Please join us in celebrating local athlete Kaitlyn Farrington. Kaitlyn’s recent gold medal win at the Winter Games has the entire state buzzing with excitement! Live music will start at Warm Springs at 2:30pm and the ceremony will follow. After the ceremony, there will be a street party in front of Apples Bar and Grill with live music from Old Death Whisper.
The excitement inside the terminal at Friedman Memorial Airport was palpable, the pride, collective, as the large crowd craned its collective head, hoping to catch a glimpse of the golden girl. Supporters holding signs of congratulation thronged the waiting room and media from all over the state and region were well represented.
Support from every part of the community was on display when Kaitlyn Farrington returned home
Hundreds of local students came to the airport and lined the impromptu parade route, cheering for Kaitlyn
Kaitlyn, who grew up on a ranch in Bellevue and took her first turns on a snowboard in Sun Valley as a member of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF), returned to the Wood River Valley wearing the huge gold medal she earned in Sochi, Russia, as queen of the Halfpipe. Pitted against the top women in the sport, three of whom had won Olympic gold themselves, Kaitlyn dominated the event, earning a score of 91.75, and delivering two runs that showcased her style, skills and self-assurance.
She was met inside the terminal not only by supporters, but by the Mayor of Bellevue, Chris Koch. “On behalf of the Wood River Valley, we welcome you home,” Koch announced, and continued, “now the celebration can really begin because you are home with friends and family.” With that, he handed Kaitlyn the Key to the City of Bellevue.
Kaitlyn prepares to accept the Key to the City from Bellevue Mayor Chris Koch
With the Key to the City in one hand, and her medal glinting around her neck, Kaitlyn was modest and understated in her comments. “Thank you for supporting me through the years,” she smiled with her signature dimpled grin, “Thank you for getting my family to the Olympics, as well.” This referenced local fundraising efforts that helped pay for her parents, Suz Locke and Gary Farrington, to be in Sochi cheering their daughter to gold.
Next stop for Kaitlyn? She, her parents, and SVSEF snowboard coach Andy Gilbert will be driven in a convertible through Bellevue. The champion will then ride a ladder truck with local firefighters through Hailey and Ketchum to the SVSEF headquarters located at the base of Warm Springs at Bald Mountain. Hundreds of well-wishers are expected to line the streets and cheer for our golden girl.
Kaitlyn shows off that amazing medal next to Jason Carter, sports director at KMVT
A party is also in the works for Saturday, March 1, at the base of Warm Springs. Festivities begin at 2:30 p.m. at Warm Springs Lodge with live music and food and beverage specials from the Sun Valley Resort. At 4 p.m., an official ceremony honoring Kaitlyn will be held on the Warm Springs Deck, followed by a street party on Picabo Street between Jane Lane and Lloyd Court. Old Death Whisper will play, Apple’s Bar & Grill will provide food and libations, and everyone is invited.
For more on all the events, stay tuned to this blog.
Congratulations, Kaitlyn Farrington on your enormous accomplishment and for making this entire valley proud. Welcome home!
It’s all anyone is talking about. From the coffee shop, to the grocery store, to the chairlift, there is one name on everyone’s lips: Kaitlyn Farrington. Earlier this week, Sun Valley’s golden girl won a gold medal in snowboard Halfpipe and this community could not be more proud!
It's gold for Sun Valley's Kaitlyn Farrington in Olympic snowboard Halfpipe! (photo Mark Sullivan)
Kaitlyn, a Bellevue native who took her first turns on a snowboard with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF), dominated the Halfpipe event, earning a score of 91.75. Though new to the Olympic team this year, she delivered two no-holds-barred runs, besting more seasoned competitors. Her winning run included a 900 spin, a corked back flip and style to spare. She took the top step of the podium in Sochi, Russia, after the ride of her life, topping three previous Olympic champions, Torah Bright of Australia who scored 91.50 points and Kaitlyn’s teammate Kelly Clark who garnered 90.75 points.
Kaitlyn, a member of the SVSEF Gold Team, told the press following her win, “I can’t believe it. I come out to each contest and I try and do a different run and that’s my approach to it. Sitting at the bottom, I was stoked I landed my run and once I knew I was going to be on the podium I was happy. I was hoping to make it to the finals, that was my main goal and then during the finals I thought if I land a good run I might be on the podium. So to come out on top – I just can’t believe it.”
The big show in Sochi didn't intimidate Kaitlyn in her run for the gold (photo Mark Sullivan)
Andy Gilbert, head snowboard coach at the SVSEF, was equally stunned and thrilled. In an interview, he said, “I am in shock. I am in complete and utter shock. I can’t describe how it feels. Kaitlyn first started with us as a fifth grader and obviously it takes a village.”
