A new local marvels at his first end of the season party at Sun Valley
By Alec Barfield
I notice the costumes first. (Man, people in this town love to dress up.) Some are better than others, but everyone tries … it is the last day on Baldy after all. At one end of the spectrum are the Halloween get ups. A batch of the good ones: a human parrot and a mystery bird, Pooh Bear and Eyeore, a woman attached to an inflatable horse and some businessmen. Then there are the one-pieces, those throwback neon wonders that we all should own–if not strictly to use on the ski season’s last hurrah. Finally, a quirky mess of accessories paints the rest of the crowd. Put on a wig and sunglasses and you’ve got a party. Put on some denim jorts (jean shorts), which just skied past me, and you’ve got an even bigger party. Today, all functionality is unquestionably displaced by the best on-mountain party of the year.
Skiing is still the priority, but not necessarily the ability to do it well. In terms of attire, the louder the better. In terms of skiing, don’t crash too hard.
The SunFest party (Sun Valley’s official tagging of Sunday’s ultimately unaccountable nonsense) is the skier’s warble of skiing and drinking, which every so often gets put on repeat. Today that winning combination won’t stop until the lifts shut down. To be clear, drinking and skiing has its risks. But that’s another conversation and for this day, it seems to be another day’s worry. It’s the last day of the year, the weather is sunny and warm, the snow is nice enough to handle tiny ski blades and decades-old snowboards; no one seems to be thinking twice about the beer. Or the mimosas.
Baldy’s last day witnesses the entire cross section of pass-holders. Regardless of whether you lumber up the mountain less than five days a year or crunch out more than 100, the season’s final opportunity is always a ski.
This was a town-wide celebration. One that was fatefully sunny, just warm enough to ski in almost anything. There were beers and birds, and some bad skiing. It happens once a year and it’s viscerally awesome. It is a day to celebrate the season. And celebrate we did. As my grandpa would say, “You done good, Sun Valley!”
[To check out more of Nils Ribi's great photos from the final day or to read the full story please click here.]
Now that the slopes have closed for the season it’s time to turn our attention towards the links. This season Sun Valley will be offering 45 holes of world class golfing at three course: the longtime favorite of Trail Creek, the breathtaking track at the White Clouds and now entering it’s second season under Sun Valley’s management, the Trent Jones designed course at Elkhorn.
Trail Creek will be fully open this weekend (April 28th), with Elkhorn opening to walking only on the front night on Monday (April 30th) and White Clouds expected to start teeing off around May 4th.
To get you fired up for another great season of swinging the stick in Sun Valley, here’s my write up on the White Clouds’ signature hole from Idaho Golf Magazine.
The spectacualr 8th hole at the White Clouds.
White Clouds Golf Course
Signature Hole: #8
Offering some of the most stunning views found on any course on the planet, the White Clouds Golf Course in Sun Valley is known for its striking topography. The ridge-lined course overlooks the picturesque Wood River Valley, the White Cloud Mountains and the Ernest Hemingway Memorial.
Opened in 2008, the long, links-style course was designed by Don Knott and is considered challenging by any standard, with several long Par 5s and undulating fairways that yield few, if any, flat stances.
The signature hole at White Clouds is the 8th. Standing on the tee-box nearly 300 feet above the fairway below, take note of the wind before teeing off. It’s important to hit a solid drive on this long, downhill par 4. Anything hit too far left makes it a near impossible up-and-down.
Advice: Jeff Peterson is White Clouds’ Director of Golf: "The ball will stay in the air forever, but will need to favor the right side of the fairway due to a severely sloped fairway and bunkers on the left. The long second shot plays downhill and should also favor the right side of this large undulating green. Misses need to be short and right."
Closing weekend for Sun Valley was a huge success. From the two day lodges to the top of Baldy, another terrific ski season in the heart of Idaho culminated with live music, plenty of folks in funny costumes and dayglo ski gear and lots of fun-filled festivities.
The first-ever end of the season party at River Run was a big hit. DJ McClain spinning tunes and a bouncy house for the kids highlighted the celebration. Warm Springs was rocking to a live band and the final lifts of the year closed down amid fireworks shot off from Lookout at the peak of the mountain.
Now it’s time to tune up the mountain bikes, dust off of the hiking shoes, shine up the golf clubs and start counting the days until the next glorious ski season at Sun Valley kicks off next fall.
Funny costumes and ski outfits were the dress code for the weekend.
Time to trade in the skis for the clubs, the bike and the hiking shoes.
