Established in 1960

The SVMA 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.

Early Beginning

From the beginning, the SVMA has been noted for the caliber of its continuing education programs. We strive to bring in high-quality speakers, and our programs are RACE approved.

Partly due to the length of time the SVMA has existed, and partly due to the personality of its membership, many customs that have become part of the SMVA tradition are unique to a veterinary meeting. An explanation of our traditions follows.

Sunday Evening Karnival

This is a themed costume and dance party in which all meeting attendees are encouraged to participate. It evolved after our 1971 SVMA ski trip to Austria, where we experienced Fasching. Fasching is a pre-lent celebration similar to Mardi Gras. The serving president chooses the annual theme. Previous themes have included Saturday Night Live, Superheroes, Animal Farm, and 80’s Dance Party.

Fun Race

This was originally a NASTAR ski race. It is now an all-inclusive adventure race and social mixer suitable for all skiing abilities. Past race activities have included scavenger hunts, team sculpture events, playing ‘Clue’ on the mountain, and even ‘taste testing’ for parts to build a Mr. Potato Head.

Tail Ender Award

This “honor” (and the hat of shame) is awarded by way of a group vote (loudest applause) to the “nominee” who has made the funnistest blunder during the week. Past recipients of this dubious award have been responsible for blunders such as overloading the hotel elevator, leaving ski boots behind in the airport, and neglecting to keep ski tips up (resulting in the inevitable face plant) when disembarking the chair lift. In addition the recipient’s name is engraved on the official SVMA Tail Ender trophy.

Anniversary Banquet

At the end of the week, we have a dinner banquet with dancing afterward. At this event, the Prince and Princess (another Fasching tradition) for the following year are identified and crowned. The outgoing president turns over the reins to the incoming president, who then announces the location of our ski meeting (and summer trip) for the following year.

The Finest

As SVMA’ers we pride ourselves on our uniqueness and “esprit de corp.” We genuinely 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.