“I do feel like she looked confident throughout,” Gilbert continued. “I was a little worried looking at the semis because it makes for a long day to push it in not get tired, but she came out swinging.”
Kaitlyn's incredibly proud (and nervous) parents watched her gold medal run in Sochi (photo Mark Sullivan)
Kaitlyn’s incredibly proud parents Gary and Suz, watched their daughter’s runs slope side, holding a small sign that read, “Kaitlyn Farrington, Cowgirl Up” — a saying coined by her former swim coach that had become a family joke. Cowgirl up, she did.
Sun Valley could not be more proud of this self-described Idaho cowgirl. “The Sun Valley community couldn’t be more thrilled for Kaitlyn as she stands on top of the podium with Olympic gold,” said Tim Silva, Sun Valley Resort, Vice President and General Manager. “She has worked incredibly hard to get where she is, and we can’t wait to welcome her home and celebrate this historic win with her!”
Kaitlyn, with her coach Elijah Teeter, inspires us all (photo Mark Sullivan)
Preparations are already well underway to give Kaitlyn a hero’s welcome upon her return to Sun Valley. Huge banners that will hang across the main streets are already in production and plans are in the works to celebrate Kaitlyn and her victory in a way only Sun Valley can. Please stay tuned to this blog for more information on plans to celebrate her amazing win.
Kaitlyn continues a long Olympic heritage in Sun Valley but is the first Olympic medalist since Picabo Street brought home gold in alpine skiing from Nagano in 1998.
The goods news is that it’s snowing like crazy in Sun Valley. In fact, the snow is great news! Four inches of fluffy new powder has fallen in the past 24 hours, piling onto another 4” that fell earlier this week and two feet that fell in a storm a few days ago. Sun Valley is showing off its winter white finery and offering some of the best skiing and snowboarding anywhere this Presidents’ Day weekend. Woo hoo!
Heavy recent snowfall is making the second half of the season something to celebrate
Enthusiasm is high to say the least.
However, all this wonderful new snow has created some safety concerns of which all mountain users need to be aware, and to respect. The season’s minimal early snowfall followed by a series of closely-spaced, powerful storms, equals an unstable snowpack. Given these conditions, it is critical that guests respect closed areas on both Baldy and Dollar.
Sun Valley Ski Patrol is working around-the-clock to drop the ropes on any many runs as safely possible
On a sophisticated mountain like Baldy with its detachable high speed quad lifts and state-of-the-art gondola, and some of the best grooming equipment and groomers anywhere, it is easy to forget that slides can happen, even in-bounds. As members of Sun Valley Ski Patrol work tirelessly to get as many trails open, as quickly as possible, mountain users should understand their methods and goals. Mitigating snowpack instability is one of Ski Patrol’s primary responsibilities within ski area boundaries. Before, during and after storms, they implement ski cutting techniques and explosives to accomplish this. Many think the best alarm clock there is is the ka-boom of dynamite hitting the Bowls.
If areas remain closed, though, it is for good reason. In addition to unstable snowpack, these can include (but are not limited to) snowcat or snow machine travel, areas of thin cover, man made obstructions, wildlife considerations, fallen trees, or unsafe conditions in which to run a toboggan. These can change quickly due to current conditions.
Members of Ski Patrol are maximizing fun and safety and ask guests to respect ski area closures
Ski Patrol is comprised of some of the best, most enthusiastic skiers and boarders around. They love powder as much as the rest of us (maybe more) and yearn, like we all do, for first tracks, for themselves and for our guests. It gives them as much as a rush to drop that rope as it does for snow sports enthusiasts to be there when it drops. After all, they love Sun Valley’s mountains and want everyone to have the greatest experience possible.
When closures are ignored, though, unforeseen results may occur and that is really not what you want during an epic day on the mountain. Sun Valley Ski Patrol only sweeps runs that are open to the public. This means if a guest is injured or lost in a closed area, they are on their own. You don’t want to be that person as night falls. Entering closed areas also sets a poor example for younger guests. Overall, there is too much at stake to risk everything for a few turns in a closed area.
It is probably safe to say that everyone wants guests to enjoy the best day ever on Sun Valley’s slopes, especially members of Ski Patrol. But they also want to make sure that guests stay safe.
There is nothing better than a powder day on Baldy
Check for special notices on sunvalley.com where the mountain reports post any special delays and closures. It’s always good to be informed about general conditions, too, so be sure to check in with the Sawtooth National Forest Avalanche Center regularly, especially during, or right after, winter storms. Guests unfamiliar with closure policies should never follow people under ropes or into areas marked closed, but should seek a member of Ski Patrol or Guest Services to get the correct information.
