Summer Ice Skating Heats Up

If you have noticed more activity than usual in and around Sun Valley’s two skating rinks this week, it’s for good reason. Starting Thursday, more than 200 aspiring figure skaters at all levels and from all over the country, will compete in the annual Sun Valley Summer Championships.

This four-day competition heats up the ice with participants donning elaborate costumes and performing their best programs in front of large audiences and a panel of judges.

More than 200 aspiring figure skaters are coming to town to compete in the Sun Valley Summer Championships

More than 200 aspiring figure skaters are coming to town to compete in the Sun Valley Summer Championships

From the youngest novices to those competing at very high levels, everyone is here to do his or her best. Clubs this year represent Colorado, Washington, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, California, Nevada, Florida and Minnesota. In all, more than 35 clubs are sending skaters to Sun Valley’s storied ice.

Judges return year after year to the Sun Valley Summer Championships, as well. Nineteen judges, technical officials and accountants return this year from locales including California, Washington, Oregon, Ohio, Wyoming, New Mexico, New York, Colorado and Utah. Many say it is among their favorite competitions of the year and something they always look forward to.

Many skaters and officials bring their families with them to Sun Valley to enjoy a vacation before or after the big event. Skaters can be seen in and around the Village and town riding bikes, horseback riding, swimming, shopping, hiking, snacking on an ice cream cone and enjoying everything that makes this area so special. Talk in the locker room is of whitewater rafting or camping trips scheduled once competition has concluded.

Yes, they are skating to win, but the competition is also about friendship, having fun and enjoying Sun Valley

Yes, they are skating to win, but the competition is also about friendship, having fun and enjoying Sun Valley

This summer is extra special as the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club celebrates its 75th anniversary making it one of the longest running clubs in the nation. For decades, skaters have journeyed to Sun Valley to train in the clean mountain air and at altitude. In the past, there were even dormitories located on Resort property to house all the athletes. The tradition continues with groups of skaters training in Sun Valley throughout the summer with their own coaches and with the pros at the Sun Valley Summer Skating School. Coaches offer daily clinics and group and private lessons in all the fundamentals of skating – from edge control, to spirals, jumps, spins and showmanship.

Showcase numbers performed outside on Sunday, are often a highlight of the competition

Showcase numbers performed outside on Sunday, are often a highlight of the competition

The public is invited to enjoy any of the events. Thursday through Saturday, competitors will skate in the indoor rink (a great place to cool off on a hot summer’s day). Sunday, the action moves to the outdoor rink for the popular showcase events. Here, skaters are allowed to use props and perform very entertaining programs that are always crowd pleasers. Tickets are not needed for any of the events. On Sunday, our favorite thing to do is to enjoy lunch on the deck at Gretchen’s Restaurant in the Lodge and then find shade in the bleachers to watch an afternoon of action.

Sun Valley On Ice is an intimate venue to see skating's stars shine beneath the stars every Saturday night

Sun Valley On Ice is an intimate venue to see skating's stars shine beneath the stars every Saturday night

The weekend isn’t just for amateurs, though. Sun Valley On Ice reclaims the rink on Saturday night offering some inspiration and entertainment to all the skaters who are in town and anyone else who loves a good show. The July 26 roster features two-time United Stated Gold Medalist and 2011 Skate America champion Alissa Czisny, 2013 and 2012 World Junior Silver Medalist Josh Farris and Sun Valley’s talented soloists, ice dancers, pairs and core skaters. Tickets are available at sunvalley.com.

And the action doesn’t conclude with the final performance on Sunday afternoon. On July 28 and 29, a ProSkaters’ Live Audition and Performance Camp invites skaters back for more. This is a great opportunity for athletes who are at least 16 years old to get a taste of the professional world of skating. Free auditions will be held on July 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. on the outdoor rink. On July 29, workshops will be held beginning at 4 p.m. with off-ice movement. Following a dinner break, current show skaters will share their experiences about life under the spotlight after which the workshop will continue in the indoor rink. The seminar and workshop are $25 for ProSkaters members and $95 for nonmembers. Please click on www.proskaters.org for more information.

Whether you are a competitor, a recreational skater or would like a few lessons, there is no cooler place in the summer than Sun Valley ice

Whether you are a competitor, a recreational skater or would like a few lessons, there is no cooler place in the summer than Sun Valley ice

Whether you can do a swizzle on the ice, or prefer to order a Rum Swizzle from the Duchin Room and enjoy other’s efforts, be sure to stop at the Sun Valley skating rinks this weekend. It promises to be an action-packed few days.

