Sun Valley Welcomes San Francisco

The entire Wood River Valley is delighted to have daily air service between Sun Valley and San Francisco this season

The entire Wood River Valley is delighted to have daily air service between Sun Valley and San Francisco this season

At precisely 1:22 p.m., the first United Airlines direct flight between San Francisco and Sun Valley landed under bluebird Idaho skies amid much hoopla. Emissaries from the Sun Valley Resort, local government officials and oodles of well-wishers gathered in the lobby of Friedman Memorial Airport to greet the inaugural flight. Rosé champagne flowed, cake was cut and there were smiles all around.

The large crowd in the terminal cheered as the regional jet touched down

The large crowd in the terminal cheered as the regional jet touched down

On the tarmac, 52 passengers de-planed amid cheers, flashbulbs and a very warm welcome. Travelers got in the spirit, waving as they walked down the stairs and embracing the rock-star reception. To celebrate, passengers were given gift bags full of goodies donated by local businesses and waiting for baggage was a delight as arriving visitors were serenaded by music from Wood River High School choir.

Members of the Wood River High School choir serenaded arriving passengers

Members of the Wood River High School choir serenaded arriving passengers

Sun Valley Resort Company Manager Tim Silva, Pam Snow from SkyWest Airlines, Jameson Ano from United Express, Ron Fairfax, chairman of the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority and Eric Seder, president of the nonprofit Fly Sun Valley Alliance, marked the occasion by cutting a huge red ribbon once the wheels were down.

Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN) was one big party celebrating the new flight

Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN) was one big party celebrating the new flight. Sun Valley Resort General Manager Tim Silva (in yellow) helped cut the ribbon and welcome visitors

On December 12, Sun Valley Company issued the statement: “[It] a new era in air service into Sun Valley … This marks the first new airline carrier into Sun Valley in the past 20 years and is the first ever jet service serving the Resort.”

Trip Nabors of Ketchum was among the throng, awaiting the arrival of a friend on this inaugural flight. He praised the new ease of travel between the two cities, noting that the additional service allowed a good friend to easily get to Sun Valley to celebrate his wife’s birthday.

For locals, the arrival of the United Express 66-seat CRJ 700 jet, was also exciting. Lisa Marie Allen and Peter Hendricks of Sun Valley toasted incoming passengers as they themselves prepared to hop on the first returning flight to San Francisco to enjoy a long weekend getaway to the City by the Bay. Upon arrival in the Bay Area, Lisa Marie sent the following message: “The flight was fabulous! The champagne continued to flow. Cheers!”

Locals, former Olympic figure skater Lisa Marie Allen and husband Peter Hendricks, newly elected Sun Valley city councilman, enjoyed the festivities before hopping on the first return flight to San Francisco

Locals, former Olympic figure skater Lisa Marie Allen and husband Peter Hendricks, newly elected Sun Valley city councilman, enjoyed the festivities before hopping on the first return flight to San Francisco

Locals were also excited about a special 10 percent off discount being offered on this flight by the Fly Sun Valley Alliance. Please click HERE for the details.

This flight will operate daily through March 30 for the 2013-2014 winter season, and resume July 2 through September 23 for the summer.

With Sun Valley this week being named as one of the Top 10 U.S. destinations by Lonely Planet on its annual list, it’s no wonder San Franciscans flocked to the area on this first flight. After all, there truly is no place like Sun Valley.

Welcome San Francisco! We are happy you are here!

–RES

Meal with a View

Roundhouse Restaurant, nestled beneath Rock Garden run (or just off Roundhouse Lane if you prefer a gentler entry) about two-thirds of the way up Bald Mountain, is one of the gems that makes Sun Valley, Sun Valley. Rustic, charming and traditional, but with a modern flair, this one-of-a-kind restaurant features roaring fires, a cozy atmosphere and drop-dead views of Ketchum, the Pioneer Mountains and beyond.

Roundhouse welcomes you to lunch beginning December 12

Roundhouse welcomes you to lunch beginning December 12

Roundhouse will open for the season on December 12, serving lunch seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m (starting December 19th). There is also still space available for a special dinner on Christmas Day. Reservations are required for dinner and are accepted for lunch. Expect starched white linens and crystal at both seatings to compliment a delicious menu that relies on locally-sourced, seasonal fare. But no worries, this is still a ski lodge. Parkas and ski boots are de rigueur at lunchtime and the atmosphere is an only-in-Sun Valley mix of upscale and casual.

