Springtime is all about renewal and in Sun Valley, there is no better way to revive, recharge and maybe even revise your way of thinking than at the perennially popular Sun Valley Wellness Festival. The five-day event straddles spring and early summer, bringing the most interesting, sought after and inspiring speakers and practitioners to the Sun Valley Resort, offering something for everyone. Films and workshops are also part of what makes this one of the premier wellness events in the nation.
Start the summer season in just the right way at the Sun Valley Wellness Festival. Get centered, get inspired.
In its 17th year, the Festival kicks off on May 22 and runs through Memorial Day, May 26. More than 30 presentations and workshops are scheduled, all designed to “inspire positive change” in body, mind, spirit and environmental awareness according to event organizers.
Headlining an impressive list of nationally known speakers is the one-and-only Diana Nyad who will deliver the keynote address. Nyad’s recent record-breaking swim from Cuba to the U.S. (all without a shark cage) was a lifelong dream, but there is much, much more to her story. At 64, she is sure to inspire others to keep pursuing their dreams. A documentary based on her experience, “The Other Shore,” will be screened in advance of the Festival on May 10 at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum.
Also coming to Sun Valley to offer her unique perspective is second keynote speaker Kris Carr: New York Times best-selling author, wellness activist and cancer ‘thriver’. She will speak on “Crazy, Sexy, Wellness.”
Speakers Eric Saperston, Tommy Rosen and a friend let the joy flow at last year's Wellness Festival (photo courtesy Nick Maricich).
Other top 2014 Sun Valley Wellness Festival speakers include: new visionary spiritual leader Panache Desai, relationship expert Arielle Ford, Heart Math founder Howard Martin, yoga master and addiction recovery expert Tommy Rosen, GMO experts Don Huber and Tyrone Hayes, author and filmmaker Eric Saperston, Simplicity Parenting founder Kim John Payne, wellness shift comedian Kyle Cease, Mindfulness Meditation expert Kate Janke, author, speaker and co-creator of film “What the Bleep Do We Know?” Betsy Chasse, Kundalini Yoga expert Kia Miller, naturopath and triathlete Dr. James Rouse, astrologist David Pond, intuitive experts Gary Quinn and Peggy Rometo, Oneness leader and Interfaith minister Rev Michael Milner, PhD and many more, according to Festival organizers. See? Something for everyone!
The Movement Studio and Wellness Expo is another great way to participate in the Festival. The Movement Studio offers numerous types of yoga practices taught by top teachers, including Tommy Rosen. At the Sun Valley Inn, the Wellness Expo encourages exploration and features vendors selling everything from beautiful clothes to jewelry to health products. In the Hands-On-Hall, you can get a massage, try reflexology or have an intuitive reading. The Wellness Expo is free and open to the public throughout the Festival.
Try a henna tattoo at the Hands On Hall at the Sun Valley Inn.
Children are welcome at the event, too, with programs designed just for the younger set.
For a full listing of speakers, workshops, films and events and for ticket information please click HERE.
The Sun Valley Resort provides a beautiful backdrop (and great place to stay) for all the events the Festival offers.
Sun Valley Resort is offering special Wellness Festival lodging rates, starting at just $120. To make lodging reservations call 1-800-786-8259 and ask for the Wellness Festival rates.
In between events, be sure to get out into Sun Valley’s mountains and onto the trails for some fresh air, sunshine, blue skies and wellness of a complimentary variety. Just steps away from the Resort are hiking and biking trails suitable for every fitness level. Be sure to pop into Pete Lane’s at the Sun Valley Village and ask for a recommendation and get any gear you might need. Sun Valley is also known for its restorative hot springs, endless fitness opportunities, vibrant cultural scene and so much more. Five days won’t be enough to get it all in!
Sun Valley has always been a place to recharge and to heal and it's easy to see why.
Renew your mind, refresh your spirit, replenish your soul in Sun Valley this May. Stay tuned to this blog for updates and more information on the Sun Valley Wellness Festival.
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.
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
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!
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
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, 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
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
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
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.
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
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.
The 2013-14 ski and snowboard season didn’t exactly go out quietly. On Sunday, hundreds of merrymakers donned their most creative costumes and got after the last turns of the year before the lifts ferried the final passengers to Lookout Restaurant at 3:45 p.m. The sun was bright, the air was warm and snow conditions were great — the perfect ending to a terrific Sun Valley season.
