A Fantasy Weekend for Film Lovers

Sun Valley welcomes back the third annual star-studded Sun Valley Film Festival

Sun Valley welcomes back the third annual star-studded Sun Valley Film Festival

Film buffs rejoice! For four spectacular spring days in Sun Valley, the finest narratives, documentaries, shorts and family films will grace big screens all over town.

Welcome back the Sun Valley Film Festival!

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

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.

But the real action will take place around town: from the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum, to the theater at Community School, the Magic Lantern Cinemas in Ketchum and the historic Opera House in Sun Valley. Events include premieres, competitions, screenwriter labs, coffee talks and of course, music and parties.

Please log onto sunvalleyfilmfestival.org for a full schedule, detailed listings and ticket information, but here are some of the highlights:

Coveted awards are up for grabs in many categories

Coveted awards are up for grabs in many categories (photo SVFF)

On Thursday, March 13, the Festival starts out strong with Idaho’s Governor introducing Arie Posin’s The Face of Love, starring Ed Harris and Annette Bening.

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

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

Don't miss a minute -- from narratives to documentaries to family-friendly offerings -- there is something for everyone

SVFF’s other signature event, the Screenwriters Lab, will be hosted by 2014 Academy Award® nominees, screenwriters Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack (Dallas Buyers Club) and will feature actors Will McCormack, Alison Pill, and Joshua Leonard, along with Jim Burke and Academy Award® winning screenwriter David Seidler (The King’s Speech).

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!

–RES

Special Olympians Shine

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

Saturday morning, athletes competing in the Special Olympics Idaho State Games, listened for last minute instructions from coaches before hitting the slopes on Dollar

Sun Valley welcomed 500 athletes to Dollar Mountain and the Sun Valley Nordic Center for a full day of races and participation on Saturday, but the experience started on Friday when athletes running with the Special Olympic torch, and accompanied by a police and fire escort, made their way to Dollar. One stop for the torch was Sun Valley’s Community School. High school students at the school have been working with Higher Ground all winter, training every Wednesday afternoon with Special Olympic skiers and riders 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
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

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

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.

–RES

Athletes took a moment to pause during the Torch Run as it passed through Sun Valley's Community School (photo Community School)

Athletes took a moment to pause during the Torch Run as it passed through Sun Valley's Community School (photo Community School)

Celebrating Kaitlyn

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

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 festive while they waiting for the arrival of Kaitlyn Farrington -- our golden girl

The huge crowd at Warm Springs on Saturday was enthusiastic and upbeat while waiting for the arrival of Kaitlyn Farrington -- our golden girl

First, instructors from the Sun Valley SnowSports School put on a spectacle, serpentining and criss-crossing their way to the bottom of the hill. Sun Valley’s winter Olympians and Olympic coaches followed. The fine people representing Sun Valley included former Olympians Chuck Ferries, Jonna Mendes, Reggie Crist, Abbi Fisher-Gould and Sondra Van Ert.  Snowboard coaches from the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF), the program in which Kaitlyn grew up and remains a Gold Team member, Kaitlyn’s family and friends then preceded Sun Valley’s sweetheart. The SVSEF’s Jody Zarkos called play-by-play action leading up to the big moment when Kaitlyn rode the slope into the crush of her fervent fans. Scooped up by Whiz McNeal and Sean Glaccum of Sun Valley Ski Patrol, Kaitlyn, American flag in hand, was carried triumphantly to a stage in front of Warm Springs Lodge, where for the next hour, she was feted and celebrated and laden with gifts.

The parade in Kaitlyn's honor was a vertical one. Here, Sun Valley SnowSports insructors provide the first wave of skiers and riders down Lower Warm Springs, leading the way down for Kaitlyn who rode down last

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

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

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

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.

–RES

Kindercup Alpine Race – Sunday, March 9, 2014 at Dollar Mountain

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/

 

 

 

Our Golden Girl Comes Home

With a high school drum line providing the backbeat and water cannons announcing that a VIP was on board, the Delta jet bringing Olympic gold medalist Kaitlyn Farrington home, touched down Monday afternoon.

The golden girl with her Olympic gold medal

The golden girl with her Olympic gold medal

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

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

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

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

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!

–RES

Skate and Schuss in Sun Valley

There is no prettier place to cross country ski than Sun Valley

There is no prettier place to cross country ski than Sun Valley

There is no question that we have amply made up for the late start to this season’s snowfall and the cross country skiing in Sun Valley is great. With bright skies and a warm late winter sun, now is the time to clip into those bindings and enjoy a fabulous workout in an idyllic setting.