Charming and cozy -- a meal at Roundhouse is sure to be memorable

Charming and cozy -- a meal at Roundhouse is sure to be memorable

For the ultimate in après ski, be sure to visit Averell’s Bar on the lower level of Roundhouse. Featuring huge picture windows overlooking Roundhouse Slope and downtown Ketchum, there is no more beautiful way to end a day on the snow. But Averell’s is more than a glass of wine or a hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps. Every day, revelers are invited to enjoy Roundhouse’s famous fondue, accompanied with baguettes, red potatoes and granny smith apples. Additional “add-ons” are available for dunking in the sublime fondue, including spicy sausage, grilled steak, shrimp, wild mushrooms and roasted winter vegetables. Handmade Bavarian pretzels served with spicy mustard, cheddar spread, honey mustard, mesquite chipotle barbecue, olive cream cheese and jalapeno beer cheese are the perfect reward for completing all that vertical on skis or a board. The menu is designed for sharing, so bring your friends and indulge! The gondola will whisk you – and your gear — back to River Run after après ski ends.

Your chariot awaits to or from Roundhouse

Your chariot awaits to or from Roundhouse

Evening meals are served both in the main dining room and Averell’s. Be sure to come a bit earlier than your reservation to enjoy a cocktail at the inviting upstairs bar. And for dinner at Roundhouse, getting there is often half the fun! A ride on the Roundhouse gondola on a winter’s evening can mean a bright moonlit night, or an intimate cocoon of snow on the gondola’s windows. Be sure to wear warm boots, gloves, a hat and coat as the gondola isn’t heated during the approximately 15-minute ride. It is perfectly acceptable to change into party shoes once you reach Roundhouse, too!

Dinner at Roundhouse in winter is peaceful, magical, festive and delicious

Dinner at Roundhouse in winter is peaceful, magical, festive and delicious

Still need a reason to stop by? This season, Roundhouse is hand-crafting signature cocktails, as well as offering an extensive wine list and many boutique brews. New cocktails, appropriately named after ski runs, include: the Graduate (Woodford Reserve Bourbon, bing cherries, diced apples, cinnamon, orange bitters, simple syrup), the International (Hendrick’s Gin, Fever-Free Mediterranean Tonic) or the Sunny Side Organic Lemondrop (Organic Square One Vodka, organic lemon juice, organic agave nectar, organic sugar). Also special for the holidays is a Huckleberry-Pomegranate Cosmo (Pama Pomegranate Liqueur, Patron Citronage, huckleberry puree, organic Agave nectar). Cheers!

For dinner reservations, please call 208-622-2012 or book online through Open Table.

A meal, or drink, just tastes better at 7,700 feet, whether you are wearing your ski boots or high heels. There is no better way to toast the season than from a cozy table at Roundhouse!

–RES

Start your own holiday tradition at Roundhouse this season!

Start your own holiday tradition at Roundhouse this season!

Singular Skis for a Singular Ski Town — and Beyond

Right now, outside my window, it is snowing. By Tuesday of this week, forecasters predict this storm will bring double digit inches of glorious, fluffy, white powder to Sun Valley’s mountains. Hooray! Everyone is now thinking about skiing and snowboarding in earnest.

Snow season is on! Time to make sure your skis are up to the adventure! (photo Will Wissman)

Snow season is on! Time to make sure your skis are up to the adventure! (photo Will Wissman)

There is no ski town like Sun Valley and no mountain like Baldy. With its consistently steep pitch, varied terrain and adrenalin-pumping opportunities for top-to-bottom shots, it is a skier’s mountain like no other. And now a local Ketchum entrepreneur and legendary skier is building, shaping and crafting skis, from scratch, to each client’s exact specifications.

The Ski Shaper at work and ready to teach you how to make your own custom skis (photo Tal Roberts)

The Ski Shaper at work and ready to teach you how to make your own custom skis (photo Tal Roberts)

Meet Caleb Baukol, The Ski Shaper™.

Caleb is the founder of Big Wood Ski ™, a completely custom, handcrafted line currently being made one pair at a time in downtown Ketchum. Caleb, an accomplished back country and big mountain skier, creates custom in a world of mass production, hand-crafted in a business of factories, individualized in an industry of standard and made in America in world of made elsewhere.

