Snow in September

Imagine my surprise as I returned to Sun Valley Thursday from a quick trip out of town. When I left, skies were blue and temperatures were hot. The coin-like leaves of our ubiquitous aspen copse were just beginning to be dipped in gold. The region’s colorful, warm, inviting autumn days were just heating up.

Yes, this was a photo taken of the Sun Valley Lodge on September 26, just days after the autumnal equinox

Yes, this photo was taken at the Sun Valley Lodge on September 26, just days after the autumnal equinox

But always-fickle Mother Nature seemed to have missed that memo as the snow began to fly, then dump, in earnest on Wednesday. By Thursday evening, Bald Mountain was blanketed in more than five inches of fresh early season powder, clearly demarcating the runs when the clouds lifted and the sun shone Friday morning.

For winter sports enthusiasts, the first snow of the year makes your heart race just a little faster. The sight of Baldy’s trails covered in white evokes a longing that sets into motion the countdown to the mountain’s opening day around Thanksgiving. To see current conditions on the mountains, click HERE to access Sun Valley’s webcams.

On Thursday, snow blanketed backyards still in their late summer bloom

On Thursday, snow blanketed backyards still in their late summer bloom

This snow year in Sun Valley promises to be a great one and it actually is time to begin thinking about the coming season, especially if you plan to put a trip to Idaho in your upcoming holiday plans. New direct flights from San Francisco to Sun Valley on United Airlines begin December 12, making the connection between the Bay Area and the Wood River Valley as easy as can be. Early season lift and lodging packages tied to this new flight begin at $81 per person double occupancy and will book quickly. Imagine buckling up in San Francisco and unbuckling in paradise a short two hours later. Now is definitely the time to look at your calendar to take advantage of this new option.

This week's view from Baldy didn't exactly say September

This week's view from Baldy didn't exactly say September, but it certainly made snow sports enthusiasts start thinking about winter

It’s also the time for regular skiers and snowboarders to secure their season lockers at the base of the mountain as prices increase October 1. Having a locker to store skis, boards, boots and all your gear is the ultimate convenience. Rentals also come with other benefits including 10 percent off all Sun Valley owned retail stores, 20 percent off of rentals, two free demo rentals per season (try out those powder skis you’ve been coveting when the snow flies!) and unlimited ski tuning at $100 discount.

Friday morning brought bluebird skies and snow covering Baldy's runs

Friday morning brought bluebird skies and snow covering Baldy's runs

According to all the chic ladies at Brass Ranch, this is also going to be a banner year for ski wear. The lines being unpacked daily include some of the prettiest, most flattering coats, pants and accessories seen in ages. The early snow reminds that now is a great time to secure the perfect ski ensemble or even to shop for some holiday gifts while the selection is at its best.

Yes, this September snowfall will probably melt on the valley floor by this weekend, but it certainly put everyone around here in a mood for what will shortly follow. Sun Valley is beautiful year-round, but looks particularly lovely wearing white.

Fall is reasserting its dominance this weekend despite five inches of fresh snow and it promises to be a gorgeous autumn.

Fall is reasserting its dominance this weekend despite five inches of fresh snow and it promises to be a gorgeous autumn

Be sure to book your Sun Valley winter getaway now. It’s going to be an unbelievable year on Baldy, Dollar and up and down our miles and miles of award-winning cross-country trails.

Two months and counting … and in the meantime, there is golf to be played, hikes to be taken, bike rides to enjoy and fish to be fished for. It’s another splendid September in Sun Valley!

–RES

Pull!

Ready, aim, fire -- this was a memorable weekend for sporting gun enthusiasts

Ready, aim, fire -- this was a memorable weekend for sporting gun enthusiasts

Last weekend, Silver Creek Outfitters and world famous gun manufacturers, Beretta, joined forces to again provide a memorable event for gun sporting enthusiasts. Dozens gathered on a warm, sunny Friday to demo Beretta’s guns at the scenic Sun Valley Gun Club during what is dubbed the Legacy weekend.