Located a half-mile east of the Sun Valley Lodge on Trail Creek Road, cross country skiing headquarters is the Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center. This 58,000 square-foot facility provides everything you need for an amazing day on the trails: from full equipment rental, to a huge selection of performance gear and accessories, to a wonderful restaurant and lounge (with one of the prettiest views in the Valley) to help you recharge after your workout. There are also locker rooms, equipment repair, and storage.

The beautiful Sun Valley Nordic and Snowshoe Center is cross country HQ

The elegant Sun Valley Nordic and Snowshoe Center is cross country HQ

Properly dressed and equipped, Nordic Nirvana is just steps away. This week, 12 trails offering 32-kilometers of perfectly groomed snow are open for your enjoyment. Whether you prefer classic skiing or skate skiing, flats or lung-busting hill climbs, there is something for everyone. Snowshoe trails appeal to visitors and locals who just want to get out and enjoy the fresh air and view.

And the view is one of the biggest draws on Sun Valley’s trails. Ski and snowshoe tracks run along picturesque Trail Creek, climb the White Clouds golf course, and meander through wooded glades. Another big draw is Sun Valley’s legendary machine grooming that offers the best conditions possible whether is it is a cold winter’s morning, or a sunny, warm afternoon.

Cross country skiing is not only a terrific workout, it is a beautiful way to spend a few hours

Cross country skiing is not only a terrific workout, it is a beautiful way to spend a few hours

New to the sport? Group lessons and private lessons in both skiing disciplines are available daily and may be arranged by calling (208) 622-2250 or just by stopping by the desk at the Pro Shop.  And don’t worry too much about the altitude. At 6,000 feet, the trail system won’t leave you gasping for air unless you want to be!

Passes are required on Sun Valley trails and are available, again, at the Nordic Center. If you buy a season’s pass, you will also enjoy unlimited access at the Royal Gorge Resort in Northern California. Please click HERE for details.

Stop in at the Pro Shop for the latest layers and performance gear before hitting the trails

Stop in at the Pro Shop for the latest layers and performance gear before hitting the trails

With the heavy snowfall during the past few weeks, now is the time to work a cross country workout into your routine or into your vacation. No matter your fitness or experience level, it will be a terrific day on the trails. Sun Valley is Nordic Town USA and one of the few Olympic and Paralympic cross country training sites in the United States. Come find out why for yourself!

–RES

Breathe deep! Cross country skiing or snowshoeing are wonderful ways to enjoy our beautiful valley

Breathe deep! Cross country skiing and snowshoeing are wonderful ways to enjoy our spectacular valley

It’s time for the Fly Fishing Film Tour!

On Wednesday, February 19, thoughts in Sun Valley will turn from fresh powder to freshwater; to trout streams and fly fishing to be exact. That evening at the historic Opera House in the Sun Valley Village, the 2014 Fly Fishing Film Tour (a.k.a. the F3T) will roll film. Labeled the “original and preeminent exhibition of fly fishing cinema,” the F3T is a one-of-a-kind experience.

The Fly Fishing Film Tour returns to Sun Valley February 19

The Fly Fishing Film Tour returns to Sun Valley February 19

According to tour producers, “Each year fishy folk of all ages gather at premieres to soak up films from around the world, spin a few yarns amongst friends and dream about casts still unmade.”

This is a film tour to watch. Since its inception in 2007, the F3T has grown more than 30 percent each year, reaching nearly 50,000 anglers across North America last season. The event returns to Sun Valley this year, connecting with our vast community of fly fishing devotees.

Sun Valley is fly fishing Nirvana, offering some of the finest trout fishing in the world

Sun Valley is fly fishing Nirvana, offering some of the finest trout fishing in the world

With eight films on offer, there is something to satisfy every midwinter’s fly fishing fantasy. From a piece on the Gold Cup Invitational Tarpon Fly Tournament, to an insiders’ look at the pursuit of wild brook trout and landlocked salmon, to a journey to the furthest reaches of the Alaskan frontier, fly rod will travel. The evening brings to life the personalities and places helping to define this lifetime sport. You’ll see a lot of pretty spectacular fish, too. For a full description of the films being shown, please click HERE.

The screening begins at 7 p.m. Discounted tickets for $13 are available in advance at two fabulous local fly shops: Silver Creek Outfitters (with a second location in the Sun Valley Village) and Lost River Outfitters, both in Ketchum. At the door, tickets will be $15.

