(Red) Bullish on Sun Valley

Filmmakers on the move on Dollar

Filmmakers work on getting the right shot on Dollar

What do you get when you combine some of the world’s premiere Red Bull-sponsored freestyle athletes, huge features on Dollar Mountain and a top-notch film crew out of Los Angeles? You get the scene at the base of Dollar this weekend. The amazing guys from SPT, the team that works with Sun Valley’s Brian Callahan to create our ever-evolving terrain park, are the subject of an action-packed, high-flying reality television show that is scheduled to air in April. Sun Valley will be featured in the first episode of this series, spotlighting SPT and produced by National Geographic.

Preparations are full speed ahead, readying for the arrival of the Red Bull athletes. Midweek, SPT was building two rail pads into an airbag (yes, just like it sounds – a huge airbag that the athletes land in). Snow making is going full bore toward the top of Dollar, creating a 65 to 80-foot jump that will launch these guys into our thin mountain air.

SPT, which stands for Snow Park Technologies, is one of the most-sought after consulting teams in the world, creating special projects on snow. Frank Wells of SPT is one of the guys who make the magic happen — designing and building awesome (in the true sense of the world) terrain parks and half pipes, competition courses and staging on-snow productions and events. Though he has worked all over the world, Frank loves Sun Valley.

The morning meeting includes Frank Wells of SPT and Bryant Dunn of SV Ski Patrol

The morning meeting brings together Frank Wells of SPT, the production crew and Bryant Dunn of Sun Valley Ski Patrol

“Sun Valley is one of our favorite places to come and to work,” Frank said, sipping coffee outside Carol’s Dollar Lodge. By 9 a.m., he had been up and down Baldy, secured some footage of a spectacular Idaho sunrise and found time to get in a few turns. He said everyone loves coming to Sun Valley, staying at the Resort and swimming in the Lodge Pool — “the only hot tub you can dive into!” Amir, part of the film production team and a first-time visitor to Sun Valley agreed, “That pool is great.” He and his colleagues are also enjoying the night life on Main Street and are generally having a blast and working hard.

Back on Dollar, Frank and his team brought in some special fierce-looking Snow Cats for this effort, allowing for the creation of the exact features required by the project.  Everything is in place and in control, except that one variable no one can control – not even Frank: the weather. The great news is Sun Valley is expecting two to five FEET of snow to fall above 7000 feet by Monday morning. The challenging news for Frank & Co. is that we are expecting two to five FEET of snow to fall by Monday morning. But Frank, the filmmakers, and, for sure, the athletes, don’t mind a challenge. They are extreme freestylers after all. Let the action begin!


Red Bull athletes will fly from these epic jumps this weekend

Red Bull athletes will fly from these epic jumps this weekend



Getting ready to make movie magic

Getting ready to make movie magic

Visions of Sugarplums and Scents of Gingerbread

The Sun Valley Village takes shape in gingerbread

The Sun Valley Village takes shape in gingerbread

If you have a child, or if you ever were a child, then you won’t want to miss this. On Saturday, December 1, Sun Valley will unveil a Gingerbread Village that is an (almost) exact to-scale interpretation of the Sun Valley Village and beyond. Frosted eaves decorate the windows of the Ram Restaurant, the Toy Store and Brass Ranch. The Lodge pools are cerulean blue pools of melted Jolly Ranchers. The Snowball Express circles the buildings, sending up powdery snow in its wake. Everything Sun Valley will be represented, from the iconic red barn to Bald and Dollar Mountains, even the Sinclair station, in wonderful, whimsical, and delicious-smelling miniature.

Thayne moves mountains, and holiday confections

Thayne moves mountains, and holiday confections

Thayne Hendricks and his team (don’t call them elves) are busy, busy, busy turning what once was the Boiler Room into this holiday wonderland. An enormous 20 by 30-foot platform dominates the sparkling clean room, devoid of any vestiges of its nightclub history. Instead, buildings constructed from foam core, gingerbread and icing are finding their spot on the platform as the village quickly takes shape, from the center out.

“We start from the middle and position the buildings and all the landscaping, working out toward the edges,” Thayne explained as he prepared to journey to the center of the table to do just that.