The Sun Valley Gun Club provided what Silver Creek Outfitter's owner Terry Ring called the perfect venue for the event

The Sun Valley Gun Club provided what Silver Creek Outfitter's owner Terry Ring called the perfect venue for the event

During the warmer weather months, the club, located just across the street from the entrance to historic Trail Creek Cabin, invites beginners to sharp shooters to come out and try their aim at Sporting Clays, Trap and Skeet, Double Trap, Wobble Trap, Duck Tower and 5-Stand. Certified instructors are always available to help beginners get started or to provide a refresher lesson. During the Legacy demo day, things get even more fun and interesting.

Beretta's Mobile Showroom brought the storied manufacturer's inventory right to the Gun Club

Beretta's Mobile Showroom brought the storied manufacturer's inventory right to the Gun Club

Beretta shotguns are already featured at the Sun Valley Gun Club, so it only further enhances the experience when Silver Creek Outfitter’s owner, Terry Ring, arranges to have the huge Beretta trailer, with equally huge graphics, pull into the club’s parking lot. Outfitted with Beretta’s beautifully crafted range of guns, enthusiasts are welcome to try out any that look appealing. All you need to do is sign a waiver, chose your gun and take your stand at your assigned station. Locals and visitors alike stepped up to the challenge.

“The event was a huge success for new and experienced shooters,” Ring said. “Our guests were excited to demo Beretta’s range of shotguns shooting Sporting Clays, Trap and Skeet.  The Sun Valley Gun Club was the perfect venue for the event.”

Many available guns were checked out and in use at Sun Valley Gun's Clubs stations during demo day

Many available guns were checked out and in use at Sun Valley Gun Club's stations during demo day

The Beretta truck moved to downtown Ketchum outside Silver Creek’s flagship store on Saturday, allowing even more people to step in and enjoy the Mobile Showroom. Dealer representatives were on hand to show the full line of Beretta guns and shooting accessories.

Silver Creek Outfitters is known as one of the preeminent fly fishing shops in the country, but is also a destination for those who enjoy sporting guns, bird and duck hunting. Guns, hunting vests, boots, ammo, protective eyewear, shot and field bags and much more can all be found at the high-end outfitters located in both downtown Ketchum and at the Sun Valley Village, just in time for Upland bird and waterfowl hunting season in Idaho’s autumn.

Even if hunting is not your thing, shooting Sporting Clays, Trap and Skeet can be really fun. Just ask all the men and women who came out for the Legacy weekend.

Shooting Sporting Clays and Trap and Skeet is a fun way to enjoy an autumn day in Sun Valley

Shooting Sporting Clays and Trap and Skeet is a fun way to enjoy an autumn day in Sun Valley, whether you are a beginner or expert

For more information on the facilities or to schedule a lesson, please contact the Sun Valley Gun Club at (208) 622-2111. To learn more about Idaho’s fall hunting season through Silver Creek Outfitters, please click HERE.

Pull!

–RES

Ice Theatre of New York Ice Show

Edward Villella Takes to the Ice

The strains of Tchaikovsky’s Elegy drift from the speakers high above Sun Valley’s outdoor rink as a dozen skaters, members of Ice Theatre of New York, mark a new piece in their repertory. Couples stand face-to-face, shoulder-to-shoulder, hands on each others’ waists and backs, moving arms and legs slightly to the strains of the music and listening to the corrections and notes given by an elegant man, dressed casually in jeans and a New  York University sweatshirt, leaning on the rail.Edward Villella, Douglas Webster, Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre take a short break from rehearsals for Ice Theatre of New York

Edward Villella, Douglas Webster, Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre take a short break from rehearsals for Ice Theatre of New York

At the edge of the rink, Douglas Webster, the artistic director of Ice Theatre of New York, confers with this man, the legendary Edward Villella who is overseeing the rehearsal with laser-like intensity. “Do you like the arms here, or here,” Webster asks, demonstrating two possibilities. In response, Villella who is considered the most celebrated male dancer of his time, the greatest produced in America, responds by showing the port de bras he prefers. Even in that tiny gesture, Villella’s tremendous grace, passion and power, the hallmarks of his storied dance and choreography career, are apparent even to the untrained eye.