Join the excitement of our world famous Sun Valley Summer Ice Shows every Saturday night at dusk July 4, 2012 through Labor Day weekend. This summer, our ice shows will feature a showcase cast of Olympic and world-class figure skating athletes! Enjoy the gourmet dinner buffet on the outdoor Lodge Terrace before the show or view all the action from the bleacher seating up close to the ice. All shows start at dusk. 2012 Summer Ice Show tickets on sale at the Sun Valley Recreation Center (208) 622-2135 or online at: seats.sunvalley.com
2012 Summer Ice Show Headliners
July 4 Ryan Bradley
2011 United States Gold Medalist
United States Silver Medalist
2012 United States Junior Men’s Gold Medalist
July 7 Jeremy Abbott
3 X United States Gold Medalist (2009, 2010 & 2012)
July 14 Alex & Maia Shibutani
2011 World Bronze Medalists
2 X United States Silver Medalists
July 21 Evan Lysacek
2010 Olympic Gold Medalist
2 X United States Gold Medalist
2012 United States Gold Medalist
2 X United States Bronze Medalist
July 28 Alissa Czisny
2012 United States Silver Medalist
2 X United States Gold Medalist
Aug 4 TBD
Aug 11 TBD
Aug 18 TBD
Aug 25 Evan Lysacek
2010 Olympic Gold Medalist
2 X United States Gold Medalist
Sept 1 Meryl Davis & Charlie White
2012 World Silver Medalists
2011 World Gold Medalists
2010 Olympic Silver Medalists
4 X United States Gold Medalists (2009 – 2012)
* Cast of skaters is subject to change due to injury or other unforeseen circumstances
A local family enjoys a few days in America’s original ski resort
Vacations in Sun Valley are fun for the whole family.
By Nicky Elsbree
In recognition of one’s dedication to Sun Valley Company, they offer "R & R" packages to employees who have reached certain milestones in their careers. At the end of my 5th season of teaching skiing, I was awarded a three-night stay, all food and activities included, at a Sinclair Company (Sun Valley’s parent company) run resort.
The vision of scooting down to Utah and experiencing Snow Basin’s light and fluffy powder seemed attainable. The reality of our energy levels, however, caused my husband and me to reconsider. In other words, we were tired and the thought of loading up and traveling five hours south with two young kids didn’t sound as glamorous or easy as it once did.
So, instead of letting the certificate collect dust for a couple more years, we took action. With one of their nicest resorts right next door, Spring Break Sun Valley-style here we come!
The view from the Sun Valley Lodge.
At 5 o’clock on Sunday afternoon we loaded Clayton (7) and Hadley (3) into the car with DVD player and drinks available (their bags stashed secretly) for our long road trip. "Hot Springs? Camping? Boise? C’mon! Where are we going?"
As we took a left onto Saddle Road and crossed Highway 75, they were really befuddled. Without saying much, we pulled into Sun Valley’s parking lot and walked to the big doors of the Lodge where we were treated like royalty, as everyone is.
It was not until I presented a key to Clayton and told Hadley to hit the elevator button to the third floor that they started to engage in the possibility of…drum roll please…being able to spend the night at a hotel here in their hometown.
Yes, room #325, staring out at Baldy and over the hot pool, beckoned us. The kids were delighted as they chose their beds and took a few spins around the room, trying on bright white robes and too big spa slippers and even discovered a tiny box wrapped in gold ribbon hiding some fancy chocolates. For a moment, I think they forgot where they were… the transformation from locals to visitors was complete.
At Bald Mountain Pizza the atmosphere was relaxed, but we still reminded our kids of their manners. Our waiter Jonathan was cool and engaging without, you know, over doing it.
When he drifted back to the kitchen, we discussed the idea of "being from somewhere else," in effort to make ourselves more, well, touristy. Clayton promptly decided he wanted to be from San Jose. I guess the fact that he’s a hockey fanatic and a huge Sharks fan came into play. So as we gobbled up pizza, we had fun trying on our new identity and then weaved our way back to the Lodge.
The birthday boy gets hugs from Clayton and Hadley.
Clayton even got nervy enough to tell another elevating family when asked, that we were from San Jose. The mom, who mentioned they were from Idaho Falls exclaimed, "Wow, we’ve never met anyone from there before and isn’t that exciting?" Clayton’s everlasting grin grew even bigger.
The next day the rain came crushing and I actually felt bad for the "real" visitors. Skiing in the rain can be good, but this was a soaker and back-up plans, which included raincoats, came into play. For us it was breakfast at Gretchen’s followed by feeding the ducks and out to the hot pool. The temperature dropped just enough for the rain to transition to large wispy whiteness floating down. My daughter, Hadley, thought the flakes looked like the swan feathers she had found outside by the pond. They did and it was magical.
It felt like camp when we received a message in our room about an impromptu matinee showing "The Big Miracle," with Drew Barrymore. As all good movies do, it provided an escape out of our own little world into someone else’s.
Ah let’s see, what next, a little bowling. We saw local friends and a plethora of visiting families as kids wore their cool kicks and hurled bedazzling balls down the lanes. Parents tried to remember how to score as a few "oh yeahs" and "oh shucks" echoed throughout.
It's easy to keep the kids happy when you're hanging out in Sun Valley.
