SV Shred: Ski School 101

Some tips for shredders in training

Sharing the love of skiing with little shredders.

By Mike McKenna

One of the smartest things any ski or snowboard loving parent can do is to have your children take ski lessons. And it’s not just because it then frees parents up for some fresh tracks in the Bowls, or a couple rounds of beer at Apple’s, or fondue at Averell’s–these are just the fringe benefits.

The real benefit of enrolling your children in ski school is that it helps give young shredders the skills and confidence to enjoy a sport you love for more reasons that just aprs skiing.

To help assure the any child’s day in ski school goes well, we consulted with an expert, Weylin Barrett, the Children’s Supervisor for the Sun Valley SnowSports School at Dollar Mountain.

Dress for Success

Since skiing is an outdoor winter sport, appropriate apparel is imperative. "Whether your child has skied once or a thousand times, it’s always a good idea to get all the kids’ stuff out ahead of time so you can see how everything fits and make to sure it’s comfortable," says Weylin, who’s been working for Sun Valley since 1998 and is a father of two youngsters himself.

It’s always important for parents to be aware of the weather forecast for the day and to make sure their children are properly and comfortably dressed. "Taking a little time before hand to check and plan helps assure success and prevent and problems or bumps along the path," says Weylin (See the Clothing Check List below).

Planning to Plan

Having a plan for how the day will go is always a good idea as well, which is why most ski schools like Sun Valley recommend you sign up in advance. Walk in students are always welcome, but it still helps to have a plan for how the day will go, including a good breakfast and plenty of water (Sun Valley’s high desert elevation increases dehydration).

Sun Valley offers a variety of ski school lesson and package options, which can even be combined with lift ticket and passes for Dollar’s tubing park (Click here for package and lesson information). But the lessons generally run from 10 am to 3pm, so  parents need to have drop off and pick up plans. Weylin recommends parents schedule a little time to meet instructors before hand and some time to ski with the kids afterwards. Parents are also welcome to hang out at Dollar Lodge, which offers a restaurant, great views of all action on the slopes and an outdoor deck with a fire pit and heaters.

The goal of our instructors is to meet the goals of the family. If you want your child to work on something as basic as wedge turns or to just have fun and fall in love with skiing, that’s what we’re going to do," Weylin explains from the friendly confines of Carol’s Dollar Lodge, adding that many families like to end the day with a few runs so the kids can "show off what they’ve learned."

Reasons Lessons are Recommended

Tubing at Dollar Mountain is fun for the whole family.

While even the most seasoned skiers and boarders could use a lesson or two at some point in their lives, it’s really a no-brainer to get your kids to take a lesson. Unless, that is, you’re afraid your kids will become better skiers or snowboarders than you, which is really just a fruitless worry anyway – they will.

One of the biggest reasons most folks in the industry recommend children take ski lessons is because, quite simply, there are some thing parents could use a little help teaching their kids, and skiing is definitely one of them.

"Even with my own (oldest) son, my ski and ride pros reach him much better than I do, which is fine. They can teach him so I can just go out and have fun with him," Weylin happily explains.

"Ultimately, the goal of the Ski School staff is we’re trying to build lifelong skiers and riders, so we see skiing as a family sport," Weylin says, "and we really believe it’s about families having fun."

Clothing Check List

__Head: Warm winter hats are a must and the Ski School does provide helmets at no extra charge. Still, hats are needed for before and after the slopes.

__Eyes: Ski goggles are the best way to protect eyes from cold the cold air, glaring sun and occasional inevitable fall. As Weylin points out, most professional skier and riders always wear goggles.

__Neck: The Ski School highly recommends neck gators or at least jackets that effectively cover the neck.

__Hands: Water-proof gloves are essential. It’s also important to make sure the gloves fit properly so that the young shredders can easily grab poles or chair lifts.

__Feet: Thick socks aren’t recommended, as they tend to cut off circulation to the feet. Instead, Ski School recommends thin ski-specific socks.

__Coat: A comfortable, warm, waterproof/resistant jacket is a must.

__Pants: As with the jacket, warm, waterproof/resistant pants are crucial, especially for snowboarders.

__Layers: Layers are the way to go in colder climates like Central Idaho and so wearing long underwear is always a good idea. The key is to avoid cotton-based materials when layering because they hold moisture. Moisture wicking long underwear is the best.


MOUNTAIN DIVAS: Epic Moms and Girls Who Kick Butt

Get inspired, get involved or just get away–this is your chance to shine!

By Laurie Sammis

Utter the word DIVA and it immediately creates an image of a glamorous and admired woman, one at the top of her game. An image of a woman who is a personality, a tour de force, and a woman who has earned the right (or simply demanded it) to be completely, totally and royally spoiled in every way.