And you can learn the fundamentals of making your own skis with The Ski Shaper™ himself at a special workshop being offered Saturday, December 7, through Friday, December 13. This Winter Ski Building Workshop invites you to Big Wood Ski ™ headquarters in Ketchum to learn about base cut out, installing edges, fiberglass preparation, cutting and grinding skis, waxing and much, much more. Participants will produce a prototype ski to take home on Friday and ski the next Saturday. Pick the length and the shape and then personalize the ski through hammer stamping the tip and tail protectors.

Big Wood Ski crafts gorgeous, custom, one-of-a-kind  skis right here in Sun Valley (photo Hillary Mayberry)

Big Wood Ski crafts gorgeous, custom, one-of-a-kind skis right here in Sun Valley (photo Hillary Mayberry)

But it won’t be all work and no play as the workshop kicks off with, what else? Skiing on Bald Mountain! R & D, of course. Participants will also take off the safety goggles and unwind during the workshop with Foosball, ski movies and a party on the 13th to enjoy the finished product with beer, wine and friends. Chances are, some local ski legends will also swing by. It is a quintessential Sun Valley experience!

Why custom skis?

“Ski technology, as we all know, has evolved tremendously in recent years,” Caleb said. “With shaped skis, we learned that skis do not need to be long and skinny to be stable at high speeds. However, most shaped skis available en masse are measured only in length and width underfoot. Instead of working only with traditional measurements in tip-waist-tail, Caleb also adds two other measurements in creating custom skis. This, what he calls “5-D” technology, adds variables in both the tip and tail widths. Because of this, no two pair of Big Wood Skis ™ will be the same. The camber is also fully customized on Caleb’s boards. Terrain preferences play into the equation, as well. Do you want to go backwards? Great! Twin tips it is. Do you prefer powder skiing? Easy! They will put exactly the right width and length board on your feet for your height, weight, ability and take into account discrepancies in strength left to right. Like the finest custom tailored suit, these skis will fit your body like they were made for you. Because they were.

Singular skis for a singular ski town (photo Hillary Mayberry)

Singular skis for a singular ski town (photo Hillary Mayberry)

The workshop will address all these many components. Participants will work with Big Wood Ski’s ™ signature materials — cores formed of bamboo and hardwoods, and outer layers crafted from beautiful hardwoods that are sanded and varnished into skis you may be tempted to hang on the wall and enjoy as a piece of beautiful, one-of-a-kind art. But once you ski on them, the place you will really want to see them, is on your feet, on the snow.

To register for the workshop or for more information, please call 208-481-8013 or email sales@bigwoodski.com. The workshop costs $1500 and skis are included in the price.

Sun Valley Resort is offering a special stay and play package deal to workshop participants. A special early season rate of $81 per person per night double occupancy ($85 for Friday/Saturday) comes with a lift ticket and luxurious accommodations at the Sun Valley Lodge. There is no better way to enjoy the full experience than by staying at the Resort when you are not crafting your envy-inducing skis.

The payoff to being on the right skis -- you will look like this, or at least think you do! (photo Will Wissman)

The payoff to being on the right skis -- you will look like this, or at least think you do! (photo Will Wissman)

No matter if you’re building your own skis, letting The Ski Shaper™ do it for you, or are simply going to break out last year’s model, now is the time to check those edges, apply the right coat of wax and make sure there are no nicks or scratches in the base of your skis or board.  It’s snowing like crazy and it’s time to get out there!

–RES

We are Open!

Dateline: River Run, November 28, 2013, 8:50 a.m. The excitement at the base of River Run was palpable as a large, happy group gathered on the plaza under bright blue skies and a warm sun. Friends reunited, families convened, the sound of buckles and bindings snapping into place competed with the whir of the chair lift’s motor.

Yes, at exactly 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, the first lucky foursome hopped onto the River Run #1 lift, hooting and hollering on their inaugural ride up Bald Mountain for the 2013-2014 season. Behind them, every other chair filled quickly, transporting the hundreds of expectant skiers and snowboarders to their first magical turns of the year. Sun Valley’s 78th season was off to a great start.

At 8:50 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, skiers and riders were ready to get their first turns

At 8:50 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, skiers and riders were ready to get their first turns

The first holiday gift of the season from Sun Valley Company opened 11 runs, a Progressive Park, two magic carpets and four-high speed quads on Baldy and Dollar to the anxious snow sports masses. Some early season natural snow, combined with Sun Valley’s world-class, standard-setting snowmaking provided a great corduroy surface for enthusiasts. The smiles and thumbs up from the first skiers and boarders down River Run told the story, as they quickly queued back up for another run. Top-to-bottom vertical lured people to Baldy this year, with Upper College, Lower College, Sunset Strip, 42nd Street, Roundhouse Lane, Roundhouse Slope, Lower Canyon, Mid River Run and Lower River Run available for skiing and riding.