–RES

The Fourth is Looking Fab

The big Fourth of July holiday is just around the corner, and no one does it better than Sun Valley. Now is the time to make sure you’ve secured tickets to all the concerts, shows and events that will make celebrating the nation’s independence unforgettable.

At Sun Valley itself, the Fourth will be feted with the first Sun Valley On Ice of the season on Friday, July 4. This star-studded event beneath the stars features the one-and-only Gracie Gold. Gold, the 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist and 2014 National Champion, is figure skating’s golden girl. Known for her beauty, grace, athleticism and lyricism, Gold will take your breath away. It’s rare to get this close to a star of Gracie’s caliber, so be sure to get your bleacher, Sun Room, or fabulous dinner buffet seats today. Also lighting up the ice on the Fourth will be Jason Brown, the 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist and 2014 US Silver Medalist, as well as Nathan Chen, 2014 Junior World Bronze Medalist and 2014 US Junior Gold Medalist. The fabulous core skaters and featured skaters of Sun Valley will keep the action – and beat — going strong. We’ve heard a rumor that there is a strong disco influence in this show and it is sure to be quite a night.

Sun Valley On Ice kicks off a star-studded season of Saturday night shows on July 4 with headliner Gracie Gold.

Following the show, Sun Valley will set off a dazzling fireworks display, lighting up Dollar mountain and beyond.

Tickets are still available but are going fast. To make sure you don’t miss a moment of this spectacular show, click HERE or please call 208.622.2135. To make the most of the weekend, book a special hotel package, as well. Stay at the Sun Valley Resort July 4 and enjoy two tickets to Sun Valley On Ice and buffet for only $209 per person, double occupancy. Bleacher seating is also available for two plus one night’s lodging for $158 per person, double occupancy. Ask about children’s tickets, too. For reservations, please call (866) 893-4452.

Close your eyes -- you'll swear it's John, Paul, Ringo and George

Close your eyes -- you'll swear it's John, Paul, Ringo and George

The fun continues in Sun Valley on July 5 when the Fab Four play the beautiful Pavilion. At 8 p.m., this first-class Beatles’ Tribute band weaves their precise attention to detail and uncanny, note-for-note live renditions of Beatles’ songs into the fabric of the weekend. This incredible stage show includes three costume changes representing every era of the Beatles ever-evolving career and live performances of classics like “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Yesterday,” “A Day In The Life,” “Twist And Shout,” “Here Comes The Sun” and “Hey Jude.”

A concert at the glorious Sun Valley Pavilion is one you will never forget

A concert at the glorious Sun Valley Pavilion is one you will never forget

The holiday weekend kicks off with music of another sort – the upbeat, “dare you not to dance” sounds of Michael Franti & Spearhead, performing an evening concert at River Run on July 2 at 6 p.m. A part of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts Summer Concert Series, Franti is a Valley favorite and puts on an amazing show that also features SOJA, Brett Dennen and Trevor Hall. Tickets are still available for $40 for members, $50 for nonmembers. Early entry (entry 15 minutes prior to general admission) costs $85 for members, $95 for nonmembers plus a $1 per ticket Reverb charity donation. A special VIP Party pack is available. Please click HERE to buy tickets and for more information.

Please note, picnics will be allowed at River Run, as usual, but due to liability concerns, Sun Valley Company will no longer allow outside alcohol at concerts. Bring ID if you’d like to purchase alcohol on site. Bags and IDs will be checked by Sun Valley Security.

Last time Michael Franti & Spearhead played River Run, an amazing time was had by all. Don't miss it!

Last time Michael Franti & Spearhead played River Run, an amazing time was had by all. Don't miss it!

Fun with Franti begins earlier in the day, though, when the Soulshine Tour Yoga Experience hits the idyllic Trail Creek Cabin picnic grounds. Starting at 11 a.m., live music, DJs, yoga and fans all take part in what organizers call “one ridiculously awesome jam.” The morning begins with a very special mass acoustic music and yoga practice, featuring Michael Franti and friends playing live and a class led by Allie Purdy. The yoga is appropriate for all levels, ages, shapes and sizes. The yoga event will last a roughly 90 minutes, followed by an hour-long traditional yoga class taught by Allie Purdy with Michael Franti performing a couple acoustic songs on either end of the class and physically participating with fans. Doors will open at 10:30 a.m. for this event. Please bring yoga mats and water, but leave your dog at home. The event is rain or shine and is non-refundable. Tickets are $20, $10 if purchased with a ticket to the Soulshine Tour Concert (plus tax). For more information on The Soulshine Tour Yoga Experience, please visit: soulshine.com.