Dinner in the Lobby Inn and ambling about the Sun Valley grounds brought us up to 9 o’clock. After reading the kids "Little Clyde, Horsing Around in Sun Valley," falling asleep to an NHL game on TV was an easy end to an enjoyable day.
The next morning was filled with a series of "Happy Birthdays" shrieked to my husband, Mark. Good thing we were on the end room as to not disturb many people with our off-tone singing. We marched to the Konditeri for a casual breakfast and out to the hot pool for a finale soak prior to checking out.
Two nights and a couple days of crossing over into Sun Valley’s fancy laid-backness gave us a refreshing perspective on the town next door. No, we didn’t ski and it was too wet to skate, but we did what young kids inherently like to do. Sleep in a hotel bed, ride the elevator and get tired out at the pool. It was fun to play the "we are from San Jose" game and easy to understand why people travel great distances to experience this special resort. With the pop of our tourist bubble, we hopped back in the car for our 12 minute drive home out Warm Springs Road.
And then the birthday boy grabbed his skis and headed for Baldy, the reigning king of Sun Valley, while the kids and I unpacked from our stay-cation.
Battle of the Blades … It’s Back! On Sept. 8, 2012, nine local celebs and nine skating pros will compete in a skate to the finish. Proceeds benefit the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club and local nonprofits.
I arrive at the bottom of the mountain last weekend in a hot pink one piece, ski boots and leather chaps … only to find that I am a tad underdressed. It is the 15th Annual Janss Pro-Am Classic on Baldy and the costumes and props are over the top.
The first person I see is Langely McNeal dressed as a Twister board game and moving in a sea of red, yellow, green and blue dots. Langely is standing next to her teammate, who is decked out in striped thigh-highs beneath a colorful minidress (bare-legged on a ski hill, as far as I can tell) and a blue wig with a lollipop hat, in what I can only imagine as the Candyland game.
Their team theme is "Vintage Games"–to match the "Vintage" theme for this years 2012 Stifel Nicolaus Weisel Janss Pro-Am. Langely is joined by the rest of her teammates, which include Monopoly, Barrel of Monkeys, Mr. Potatohead and Operation. Brilliant. They end up sweeping the costume contest award at the end of the weekend, followed in close second by the 10th Mountain Division, and the Gender Benders, with Honeymooners and Tinseltown as Honorable Mentions (be sure to check out the photo galleries below).
The Janss Pro-Am is probably one of the most spirited and lively annual fundraisers in the Valley. It features three nights of hosted parties and revelry sandwiched between two days of dual Giant Slalom racing on lower Warm Springs–in costume and with an announcer to heckle you (if you take yourself too seriously)–all to benefit the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) and its training programs for youth skiers, boarders and Nordic athletes.
(Click here to read the full recap or to check out more photos from this year’s Janss Pro Am.)
Bonnie Raitt with special guest Mavis Staples at Sun Valley Pavilion
Thursday, August 30
Series tickets available to purchase for members April 13th @ 10am
Individual tickets available to purchase for members April 20th @ 10am
All tickets available to purchase by nonmembers April 27th @ 10am Click here for series pricing chart
Pavilion Seating Map There is no early entry for this show. All ticket holders will be admitted at 6pm.
Lawn seats: $30/40 nonmember (picnics will be allowed on the lawn at the Pavilion and the big screen will be in operation that night!)
Bonnie Raitt is a singer, songwriter and guitarist whose unique style blends blues, R&B, rock, and pop. After 20 years as a cult favorite, she broke through to the top in the early 90s with her Grammy award winning albums, ‘Nick of Time’ and ‘Luck of the Draw,’ which featured hits such as, “Something To Talk About” and “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” With nine GRAMMYs under her belt and a long history of social activism, she tours regularly incorporating many benefit concerts into her schedule. After a brief hiatus, Raitt is back and recharged with a batch of great new songs to play in her live set along with the tried and true favorites that have treated her very loyal following to countless memorable shows through the years. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s nineteenth album, ‘Slipstream,’ is daring, bluesy, and steeped with the inimitable slide guitar and soulful vocals that could only be hers. Out April 10, 2012, ‘Slipstream’ marks Raitt’s first new album in seven years, and the debut for her newly-minted label, Redwing Records.
Opening for Raitt is legendary gospel and rhythm and blues singer, Mavis Staples, who began her career over sixty years ago singing with her ground-breaking family group, the Staple Singers (“I’ll Take You There”, “Respect Yourself”). Staples has been nominated for Grammy awards in blues, gospel, folk, and pop categories and is the winner of the 2011 Best Americana Album award and a 2005 Grammy Lifetime Achievement award. With both The Staple Singers and on her own, Mavis is responsible for blazing a rhythm & blues trail while never relinquishing her gospel roots. Rolling Stone named Staple Singers’ “I’ll Take You There” and “Respect Yourself” among Top 500 Songs of All Time.