The Lodge and Lodge Pool are ready for placement

The Lodge and Lodge Pool are ready for placement

The entire scene has been painstakingly mapped out, grid by grid. Construction is reminiscent of the childhood universes most of us built with houses, animals, castles or forts but on a much bigger scale. Thayne, a contractor by trade, helped construct in foam core, replicas of all the structures being featured. They are then sent to local baker extraordinaire, Mary Jones of the Chocolate Moose, who bakes and molds all the wonderful gingerbread, icing and piping. Back the houses come to Thayne who places them in their proper footing for the season and surrounds them with spruce trees, walkways and lampposts creating a wondrous scene.

The effect, for me, creates a desire to shrink back down to the size of a seven-year-old, to peer through the windows, look around corners and see the hundreds of exacting details at exactly eye level.  From the vantage point of a child, the magic is sure to be, well, magical.

The Gingerbread Village is one of many reasons to come to Sun Valley on Saturday, and to bring the entire family. The ribbon cutting officially opening the exhibit is set for 1 p.m. and will be followed immediately by the Holiday Window Stroll Scavenger Hunt.  The store windows in Sun Valley have been transformed into an interactive 3-D art gallery, featuring scenes of the holidays around the world. (For more on the windows, I refer you back to the Valley Sun entry dated November 16). Participants in the Scavenger Hunt will receive game cards at Village retail shops, the Recreation Center, the front desk at the Inn and the Lodge and the Boiler Room Deck and the hunt is on!  Ten lucky grand prize winners will be announced at 4 p.m. when game cards are turned in at the Boiler Room.

The windows at the Sun Valley Signature and Gift Store are transformed

One of the eye-popping windows in the Village this season

And to really kick holiday spirit into high gear, a special visit by the big man himself, Santa Claus, is planned for 3 p.m. Follow his hearty ho, ho, ho’s to the deck at Bald Mountain Pizza. There will be wagon rides around the Village and some delicious seasonal treats, too.

All of this Winter Wonderland festivity is absolutely free and is the perfect prelude to the holidays. Sun Valley will be alight in the weeks to come, literally and figuratively, with the Tree Lighting Celebration, Gingerbread Decorating, the 5th Annual Classical Christmas Concert, carolers, the reopening of the newly renovated Konditorei Restaurant, all culminating in the Christmas Eve Celebration on the Sun Valley Terrace.

On Saturday, follow the sweet smell of gingerbread and the sweet smiles on children’s faces to the Boiler Room and let the season begin!


Follow the signs to the fun

Follow the signs to the fun

White Sunday

Blue skies and great conditions defined opening day

Blue skies and great conditions defined Baldy's opening day

Helmet: check. Goggles: check. Ski pants that still fit (phew): check. Socks without holes: check. Skis, poles, boots: check. Gloves, two left ones: whoops. Wish I had caught that while I was still at home. But, hey, it’s my first day of the season. Something had to give!

Thus outfitted, geared-up and downright excited, on Sunday morning I turned into the lower parking area at River Run, hungrily eyeing the hill. The first day of ski season is a homecoming for me. I gave a big wave to Bill, my favorite parking shuttle driver. He smiled, giving me thumbs up. At the base of the hill, I caught up with the boys in the tune shop and rental desk, people I haven’t seen since closing day last April. Dan at the Brass Ranch not only recommended the right gadget allowing me answer my phone without fumbling around (don’t worry, I don’t chat on the phone on the lift), he installed it, too. Smiles all around.

Come on up, the skiing is fine

Come on up, the skiing is fine!

More smiles as the ticket taker at the base of the River Run chair, a new face this year, scanned my pass. Day one was officially underway! A warm-up run led me down Upper College to Mid River and back to the lift. My thoughts on these groomers alternated between “Whee!” and “Ow, my knees!” and “Yikes! I’m not sure I remember how to do this,” but I made it all the same. The next run, down Upper Warm Springs to I-80 was smoother and more relaxing and by the time I made it to the soft bumps (yes, bumps, in November!) on Ridge, I was getting my groove back.

Early season skiing is gratifying. I always appreciate, with my sore knees and tired muscles (I knew I should have signed up for one of those pre-season boot camps), that every run on our huge, challenging mountain isn’t available on Day One. At first, just enough slopes are open to remember the joy of skiing, the basics of making pretty turns and to provide a real-life boot camp. Nothing trains your legs for skiing like skiing. With each snowfall and Sun Valley’s amazing snow making, runs seem to open in direct correlation to what my legs can handle.