Tracing its origins, quite literally, to the Latin word for divine. diva (or divas, plural) lists as its synonyms goddess, princess and queen. And never mind that our dear friend Mirriam Webster also lists "prima donna" as both 1 and 2 in the same definition, all of us ladies know that we all have a little bit of the diva in us. This blog–DIVAS–is dedicated to finding the inner goddess in each of us (or at least what is left of the superwoman we all want to be in our daily lives).

DIVAS features epic moms and girls who kick butt, both on and off the slopes. Get inspired, get involved or just get away–this is your chance to shine.

And what better way to launch our blog, but with a story about a group of ripping alpine women skiers–named, appropriately, the DIVAS.

DIVAS stands for "Die Incredible Vimin Alpine Shredders" (best uttered, according to SunValley Snowsports Instructor and DIVAS founder Danielle Carruth, with a heavy Austrian accent). "The idea for the program has been in the works for about five years, but the timing was finally right and we are thrilled with the incredible turnout," says Carruth.

Modeled loosely on the success of VAMPS (their boot camp is legendary), which is Muffy Ritz’s Nordic program taught by women for women (and with a nod to the spirit of VAMPS through the name as well), DIVAS is a women’s ski group taught by a core team of all-women coaches from the Sun Valley Snowsports School who focus on improving technical skills over varied terrain.

You don’t have to be an expert: The only requirement is that you can comfortably ski any run on Baldy, from top to bottom. DIVAS meets one-day per week for 2.5 hours on Baldy, although many DIVAS continue to ski together after class.

"We focus on a new theme every week, with very targeted instruction to help improve skills," says DIVAS coach and co-founder Nicky Elsbree, who asserts that breaking into small groups of 5 or 6 skiers ensures that the instruction is personalized to each woman’s individual needs and learning style.

One week the theme may be balance, with instruction on hip position, proper upper body stance and weight transfer. Another week the DIVAS may run gates, focusing on the finish of the turn and angulation, as opposed to taking on a bump run in the bowls, which is more about the top of the turn, initiation and transfer of weight.

"We try to make all our learning fun," says Carruth. "We ran the skiercross on Dollar one day and everybody had a blast, and I don’t think anybody even realized that they were working on things like how to ride a flat ski or how to absorb the terrain," she says, "they might not know they are working on skills that will apply later in the bumps, but they’re doing it and having fun at the same time."

"Building confidence is important," adds Elsbree. "Essentially, we are teaching them how to make subtle changes in their skiing, depending upon the terrain that they are about to enter." The goal is to ensure that no matter what conditions they encounter–whether entering steeps or harder snow or bumps–DIVAS will have the eye and the technique to handle whatever is below them.

"That is what makes skiing so fun," says Elsbree, "It is never the same, so it is always challenging."

>> To sign up for DIVAS next season (or get on the waitlist for this winter season) contact Sun Valley SnowSports at (208) 622-2289 or email for more information on women’s specialty clinics and instruction.

Apres Ski Music at River Run Lodge

Apres Ski Music at River Run Lodge

2pm – 5:30pm

Happy 75th Birthday to Sun Valley!

Carving turns down memory lane

By Mike McKenna

On the unseasonably warm and fateful day of December 21, 1936, Sun Valley officially opened to skiing. To mark the 75th birthday of America’s original destination ski resort, we’ll take a run down memory lane–not to be confused with Pete Lane’s Mountain Sports–and highlight some of the unique and interesting happenings from each of the last eight decades on (and off) the slopes of Sun Valley.*

1930s: Legend has it that just as the last workmen were putting the finishing touches on the Sun Valley Lodge and sneaking out the back door, celebrities like Clark Gable were walking in the front. Every detail of the grand opening was said to be perfect (except for the snow, which showed up a few days late) and after throwing a star-studded opening night dinner at the Lodge, a new star was born on the world’s ski scene–Sun Valley, Idaho! (The Gilbert Stanley Underwood exhibit at the Ketchum Sun Valley Historical Society-Heritage & Ski Museum is "must see" for any history or architecture fans.)

Leif Odmark, the original "Hot Dog Skier."

 1940s: Skiing, ice skating and enjoying life in the dreamy environs of Central Idaho grabs the nation’s attention with the release of the iconic film, "Sun Valley Serenade," which still shows daily at the Sun Valley Opera House. Even more positive attention shines upon Sun Valley when local skier Gretchen Fraser becomes the first American to win an Olympic gold medal for skiing.

1950s: Ernest Hemingway, who first started visiting Sun Valley in 1939, buys a home overlooking the Big Wood River, forever linking the literary giant to the Valley where he worked on some of his classics like "For Whom the Bell Tolls," which he wrote in Suite 206 of the Sun Valley Lodge.

1960s: Hot Dog skiing (now referred to as Freestyle) is born in Sun Valley. Led by the high-flying likes of local skiers Leif Odmark, Bobbie Burns and Penelope Street the sport takes off and by 1973 Sun Valley plays host to the first U.S Freestyle Championships.

Bobbie Burns graces the cover of Powder.