Villella joined the New York City Ballet where he became a soloist in 1958 and principal dancer in 1960. He is perhaps best known as the original male lead in many important ballets, especially a revival George Balanchine’s exquisite 1929 masterpiece, Prodigal Son. He left New York to found Miami City Ballet in 1986, bringing that company to international acclaim. He is a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors and was awarded the National Medal of the Arts by President Clinton. In the rarefied world of ballet, he is royalty.

Villella is accustomed to working with the best ballet dancers in the world but, in Sun Valley, turned his attention to ice dance

Villella is accustomed to working with the best ballet dancers in the world but, in Sun Valley, turned his attention to ice dance (photo: Villelladance.org)

Transferring a lifetime of working with prima ballerinas en pointe and danseurs in soft shoes to dancers laced tightly into skate boots with sharp, inflexible boots on their feet is a challenge Villella said he is enjoying. “The flat foot is where it is hard for me to translate,” laughed Villella at a rehearsal at the outdoor rink earlier this week. “But the arms, they are universal.”

Reveries is a special piece Villella is choreographing for Ice Theatre of New York’s Gala, a tribute to Kurt Browning and Sonia Rodriguez, a ballerina, in New York City on October 25. Villella describes Reveries, an 11-minute work featuring five couples, as a “lush romantic ballet about unattainable love.”

Ice dancer Kim Navarro said it’s been an honor working with the ballet great. “A door has been opened to this rich and historic ballet world and it is an honor to get to peek through it,” she explained. “It feels like we get to peer into a world that is something much greater than us, just skating. Just to be in Edward’s presence is a great honor that has not been lost on any of the skaters. May I also say how humble he is? He keeps thanking us for being willing participants of his work. Amazing!”

Sun Valley favorites Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre rehearse Elegy

Sun Valley favorites Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre rehearse Reveries

Sun Valley’s audiences can enjoy a performance of the piece set to Elegy and see Villella’s signature style, as well as the well-known ice dance company’s other repertory for the upcoming season at a special show on October 2. The show is free and features skaters from all over the globe, as well as Sun Valley On Ice dancers Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre, Joel Dear, Ty Cockrum and Natalia Zaitseva.

In the meantime, Villella, who is in Sun Valley with his wife, Linda Carbonetto, is enjoying fall in Idaho. Villella said he hasn’t been here in 30 years. “It is the most serene place I have been in a long time,” he said in his soft voice. He added that he is truly enjoying working here amid our spectacular fall scenery at the iconic rink. Linda, a former Canadian Olympic figure skater, is also relishing fall in Sun Valley, even finding time to skate.

The legendary Edward Villella works with his dancers on the ice

The legendary Edward Villella works with his dancers on the ice

For me, who seriously studied ballet throughout my childhood and became a fervent (fanatical?) fan of the New York City Ballet, meeting Villella left me speechless. It is always interesting, how in this little rural corner of Idaho, so many of us have the chance to meet or see our heroes, whether they are ski racers, actors, cellists, mountain bikers, pop stars, figure skaters, or in my case, a ballet dancer.

Be sure to come out on October 2 to enjoy a gorgeous night of ice dance and to get a glimpse of the greatness that is Edward Villella.

–RES  

Reaching Higher Ground at the Rink

What do you get when you mix a special performance by the Ice Theatre of New York, one of the world’s most famous ballet choreographers and Higher Ground of Sun Valley? You get a very special ice show coming our way on Wednesday, September 18.

Come out and enjoy a fall evening with a fantastic ice show -- all for Higher Ground, an organization that changes lives

Come out and enjoy a fall evening with a fantastic ice show -- all for Higher Ground, an organization that changes lives

Ice Theatre of New York, under the artistic direction of Douglas Webster, has made Sun Valley’s beautiful two rinks its home since September 11, bringing a three-week residency to our figure skating Shangri-La. Working with favorite Sun Valley on Ice show skaters like Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre, Joel Dear, Ty Cockrum and Natalia Zaitseva, and other professionals from all over the country and the world, the residency is preparing the renown skating company for a special performance in New York in October. In the works are rehearsals on existing and new repertory pieces. Swing by the Sun Valley outdoor rink between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. and, weather permitting, get a rare behind-the-scenes peek at how Ice Theatre of New York trains and prepares.