And the Fourth wouldn’t be the Fourth without the Hailey Fourth of July Parade. This true community event features an old west shootout gang portrayal and fun-filled, family-friendly parade that runs down Main Street in Hailey from noon until approximately 1:30 p.m. This year’s theme is “Wood River Valley Inspires.” The Grand Marshal will be Dick Fosbury noted for his “Fosbury Flop” and for sharing his love and enthusiasm for sports, especially track and field, around the world.

Hailey's family-friendly Fourth of July parade is non-stop fun

Hailey's family-friendly Fourth of July parade is non-stop fun

Also in Hailey, enjoy the Rodeo over the long weekend. The Sawtooth Rangers Fourth of July Rodeo runs starts July 2 with “Family Nite” (kids ten and under are free). Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show usually lasts until about 10 p.m. Tickets are available at all Atkinsons’ Markets and at the Hailey Chamber of Commerce in the Welcome Center located at 781 S. Main Street. All Tickets are General Admission and sell out fast so get there early! This is the 66th annual “Days of the Old West Rodeo.” It runs through July 4.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, Ride Sun Valley events continue through July 5. On the Fourth, the Hailey Criterium races around downtown Hailey following the parade. On July 5, some of the best mountain bikers around compete in the U.S. Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships on Baldy.

All the action is back on Baldy on July 5 for the US Marathon National Mountain Bike Championship, part of Ride Sun Valley

All the action is back on Baldy on July 5 for the US Marathon National Mountain Bike Championship, part of Ride Sun Valley

Oh yes, and the gondola and Christmas Lift on Bald Mountain open to bike traffic on July 1.

Phew!

Get out there and enjoy a real, small-town, western Fourth of July with a lot of pretty impressive bells, whistles, and yes, fireworks. Have a safe, fun weekend!

–RES

Sun Valley On Ice Presents: Evan Lysacek. August 30th, 2014.

On August 30th, 2014, make sure to head to Sun Valley to watch Olympic Gold Medalist Evan Lysacek. For tickets and additional information please visit http://www.sunvalley.com/things-to-do/iceshows/ or call 208.622.2135

Sun Valley On Ice Presents: 2014 Gold Medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White. August 23rd, 2014.

Be sure to catch 2014 Olympic Gold Medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White on August 23rd, 2014. For tickets and additional information please visit http://www.sunvalley.com/things-to-do/iceshows/ or call 208.622.2135.

Sun Valley On Ice Presents Ashley Wagner and Nathan Chen. August 9th, 2014.

Be sure to catch 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist Ashley Wagner and 2014 Jr. World Bronze Medalist Nathan Chen on August 9th, 2014. For tickets and more information please visit http://www.sunvalley.com/things-to-do/iceshows/ or call 208.622.2135.

Sun Valley On Ice Presents Alissa Czisny and Josh Farris. July 26th, 2014.

On July 26th, come join 2x US Gold Medalist Alissa Czisny and 2013 World Jr. Gold Medalist Josh Farris. For tickets and additional information please visit http://www.sunvalley.com/things-to-do/iceshows/ or call 208.622.2135.

Sun Valley On Ice Presents Mirai Nagasu and Max Aaron. Saturday, July 19th.

On July 19th, be sure to check out US Olympic Competitor and 2X US Bronze Medalist Mirai Nagasu. Also that night is 2014 US Bronze Medalist and 2013 US Gold Medalist Max Aaron. For tickets and more information please visit http://www.sunvalley.com/things-to-do/iceshows/ or call 208.622.2135.

Spend your Summer at the Rink

When it’s hot outside (and it is definitely already getting there) there is no cooler place to be than Sun Valley’s iconic outdoor skating rink. The largest year-round outdoor rink in the country, it is also one of the prettiest. Views extend over Dollar and Bald Mountains and to the historic Sun Valley Lodge.

Everyone who is anyone has skated in Sun Valley and no summer stay here is complete without taking in the magical Sun Valley On Ice Saturday night shows

Everyone who is anyone has skated in Sun Valley and no summer stay here is complete without taking in the magical Sun Valley On Ice Saturday night shows

There is a well-known saying here that “everyone who is anyone has skated in Sun Valley,” and in the world of world-class figure skating, that is true, indeed. The legendary Saturday night Sun Valley On Ice Shows have drawn Olympic and world champions, top professional talent and up-and-comers for decades. No visit to Sun Valley is complete without taking in an ice show under the stars. This year’s high voltage lineup includes Sochi Olympic gold medal winners in ice dance, the magical Meryl Davis and Charlie White on August 23. The beautiful Gracie Gold, Olympic bronze medalist, kicks off the season on July 4 and fellow Olympic team member, 2013 US National Champion Ashley Wagner, will take center ice August 9. From Sochi to Sun Valley: It doesn’t get much better than that! Crowd favorite and Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek returns to Sun Valley August 30. Ryan Bradley and Johnny Weir are also among the featured skaters this summer making for quite a lineup. The talented and always-entertaining core skater favorites include Craig Heath, Ashley Clark, Darlin Baker, Jozef Sabovcik, Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre, Anita Hartshorn, Natalia Zaitseva and Jonathan Hunt, Ryan Bradley, Erin Reed and Jason Graetz.

