In Good Company

Mike Wolter of the Wood River YMCA introduced honoree Muffy Ritz

Mike Wolter of the Wood River YMCA introduced his good friend, head VAMP and honoree, Muffy Ritz

On Wednesday night, NordicTown USA and Ketchum’s alpine community gathered en masse at Ketchum’s nexStage Theatre to admit six local superstar athletes into the Sun Valley Hall of Fame. The event was sponsored by the Ketchum/Sun Valley Heritage & Ski Museum and drew hundreds of supporters to celebrate the induction of the Class of 2012: Nordic skiers, coaches and leaders Rick Kapala, Muffy Ritz and Bob Rosso; local ski race hero Picabo Street and both the legendary Bob Smith and Jack Reddish, in memoriam.

The afternoon kicked off at 4 p.m. with treats and beverages and the opportunity to mix, mingle and personally congratulate the four honorees present. The theater was dimmed and dramatic, with spotlights focused on easels displaying the photos and biographies of the inductees. Friends, old and new, gathered to celebrate the mountain lifestyle.

Honoree Rick Kapala joked that he had been "plaqued"

Honoree Rick Kapala, cross-country coach extraordinaire, joked about being on a plaque

Former ski racer, Heritage and Ski Museum board member and one of Ketchum’s sweethearts, Heather Flood Daves, introduced the honorees. “In creating the Sun Valley Ski Hall of Fame we thank and acknowledge those individuals who have created an incredible legacy of skiing from which we all benefit,” Daves eloquently said in her introduction. “The Ski Hall of Fame acknowledges people who have touched our community with their examples of athletic prowess, creativity, tenacity and willingness to lead by example. We have the privilege tonight of honoring six people who have impacted our community, the skiing industry and the sports of alpine and Nordic skiing.”

Cheering, hooting and hollering followed as the honorees were introduced and invited to share their thoughts. Everyone expressed a deep love for Sun Valley, gratitude to the community that has supported them and shared a few anecdotes. It was a family affair, and the family was hundreds strong. The most visible and voluble group in the room were members of Muffy Ritz’s VAMPS’ nation. This dedicated, loyal and diverse group of women cross-country skiers have formed a strong community within a community, shaped by the vision and leadership of Ritz.

Other local legends including Chuck Ferries, Dick Dorworth and Lane Monroe – huge names in Sun Valley skiing – participated in the ceremony an introduced and honored the alpine inductees. Picabo Street was surrounded by family, enjoying this wonderful homecoming. During her stay in Ketchum, she plans to give back to her home team, the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation by skiing with their U-12 skiers and meeting with the U-16 racers. These young athletes will certainly never forget meeting one of their heroes.

Inductee Bob Rosso arrives for the festivities

Inductee Bob Rosso arrives for the festivities

The community at large thanks all of this year’s inductees who have contributed so much. As we celebrate the Sun Valley Nordic Festival and Sun Valley’s distinction as NordicTown USA and enjoy a truly fabulous alpine season, the timing of this event was another opportunity to be grateful for where we live and for our neighbors.


The Ketchum/Sun Valley Ski & Heritage Museum is a wonderful community asset

The Ketchum/Sun Valley Ski & Heritage Museum is a wonderful community asset

Big Game Sales at Retail Locations

All day at River Run Plaza and Village Shops

25% OFF Skis & SKi Boots

25% OFF Skiwear

25% OFF Logo and Select Gifts

30% OFF Sportswear

40% OFF Kids Skiwear

  • Brass Ranch
  • Pete Lane’s
  • Signatures & Gifts

Big Game Party at River Run Lodge

4:30 – End Of Game!

10′ Screen with house sound

Drink Specials

Food Specials

Special Olympics Eastern Area Winter Games

Sun Valley, ID
February 2, 2013



Alpine & Snowboard

Dollar Mountain– Elkhorn Rd, Sun Valley, ID 83353

Cross country Skiing & Snowshoe

Sun Valley Club– 200 Trail Creek Rd, Sun Valley, ID


ALPINE (Venue Director — Jeff Rust)

10:00 am – Registration opens @ Dollar Mountain Lodge
10:45 am – Coaches Meeting @ Dollar Mountain Lodge
11:00 am – Opening Ceremony @ Dollar Mountain Lodge


Competition will start immediately following the opening ceremony

  • 11:15 am – Slalom
  • 12:00 pm -1:00 pm – Lunch
  • 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm – Giant Slalom
  • 3:00 pm – Awards