The one-and-only Edward Villella rehearses with members of Ice Theatre of New York

The one-and-only Edward Villella (right, with artistic director Douglas Webster) rehearses with members of Ice Theatre of New York

Now, cue the famous choreographer. The one and only Edward Villella, formerly of the New York City Ballet and founder of Miami City Ballet, is rinkside in Sun Valley lending his considerable talents to this project. To those of us who love ballet, he is a superstar.

Now, enter the excellent cause. All bleacher seats on Wednesday evening are being sold for a suggested donation of $10 to support the Higher Ground’s military programs. Higher Ground is a Ketchum-based non-profit that works with injured veterans and their families and loved ones. Men and women who have served and suffered physical injuries, a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and/or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD and/or MST) come to Sun Valley to participate in snowsports, fly fishing, whitewater rafting and other healing camps under the care and expertise of Higher Ground.

Higher Ground offers numerous programs throughout the year to veterans that utilize Sun Valley's amazing, healing outdoors

Higher Ground offers numerous programs throughout the year to veterans that utilize Sun Valley's amazing, healing outdoors

A special group that is holding a convention in Sun Valley this week reached out to Higher Ground, offering to help them fundraise for their vital projects. Erin Rheinschild, Director of Philanthropy at Higher Ground explained, “they had a ice show on their schedule this week, but planned to enjoy dinner at the Lodge and then watch the show from the terrace. That left the bleachers empty. They said they appreciate and value the work we do and would like, with Sun Valley, to offer those seats as a fundraiser for our military programs. Of course we said yes!”

So, on Wednesday night, come out to enjoy a sneak peek of the Ice Theatre of New York repertory, a headline performance by perennial favorite Jumpin’ Joe, the amazing core skaters of Sun Valley On Ice, all while supporting the life changing work of Higher Ground.

Expect some exciting extras, too. According to Rheinschild, a Color Guard from Mountain Home Air Force Base will be in attendance. They will also have a terrific silent auction and a pass the hat. “This event brings a great deal of awareness to everyone about our programs,” Rheinschild said. “We encourage everyone to come out, enjoy a fabulous show and learn more about Higher Ground.”

Tickets are available at the door for a suggested donation of $10. Seats are first come, first served and doors open at 7 p.m. For more information, call 208-726-9298 or click HERE.

Members of the Ice Theatre of New York look forward to showcasing their repertory for Sun Valley audiences

Members of the Ice Theatre of New York look forward to showcasing their repertory for Sun Valley audiences

Please check back to this blog for both a detailed look at Edward Villella and the Ice Theatre of New York in advance of their free performance in Sun Valley scheduled for October 2. Please also watch for a story on the tradition that Higher Ground continues – a long history of Sun Valley as a place of healing.

–RES

Fall is for Food

Locavores are counting the days to the start of the Sun Valley Harvest Festival 2013

It's almost here!

Foodies are counting down the days to the start of the popular, informative and full-of-fun Sun Valley Harvest Festival, coming to town next week. From September 19 to the 22nd, Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge, the streets of Ketchum and even Roundhouse Restaurant will pulsate with the smells of delicious locally-sourced cuisine, the spectacle of food prep demonstrations, the wisdom and insight of famous guest chefs and the sights of everything you need to improve dinner time at your own home. If you like food – and who doesn’t – this is a can’t-miss weekend.

One of the highlights of four full days of memorable events is sure to be the Martini & Caviar party on Saturday, September 21, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. This year, the event gets even better with a move up Bald Mountain to the historic and charming Roundhouse Restaurant. Perched at 7,700 feet above the valley floor, Roundhouse is probably one of the best party rooms in the Lower 48. And the Martinis and caviar are sure to be as spectacular as the surroundings when Sun Valley Executive Chef John Murcko creates his culinary magic in the thin air.

Inventive cocktails and caviar -- what could be better?

Inventive cocktails and caviar -- what could be better?