The venue is intimate and there are few places where you can get so close to your favorite skaters. The athletes all say they love to skate in Sun Valley because they can see and hear the audience and the energy is amazing. Many of the stars stay after the show to greet fans and even sign autographs if they have time. Get your tickets early (they go on sale May 15), be sure to bring blankets to sit on (if you get bleacher seats) and layers to add as the evening temperature drops and come out and enjoy this amazing ice show.

Gracious figure skating stars like Sasha Cohen often take time to talk with, and pose with fans, following a show

Gracious figure skating stars like Sasha Cohen often take time to talk with, and pose with fans, following a show

But you don’t need to be the best of the best to skate in Sun Valley. Throughout the summer, there are sessions available to everyone – from a first timer to a competitive skater. Children love to skate and take to it quickly. To make those first turns as enjoyable as possible, you might consider booking a group or private lesson for your child (or yourself!). Group lessons that teach basic skills are offered at the outdoor rink from mid-June to mid-August. This drop-in format teaches figure skating building blocks like stroking, skating forward, skating backward and that all-important skill, stopping. Classes are instructive, fun and affordable. With the help of a professional, you will see improvement in your scratch spins, swizzles, maybe even Salchow jumps!

Pros like Ashley Clark will wow you every Saturday night in Sun Valley On Ice and then are often available to give lessons.

Pros like Ashley Clark will wow you every Saturday night in Sun Valley On Ice and then are often available to give lessons.

For even more opportunities to improve, semi-private lessons are given for up to four skaters of similar level. Popular clinics are also offered throughout the summer season. The Sun Valley Skating School offers up to 20 classes a day on both the beautiful outdoor rink and the full-size indoor rink that is equipped with a ballet studio and a jumping harness. Clinics begin at 8:30 a.m. and run to 5:30 p.m. They include classes on spinning, jumping, stroking, performance, spirals, ice dance and more. Students can pre-register for the whole summer or pay by the week. Walk-ons are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For full information on available classes, pricing and registration, please click HERE.

If you don’t want a lesson, but just want to enjoy a spin around the rink, visit the skate house and select a package that includes ice time, skate rentals, even a helmet. Please call 208-622-2194 for a current schedule.

Skating is fun for the whole family. Rent some skates and try it!

Skating is fun for the whole family. Rent some skates and try it!

For my family, summer and skating are synonymous. My two daughters, who now skate competitively, first laced up skates as toddlers during our summer vacations in Sun Valley. I’m not sure if it was the great teachers, pretty dresses or beautiful setting, but they caught the skating bug and have committed to this sport for 10 years now. As members of the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club (celebrating 75 years this summer), they spend hours and hours each summer at the rink, participating in classes, working on skills, selling snacks at Sun Valley On Ice and being generally inspired by all the talented and enthusiastic skaters at the rink. It is a wonderful way to spend the warm weather months.

Come join us this summer to take part in a great Sun Valley tradition that is now nearly 80 years old. Skating is fun, it’s super exercise and it is a wonderful way to glide away an afternoon or evening.

–RES

And so it begins... my daughter Blake and her friend Alex, two future National Showcase Champions

And so it begins... my daughter Blake and her friend Alex, two future National Showcase Champions

Save the Dates

With tips of daffodils and tulips peeking through the ground with just a hint of hesitation and buds forming in earnest on the trees up and down the valley, everyone’s thoughts are on summer. Summer in Sun Valley is like nowhere else: endless days filled with sunshine and temperatures that begin wonderfully cool for golf or biking and heat up to “time to jump in the pool” digits. Blue skies abound. The pace is as leisurely or as fast-paced as you like and days are filled with adventure and activities ranging from hiking to fly fishing to mountain biking to golf, tennis, horseback riding, backpacking, ice skating … really too many to name.

Summer in Sun Valley is pretty special. Make your plans now so you don't miss a moment.

Summer in Sun Valley is pretty special. Make your plans now so you don't miss a moment.