NORDIC/Snowshoe (Venue Director — Haley Van Lie Shout)

10:00 am – Registration opens @ Sun Valley Club
10:45 am – Coaches Meeting @ Sun Valley Club
11:00 am – Opening Ceremony @ Sun Valley Club

Competition will start immediately following the opening ceremony

Be Our Guest

Meet Roger Lloyd, one of Sun Valley's most charming ambassadors

Meet Roger Lloyd, one of Sun Valley's most charming ambassadors

With the busy Presidents’ week holiday right around the corner, Sun Valley Resort is expecting many guests from all over the country and world, arriving to enjoy this season’s amazing skiing and boarding, world renown cross-country, restaurants, shopping and nightlife. The first impression many visitors will get of this magical area is from Roger Lloyd of the Resort’s Guest Services. By the time guests have traveled the 20 minutes from the airport to the Sun Valley Lodge, a true insiders’ look at what makes this area so special will be theirs.

“I love that short drive to Sun Valley,” Roger smiled his signature wide smile. “It’s my opportunity to introduce everyone to Idaho, to Sun Valley. I chat with our guests about everything from recreational opportunities to the Lewis and Clark expedition.” He laughed, “I am full of interesting facts.”

There is almost no one who has come by his interesting facts more honestly than Roger. As a 35-year veteran with the Sun Valley Company, and a 42-year resident of the Wood River Valley, his jobs have included everything from helping to build Baldy and Dollar’s high speed quad chairlifts to lift maintenance to guest services. With brothers Jimmy and Mike (who is director of Sun Valley’s Ski Patrol), the Lloyd brothers boast 100 years with the company.

When Roger Lloyd picks you up at the airport, getting here is half the fun

When Roger Lloyd picks you up at the airport, getting here is half the fun

Even once the airport shuttle pulls into the Lodge porte-cochère and guests embark on what is sure to be a memorable vacation, Roger is always around to help answer questions, make recommendations and simply check in on how things are going. “I love it when people approach me in the Lodge lobby or around the resort and have questions,” he said. “Whenever possible, I also like to walk our guests to their rooms after they check in, so we can keep the conversation going and I can ensure that everything is to their liking.”

The great snow this year is making Roger’s job easy, according to him. “There are so many exciting things going on in Sun Valley right now. From the snow sports, to all the new menu choices at our Resort restaurants and the mountain day lodges, to the culture, shopping and entertainment, I am having no trouble at all recommending activities that I know will be well received.  Ketchum and Hailey are hopping, too.  It’s a great season here.”

When you arrive in Sun Valley, make sure to keep an eye out for Roger. He is one of the area’s greatest ambassadors.

“Whether it’s one of the movers and shakers in town for the Allen & Company conference each summer, a family that is bringing the third generation to Sun Valley, or a first-time visitor, we value each and every guest that comes through our doors and are thrilled to share our history, traditions and community with them,” Roger said.

And his favorite part of his job? “When a guest asks me to recommend a local realtor,” he laughed. “Then I know they will be coming back. And coming back. And coming back.”


Nordic Glides into the Spotlight

Paradise found at the Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center

Paradise found at the Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center

Beginning Saturday, January 26, Sun Valley is throwing a party that reaches from Hailey to Galena Lodge and over the pass. The Sun Valley Nordic Festival brings thousands of recreational and competitive cross-country skiers to the valley to enjoy legendary trails, seminars, demos, dining, shopping and entertainment. The week-long Festival kicks into full gear with a big party, a locals’ favorite, the Galena and the Trails Benefit on Saturday night, and builds to the jewel in the Festival’s crown, the Boulder Mountain Tour.

The Boulder Mountain Tour (BMT) is a big deal. Covering 32 kilometers of trail through the sublime Boulder Mountains, the race draws skiers from across the nation. It is one of the country’s longest running and most respected cross-country contests. Best of all, it is appropriate to all abilities. Both highly competitive and recreational skiers will be comfortable in the race. They also offer a Half Boulder, an untimed event for which no age class awards will be given. It’s just a lot of fun. Race day includes souvenirs and a clothing bag for participants, as well as raffle prize drawings. See?  It’s a party, albeit one that requires cardiovascular exertion.

Perfect trails at Sun Valley Nordic

One example of the spectacular trails that won Sun Valley/Ketchum the title of Nordic Town USA

Between the Galena benefit and the BMT, there are dozens of events to appeal to every interest. To name a few: skiing at Alturas Lake, wine tastings, reggae concerts, an induction ceremony at the Sun Valley Alpine & Nordic Ski Hall of Fame, gatherings at Galena Lodge and Smiley Creek Lodge … the list goes on and on. A full list of events and happenings can be found here.