Festivities begin when you are greeted with a glass of Michelle sparkling wine and whisked up to Roundhouse on the gondola. The scenic ride sets the tone for what is to come. Once ensconced at Roundhouse, Murcko, a James Beard Award Semi-Finalist and food visionary, will get the party started in earnest. Carefully crafted hors d’oeuvres featuring local Idaho sturgeon caviar will delight the palate, especially when paired with artisanal cocktails fashioned from Square One Organic Spirits. Mixologist with the most, Ryan Sullivan, is sure to create flavors perfect for the occasion.

Back on the valley floor, Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge will also be a hub of activity all weekend long. Starting on Saturday, September 21, the lawns at the base of Dollar will be transformed into a Harvest Marketplace. Be sure to spend some quality time with hand-selected purveyors from around the Pacific Northwest and West Coast. Specialty food producers and local and regional farmers will be in attendance, and the latest and greatest in kitchen appliances and cookware will be on display.

When dining at Roundhouse, getting there is half the fun

When dining at Roundhouse, getting there is half the fun

Also at Dollar, catch Guest Chef Demonstrations under the big tent all day September 21, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Join acclaimed chefs including Rodrigo Bueno, Akasha Richmond, Tina Ruggiero, Tal Ronnen and Scot Jones and Malika Ameen who are in Sun Valley from all over the country as they demonstrate topics ranging from “Buy Local, Cook Global,” to “Sweet and Spicy: Unique Twists for Flavorful Baking.” After each cooking demonstration, you will enjoy a sample of the chef’s creation with a specially selected wine from one of the Festival’s featured wineries.

Finally, at this lovely venue on Sunday, be sure to get your tickets to the Grand Tasting. This benefit for the Sun Valley Culinary Institute might be the highlight of your year food-wise. Sample seasonal offerings from local chefs and specialty food makers. Wines, beer from the Sawtooth Brewery and spirits from Idaho’s own Distilled Resources will add to the merriment. The Grand Tasting will also feature 20-minute breakout sessions covering topics from coffee to tea; nut butters to chocolate.

What do you get when you add Sun Valley Executive Chef John Murcko and caviar? Epicurean magic, that's what!

What do you get when you add Sun Valley Executive Chef John Murcko and caviar? Epicurean magic, that's what!

But, wait, there is more! Much more! In and around Ketchum, the food and beverages will flow all weekend long. The Restaurant Walk is scheduled this year for Friday, September 20, starting at 5 p.m. in Ketchum Town Square. The Sawtooth Brewery will offer Oktoberfest, Idaho style, on Saturday, a 5B Boots, Beer, Bourbon and Barbecue party on Saturday evening at B. Restaurant keeps the sophisticated local vibe going, as does a River Guide Cooking Demonstration, on Sunday, at Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge.

Fresh, locally-sourced food, like that found at the Farmers' Market, is in the spotlight for the entire Festival weekend

Fresh, locally-sourced food, like that found at the Farmers' Market, is in the spotlight for the entire Festival weekend

Relevant, riveting panel discussions round out the agenda.

For the entire Harvest Festival schedule and for ticket information, please click HERE.

Students from the nearby Community School volunteer at last year's event

Students from the nearby Community School volunteer at last year's event

Now might be a good time to start eating just a little less every day to make sure you are hungry for the Sun Valley Harvest Festival. The food is not only plentiful, but divinely delicious. You won’t want to miss a bite!

– RES

TRI-IT DU-IT RUN IT!

Sun Valley Writer’s Conference

SVWC is a festival of ideas and literature with some of the most extraordinary writers and thinkers in the world, the most generous audience one is ever likely to encounter – close to 1,000 people, a good number of whom wield considerable influence in business, politics, media, and entertainment circles, but all of whom love to read – in one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places in the American West. The conference started 19 years ago and is now considered by many to be the best literary festival in the U.S.

For more information, please visit svwc.com

Go With the Flow

We all know that Bald Mountain is one big playground and next summer, expect to see new, updated, state-of-the-art places to play.