In addition to this daily menu of fun, Sun Valley offers some pretty amazing programs and opportunities each summer that draw thousands from near and far. Now is the time to secure your tickets and make your reservations. Mark your calendar for some of these favorites and check back to this blog and to visitsunvalley.com for updated listings.

Sun Valley Writer’s Conference
The always-popular Sun Valley Writer’s Conference is back and better than ever. This year, the intellectually charged event will take place in and around the Sun Valley Pavilion from July 19 – 22. Celebrating its 20th year in Sun Valley, this year’s speakers and participants include luminaries such as Dave Barry, Justice Stephen Breyer, Timothy Geithner, Ridley Pearson and Scott Turow among many others. Please click HERE for more information about conference passes and single event tickets (based on availability). There is no better place to listen to some of the great thinkers and writers of our day tackle the issues of our day than at the Sun Valley Writer’s Conference.

The Tapas and Tasting event is one of many wonderful ways to enjoy fine wine and great company during the Sun Valley Center for the Arts' Wine Auction weekend

The Tapas and Tasting event is one of many wonderful ways to enjoy fine wine and great company during the Sun Valley Center for the Arts' Wine Auction weekend

Sun Valley Center for the Arts Wine Auction
This year, the Sun Valley Center for the Arts celebrates its 33rd Sun Valley Wine Auction, one of the premier charity wine auctions in the nation. Tickets are now on sale for this legendary event that offers something for everyone (as long as you are over 21!). Extraordinary wine experiences await over the course of three days, from Vintner dinners hosted in exquisite private homes, to the popular Grand Tasting and Tapas party to the Wine Auction Gala. The Gala includes 40 live auction lots and 70 silent lots including many once-in-a-lifetime experiences and wines. Proceeds from all Wine Auction events support The Sun Valley Center for the Arts. The Center provides educational opportunities in the arts, with fine art and music programming, lectures series and arts education in the Blaine County School District. Cheers!

The Sun Valley Center for the Arts Concert Series also promises to create summer memories to last a lifetime. This year’s lineup, just announced, includes: the Soulshine Tour featuring Michael Franti & Spearhead, SOJA, Brett Dennen and Trevor Hall on July 2; Josh Ritter & the Royal City Band on July 27; Chris Isaak on August 6; and The Head & The Heart on August 29.

Michael Franti & Spearhead, will launch the first-ever music & yoga tour, Soulshine, that will bridge daytime and nighttime experiences including music, yoga, sustainable lifestyle and DJs guaranteeing a full-blown dance party. SOJA, Brett Dennen and Trevor Hall will be joining the North American Tour along with special guest yoga teachers. The afternoon will begin with a mass yoga at Trail Creek Lodge and acoustic music jam with Michael Franti & Friends, led by some of today’s most inspiring teachers from across North America, including Ryan Leier. The yoga session is designed for people of all experience levels, ages, shapes and sizes and will feature artists participating side-by-side with fans. The evening concert will feature all four bands for over four hours of music! The evening will kick off at 6 p.m. at the beautiful River Run Lodge. Music in the mountains is unbeatable!

I dare you not to dance when Michael Franti & Spearhead rock River Run

I dare you not to dance when Michael Franti & Spearhead rock River Run

Josh Ritter is a singer-songwriter, guitarist and author who performs and records with The Royal City Band. He will perform his distinctive Americana style and narrative lyrics, also at River Run Lodge where there will be food and beverages for sale or you are invited to bring a picnic. Be sure to make a night of it!

On August 6, the legendary Chris Isaak takes to the River Run stage treating the audience to his deeply personal style, influenced by luminaries like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Finally, on August 29, The Head & The Heart conclude the concerts series on a high note bringing to River Run their indie folk-rock sound straight from Seattle. They scored two No. 1 singles with their song “Lost in My Mind” and they’ve opened for Vampire Weekend, The Decemberists and others.

Tickets for the concert series go on sale to the public on May 19.

The Fab Four and the Doobie Brothers will perform this summer beneath the Sun Valley Pavilion's amazing sail

The Fab Four and the Doobie Brothers will perform this summer beneath the Sun Valley Pavilion's amazing sail, also home to the Sun Valley Summer Symphony

Fab Four Concert
A fun-filled and energetic blast from the past will grace the stage at the Sun Valley Pavilion on July 5 at 8 p.m. when the Sun Valley Opera presents The Fab Four: The Ultimate Tribute. This is the ultimate Beatles tribute band known for its uncanny, note-for-note live renditions of Beatles’ hits. Check out www.thefabfour.com for a preview of what is sure to be an amazing night. Tickets are now on sale and the Sun Valley Opera is also selling Diva Party Tickets that include a cocktail party in a private home and premier seating.