Great snow greeted early morning riders and skiers

Great snow greeted riders and skiers

In the morning, River Run Lodge provided a calm place to coax feet into boots still stiff from the off-season; to enjoy a cup of coffee and a pastry. At lunchtime, River Run and Lookout atop Baldy were open to provide nourishment and refreshment on Baldy.

Dollar was quieter, but still welcoming skiers to the gentle slopes of Quarter Dollar. Snow guns were fired up all over the mountain, readying additional runs and Dollar’s amazing terrain park for operation during the coming holiday season. Dollar will continue daily operation through December 1 and then close until re-opening for the season December 14, so be sure to get over there this weekend to play in early season snow. Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge is open to enjoy a snack or meal and Kindercare is available.

Opening day saw action at Dollar Mountain, too

Opening day saw action at Dollar Mountain, too

Sun Valley is getting the après ski party started with the band Tracorum at River Run on November 28 and 29. Jeff Crosby & The Refugees play on November 30.

Check back to sunvalley.com or call 800-635-4150 for the most current reports on conditions and terrain.

We are all thankful this weekend for our beautiful ski mountains, family, friends, clean air and sunshine. Opening day was an exciting kick-off to what is sure to be the best season ever in Sun Valley! See you on the slopes.

–RES

There's only one word for opening day -- Yahoo!

There's only one word for opening day -- Yahoo!

Training the Next Generation of Champions

The state-of-the-art SVSEF Engl Training Center is now officially open!

The state-of-the-art SVSEF Engl Training Center is now officially open!

A large, enthusiastic crowd arrived at Warm Springs Village at the base of Bald Mountain Friday afternoon to cheer the newly renovated Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) Engl Training Center. The Center is for use by the program’s approximately 500 alpine, freestyle, snowboard and cross country athletes. Chilly temperatures did not curb the excitement as SVSEF’s Executive Director, Rob Clayton, appeared on the be-ribboned balcony above the street to declare the training center officially open.

SVSEF Executive Director Rob Clayton was cheered on by an enthusiastic, supportive crowd

SVSEF Executive Director Rob Clayton was cheered on by an enthusiastic, supportive crowd

And Clayton, new to SVSEF this year, did not hesitate to share his grand dreams with supporters. “We want this to be the best snow sports program in the country,” he declared. He sees no reason this isn’t possible. In fact, though the SVSEF has been around since 1966, it continues to evolve, improve and exceed expectations. In 2013, the SVSEF was named Club of the Year and Snowboard Club of the Year by the United States Ski & Snowboard Association.

With the recent designation of Sun Valley as one of the rare official Olympic and Paralympic Cross Country Training sites in the nation, the SVSEF is setting standards on skinny skis, as well.

The center is a place to train, to gather and to dream a little

The center is a place to train, to gather and to dream a little

Clayton wants everything available in our amazing valley – from perfectly pitched vertical on Baldy, to the eye popping Terrain Park and Olympic 22-foot Superpipe on Dollar, to miles and miles of challenging and beautiful cross country – to be available to each and every young athlete in town. He sincerely wants everyone, from second graders on the alpine Development Team to the elite cross country Gold Team whose sights are set on national and international glory, to achieve personal bests, pursue their dreams and grow as citizens and athletes.

The $700,000 renovation of the Engl Training Center is sure to inspire. Sparkling clean and invitingly modern, the facility features spin bikes, Fitwalls and resistance training equipment, designated (beautiful!) locker rooms, a tuning and wax room and ski and boot storage. It is almost unrecognizable from the training center that existed just at the end of last season.

The facilities are pristinely clean, modern and will help athletes stay organized and focused

The facilities are pristinely clean, modern and will help athletes stay organized and focused

Clayton thanked the SVSEF board, his architects and construction team and many supporters in town for allowing this project to come in on time and on budget!

Idaho’s Lieutenant Governor Brad Little showed his support for the program, participating in the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Members of local government, the SVSEF Board of Directors, Sun Valley General Manager Tim Silva and Sun Valley Manager of Mountain Operations Peter Stearns were also in attendance.

It was a big street party at Warm Springs as Apple's Bar & Grill and Irving's served food and beverages, live music provided a soundtrack to events and retailers got in on the pre-season action!

It was a big street party at Warm Springs as Apple's Bar & Grill and Irving's served food and beverages, live music provided a soundtrack to events and retailers got in on the pre-season action!