Sun Valley Resort is in on the action, too. The 40 beautiful kilometers of perfectly groomed tracks at the Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center will set the stage for two events during the Nordic Festival. On Wednesday, January 30, at 10 a.m., competitors will ski in a 3.3km AXCS National Masters Prologue. On Thursday morning, racers will run the same course, but three times in a row, battling it out on the official scored classic event for the 2013 AXCS National Master Championships. As many as 100 racers are expected to line up for Thursday’s start according to Nordic Director Ivana Radlova.

But there’s more. “Skin It 2 Win It,” a team ski and snowboard race on Dollar Mountain changes things up a bit during Nordic week. Here, instead of gliding across the snow, racers climb 563-feet with the help of skins and then ski or snowboard down Otto’s Run on Dollar, trying to complete as many laps as possible in three hours. The madcap and cardio-pumping race benefits the Sawtooth National Forest Avalanche Center and begins at 10 a.m. with awards to follow.

All signs point to fun

All signs point to fun

On Sunday, after the winners of the BMT have distinguished themselves and received their awards, everyone is invited back to the Nordic & Snowshoe Center for Demo Day. Industry professionals will show off the latest and greatest in hard goods from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. All Sun Valley trail passes that day are a mere $10. Ivana calls this “quite a great deal and a super way to try out some new skis, boots or poles.”

In general, the Nordic Festival offers amazing opportunities to ski at a very friendly price. $49 will buy a pass valid from January 26 through February 3 on any of the valley’s cross-country trails, including all Blaine County Recreation District (BCRD) and Sun Valley Nordic Trails. Passes are available from the BCRD, Sturtevant’s in Hailey, Backwoods Mountain Sports, the Elephants Perch, Galena Lodge, the SNRA and Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center.

The lovely dining room at the Sun Valley Club

Enjoy a pre-snowshoe meal on January 26 at the lovely Sun Valley Club

And if you’d just like to enjoy a snowshoe under a full moon, the Nordic Festival happens to fall at the perfect time. On January 26, Katherine Pleasants of the Nordic & Snowshoe Center will lead a memorable snowshoe tour, lit by moonlight, at around 8 p.m. That evening, the elegant and cozy restaurant at the Sun Valley Club will serve a special dinner from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Menu items will be a la carte and include flavorful appetizers, healthy salads, a selection of entrees, including the catch of the day and dessert. Go ahead and indulge — you are about to get some exercise! Please make reservations for this meal by calling 208.622.2919. For more information on the guided snowshoe tour, phone  208.622.2250.

Great deals are still available if you are on the fence about coming to town. I highly recommend you do. They don’t call us Nordic Town USA for nothing.




This will be the Ketchum Sun Valley Historical Society’s Induction Ceremony for the Sun Valley Ski Hall of Fame.

The ticket price will be $25.00 which will include hors d’oeuves and a drink. Tickets can be purchased at the Ski and Heritage Museums at 180 1st Street E Monday through Friday 12:00 to 4:00 or by calling 08-726-8118.

Ceremony should run 4:00 to 6:00 pm. Event will take place at the NexStage Theater.

Matt Anderson performs at Sun Valley Opera House


Matt Andersen
Wednesday, January 23, 6:30pm
Sun Valley Opera House
$20 / $30 nonmembers / $10 students (18 and under) • Buy Matt Andersen tickets

Matt Andersen’s musical household in rural, blue-collar in New Brunswick got him interested in playing early on and by junior high he was in the school band, first on tuba and later on trumpet. He took up guitar at 14, and before long was playing classic rock and Top 40 covers in pub bands while he studied studio engineering. Things changed dramatically, however, when he discovered the blues. “Through Eric Clapton I got into B.B. King, which led me to the Chicago electric stuff and eventually back to the Mississippi Delta guys,” says the 30-year-old singer. “What really hit me most about the blues was its total honesty.” Matt began to build his name on the Canadian circuit, his imposing voice and slashing slide guitar making a monolithic impression on audiences. In 2010 he became the first Canadian to win Memphis’s famed International Blues Challenge, which led to festival dates in France, Italy, and the US, where he toured with Old Crow Medicine Show.


