Established in 1960
This organization was founded in 1960 by four California veterinarians; Drs. Bob Miller (AKA cartoonist RMM), Mil Custer, John Pucket, and Bob Stansbury. This was the first organization of skiing veterinarians, and although often imitated in later years, no other such group has ever duplicated the spirit, professional camaraderie, and the affection its members hold for one another.
From the beginning, the SVMA had been noted for the caliber of its continuing education programs. We strive to bring in high-quality speakers, and our programs are RACE certified.
Partly due to the length of time the Association has existed and partly due to the unique personality of its membership, many customs have come to be part of the SVMA tradition, some of which may surprise and the puzzle the newcomer. An explanation of our traditions follows.
Sunday evening Karnival
This is a themed costume party and dance in which all attendees are encouraged to participate. It evolved from the German Mardi-Gras celebration commemorating the Fashing celebration (a pre-lent activity) in Munich which SVMA attended during the 1971 ski trip to Austria. The serving president chooses the annual theme. Previous themes have included “Saturday Night Live,” “Superheroes,” and “The 60’s”
This race has evolved from a Nastar ski race to an all-inclusive adventure race and social mixer suitable for all skiing abilities. Past race activities have included scavenger hunts and the game of “Clue” on the mountain, team snow sculpture events, and the ever-popular bovine testicular toss.
Tail Ender Award
This award is bestowed (by way of group vote) to the person who has the biggest mishap (makes the biggest fool of themselves) during the week. Past award recipients have included overloading an elevator, forgetting ski boots in the airport, neglecting to keep ski tips up when disembarking the chair lift, and similar foibles.
The event occurs on Thursday evening and involves dinner and dancing. The Fun Race winners are announced at this event. The Prince and Princess are chosen by the outgoing “royalty.” Tail Ender stories are told, and the group votes on the most outrageous “Tale.” Whoever is chosen as the recipient of the award is bestowed the responsibility of having their name and the title of their Tail Ender story engraved on the trophy. Finally, the outgoing president thanks their meeting chairs and Board of Directors, and hands over the reigns to the incoming president, who announces the 2nd Vice President and the location for their ski meeting the following year.
As SVMA’ers we pride ourselves on our uniqueness and “esprit de corps.” We like and care about each other and feel that as a result of this spirit, we are the finest veterinary organization in the world. We offer a hearty welcome to new members of our family.