In fact, Clayton specifically thanked Sun Valley for its support of the SVSEF. Starting today, a pre-season ski camp begins for nearly 200 athletes in the U-12 and above age category. At least half of these young athletes are from six other teams across the region. Clayton explained that Sun Valley was able to open unprecedented access on the mountain for this, the third Thanksgiving camp. River Run is operating top-to-bottom, for training – providing lots of early-season runs. Sun Valley’s legendary snowmaking has been working around-the-clock to give these skiers the best pre-season training around, as well as ready the mountain for opening day on November 28.

SVSEF has grown 18 winter Olympic athletes to date. It will be exciting to watch this next generation develop, grow and hopefully grace a podium or two! This gorgeous new facility is sure to help make that happen.

–RES

What it's all about -- young athletes enjoy pre-season camp on Baldy

What it's all about -- young athletes enjoy pre-season camp on Baldy

Let the Countdown Begin!

It’s beginning to look a lot like ski season, especially from a vantage point two-thirds of the way up Bald Mountain. According to my father, who hikes Baldy a few times each week, the early season is looking good. Indeed, Sun Valley’s famous snowmaking is in full swing with an expected opening date for runs on both Baldy and Dollar of Thanksgiving Day, November 28.

Everyone is hard at work on Bald Mountain, making snow and laying it out in preparation for a Thanksgiving open

Everyone is hard at work on Bald Mountain, making snow and laying it out in preparation for a Thanksgiving open

Sun Valley Company first fired up the snow guns on October 26 and the weather has, for the most part, been cooperating in the effort to lay down that base of fluffy white. If the cold snap and snow that is expected to begin this weekend hold, come Thanksgiving Day, skiers and snowboarders can expect to be making their first turns of the season down Upper College, Lower College, Sunset Strip, 42nd Street and Lower River Run on Baldy; and on Poverty Flats, Quarter Dollar Bowl and a Progressive Park on Dollar. On Bald Mountain, early season runs will be accessible via the No. 1 River Run and No. 5 Lookout Express detachable quad lifts. On Dollar, all fun in the snow will be via the Quarter Dollar quad lift and the Accelerator Carpet.

Sun Valley Resort boasts the largest snowmaking system in North America. On Baldy alone, there are 577 snow guns. The vast majority of the snowmaking system is computerized and automated, allowing for the most exacting snow making product that takes into account local air temperature, local air pressure and local water temperature. Dollar’s snowmaking relies on a manual system but is also a well-oiled machine.

Picture yourself here -- on Lower College -- in just two weeks' time

Picture yourself here -- on Lower College -- in just two weeks' time

No matter the chemistry and mechanics behind snowmaking, it is the poetry of the first airborne flakes accumulating in lush, puffy piles that most excites snow sports enthusiasts. The huge piles that are created on runs before being pushed into place remind me of the autumn leaf piles of my Connecticut childhood. You simply want to jump in and roll around in them. 

It certainly looks like it’s going to be an amazing ski and snowboard season in Sun Valley. Outside Online just named Warm Springs top-to-bottom one of “Five Runs You Need to Ride Before you Die,” citing the run’s elegance and uninterrupted fall line.  Sun Valley was also named the fourth best ski resort by Ski Magazine and a pick of “Where to Ski Now” by Men’s Journal.  On a related note, Fodor’s Travel named the Sun Valley outdoor ice rink one of the best 15 in the nation.

The piles of snow are piling up on Dollar in preparation for great runs and our epic terrain park

The piles of snow are piling up on Dollar in preparation for great runs and our epic terrain park

New regional jet service on Delta Airlines between Sun Valley and Salt Lake City will begin in January, the first direct flights from San Francisco to Sun Valley land starting on December 12, also on Delta, and Alaska Airlines announced it is expanding nonstop flight service between Sun Valley and Los Angeles and Sun Valley and Seattle. Getting here has never been easier.

But wait! There’s more! This weekend, the National Weather Service is predicting “the first significant snow event of the season,” in Sun Valley, bringing with it the possibility of up to seven inches of powder in the mountains.

With an anticipated Thanksgiving open, there is still time to get in on great early season stay and ski packages at the Sun Valley Resort. Come and enjoy a bountiful Thanksgiving feast at the Sun Valley Inn and stay through the weekend to get in the first runs of what is sure to be a superb season.

T-minus two weeks.  Not that I am counting.

–RES

For some anxious skiers, two weeks is too long to wait to get in some turns!