If this photo makes your heart sing, then this film fest is for you (photo Bryan Huskey, Silver Creek Outfitters)

If this photo makes your heart sing, then this film fest is for you (photo Bryan Huskey, Silver Creek Outfitters)

Fly fishing is a way of life and nearly a year-round pursuit in Sun Valley. Take an evening’s vacation from the slopes and trails and span the globe with some of the most daring anglers around, setting your hook for a night of camaraderie and adventure. Local fishing is excellent this time of year, too, if you wade into the current properly prepared. Warm layers and a few pairs of fingerless gloves will make for a fantastic day of winter fishing. For updated fishing reports, please click HERE.

Fish on!

–RES

Winter fishing can be very productive, and very beautiful, in the Sun Valley area

Winter fishing can be very productive, and very beautiful, in the Sun Valley area

Sun Valley Welcomes Mile-High City

It’s been a season of great news in Sun Valley when it comes to making it easier than ever to visit this amazing all-season playground. This week, Fly Sun Valley Alliance, the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority and Sun Valley Resort announced new non-stop air service connecting the busy Denver, Colorado, hub with Sun Valley’s Friedman Memorial Airport starting this summer. Beginning July 2, United Express flights operated by SkyWest Airlines will fly between the two destinations and service will continue through September 23. It will be a great Fourth of July celebration, indeed!

Starting this summer, Sun Valley will welcome direct fights from Denver

Starting this summer, Sun Valley will welcome direct fights from Denver

CRJ 700 regional jets will bring 70 travelers to Sun Valley from the Mile High City. Six seats will be in United First Class with 64 in the economy cabin. Sixteen seats are extra-legroom Economy Plus seats providing options for every flyer with every budget.

Denver is a huge hub for travel from the east coast and south, making it easier than ever to come hike, mountain bike, fly fish, swim and golf Sun Valley this summer.

Sun Valley is thrilled with new service connecting Sun Valley with San Francisco this winter and looks forward to welcoming visitors from Denver in time for July 4 celebrations

Sun Valley is thrilled with new service connecting Sun Valley with San Francisco this winter and looks forward to welcoming visitors from Denver in time for July 4 celebrations

“This new nonstop route to Sun Valley will allow additional connectivity to eastern US cities and other destinations in United’s global route network,” said Vic Kerckhoff, United’s director of leisure sales. “We are pleased to be expanding our service to the Sun Valley market and look forward to a long-term successful partnership with this important destination.”

The initial flight schedule shows jets departing Denver at 7:15 p.m. and arriving in paradise at 9:03 p.m. Flights return at 7:30 a.m., arriving in Denver at 9:11 a.m. This takes advantage of connections from all major eastern markets.

Welcome to Friedman Memorial Airport -- the gateway to our year-round playground

Welcome to Friedman Memorial Airport -- the gateway to our year-round playground

The new summer flight will run daily from July 2 – August 25 and 5 times per week from August 26 – Sept 23 and represents 5,500 additional seats into Sun Valley for the 2014 summer season.

“We are extremely excited about this additional new United Airlines nonstop service to Denver,” said Eric Seder, Board President of Fly Sun Valley Alliance, an organization engaged in strategic air service development efforts for the Sun Valley area.  “Our community has shown its support for improving air service and we are getting results.”

Ron Fairfax, Chairman of the Friedman Memorial Airport noted, “This is one more very positive step in the ongoing public-private partnership work underway to improve air service to Sun Valley for the benefit of our visitors, our businesses and our local residents.  The airport is proud to be a part of this collective effort.”

The friendly professionals at Friedman Memorial Airport will make your travels as worry-free as possible

The friendly professionals at Friedman Memorial Airport will make your travels as worry-free as possible

To book the new flights, please click http://www.united.com.

I am personally really excited to learn about this new service as I hope it makes it easier for my brother and his family to come visit from their home in Colorado. I also know it will entice all my east coast friends to come out to see for themselves why I always say Sun Valley is just as beautiful in the summer as in the winter. The welcome mat it out!

This new service is the latest in direct flights that link Sun Valley to Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City.

Welcome to Sun Valley. The fun starts now!

Welcome to Sun Valley. The fun starts now!

Sun Valley looks forward to welcoming visitors from the Denver-area and beyond this summer and hopefully next winter, too. Everyone is hard at work to add winter service for 2014-2015.

It’s all good!

–RES

 

Bring on the Boulder

The Boulder Mountain Tour caps off a week of cross country celebrations

The Boulder Mountain Tour caps off a week of cross country celebrations

Things are in full swing in Nordic Town USA as Sun Valley celebrates a week devoted to everything cross country. Each January, the Sun Valley Nordic Festival brings together devotees of cross country ski culture with training opportunities, parties, concerts, a film festival and food and drink specials all over town. The fun culminates this weekend with the 39th Annual Swix Boulder Mountain Tour on February 1.