The silence of falling snow is music to all our ears. This week, smiles are broad, the mood is light. But with the excitement about a fantastic second season that starts right about now, let’s all help the dedicated members of Sun Valley Ski Patrol do what they do best: keep us all safe and enjoying this magical mountain playground.
If you have any questions about openings and conditions, pop into the Ski Patrol hut atop Baldy and just ask
As the snow continues to fall (yay!) and settle over the next weeks, please enjoy the amazing terrain that is open and available to play in. If there is a rope closing off an area, please understand that it is there because it needs to be.
Now get out there and enjoy these fabulous February feet of snow!
The U.S. Revolution Tour has proved to be a progressive venue for today’s top junior riders to take the competitive stage in half pipe, slope style, and snowboard cross. The tour is designed to serve as a stepping-stone for athletes making the transition from competition at the grassroots level to the elite level. The series pre-qualifies a portion of its field and then opens registration to any athlete, but it focused towards riders 13-19 years old. Top winners may earn an invite to be a part of the U.S. Grand Prix, Junior Worlds, the U.S. Open, USASA Nationals, and participate in Project Gold camps.
There is nothing like a heavy snowfall to set the mood for the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympic Games. As millions gathered electronically Friday night to watch the world’s best athletes convene at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi, a large crowd congregated in downtown Ketchum at Whiskey Jacques as light, fluffy snow accumulated quickly outside.
Go, Team! A large crowd gathered in downtown Ketchum to enjoy the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games. The event was hosted by the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation
The evening, hosted by the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, drew many avid skiers and snowboarders to cheer on Team USA as well as the local athletes representing the Wood River Valley. Three talented women who call the Sun Valley-area home have the town’s strong and vocal support.
Olympics HQ Friday night was Whiskey Jacques in downtown Ketchum
Snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington, 24, grew up in the Wood River Valley is a product of the SVSEF snowboard program. Andy Gilbert, head development coach of the SVSEF snowboard team told Transworld Snowboarding, “Kaitlyn was part of the first wave of kids that benefited from Sun Valley investing in a halfpipe program. When she started high school and we saw her competing and holding her own, she graduated to bigger events and really got on the radar. All of the coaches that have been involved with Kaitlyn’s training from the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation over the years are really proud of her accomplishment. It’s great to see the excitement and support our entire community has for her and her family.”
Snowboarder Katilyn Farrington Tweeted this photo out of herself in Sochi saying she had 'already made a mess of herself' before the Opening Ceremony even began @KatilynFarr
Kaitlyn became the first women’s rider to perform a backside 900 and is known for her high-octane enthusiasm, determination, super positive attitude and calm. She told Transworld Snowboading, “I’m proud to join the ranks of the legendary athletes who have participated in both the winter and summer Olympic Games before me, and who also call Sun Valley home,” said Farrington. “This is something I’ve been working toward for a long time, and heading to Sochi and competing on the world’s stage is going to be 100 percent fun!”
February 12 is go time for Kaitlyn, as the three rounds of qualification, semi-final and finals will be held that day.
Bringing her Sun Valley roots to center ice, standout women’s hockey forward Hilary Knight is definitely one to watch. This Sun Valley resident will join her teammates in a run for the gold. Knight, 24, made her Olympic debut at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C. That year, she was part of the team that won the silver medal.
Sun Valley resident Hilary Knight started out the Sochi Olympics strong, scoring less than a minute into the first game
Hilary is already shining in the Sochi Games. In Team USA’s first game against Finland, she scored 53 seconds into the first period and also made an assist in a game that ended 3 -1 in favor of Team USA. This set the tone for what we can expect from Hilary and her team in the coming weeks.
On the slopes, Jasmine Campbell who was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands but moved to Sun Valley when she was ten, will race for the U.S. Virgin Islands’ ski team. Jasmine, 22, will compete in the giant slalom and slalom. Jasmine is the only winter athlete representing the USVI and she proudly carried the flag in the Opening Ceremonies. She follows in her father John’s footsteps. He skied in the 1992 Winter Olympics on the Virgin Islands’ team.
Jasmine Campbell spent much of her childhood training on Sun Valley's slopes. Now she puts her considerable skill to use for the US Virgin Islands' Ski Team (photo: Virgin Islands Olympic Committee)
The enthusiastic crowd at Whiskeys, and gathered around widescreens throughout the Wood River Valley, were probably also cheering Olympic competitor Ashley Wagner. Ashley performed this August in Sun Valley On Ice on her road to Sochi.