If you didn’t make it up Bald Mountain yourself (or at least to the patio at Warm Springs Lodge), enjoy this sampling of photos, capturing the spirit of the day!
The top of Baldy was one big open-air party as the 2013-14 season wound to a close
Young and older came out to enjoy the gorgeous sunshine and big small-town spirit
Skiing and snowboarding were only part of the fun on Sunday
Local ski legend Zach Crist spends some quality time with friends
Two athletes who probably skied every day of the season -- local philanthropist Kipp Nelson, and friend
Thanks to all for making it one fabulous season!
Part of the great Sun Valley team that made it happen all winter long: Tony Parkhill, Matt Baxandall and Peter Stearns
Gorillas somehow weren't out of place at the base of the run (photo courtesy Susie Ring)
The season definitely ended on a high note
The party on the Warm Springs patio didn't end when the lifts stopped running. Thanks to all for an amazing season!
Thanks to Sun Valley’s Nick Maricich for sharing these photos.
Spring is in the air and it’s time to grab your golf bag and hit the links! The early season is underway with Sun Valley’s scenic, challenging courses now awaiting your tee. On Friday, golfers made for the greens taking their first swings of the year under sunny spring skies on the back nine of the Trail Creek Course, as well as on the chipping green and putting green. The back nine on the Elkhorn course, which is semi-private, also opened Friday.
Find out why Golf Digest called Sun Valley "one of the top 75 resort courses in North America." The season has begun!
Exciting things are underway on the fairways under the leadership of new Director of Golf Operations Tyler Jones who plans to make this the best season yet on Sun Valley’s courses. He brings with him more than 15 years of experience managing successful golf operations in California and Washington. Most recently, he was General Manager at the Olympia Country & Golf Club in Olympia, Washington. He has also acted as General Manager for the prestigious Palouse Ridge Golf Club in Pullman, Washington, and brings to the job experience as interim CEO for the Northern California Golf Association, the largest regional golf association in the U.S.
Meet Tyler Jones, Sun Valley's new Director of Golf Operations
But Tyler loves Sun Valley. As a child, he spent many seasons in Sun Valley with his grandparents and learned to ski on Dollar Mountain when he was six years old. As a hospitality graduate from Washington State, he first worked in the Resort’s Food & Beverage division starting in 1992. But golf called to him and from 1994 to 1996, he worked as First Assistant Professional under the legendary Rick Hickman who only recently retired. Tyler said he is absolutely delighted to be back. He and his family are excited to relocate to the valley and Tyler has a lot of great ideas to make one of Sun Valley’s best recreational options, even better.
“Sun Valley has been a very special place for my family for over 50 years and we are thrilled to be joining the Sun Valley team. I am very much looking forward to the opportunity of carrying on the tradition of offering the highest levels of hospitality and world class amenities that Sun Valley Resort is known for,” Tyler said. “The season is starting on a great note. Conditions are very encouraging, the greens are in good condition and golfers are excited.”
On the White Clouds course, golf is played at the top of the world
This PGA professional has assumed responsibility for full operation of Sun Valley’s 45 holes of golf: the 18-hold Trail Creek Golf Course, the 9-hole White Clouds Golf Course and the 18-hole Elkhorn Golf Course. The Trail Creek Championship Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., boasts 6,968 yards, surrounded by jaw dropping views. The White Clouds Course provides a perfect complement with 3,600 yards available for play and 360-degree views of the entire Wood River Valley. Golfing at Elkhorn provides 7,214 yards of beautiful undulating greens, more than 100 sand traps and bunkers.
After a day on the links, the Sun Valley Club provides a gracious gathering place for golfers as well as the public, offering a full-service restaurant, bar, locker rooms, club storage, club rental and a well-stocked pro shop. There is no better place to enjoy an afternoon libation and snack than on the restaurant’s terrace.
The Sawtooth Putting Course provides fun for the entire family
Both group and private lessons are available by calling 208-622-2251 and don’t forget the popular Sawtooth Putting Course and virtual golf facility. Both can enhance your game or just provide a few hours of fun.
For extra incentive, book the Early Birdie Resort special from Friday, April 18 through June 8, 2014.This special deal offers one night’s lodging and one round of golf (including cart) for only $124 per person, double occupancy. Please call 800-786-8259 for reservations. And don’t forget to ski and tee through Bald Mountain’s closing day, Sunday, April 20.
Be sure to stop at the Pro Shop at the Sun Valley Club to stock up on the latest golf fashions and gear. Then head across the hall to enjoy a wonderful meal or post-game cocktail.