Picture yourself here for one of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony's amazing concerts

Picture yourself here for one of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony's amazing concerts

Sun Valley Summer Symphony
Picture this. You carefully unpack a gourmet picnic full of treats on the vast lawn outside the Sun Valley Pavilion amphitheater. Wine is poured, the blanket is spread as you settle in for an evening of world-class classical musical played live by some of the country’s best musicians. The sun begins to slowly set over Dollar and Bald Mountains as the strains of the symphony waft through the air. And what do you pay for this one-of-a-kind experience? Absolutely nothing. From July 28 – August 19 join the thousands of enthusiasts who make an evening at the Sun Valley Summer Symphony the centerpiece of their summer schedules. At the age of 30, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony attracts the most sought-after soloists of our time. With free year-round music education programs complimenting free-admission concerts, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony has claimed a place of world-class status in the North American classical music scene. This year, the In Focus Series takes place on July 28, 29,31 and August 1. The 30th Anniversary Gala, featuring the incomparable Renee Fleming, will be held on August 3 and the Pavilion Series takes place from August 4 – 19. Be a part of it – every concert is a reason to celebrate!

Doobie Brothers in Concert
Yes, you read right … those Doobie Brothers, the one and only, are coming to Sun Valley on August 20. Their concert set in the gorgeous Pavilion is sure to be one to remember. Four-time Grammy winners, the Doobie Brothers provided the soundtrack to the lives of more than one generation of Americans. They continue to write and record new material, tour the world, and delight fans everywhere they go. Presented by the Killebrew-Thompson Memorial, net proceeds from this event benefit Leukemia and Cancer Research. Every August for the past 37 years, the Killebrew-Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament in Sun Valley has gathered celebrities, sponsors, participants, members of Congress and supporters with one common goal: the cure for cancer and leukemia. Tickets to this amazing concert go on sale May 15 and are sure to sell out so don’t delay!

There is no better way to spend a summer's Saturday night than watching the stars under the stars at Sun Valley On Ice

There is no better way to spend a summer's Saturday night than watching the stars under the stars at Sun Valley On Ice

Sun Valley On Ice
There is nothing more beautiful than being outside on a star-filled Sun Valley summer’s night and no better place to be outside on a Saturday evening that at Sun Valley On Ice. These storied ice shows have graced Sun Valley’s iconic outdoor rink for decades, drawing the very best professional and up-and-coming figure skating talent summer after summer. This year, Sun Valley welcomes 2014 Olympic Gold Medal Ice Dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White (August 23) straight off their spectacular win in Sochi. Other headliners include the amazing Gold Medalist Evan Lysacek (August 30), beautiful Olympic Bronze Medalist Gracie Gold (July 4) and US National Champion and Olympian Ashley Wagner (August 9) – truly the biggest names on ice. Sun Valley On Ice debuts July 4 and runs Saturday nights through Labor Day. Core skaters including Craig Heath, Ashley Clark, Darlin Baker, Jozef Sabovcik, Kim Navarro & Brent Bommentre, Andrei Khvalko & Elena Leonova, Natalia Zaitseva, Ryan Bradley, Erin Reed and Jason Graetz will also delight and entertain. No visit to Sun Valley is complete without taking in Sun Valley On Ice.

Ride Sun Valley brings some amazing mountain bike athletes and action to Bald Mountain and beyond

Ride Sun Valley brings some amazing mountain bike athletes and action to Bald Mountain and beyond

Ride Sun Valley
Sun Valley is mountain bike Mecca and at no time is this evident than when Ride Sun Valley comes to town. From June 27 to 29, all things two-wheeled take center stage during this bike festival to end all bike festivals. The 4th annual event showcases the area’s 400-plus miles of continuous singletrack in an event centered around some of the best race courses in the U.S. Sun Valley is a bike rider’s paradise with over 32 miles of multi-use paved bike paths, two bike parks, and miles of scenic road riding. There are events for the recreational rider to the professional and lots of opportunities to spectate, cheer and enjoy mountain bike culture.

Wagon Days
Labor Day is officially the end to summer and in Sun Valley, the season ends with one of the biggest celebrations of the year: Wagon Days. From August 27 – September 1, the Wood River Valley honors its heritage with lots of family-friendly events culminating in the Big Hitch Parade. This non-motorized parade is one of the largest in the Pacific Northwest and features museum quality wagons, buggies, and stagecoaches. The Grand Finale to the parade is Ketchum’s own Big Hitch, the Lewis Ore Wagons. These large freight wagons are the best preserved, most original, functioning wagons of their kind in existence. Watch them wend down Sun Valley Road pulled by an authentic 20-mule jerk line. There are also arts and crafts fairs, pancake breakfasts, an antique car show and auction, live music and much more. It is a can’t-miss weekend in Sun Valley.