On Saturday, our local children, many with Olympic dreams of their own hit 12” of fresh powder Saturday morning (with up to 10” more expected to fall over the weekend). I imagine many members of the SVSEF alpine, snowboard and freestyle teams, as well as the athletes of Sun Valley’s Free Ride program saw their podium-potential as they floated down the perfect slopes. Who knows who among them may be the next Kaitlyn Farrington or Jasmine Campbell.
Three of SVSEF's outstanding D-Team coaches -- Doran Key, Susanne Connor and Orlie Sather -- training the next generation of Sun Valley Olympians
Olympic fever is a wonderful affliction to get. Go Team USA! Go Team Sun Valley! We are very proud of all of our Olympic athletes and Sun Valley’s longstanding tradition of producing some of the world’s top athletes.
Check HERE for the full Olympics television schedule.
NASTAR Racing on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 11:00 am and Fridays at 1:00 pm unless a special event is scheduled which conflicts. Registration begins on race days at 8:30 a.m. in the Warm Springs Lodge at the Race Desk.
There is nothing more exhilarating, more exciting than carving some turns or catching some air on skis or a snowboard in Sun Valley. Add a glorious January sun, bright blue skies, terrific conditions and wide-open top-to-bottom shots and you get the picture — we are in a sweet spot of the winter season. But along with all the fun, comes responsibility and in support of National Safety Month sponsored by the National Ski Areas Association, Sun Valley Ski Patrol again offers a variety of programs designed to help guests stay safe and play safe.
January is safety awareness month on the slopes in Sun Valley
All guests are invited to participate in activities that range from avalanche awareness courses, to snow sports equipment safety checks and events designed just for children. For instance, kids are invited to grab a “Kids Safety Awareness Map” at Dollar Mountain, River Run or the Warm Springs’ ticket windows until January 26. The maps familiarize young skiers and riders with important safety points around the mountains. Completed maps should be returned to the window in exchange for a surprise.
This is a month Sun Valley Ski Patrol looks forward to every year. “The safety of our skiing and riding guests and employees is our first priority,” said Mike Lloyd, Director of Sun Valley Ski Patrol. “We view Safety Month as an opportunity to meet and greet our skiing and riding guests and talk about safety on the slopes. The activities we have planned will offer tips that we hope will help keep people safe when on the mountain.”
Guests meet some integral members of Sun Valley Ski Patrol -- our avalanche dogs -- at the top of the gondola
In addition to on-slope safety tips, Ski Patrol will also be out and about in town visiting area schools with avalanche dogs. In addition, patrolers, snowmakers, SnowSports School instructors and members of Guest Services will hold public events to help educate and inform. This week, members of the Snowsports School will also offer Chair Aware tips and buttons to youngsters, helping them understand chair lift safety.
Upper River Run will be the practice ground for beacon clinics on January 22 and 24 at 10 a.m. Grab your beacon and meet at Ski Patrol Headquarters atop Baldy to learn or refresh this vital skill.
But wait, there’s more! The Trucker Sno-Cat will be on display all week at Dollar and the ever-popular Safety Maze is in place on Baldy’s crest.
Come explore the Safety Maze atop Baldy
First and foremost to Patrol’s education component is also “knowing the code.” The National Ski Patrol Responsibility Code is a mountain user’s reference that everyone, from seasoned skiers to absolute beginners, should be familiar with. In case you missed the oversize posters detailing the Code on the Christmas and Challenger chairlifts and at the base of the mountains, here they are:
Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or object.
People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.
Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.
Jake reminds you to play it safe and have fun
Pete Lane’s Mountain Sports is offering discounted equipment inspection and tunes throughout the month of January. Stop in at the base of River Run to have your bindings tested and certified, get skis and snowboards tuned, have your helmet inspected for a proper fit and make sure your boots aren’t too worn down by walking on pavement. All help ensure the safest day possible on the slopes.
And remember that Ski Patrol is there to help. Our Patrol members are some of the most qualified, helpful and friendly people around. They are EMTs, Paramedics; explosives and ropes experts. They love their job and they know our mountains front, back and crosswise. Be sure to say hello to one this week and thank them for all they do. Also give a shout out to Guest Services, the people at the ticket windows and all mountain employees. They are all doing their very best to make sure you are having the time of your life, and staying safe.
Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN) servicing the Sun Valley Resort area has become party central this winter. On Monday, the champagne flowed, cake and ribbons were cut and a water arch cascaded on the runway as Sun Valley welcomed the first Delta regional jet to the tarmac at 12:31 p.m.