The Boulder, as it’s known, brings hundreds of people to town for friendly or serious competition on a course that begins north of Ketchum at Galena Lodge and finishes fast at the Sawtooth National Recreation Area headquarters. The big event is a 32-kilometer race but there is also a Half Boulder that covers 15-kilometers.

This is a week many locals look forward to each year, but it is also an annual event on the calendar of skiers from across the country. One such cross country aficionado is Brad Laesch of Seattle. Saturday’s race will be Brad’s fifth and it’s something he looks forward to each year. During a phone interview conducted as he organized and packed his skis and gear, Brad said, “I love the atmosphere of the Boulder, it is always so much fun. The start at Galena Lodge is such a terrific, energetic location. The actual racecourse is beautiful, nestled in a little bowl area among the mountains. And I always see friends from Seattle at the starting line.”

The Boulder Mountain Tour is a one-of-a-kind race

The Boulder Mountain Tour is a one-of-a-kind race

Each year, Brad and members of his family fly Alaska Air direct into Sun Valley to get in on the fun. In past years, his wife and daughters have participated in the Half Boulder. This year, his daughter Greta, 11, is returning for her third race. When they land on Friday, Greta will warm up on the snow with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation cross country team with a friend from Boise who trains with them on weekends.

Greta, Brad, Lexie and Lily Laesch of Seattle look forward to their annual trip to Sun Valley to race in the Boulder and Half Boulder (not pictured, son Conrad)

Greta, Brad, Lexie and Lily Laesch of Seattle look forward to their annual trip to Sun Valley to race in the Boulder and Half Boulder (not pictured, son Conrad)

As for Brad, he has been training all fall and winter despite poor snow conditions around Seattle. “I’ve been doing a lot of roller skiing around our park,” he laughed. “I get weird looks but it helps me work on balance and I can do drills and intervals. It’s better than nothing!”

Brad and his family, and all the other Boulder and Sun Valley Nordic Festival attendees, also love the whole vibe of town and the Resort this week. Though there have already been coffee tastings at local roaster, the Sun Valley Ski Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Paralympic Biathlon Training, pre-race skiing with Muffy Ritz and other VAMPS coaches, and a spirited downtown sprint, the fun is just getting started.

Racers queue up at the starting line on Thursday evening's in-town sprints

Racers queue up at the starting line on Thursday evening's in-town sprints

Celebrate a race well run Saturday night at one of the most rocking parties of the year – Reggae in the Mountains. The party, called “the greatest show on snow,” takes over Ketchum Town Square at 5 p.m. A concert pre-party will take place at Lefty’s Bar and Grill in Ketchum at 4 p.m. This year, the concert features the nine-piece roots Bob Marley inspired band Sol Horizon from Sonoma County, California, and the nine-piece roots music inspired band Natural Roots from Salt Lake City. After the concert, the party continues in downtown Ketchum at Whiskey Jacques’ with music from Soul Medic, Jah Wave and Lions Den Unlimited Sounds. For more information, visit HERE.

Enthusiasm was high among athletes and spectators for the competitive town sprints

Enthusiasm was high among athletes and spectators for the competitive town sprint relay race

Leading up to the big race, on Friday, the Friends of the Sawtooth Avalanche Center present the Banff Mountain Film Festival and raffle. This annual fundraiser is held at Ketchum’s nexStage Theatre and offers more than $10,000 of incredible raffle prizes and four hours of amazing outdoor films. The event begins at 6 p.m. and tickets are $14 to $15. It is advisable to buy them ahead of time as they do sell out and they are available at Backwoods Mountain Sports, the Elephants Perch and Chapter One Bookstore. You need not be present to win raffle prizes.

Demo days at the beautiful Sun Valley Nordic Center is a great way to wind down the Sun Valley Nordic Festival week

Demo days at the beautiful Sun Valley Nordic Center is a great way to wind down the Sun Valley Nordic Festival week

On Sunday, wind down the weekend at the Sun Valley Nordic Center. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., you are invited to join the best local and national reps who will bring out the latest equipment to demo. A special discounted daily pass costing $10 will get you onto the snow in whatever new boots or skis you wish to try. The Clubhouse at the Sun Valley Nordic Center will offer a special lunch during this event. Sit down and treat yourself to a wonderful meal. You’ve earned it! This demo day is always a fun event.

Sun Valley loves its Nordic roots and culture. The SVSEF was recently named one of very few Olympic and Paralympic training sites for cross country skiing in the nation and we boast miles and miles and miles of scenic and spectacular trails running in every direction. This is truly Nordic Nirvana. Come join us and experience it for yourself!

–RES

Play It Safe

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

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

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

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

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.

–RES

Safety is fun this week in Sun Valley

Safety is fun this week in Sun Valley