The old ore wagons in the Labor Days Wagon Days Parade are a sight to behold

The old ore wagons in the Labor Days Wagon Days Parade are a sight to behold

That doesn’t even begin to cover summer’s fabulous meals, bi-weekly farmer’s markets, Gallery Walks, summer camps for kids, free community concerts like Ketch’em Alive and Town Square Tunes, the Ketchum Arts Festival and the juried Sun Valley Arts & Crafts Festival, July Fourth fun, whitewater adventures … You could spend every summer of your life here and never get bored. In fact, many do.

Don’t miss a minute of this magical season in Sun Valley. By July 2, daily non-stop flights to Sun Valley will be offered from San Francisco (United Airlines), Seattle (Alaska Airlines), Los Angeles (Alaska Airlines) and Salt Lake City (Delta Airlines) with new service from Denver (United Express). Also, be sure to look for great lodging deals on www.sunvalley.com for many of these summer events.

See you this summer in Sun Valley!

–RES

Sun Valley Salutes Herman Maricich

Showman and teacher, Maricich ushered in a whole new era in Sun Valley skating

Showman and teacher, Maricich ushered in a whole new era in Sun Valley skating

If you have ever enjoyed a summer ice show under the stars, skated a few laps around Sun Valley’s iconic outdoor rink or taken in a Suns hockey game, you have seen something Herman Maricich helped create. For decades, he simply defined skating in Sun Valley. This showman, technician, teacher, visionary and Sun Valley icon passed away peacefully in his sleep on January 4 from congenital heart failure. He was surrounded by family in his Sun Valley home and had recently reached the ripe old age of 90.

Programs like the Three Musketeers were crowd favorites

Programs like the Three Musketeers were crowd favorites

He may be best remembered as a daring barrel jumper, a skating polar bear or comic bull in the ice show, or as half of the elegant duo performing to “Singing in the Rain” clad in a tuxedo, but Maricich’s contribution to skating in Sun Valley goes much deeper.

Maricich arrived in Sun Valley in a roundabout way. He began skating in Oakland, California, his hometown, when he was 12 years old. His first laps on the ice were taken on speed skates that he bought for $7 with paper route money. He took to skating right away and trained in speed skating, figure skating and stunt skating; the genesis of acts that would captivate Sun Valley audiences for years.

"Everyone was young, it was a great time," Maricich said of skating in Sun Valley's storied ice shows.

"Everyone was young, it was a great time," Maricich said of skating in Sun Valley's storied ice shows

In 1942, just after the Resort opened its doors, Maricich heard they needed skaters for the show, then called the Ice Carnival. At the time, he was working in a shipyard and the lure of sunshine, clean air and mountains made it an easy decision to hop on a Union Pacific train to Idaho. During that summer, he lived in dorms in the Lodge basement, called the Lower Three, worked as a skating instructor and performed in the weekly shows. In a 2011 interview he said, “All the pretty girls in the show were college girls. They waited tables during the day and skated. The boys also worked at the Resort, as bellmen and waiters. Everyone was young. It was a great time.” He spent free time hiking, picnicking and falling in love with Sun Valley.

Training to be a fighter pilot took Maricich away during the war years. He was an officer in the Air Force, flying P47 single-engine fighter planes. After the war, he returned to California and earned a degree in business administration from the University of California at Berkeley on the GI Bill.

During this time, he kept skating and competing and became Pacific Coast junior champion and skated in two national competitions, taking third place in the pair skating Nationals of 1947. He returned to Sun Valley’s summer shows in 1947 and it was here that he was discovered by Sonja Henie’s producer. Maricich got a part in the Sonja Henie Ice Show and started a career touring the country skating men’s pairs and singles programs.

Maricich's bullfighter number was a huge hit at Sun Valley's Saturday night shows

Maricich's bullfighter number was a huge hit at Sun Valley's Saturday night shows

Sun Valley’s spell brought Maricich back to the Wood River Valley, however, and he settled among the mountains for good in 1953. Sun Valley’s Hans Johnson invited Maricich to come teach and skate at the resort full-time and the Maricich era began in earnest.

In the early 50s, the Resort had two outdoor seasonal rinks. One, a smaller precursor to today’s, had refrigeration system, and one relied on Mother Nature to stay frozen. In 1954, the Resort expanded the outdoor rink to the current size. But by 1962, maintenance of the outdoor rink in winter was proving expensive for the new president of Union Pacific who was trying to cut costs. “Sun Valley never paid for itself,” chuckled Maricich. “We had all these extravagant things going on.”