Golf Digest called Sun Valley “One of the top 75 resort golf courses in North America.” Come find out why.
Spring is in the air and Easter is just around the corner. Now is the time to make sure you don’t miss a moment of the festive holiday celebrations in Sun Valley.
Come to the Sun Valley Village on April 18 for an egg hunt and a visit with a very special VIB (very important bunny)
On Friday, April 18, come and enjoy a sweet tradition at the Sun Valley Village.At 4:30 p.m., everyone age 10 and under is invited to search for eggs in a huge Easter egg hunt. Children are divided into age groups and asked to bring their own baskets as they scramble around the grounds in front of the Sun Valley Inn, collecting eggs.
Simultaneously, the Village location of the Toy Store will host face painting and children big and small can enjoy ice cream specials at the charming a la mode or satisfy a sweet tooth at the wonderfully nostalgic candy shop, the Chocolate Foundry. It will be a sweet beginning to a memorable holiday weekend.
If you're ten and under, the lawn outside the Sun Valley Inn is the place to be for a madcap Easter egg hunt
Festivities continue on Easter Sunday, April 20, with a lavish Easter brunch. The Inn’s Limelight Room will brim with fresh, tasty and traditional delights, sure to please any age and any palate. Brunch will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please call 208.622.2135 for more information.
April 20 also marks closing day for the snow season on Bald Mountain. Before or after enjoying a bountiful brunch, be sure to get in your last turns of the year. The weather has been beautiful and the corn snow terrific. The final day of the season is traditionally also a chance for locals and visitors alike to dress up, turn their faces to the sun and appreciate the season that was.
Here, last tracks matter as much as first tracks!
Face painting is a great part of the Easter weekend fun
Specials at the Resort add extra incentive to enjoy everything on offer. Lodging is available for the night of April 19, including Sunday brunch, for $93 per person, double occupancy. Please phone 800.786.8259 for more details. Tie on that Easter bonnet or clip on your ski helmet and get out and enjoy the weekend.
Happy Easter, happy spring and happy end of the season! Next up? Golf! Stay tuned to this blog for the exciting early season details.
Take a break from decorating eggs to enjoy them specially prepared for you at the lavish Easter brunch in the Limelight Room
This years Ketchum Arts Festival has something for everyone! Featuring live music, great food, kids activities and free admission, just to mention a few. Please visit http://www.ketchumartsfestival.com for more information.
Beginning Thursday, March 13, and running through Sunday, March 16, the Sun Valley Film Festival (SVFF), recognized by USA Today as one of the “great places for a film festival,” welcomes movie lovers to explore the weekend’s non-stop offerings.
Screenings, coffee talks with movie notables, screenwriters workshops, concerts and music -- it's all part of this weekend's lineup (photo SVFF)
SVFF HQ, located in the 511 Building in Ketchum (511 Leadville Ave.), opened for business on March 10, selling passes, individual event tickets and event merchandise. Stop by any time between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to make sure you have what you need to get the most of the festival experience.
Governor Otter said, “We’re so pleased that the Sun Valley Film Festival is returning for its third year this March, and I am pleased to be introducing the opening night screening of The Face of Love. The state of Idaho has a proud filmmaking heritage and we’re all hoping that SVFF and the Gem State have a long and fruitful relationship and can work together to bring more filmmakers to shoot in Idaho.”
That same day, the SVFF will pay tribute to Kevin Smith’s cult movie Clerks but offering a 20th anniversary screening of the film that defined a generation. Things only heat up from there with the amazing J Mascis playing live at Whiskey Jacques’ in Ketchum Thursday night.
In Sun Valley, the action is headquartered at the historic Opera House in Sun Valley Village
The SVFF offers more than 50 features and shorts — something to appeal to everyone. The curated slate of films includes 11 narrative and 15 documentary feature-length works from 11 countries, as well as more than 40 short films. According to the SVFF, Festival partner National Geographic Channels will present three highly anticipated world premieres and announce the winner of the WILD to INSPIRE short film competition, sponsored by Nat Geo WILD, the African Wildlife Foundation and SVFF. The winner will get to study filmmaking and wildlife in Africa with Emmy Award winning cinematographer, Bob Poole.
Many opportunities, including special programs and panels compliment the film schedule. This year, the SVFF signature Coffee Talks again feature top industry insiders including Academy Award® nominated producers Ron Yerxa (Nebraska, Little Miss Sunshine) and Jim Burke (The Descendants, Election), and writer-actor-director Kevin Smith (Clerks), and actor Mariel Hemingway.