For some anxious skiers, two weeks is too long to wait to get in some turns!

Spooky Sun Valley

In Sun Valley, any excuse to dress up in a costume is a good one. We ski and ride in costumes on numerous occasions. We mini-golf around town in costumes. So when Halloween, the sanctioned costume event of the calendar year rolls around, the party is sure to last all week.

At my house, Halloween is only slightly less important than Christmas. We spend the second half of October transforming the living room, dining room and kitchen into a spooky, haunted, spiderweb-ridden, talking skeleton kind of space. Then, each year, my son hosts his entire class for a Halloween ruckus. And we are not alone. From costumed ice skating, to the Hailey Hoopla, to a party in Ketchum that starts out kid-friendly and morphs into one of the most fun grown-up nights of the year, we close the streets, put out the welcome mats and invite every ghoul and goblin, of every age, out to enjoy some big fun.

Bellevue's Haunted Forest is terrifying -- in a good way

Bellevue's Haunted Forest is terrifying -- in a good way

Starting in the South Valley, Halloween enthusiasts can prepare to be spooked and even scared out of their wits at the Bellevue Haunted Forest. On October 29 and 30, the Howard Preserve comes to reanimated life. At the site of the old town dump, Zombies and ghosts and spirits of all kinds will give a little scare before dark, but after the sun sets … all bets are off! This is a fun, safe, entertaining night that benefits the newly reopened, public Howard Preserve. Tickets are $7.50 and are available at The Bead Shop in Hailey, Splash & Dash and Mahoney’s in Bellevue and at the gate.

Little trick-or-treaters look forward every year to the Halloween Hoopla (photo: Suzanne Buchanan)

Little trick-or-treaters look forward every year to the Halloween Hoopla (photo: Suzanne Buchanan)

Hailey is Halloween central and on October 31, beginning at 3 p.m., Main Street rhymes with trick or treat. The 8th installment of the family-friendly Halloween Hoopla event lasts until 6 p.m. and takes place throughout downtown Hailey. Look for black and orange balloons outside participating businesses. Costumes are de rigueur and a costume contest at The Liberty Theatre will be awarding prizes for Halloween enthusiasts of all ages, all afternoon in half-hour intervals. Music, food and drink and a “spook alley” will provide affordable, family-friendly fare. Safe and fun even for the littlest trick or treaters, be sure to put this on your Halloween schedule.

In Sun Valley on the 31st, take your costume and your best moves to the ice. The Sun Valley Outdoor Ice Rink is offering a special skating package for those in costume from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For only $8, you get admission, skate rental and a beautiful day or night in the fresh fall air. Please call 208-622-2194 for more information.

Three gorgeous local ladies show just how seriously we take Halloween at the Nightmare on Main Street

Three gorgeous local ladies show just how seriously we take Halloween at the Nightmare on Main Street (photo Sonya Johnston)

The party continues into the night – well into the night – in Ketchum on Thursday. The annual Nightmare On Main Street begins at 7 p.m. and goes through last call, finally shutting down at 2 a.m. Main Street closes to allow revelers to take to the street and enjoy a wide assortment of food and libations. A kids’ costume contest takes place at 8 p.m. (best girl, best boy and overall). Later, at 10 p.m., the adults are judged for best male, best female, creepiest, sexiest, group and overall. If past years are any indication, Sun Valley is one creative place when it comes to homemade costumes. The group category is usually full of handmade, outlandish and hysterical ideas. Music from local DJs will keep the party going outside until 11 p.m.

Warren Miller's latest film is a treat after Halloween. Let the snow season begin!

Warren Miller's latest film is a treat after Halloween. Let the snow season begin!

Most years, Halloween also marks the change from fall to winter in this part of the world. Indian summer often hangs on with warm temperatures and sunny skies in late October before giving way in November to crisp days and hints of snow. Which is perfect, as Baldy is scheduled to open for an amazing season at Thanksgiving. And Thanksgiving in Sun Valley is as peaceful and lovely as Halloween is crazy around here. The Resort invites guests to come, relax, ski or ride and enjoy a fuss-free Thanksgiving, all at special prices.