Bumps on Ridge

Bumps on Ridge

Scanning that sweeping 360-degree vista atop Bald Mountain, there is a lot to look forward to. Seattle Ridge is already drenched in white and striped with corduroy. Also looking ahead-of-the-usual-curve-snow-wise are Baldy’s storied bowls. From the perspective of the lift, coverage looked great.

By all accounts, the opening days on Baldy were excellent. Visitors I chatted with couldn’t have been happier. Locals came out in force with their families. And from here, it only gets better and better. Today looks like a great day to ski – time to run!


The litte skier's smile says it all

Five-year-old Scarlett Carruth, part of the Crist skiing dynasty, sums up the mood on the hill



Holiday Window Stroll

Holiday Window Stroll

Daily, November 23 – January 4
Sun Valley Village Shop Windows

A free and interactive self-guided stroll through the Village. The theme, “Celebrating the Language of the Holidays”, honors the cultural diversity of holidays and festive celebrations around the globe. Participants will receive “passports” to be stamped inside at every window location, each bearing a holiday greeting in a different language. A special seasonal confection will be given out at the end of the stroll.

Window Stroll Picture Window Stroll Picture Window Stroll Picture Window Stroll Picture Window Stroll Picture

SOLD OUT – New Year’s Eve Bubbly Bash

New Year’s Eve Bubbly Bash – SOLD OUT

Monday, December 31 | 9:00 PM
Run Run Lodge

Welcome in 2013 with fellow supporters of the arts at the New Year’s Eve Bubbly Bash, a benefit for the Sun Valley Center for the Arts hosted by Sun Valley Resort and The Center’s Junior Patrons Circle.

Revelers at River Run Lodge will enjoy a midnight toast and free champagne from 9 to 10 pm, compliments of Barefoot Wine & Bubbly. Hollywood favorite DJ Shark and his unstoppable percussionists will provide the soundtrack for the party everyone will be talking about. Last year’s Bubbly Bash sold out quickly, so don’t delay – get your tickets now.

Tickets are $50 per person in advance and $75 at the door (if available). SOLD OUT  All attendees must be 21 and over. For more information call 208.726.9491 or 208.622.2135.

Gingerbread Decorating Fun

Gingerbread Decorating Fun

Saturday, December 22 | 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Boiler Room, Sun Valley Village

Children will delight in the delicious task of building their own gingerbread houses while surrounded by the enchanting Gingerbread Village. All creations may be taken home. Refreshments will be available. Cost is $30.

Pete Lane’s Village “Fun Day”

Pete Lane’s Village “Fun Day”

December 15, noon – 4:00 p.m.

Pete Lane’s in SV Village is the place to be for a free Smith helmet fitting for kids and lots of fun with Lucky Bum toys. Refreshments, music, and lots of energy!!

Shopping Day for the Advocates

Shopping Day For The Advocates

December 13

Come shop with us and we’ll see that The Advocates receive 10% of your purchase. The benefit lasts all day at Panache, Signatures, Brass Ranch and Pete Lane’s in our own Sun Valley Village. Also, look for the Giving Trees. Childrens’ names will be available for gifting.

Brass Holiday Boise Philharmonic

Brass Holiday

December 8th, 5:00 p.m.
Sun Valley Opera House

The Boise Philharmonic and Sun Valley present Brass Holiday, an hour long concert of Holiday and Christmas favorites.

The Boise Philharmonic Brass Quintet is comprised of Brad Peters (trumpet), Justin Stamps (trumpet), Philip Kassel (horn), George Turner (trombone) and Michael Fischer (tuba).

Admission is free, but a $5 dollar donation or new, unopened toy is requested. Proceeds to benefit Southern Idaho’s Toys for Tots program. Doors will open at 4:30pm.

Bogner 80th Birthday Bash

The Bogner 80th Birthday Bash

December 8, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
The Brass Ranch in the Sun Valley Villag

Come celebrate the 80th Birthday of  this iconic skiwear  – special guest will be Bogner’s Northwest Territory Manager Maryanne McNamara.And 10% off any purchase made during the party will benefit the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation.  Refreshments and giveaways, of course!