Living Legends

Nelson Bennett, front and center, with Ski Patrol of the mid-1950s

Nelson Bennett, Sun Valley ski legend, front and center with fellow Ski Patrol from the 1950s

It is not often that you have the opportunity to break bread with the pioneers, the forerunners, the legends of skiing. Last week, I had the pleasure and the privilege of doing just that as I spent a few sunny afternoons in the company Mary Jane Conger and Nelson Bennett. My takeaway from our conversations was that their stories belong in a book, not a blog, but I will try to do justice to at least the basics.

Nelson, a spry 98-year-old who bears a striking resemblance to Kirk Douglas, and his dear friend Mary Jane, who is in her late 80s but looks 20 years younger, painted a picture of their early years in Sun Valley that made me wish for a time machine. Mary Jane is a Sun Valley native, the granddaughter of the Ketchum pioneer Al Griffith and sister of Jimmy Griffith, Sun valley’s first native born skier named to the U.S. Olympic team. She was a formidable ski racer in her own right, winning the 1952 Harriman Cup slalom, and skiing on a team with Gretchen Fraser and the other best athletes of the day. Her passion for the sport took her all over the country, but she loved skiing here. “The skiing was great, it couldn’t have been more exciting,” she said. “The best skiers in the country were in Sun Valley in 1940 to train for the 1944 Olympics that ended up being canceled because of World War II. But having the top skiers on Baldy upped the ante. I chased those boys around that hill!”

Mary Jane Conger and Nelson Bennett set the scene

Mary Jane Conger and Nelson Bennett share their stories

Nelson pulled into Sun Valley during the summer of 1940, secured a job for the winter, circled home to New Hampshire to collect his things and hurried back. He made the entire trip from Lancaster, New Hampshire, to Shoshone, Idaho, by Union Pacific Railroad. He stayed for 20 years straight, excluding a stint in the 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division that took him to Italy. As we celebrate Ski Safety Week, it should be mentioned that Nelson was one of the original members and leaders of Sun Valley Ski Patrol. “Back then it was a lot of maintenance, a lot of shoveling,” he laughed, “a lot of keeping skiers safe in the trees.” During his tenure as a patroler, Nelson invented the prototype of the toboggan used to carry injured skiers off the hill. His original design, constructed entirely from found materials, broke down into three pieces, allowing it to be carried on the narrow single chairlifts. Today’s sleds look a lot like Nelson’s original.

Over tea, Nelson and Mary Jane reminisced about life before high-speed quads and Beast-caliber groomers. Back in the day, they explained, they groomed ski runs with their boot and their skis. The two laughed about the tree over Warm Springs that served as a bridge, the deep powder years, the unbridled joy of skiing every bit of snow on Baldy. Oh, and then there was the time the beer truck hit a power line pole south of town, knocking out electricity and grinding the lifts to a halt. Nelson and his fellow patrolers had to evacuate everyone by rope, chair-by-chair.

Mary Jane and Madi enjoy lunch earlier this season at Lookout

Mary Jane and Madi enjoy lunch at Lookout earlier this season

This week, Nelson, a member of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame, is back in town to see his friends, members of the Ancient Skiers. This club was founded in 1962 and boasts approximately 1000 members. For the remainder of January, hundreds of members of the Ancient Skiers and the Mount Hood Gang will make their annual pilgrimage to Sun Valley to reunite with friends, participate in race clinics, free-ski, enjoy parties, dinners and movies, and give a big toast to the mountain culture that shaped their lives. An honorary lifetime member of the Ancient Skiers, Nelson and his companion, Madi Springer-Miller Kraus, a 1958 FIS World Championship skier, plan to make the rounds, as does Mary Jane. Nelson declared that at 98, he might finally be ready to hang up his skis, but his passion for the sport and the lifestyle will never be retired.

Many thanks to Nelson and Mary Jane (& Madi) for sharing their stories, their memories, their infectious love for skiing and for Sun Valley. I hope we can continue the conversation.


Sun Valley Jazz Jamboree

Join the fun in Sun Valley, Idaho!
October 16-20, 2013

  • Five Days of Music.
  • Forty Bands.
  • One Million Smiles.
  • One Hundred Eighty Musicians.
  • Two Hundred Sixty Shows!

Forty Bands

Performed by over 200 musicians:

  • Tom Rigney & Flambeau
  • Titan Hot 7
  • Cornet Chop Suey
  • Bob Draga, Guest Artist
  • Midiri Brothers Sextet
  • Sherry Colby’s Racket Makers
  • Meschiya Lake & Dem Lil’ Big Horns