Join fellow snow lovers to count down to ski and snowboard season with a screening of Warren Miller's new action film at the Sun Valley Opera House. Winter officially kicks off Nov. 1 and 2 with Miller's Ticket to Ride

Join fellow snow lovers to count down to ski and snowboard season with a screening of Warren Miller's new action film at the Sun Valley Opera House. Winter officially kicks off Nov. 1 and 2 with Miller's Ticket to Ride

The change of season also brings with it the unofficial kick-off to the snow season when the latest Warren Miller action film comes to the Sun Valley Opera House. Skiers and riders anxious for the first flakes to fly crowd into the theater to enjoy Miller’s famous brand of filmmaking, as well as special promotions and prizes. This year, Miller’s latest movie, Ticket to Ride, will celebrate big mountain skiing and riding, the craziest tricks on snow and the highest peaks from Montana to Alaska; from Kazkhstan to Iceland; from Greenland to Switzerland. Nothing gets locals in the mood for the coming season like this annual event. There are three screenings of Ticket to Ride, on Friday, November 1 at 7 p.m. and on Saturday, November 2 at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Enjoy a safe, spooky Halloween and the transition to early winter! Boo!

–RES

Happy Halloween from my two favorite blobs!

Happy Halloween from my two favorite blobs!

A Board Bin Birthday Block Party

This week, Ketchum’s Board Bin celebrates its 25th birthday and you are invited to the party! On Saturday, October 26, from 1 to 8 p.m., the crossroads of Fourth Street and Washington will host a block party with food, bands, games and fun for the whole family.

Ketchum's Board Bin celebrates 25 years of bringing snowboarding and skateboarding to the community

Ketchum's Board Bin celebrates 25 years of bringing snowboarding and skateboarding to the community

“It’s supposed to be a beautiful day and we would love everyone to come out,” said Board Bin owner, Karin Reichow. “There will be a skateboard slalom race course, four ping pong tables hosting a tournament for every level player, a bouncy house and much more. Our neighbors are all participating and it will be a great community event.”

That corner of Ketchum has a lot to celebrate. In addition to the Board Bin celebrating 25 years in business, the Toy Store (with another location in the Sun Valley Village) can boast 35 years of making children happy; Java on Fourth has been serving up their famous Bowl of Soul coffee drink for 22 years; Johnny G’s Subshack has been making their fabulous grinders for 15 years. All will contribute to Saturday’s celebration, as will Rickshaw, Ninkasi Beer, Glow, Desperado’s, Dr. Maria Maricich and Bavarian Soul.

The owners of Board Bin helped show Sun Valley a new way to play on the snow

The owners of Board Bin helped show Sun Valley a new way to play on the snow

There is much to celebrate and much to look forward to in the coming winter sports season according to Karin and her husband Jim Slanetz. “We are obviously hoping for tons of snow to enjoy,” Jim said. “And Sun Valley is always getting better and better for this sport. With new Adventure Trails and other runs being cut, there will be even more terrain to explore on Baldy. For boarders, Dollar and the park and pipe are awesome, too.  We are expecting a great season.”  

And Karin and Jim would know, as they have been in Sun Valley since 1988 with front-row seats to the development and evolution of the sport of snowboarding in the winter and skateboarding in the warmer months.

“We started with two snowboards, five skateboards, some accessories and stickers in a little garage in Ketchum,” Karin laughed. Business was mostly word of mouth at that point as people interested in this new way to play in the snow sought out the Board Bin. That year, the young couple had the weather gods on their side, with one of the best snow seasons on record. The combination of powder and the fact that the new store carried the best snowboards available at the time got many people hooked.

That was then, Karin Reichow and Jim Slanetz in 1991...

That was then, Karin Reichow and Jim Slanetz in 1991...

But it was definitely an uphill go. “We were open from maybe noon to six that first year,” Karin recalled. “We were typical young people in a resort town, working all these jobs.” Jim added, laughing, “I drove a taxi, worked as a prep cook, everything.” But the Board Bin grew, moving two more times before settling on Fourth Street in 1993 where they have been selling hard goods, accessories and hip clothing for boys and girls, men and women ever since. They also lease children’s snowboarding equipment for the season and offer limited free leases to kids with a passion for the sport but who could not afford it otherwise.

... this is now

... this is now

And Sun Valley has also evolved into a snowboarding kind of town. The Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation was named the USSA Snowboard Club of the Year, Chase Josey who graduated from Community School last spring was named to the 2013 Snowboard Team and Dollar Mountain boasts the only 22-foot Superpipe in the Northwest.

Head out to downtown Ketchum on Saturday to celebrate and socialize. Three bands, Jimmy Robb, El Stash and StoneSeed with provide a soundtrack to what is sure to be a fun-filled, beautiful autumn day. Congratulations Board Bin on 25 great years.

