joke. Born in the St. Moritz Hospital in Sun Valley, he is a true native. His father, a painter and ski instructor lives in Twin Creeks. His mother, an acupuncturist calls Hailey home.

Fun Facts about Hannes Thum

  • He missed one question on his SAT. Out of the entire test.
  • During the summer, he lives in his van. He gives himself until mid-October before relocating "inside."
  • He teaches banjo as an independent study class at school.
  • He once chased Howard Dean in a gorilla suit when he was running for president. "It was right before he did his screaming thing and fell out of favor," quoth Hannes.
  • His favorite animal is the wolverine.
  • Even though he, to this day, cannot ride a unicycle, he once coached a unicycle team.


Ok … it wasn't a popularity contest, but it's always nice to see that people like you, right? So here is the full list of valley movers and shakers who received at least one nomination to compete in this years' Battle of the Blades … It's Back -- all 92 of you!

Thanks to all who submitted a name (even if it was your own).

We apologize for any spelling errors. This is how the names were received…

The big winner will be announced here, as well as on Battle of the Blades Sun Valley on Facebook, on April 30. We wish we could dress all of you in sequins and put you under the bright lights, but please come to the Sun Valley rink on Sept. 8 and cheer on this year's brave competitors even if you're not the ultimate winner!

A - Randy Acker, Lisa-Marie Allen*, Joyce Allgaier, Whit Atkinson

B - Curtis Bacca, Thomas Black, Greg Bloomfield, Sally Boettger, Mike Burchmore, Bobbie Burns, Deborah Burns, Sara Burns, Grady Burnett, Imani Burrel

C - Tom Campion, Joyce Chang, Willy Cook, Reggie Crist, Zach Crist, Rob Cronin

D - Conor Davis, Keith Joe Dick, Debra Drake

E - Wiley Ellis, Nicky Elsbree, Adi Erber, Matthew Evers, Blake Everson

F - Mary Fauth, Miles Fink-Debray, Nanette Ford, Jason Fry

G - Mickey Garcia, Mat Gershater*, Christine Giglio, Patty Gilman, Matt Gorby*, Michelle Griffith, Paige Griffith, Chelle Gourlay, Jim Grossman

H - Steve Harkins, Rebecca Hemingway*, Wally Huffman, Phil Huss

I - Scott Irvine*

J - "J.C. of Wiseguy," Lenny Joseph

K - Rick Kapala, Chris Koch

L - Cody Langbehn, Jim Laski, Sheila Liermann

M - Roger Mankins, Nick Maricich*, Sean McEntee, Lara McLean, Beverly McNeal

N - Kipp Nelson, Bobby Noyse

O - Alex Orb

P - Tony Parkhill, Dave Penn, Keith Perry, Jake Peters, Pete Prekeges

R - Bege Reynolds, Carl Rixon, Bob Rosso

S - Jim Santa, Joan Scheingraber, Robin Sias*, Ed Simon, John Sofro, Peter Stearns, Tricia Swartling

T - Kim Taylor, Hannes Thum, John Tormey

W - Danny Walton, Rod Watson, Hunter Weaver, Harry Weekes, Geoff Wells, Josh Wells, Kate Whitcomb, Eric Wingard, Scott Winkler, Don Wiseman, Mike Wolter, Poo Wright-Pulliam

Z - Jody Zarkos

*The team behind Battle of the Blades, including Lisa-Marie Allen, Becca Hemingway, Matt Gorby, Scott Irvine, Nick Maricich and Robin Sias, thank you for nominating us. We are very flattered, touched even. But we simply must defer. Who would run the show? Mat Gershater also thanks the person who nominated him. He had so much fun last year he would probably love to compete again, but he can't. Bylaws and such…

See you at the rink September 8!

Battle of the Blades … It's Back.