 1970s: Powder Magazine launches its first publication from an old cabin in Ketchum. Aimed at chronicling "the other ski experience," Powder finds its niche with a unique voice, stunning photography and by bringing "Powder to the People!" Powder celebrates its 40th birthday in December 2011 by throwing a legendary "Powder Prom" at Sun Valley’s Limelight Room.

1980s: After purchasing the resort in 1977, Earl and Carol Holding spend the next decade plus refurbishing America’s oldest ski resort. State-of-the-art snowmaking and ski lifts are installed. These two additions are still considered hallmarks and highlights of the Sun Valley ski experience–consistently offering some of the best snowmaking in the world, as well as the shortest lift lines at any major ski resort in the country.

1990s: Sun Valley’s day lodges at the base of River Run and Warm Springs are rebuilt and the Seattle Ridge Lodge is opened, redefining the standard of elegance and excellence that made Sun Valley "America’s Shangri-La." The award-winning day lodges are considered, as Earl Holding put it, the "crowning jewels" of the resort.

2000s: Sun Valley adds a 1,800 passenger per hour gondola. Running from River Run Lodge to the newly re-opened Roundhouse Restaurant and Averell’s Bar, the Sun Valley gondola (the largest Doppelmayr project in North America at the time) covers 2,000-feet in a mere eight minutes. A truly magical experience offering arguably the best views the Valley has to offer, dinner trips up to the Roundhouse have become popular year-round.

2010s: After a stunning remodel to Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge in 2004, Dollar kicks off the next decade and chapter in Sun Valley’s remarkable history by opening one the of best snow terrain parks in the nation (designed by the experts at Snow Park Technologies). This season, a half pipe will be built on Dollar as well.

*[All these stories–and much more, including hundreds of classic Sun Valley photographs–are part of Van Gordon Sauter's new book in honor of the Resorts' 75th anniversary, "The Sun Valley Story." Pick up a copy at any Sun Valley Resort shop.  If you'd like to look before you buy, visit to take a peek inside the book.]

Protect Our Winters Fashion Soiree


When: Tuesday, December 27th ‘ 6-8 PM
Where: Ochi Gallery ‘ 350 Walnut St. ‘ Ketchum, ID 

Join us at Ochi Gallery to celebrate Winter 11/12 fashions from Sun Valley and Ketchum retailers.  Collections will showcase on the runway, modeled by local athletes to benefit Protect Our Winters (POW). Come check out trends from exclusive designers, enjoy the hosted bar, watch All.I.Can from Sherpas Cinema and bid on some great silent auction items.  Open to the public.  100% of contributions will benefit POW. $10 door donation.
RSVP on Facebook


4th Annual Christmas Concert Dec. 23 at the Sun Valley Opera House

Sun Valley Presents the 4th Annual Classical Christmas concert. This year’s concert will see the return of soprano Celena Shafer, along with Sun Valley’s Director of Entertainment and tenor, John Mauldin and his sister Leslie Mauldin, a soprano. For the first time, long-time friend Jed Moss will lend his incredible piano and baritone skills to the Opera House Stage.  Good friends since high school, Leslie and Jed have performed together for years.  A consummate classical pianist, Jed has performed internationally and has been active in the recording studio for many years.  But Jed is also extremely versatile and has always loved a good adventure.  While keeping up with his classical performing, Jed also toured with the Broadway production of Phantom of the Opera and in 1995 accepted an offer to tour with Air Supply and, after traveling the world with them for 14 years, realized he needed more time to commit to his true passion, classical music.  Now he is busier than he’s ever been performing, accompanying, teaching and lecturing.  Of a recent performance, the Salt Lake Tribune noted that “The common thread…was the virtuosity of pianist Jed Moss.  No matter the high quality of the sung and strung performances, it was Moss who commanded the audience’s admiration.”

- Jeff Manookian, THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE  Also returning will be the Hatvani Chamber Ensemble, and, of course, Christmas in Sun Valley wouldn’t be Christmas without the Sun Valley Carolers.  Once again, the audience can count on hearing some of their favorite Christmas tunes mixed with some they may have never hear from the classical to the traditional to the new!  Don’t miss it!!

Doors open at 7:00pm and the show starts at 7:30pm
Tickets are $35 for Adults.
Tickets on sale online or  at the Sun Valley Recreation Center: (208) 622-2135




Town Series #3 on Cozy

Town Series #3 on Cozy

Contact Mike Wrobel at Sun Valley Race Desk 622-6356

Ski Club GS on Cozy

Ski Club GS on Cozy

For more information, please contact the Sun Valley Ski Club at 622-3003 or the Race Desk at 622-6356 or

SVSEF at Dollar

Face – Ottos backup

Mini World Cup

Adele Savaria at

Coaches at 8:30

Sun Valley Ski Club Slalom on Cozy

Sun Valley Ski Club Slalom on Cozy

For more information, please contact the Sun Valley Ski Club at 622-3003 or the Race Desk at 622-6356 or