–RES

The new gear is in and everyone is looking forward to the opening of the mountain in about a month

The new gear is in and everyone is looking forward to the opening of the mountain in about a month

Have Pass will Travel

The news around here just keeps getting better and better. First, we learn that direct air service between San Francisco and Sun Valley will help make the 2013-2014 winter sports season amazingly convenient for visitors from the Bay Area. Now we find out that Sun Valley and northern California’s Sugar Bowl Resort are offering a reciprocal pass program. My reaction? Woo hoo! Two iconic winter resorts for the price of one.

Sun Valley and Sugar Bowl's reciprocal pass program, plus direct flights from San Fransisco, mean this is the year to visit Sun Valley

Sun Valley and Sugar Bowl's reciprocal pass program, plus direct flights from San Fransisco, are a win-win for everyone

Now, visitors from the west coast can hop on new nonstop United Airlines flights, take the free courtesy shuttle to the Resort from Friedman Memorial Airport and present their Sugar Bowl Unrestricted and Slightly Restricted season passes to enjoy all of Baldy’s amazing vertical on top-to-bottom runs, or to play on Dollar’s adrenalin-charged terrain park.

Conversely, Sun Valley Full Pass or Sun Plus Pass holders can enjoy Sugar Bowl’s storied 102 trails, four peaks and varied terrain for free. Sugar Bowl Resort’s rich history dates back to 1939 and it was voted a Top 25 Ski Resort in North America by Outside magazine. To learn more about Sugar Bowl Resort, click HERE.

It is important to note that in order to get onto the runs at Sugar Bowl, eligible Sun Valley skiers and riders must present their season pass at the Village Lodge or Judah Lodge at the ski area.

Royal Gorge Season Passholders are also invited to come and enjoy, gratis, the 25 miles of groomed cross country trails that originate at the stunning 58,000-square-foot Sun Valley Club, a facility featuring a restaurant, lounge, bar and locker rooms, equipment rental and storage. Come find out why Sun Valley has been dubbed Nordic Town USA and is a designated Olympic and Paralympic Nordic training site.

Classic and skate ski enthusiasts who hold Sun Valley Nordic Season Passes and Sun Valley Nordic BCRD Combined Passes can ski Royal Gorge without buying a new ticket. It’s all share and share alike!

Northern California's Sugar Bowl boasts great terrain and a rich history. Now a Sun Valley season ski pass can put you on these trails for free

Northern California's Sugar Bowl boasts great terrain and a rich history. Now a Sun Valley season ski pass can put you on these trails for free

To learn more about Royal Gorge Cross Country, North America’s largest cross country resort, click HERE.

Sugar Bowl-Royal Gorge Combo Unrestricted and Slightly Restricted Passholders can ski all the snow Sun Valley has to offer, both on alpine and Nordic trails.

San Francisco-area visitors to Sun Valley will also enjoy specials on lodging. A two-night minimum stay at the Lodge, the Inn or Sun Valley’s condominiums is required for eligibility on the pass exchange, for both alpine and Nordic, and some blackout dates do apply. This offer cannot be combined with any other discounts or specials.

Still not convinced? Discounted lodging rates at the Lodge at Sugar Bowl will be offered to Sun Valley visitors when space is available. This is subject to blackouts and restrictions so make sure to call well ahead.

We invite Sugar Bowl pass holders to enjoy Sun Valley's award-winning grooming

We invite Sugar Bowl pass holders to enjoy Sun Valley's award-winning grooming...

... and challenging bumps

... and challenging bumps

This partnership is an opportunity we should all take advantage of. No matter how fantastic our home mountain and trails are (and they truly are), a change of scene does everyone good.

Sun Valley offers kilometers and kilometers of perfect Nordic trails to those who normally ski at Royal Gorge .. and vice versa

Sun Valley offers kilometers and kilometers of perfect Nordic trails to those who normally ski at Royal Gorge .. and vice versa

For reservations in Sun Valley call 800-786-8259 and ask for the “Sugar Bowl Sweet Deal.”
 Direct flights on United begin on December 12 and can be reserved by logging on to www.united.com.

It’s going to be an epic season in Sun Valley and if your plans take you to northern California, be sure to also find time to make some turns at Sugar Bowl or to find a few hours of peace at Royal Gorge.

It’s a sweet deal, indeed.

–RES


See you on the slopes at Sugar Bowl and Sun Valley. It's going to be an epic season!

See you on the slopes at Sugar Bowl and Sun Valley. It's going to be an epic season!

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