New mountain bike flow trails on Baldy will make the downhill even more fun

New mountain bike flow trails on Baldy will make the downhill even more fun

Picture this: It’s a spectacular Sun Valley summer day. You load your mountain bike onto the gondola at the base of River Run and hop on the next car, enjoying the scenic ride up the hill. At the summit, you strap on your helmet, snug up your sunglasses, mount your saddle and prepare to go with the flow.

In the works on Baldy, are nine new “flow” mountain bike trails that will, in the next five to six years, provide nearly 20 miles of new buttery single track that promise to get riders into a groove unlike any they have ever experienced. The first is expected to debut early summer 2014.

 

Construction is well underway on the first flow trail on Baldy

Construction is well underway on the first flow trail on Baldy

Flow trails have become very popular in recent years, but have historically been hard to access for recreational bikers. Not anymore. According to Sun Valley’s Julian Tyo, an avid and accomplished mountain biker who is involved in the concept, design and implementation of these trails, Baldy’s new terrain developments are a game changer. Tyo explained, “flow trails optimize the mountain bike experience for riders of all ability levels,” and ours will be accessible by chairlift.

The concept sounds tantalizing — downhill trails that have an intrinsic, smooth rhythm, a “terrain-induced roller coaster experience,” according to the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). Pedaling and braking are kept to a minimum on flow trails. Instead, features including banked turns, rolling terrain, jumps and consistent and predictable surfaces are what transport the rider through wooded glades or under bluebird skies.

Sun Valley is already singletrack Nirvana and is about to get even better

Sun Valley is already singletrack Nirvana and is about to get even better

Like a skier or snowboarder, the mountain biker carves back and forth, flowing down the mountain without worry of abrupt corners, obstacles or drop offs. Riders can revel in this experience without concern to their fitness level or skill set. There are no logs to jump or rocks to navigate on the flow trails being built.

Tyo concurs that this is what people can expect on Baldy. “We envision riders of all ability levels using the new flow trails,” he explained. “The design of these trails is for riders of different ability levels to have a variety of experiences on the same trail. Our goal is to provide trails that keep all riders wanting to come back for more.”

A comparison to winter sports might be the popular Family Cross and Skier Cross courses offered on Dollar Mountain in the snow season.

On flow tracks, the terrain and gravity do the work. You have the fun.

On flow tracks, the terrain and gravity do the work. You have the fun. This one will be ready for action for summer 2014.

The first phase of construction on Baldy’s flow trails is underway, which will result in the scheduled opening of the first at the beginning of summer 2014. Phase one is a “four-mile, green rated flow trail (with ratings similar to winter ski trail ratings) on Forest Service land from the top of the mountain to Roundhouse,” Tyo said.

The new trails are user-specific and unidirectional, available only for downhill mountain bike traffic. In addition to the flow trails, two new hiking and uphill biking only trails will be part of this upgrade. The design maintains existing use patterns on the hill.

How vital is this project to enthusiasts who visit or live in the area? Very! “This project is important to the Resort to increase summer offerings on Bald Mountain consistent with the goal of year-round recreation on public lands,” Tyo enthused. “The addition of these trails completes the picture of Sun Valley and the Wood River Valley as the ultimate riding destination, with nearly 450 miles of singletrack, two pump tracks and now a contemporary lift-accessed bike park. Our goal is create a ‘ski season for the summertime’ on Bald Mountain.”

Lift accessed downhill mountain biking is a scenic experience in Sun Valley

Lift accessed downhill mountain biking is a scenic experience in Sun Valley

Next May, when the snow has melted, your skis are tucked away for the season but it isn’t quite nice enough yet to get on the trails, just remember, soon, very soon, you will be able to get your groove on.

For Tyo, “adding new downhill trails on Baldy has always been a dream.” A dream, that is about to become reality.

–RES

Monday Night Football at Elkhorn Clubhouse

The Elkhorn Golf Clubhouse is open this fall for Monday Night Football on 2 big screens.

Happy hour pricing starts at 4 o’clock  for drinks and food specials.

So get your friends and come on out to the Clubhouse.
Go Eagles!
Jennifer Waters- Clubhouse Manager

Go Redskins!
Brian Ahern- Clubhouse Chef