Maricich taught generations of skaters in Sun Valley and loved encouraging young talent

Maricich taught generations of skaters in Sun Valley and loved encouraging young talent

“I told them, “Why don’t you let me take this over? Clean the ice? Run it?” Maricich said. “I had an old cheap truck with a snowplow. I’d clear the snow and blow it off the end of the rink. I even had my own re-surfacer system.” This truck, called the Hermoni, was only retired last winter after 36 years of service. Maricich began to lease and run the rink in the winter.

When Bill Janss bought the resort in 1964, Maricich secured a year-round lease for the rink and was officially in charge. He said, “With that,” he said, “I changed the idea of the staff. I went out and got as many great pros as I could without all the hierarchy.”

Barrel jumping was a family act. Here, Maricich and son Nick practice this daredevil trick

Barrel jumping was a family act. Here, Maricich and son Nick practice this daredevil trick

The program gained momentum and credibility. “There weren’t as many skating schools back then. I could build the teaching program and get prominent pros on staff and they brought students with them as well as working with local skaters,” explained Maricich.

As head instructor, Maricich taught the famous and beautiful. He took Lucille Ball and her children for spins around the rink and had to keep reminding a gaggle of Kennedy kids that hockey was not allowed. During his heyday as manager at the rink and lead pro, he rubbed elbows with the likes of Ann Sothern, Leonard Bernstein and Gary Cooper. He took over the children’s skating program and directed their numbers in the ice show. Maricich went on to put together a skating school that has evolved into today’s Sun Valley Figure Skating Club that boasts more than 200 members.

Maricich skated with and taught many stars including Lucille Ball

Maricich skated with and taught many stars including Lucille Ball

Soon, the program that got so busy that it became evident that the resort needed an indoor rink. “Janss said it was a good idea, but he couldn’t finance it. He was investing in the mountain,” explained Maricich. “I thought about it for a few years and approached him again. I proposed trying to get it done privately with investors. Janss kind of laughed at the idea but wished me well.”

Maricich was determined. “I wrote up a proposal and presented it to about 100 people. Out of those, I got ten people to invest and I found financing for the rest.” He took over as the general manager of a project, paid rent for the land and secured a 15-year lease. Construction took a little more than a year and cost $450,000.

With the addition of the indoor rink, hockey was sure to follow. Bob Johnson came and ran a hockey camp while Maricich set the wheels in motion for a resort hockey team that evolved in the Suns. A strong junior and senior program quickly followed. Today, the Sun Valley Youth Hockey Association coaches almost 200 children every year and adult leagues are filled to capacity.

But even during this period of innovation and construction, Maricich continued to do what he loved to do: entertain. He performed in the ice shows for decades and was known for comedic and daredevil acts. Maricich would choose a theme for each summer season and help to choreograph all the numbers. “He was pretty much the dominant force in coming up with the acts,” said longtime friend and collaborator, Dick Haskell who started in the shows in 1957. He would also create intricate costumes for many of his roles: animal heads likes bulls and donkeys and bears that had moving tongues and tusks and eyes.
“Everything you see at the rinks today are just an extension of what Herman developed,” said Haskell. “He did an awful lot to keep it going.”

Maricich's second wife, Mariana, performed with him for 15 years as a Hermanette

Maricich's second wife, Mariana, performed with him for 15 years as a Hermanette

Maricich’s “Hermanettes” were also part of the glamor. The “Hermanettes” were beautiful ladies clad in figure flattering costumes who performed support roles in Maricich’s numbers. “We’d pop a bottle of champagne after the shows,” Maricich said. “We were one big family.”

Maricich came to Sun Valley to skate, and skate here he did, for a lifetime. Generations of locals who took their first turns around the ice with the Learn to Skate program, hundreds of pros, Olympic skaters and recreational enthusiasts alike have all benefitted by Maricich’s vision, passion and dedication.

A doting father, Maricich lifted young daughter Maria overhead

A doting father, Maricich lifted young daughter Maria overhead

On a personal note, Herman was my friend and my neighbor. He never forgot to ask about my two daughters who are figure skaters, wondering what jumps they were working on or what level test they were preparing for. He was charming, debonair, intelligent, perceptive … truly one-of-a-kind.

He will be missed by his five children: Nick, Maria, Tony, Alex and Stasha, grandchildren, Alexandra Maricich and Zac Siele, and the whole community to whom he gave so much.

–RES

A skater and a gentleman, the community celebrates this life well lived

A skater and a gentleman, the community celebrates this life well lived