Don't miss a minute -- from narratives to documentaries to family-friendly offerings -- there is something for everyone
Sun Valley’s rich filmmaking history certainly continues to grow and evolve with the SVFF. In fact, the SVFF has received attention from the national and international media including the Huffington Post, Town & Country, Indiewire, WIRED, Hammer to Nail, Fandor and a French TV film crew.
“Our goal is to bring in the best films, innovative programs, and high energy events to Sun Valley and we are extremely excited about this year’s festival,” said SVFF executive director Teddy Grennan. “With a solid lineup of new films from around the world, a talent-packed Screenwriters Lab, the special events celebrating the 20th anniversary of Clerks, and guests from all over the country, Sun Valley Film Festival ‘Take 3’ is going to be another hit!”
Tickets are still available to many screenings and events, but don’t delay, they do sell out and you don’t want to miss a frame of the must-see and must-attend festival of the year!
At just before 10 on the morning of March 1, hundreds of athletes gathered around their coaches, listening intently to last-minute advice. Tips were given about practice runs, snow conditions and finishing strong. Then the Special Olympians, participating in alpine skiing and snowboarding at the Idaho State Games, lined up and hopped aboard the Quarter Dollar chairlift, ready to compete and have a great time.
Saturday morning, athletes competing in the Special Olympics Idaho State Games, listened for last minute instructions from coaches before hitting the slopes on Dollar
This program, run in conjunction with Higher Ground and Sun Valley Resort, helps provide athletes will everything they need to have a great, successful day on the slopes: from gratis lift passes to free rental equipment and instruction. Many volunteers and professionals help make this training possible and the fruit of everyone’s labor was on display this weekend.
One skier shows great form in a practice run Saturday morning
Jeff Rust of Ketchum, Games Director and Higher Ground board member said, “the Special Olympics Idaho State Games are always very memorable, but this year having them in Sun Valley really set the bar. The Wood River Valley rallied around the athletes and made it a very welcoming experience.” He continued, “thanks to Higher Ground, Sun Valley Company, Wood River High School and our Local Girl Scouts, we were able to produce one of the most successful games to date. As always, the Victory Dance was the highlight of the games, but the addition of the Law Enforcement Torch Parade and amazing Opening/Closing Ceremonies, directed by Kat Vanden Heuvel, really added to the overall sentiment.”
Volunteer Tracey Caraluzzi gets ready to cheer on the athletes
Saturday marked the second time this season that Special Olympians competed on Sun Valley’s slopes. In February, the Resort also hosted the Eastern Regional Winter Games. Volunteer Tracey Caraluzzi was at both games and her daughter, Isabelle, was one of the students working with the athletes all winter and helping on the course on Saturday. “It’s such a great day,” Tracey enthused as she lined up slopeside to clang her cowbell as racers queued up at the start. “You see so many familiar faces, both athletes and families, and there is so much joy.”
Some of the hardware earned by skiers and snowboarders -- but everyone was a champion on Saturday
Judging from loud ringing of cowbells among fans stretched up and down Quarter Dollar and Poverty Flats and the ubiquitous smiles on the faces of athletes, coaches and supporters, the Special Olympic Idaho State Games were a huge success for everyone.
Athletes took a moment to pause during the Torch Run as it passed through Sun Valley's Community School (photo Community School)
There were a lot of familiar faces in the crowd as Olympic gold medalist Kaitlyn Farrington took a well deserved seat Saturday and waited for the celebration to begin
It is no exaggeration to say that thousands of people came out on Saturday to cheer for Olympic gold medalist Kaitlyn Farrington. Everyone turned out to welcome home the Snowboard Halfpipe champion and to let her know just how proud of our hometown girl we all are.
On a late winter’s afternoon, the band Freeway Revival played while the enthusiastic crowd enjoyed a tasty barbecue and drink specials provided by Sun Valley on the patio outside Warm Springs Lodge. At 4 p.m., it was showtime as well-wishers, packed tight from the Lodge, across the bridge, and onto the lower slopes of Lower Warm Springs, turned their eyes toward the mountain for the colorful downhill parade that announced Kaitlyn was coming
The huge crowd at Warm Springs on Saturday was enthusiastic and upbeat while waiting for the arrival of Kaitlyn Farrington -- our golden girl
The parade in Kaitlyn's honor was a vertical one. Here, Sun Valley SnowSports insructors provide the first wave of skiers and riders on Lower Warm Springs, leading the way for Kaitlyn who rode down last amid deafening cheers
Kaitlyn hopped onto the stage and surveying the scene (and it was a scene) commented, “Holy cow! I can’t believe the crowd that is here today!” Jody replied, “You earned this crowd,” and from there the celebration began in earnest.