On Monday, Sun Valley cheered new Delta regional jet service from Salt Lake City
The flight that originated in Salt Lake City, Utah, touched down amid cheers. Why is everyone so excited? According to Friedman Memorial Airport manager Rick Baird in a prepared statement, “We believe this new jet aircraft, along with very competitive new fares and enhanced cooperative marketing with Delta Air Lines, will encourage more people to fly SUN. We are doing everything we can, including significant airport improvements and air service enhancements, to make flying into and out of Sun Valley the best choice for air travelers,”
Passengers on this inaugural flight were welcomed with goody bags, cake and champagne
Delta Connection carrier SkyWest Airlines will operate the new flights that use 65-seat, two-class Bombardier CRJ-700s aircraft. New on this route are the nine First Class seats, eight Economy Comfort seats, 48 economy seats as well as on-board Wi-Fi. My guess is everyone will wish that the flight lasted longer than the approximate one hour in the air.
This new service adds approximately 4000 additional Delta seats into Sun Valley from Salt Lake City, one of the nation’s biggest hubs. There are three round-trip flights four to five times per week during peak season between February 14 and March 31, three round-trip flights daily during the summer season from May 22 to September 1 and two round-trip flights daily during the spring and fall.
Visitors arriving on Monday can expect some great skiing and riding from USA Today's #2 Ski Destination in North America
And no matter how you get here, it’s worth the trip. While Mother Nature is wreaking havoc on the east coast and being stingy with snow in the west, in Sun Valley, the skiing and riding are terrific. Last week, the resort opened the only 22-foot superpipe in the Pacific Northwest, adding terrain and thrills to those ready to drop in.
With the best and largest computerized snowmaking system in North America, it’s super on our slopes right now. Both the quality and amount of snow being made are getting a consistent thumbs up. 552 snowmaking guns have been hard at work covering 645 acres of groomable terrain, enabling 14 lifts and 56 runs to be up and running across Baldy and Dollar. The word on the hill is that the skiing is really good, just be sure to bring the sunscreen.
Welcome to Sun Valley!
“We’re seeing a lot of smiling faces and it’s been very rewarding to hear the guest comments,” said Jack Sibbach, Sun Valley’s spokesperson. “We have to give credit to the mountain department. To have worked as hard as they have to get as much of the mountain open as they have is really impressive.”
Find out for yourself why USA Today recently named Sun Valley the No. 2 Ski Destination in the North America. An expert panel of ski and snowboard enthusiasts and travel writers selected what they felt represented the “Top 10” ski destinations in the country. The choices were then put to a vote by the public with Sun Valley emerging as the second best behind the region of South Lake Tahoe in a very tight race.
The 22-foot superpipe on Dollar is again open for the season. Feel free to drop in!
2014 started on a sunny high note for Sun Valley holiday-makers ringing in the new on Dollar Mountain. Slopes were filled with smiling faces on the first days of the New Year and family fun was the name of the game.
The Swanson and Gabbert families of Seattle enjoyed an afternoon on Dollar's Tubing Hill
At the end of an exhilarating ride, the girls are ready for more
The Swanson family, visiting for the holidays from Seattle, came out for an afternoon of tubing with their three daughters and friends. As guests at the Resort, their condo was a short walk from Dollar’s slopes and they strolled over to enjoy the tubing course.
“It was a great way to spend the afternoon,” said mom Mari Swanson. “The kids had a terrific time and it was a nice break from skiing, but still a great way to be outside.”
The feeling on Dollar at New Year's? Woo hoo!
I spent part of the beginning of the New Year on Dollar, as well, making my first tentative turns following knee surgery last spring. Accompanied by my patient 8-year-old and a patient friend, I tried out my repaired leg on the gentle slopes of Quarter Dollar before progressing all the way to Dollar Face by the day’s end. While my technique and style might be slow to come back, the joy of being on the snow and on skis with Sun Valley at my feet, returned immediately.
My son and friend made sure to try out Prospector Park (thumbs up), a few park features and the Cross Course. We enjoyed an al fresco lunch on the fabulous Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge patio where great food is accompanied by a big show and it seems the sun is always shining. Even when you live here, there is no better way to feel like you’re on vacation than lunch on the patio.
Carol's Dollar Mountain Lodge is HQ for great food, lift and tubing tickets and even super post holiday shopping for gear
They say the way you spend January 1 sets the tone for the year to follow. Hopefully, the months to come will be as enjoyable, laughter-filled and memory-making for those who spent New Year’s Day on Dollar as that beautiful day last Wednesday.
Wishing you all peace, joy and lots of fun in the snow in 2014!