Setting the tone for the procession of luminaries who came to honor Kaitlyn, Idaho state Senator Michelle Stennett (D-Ketchum), took to the stage to read a proclamation in her honor from the Office of Governor Butch Otter. The proclamation concluded, “Kaitlyn has achieved her goals with inspiring success. She has been an ambassador for Idaho and taught the world how to cowgirl up.”
Next, Ketchum mayor Nina Jonas said, “Kaitlyn embodies everything we hope and believe and try to be,” and jokingly offered her a necklace in trade for the impressive gold disc that hung around Kaitlyn’s neck.
Chris Koch, mayor Bellevue, Kaitlyn’s hometown in the Wood River Valley, renamed a portion of the bike path in her honor.
1998 Olympian snowboarder Barrett Christy, a friend and mentor to Kaitlyn, put the accomplishment in perspective. “The sport has progressed so much in the past five years with the level of women in snowboarding growing tremendously. Kaitlyn is responsible for that,” she said and continued, “You can’t learn attitude from a coach and that is what Kaitlyn has that sets her apart from the rest. That and her amazing style. That can’t be taught. It’s who she is.”
Kaitlyn was carried through the crowd by members of Sun Valley Ski Patrol
SVSEF snowboard coach Andy Gilbert kept the accolades coming. “Kaitlyn is a true original and always has been,” he enthused. “She has always been willing to work hard. In fact, her work ethic is second to none.” He, too, gave a nod to Kaitlyn’s style, calling her an “innovative rider” and simply saying how very, very proud he is of her.
During the few days Kaitlyn had at home (she left Sunday for her next competition), she made time to ride with local children, giving them the thrill of a lifetime. As Jody Zarkos said, “Kaitlyn’s ability to take obstacles and turn them into stepping stones,” truly inspired up-and-coming riders.Rob Clayton, executive director of the SVSEF, agreed that what Kaitlyn teaches by example is invaluable. Calling her the “gem of the Gem State,” Rob said, “We tell our kids, ‘see that necklace that is hanging around her neck? You can have it around your neck, too, and in the same color if you work really, really hard like Kaitlyn did.’”
Everyone showed their appreciation for Kaitlyn with gifts that included a necklace in the shape of the state of Idaho from Jonas, an engraved golf putter and lessons (evidently she’s working on her game) from Koch and a standup paddle board for the off-season from Clayton.
But the biggest gift and a highlight of the ceremony came when Sun Valley General Manager Tim Silva took to the microphone. After reading a heartfelt letter of congratulations to Kaitlyn from Sun Valley Resort owner Carol Holding, he and Mountain Manager Peter Stearns upped the ante. From Sun Valley, Kaitlyn was awarded a lifetime season’s pass and was presented with a huge rectangular gift wrapped in gold paper. Inside? A new sign reading “Kaitlyn’s Bowl.” The golden girls’ name will now grace the Bowl on Baldy formerly known as Farout Bowl.
Sun Valley General Manager Tim Silva and Mountain Manager Peter Stearns present Kaitlyn with the new trail sign that changes Farout Bowl on Baldy to Kaitlyn's Bowl
Finally, Kaitlyn returned to the podium simply to thank her hometown supporters. “It is my pleasure to be up here today and I am so thankful for it all,” she said. “Thank you for believing in me and thank you for helping me get to the Olympics. I want to share it all with you and share this gold medal with you.”
The crowd went wild.
Kaitlyn, preparing to be celebrated by luminaries, smiles at some of her biggest fans -- the children who she inspires
The celebration continued well into the evening with a street party, more live music, great food and the raffling off of a new GNU snowboard autographed by Kaitlyn.
A great time was had by all.
Congratulations, Kaitlyn. Thank you for letting us share your moment in the sun.
The Kindercup Alpine Race has been a tradition for many decades. In fact, the race was started back in 1957. This is a fun ski and snowboard event for non-sanctioned racers from ages 3-12. It will be held at Dollar Mountain March 9th. As many as 250 racers will enjoy great competition and receive a commemorative pin. For more information please visit. http://papooseclub.org/events/kindercup/