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

 

Come Skate Away

On a brilliantly sunny Thursday afternoon, approximately 40 students from Ketchum’s Hemingway Elementary School clamored off the yellow school bus and into the Skate House at Sun Valley’s one-of-a-kind outdoor rink. There, they traded boots for skates and helmets and spent the next 60 minutes learning basic figure skating or hockey skills or simply enjoyed taking laps around the large rink with friends.

Local schoolchildren enjoy free skating and some lessons each winter on Sun Valley's iconic outdoor rink

Local schoolchildren enjoy free skating and some lessons each winter on Sun Valley's iconic outdoor rink

These children are a part of a four-week program that brings students from the nearby public school to Sun Valley to skate for free on Thursday afternoons. Sun Valley Company generously donates ice time, skates and helmets. The Sun Valley Figure Skating Club arranges to have a few of their amazing pros on the ice during the session to offer tips, lessons and inspiration. The local Sun Valley Suns hockey team always has a few players on skates, volunteering their time to work with students interested in hockey.

Sun Valley provides free ice time, skates, helmet and some lessons for young aspiring skaters

Sun Valley provides free ice time, skates, helmet and some lessons for young aspiring skaters

“It’s a great way for the kids to get on the ice,” said Sun Valley pro and former Olympian Judy Blumberg.  “It’s good for the kids, it’s good for the Resort, it’s a win-win.”  She added, while helping a young girl untie her skates, “This program gets kids to the rink who may never have gotten here otherwise.”

Hemingway teacher Caitlin Olson agreed. “For the kids who ski every weekend or are involved in different sports or activities, this is a terrific introduction to skating.” She adds, pointing to the rink, “This amazing facility is so close to school and they have a great time when they get here.”

Olympian and Sun Valley pro Judy Blumberg gives her own daughter, and all the skaters, a lot of great pointers

Olympian and Sun Valley pro Judy Blumberg gives her own daughter, and all the skaters, a lot of great pointers

Skating is one of the athletic programs offered to local students through Sun Valley, programs that also include downhill skiing on Baldy or Dollar or cross country skiing. There is never any cost to the student. Sun Valley offers these skiing programs to Blaine County elementary school throughout the Wood River Valley and they are something students always look forward to.  

The opportunity to lace up skates was added to this longstanding program three years ago when the Sun Valley Skating Club was looking for outreach opportunities to introduce more children to this lifelong sport. The fundraiser Battle of the Blades allowed the club to financially help make this a reality. With the tremendous support and input from Sun Valley Resort about 20 skaters showed up that first year.

Physical education class was never this fun when I was in school

Physical education was never this fun when I was in school

The doubling of interest among the children is a testament to just how much fun they are having on the ice and if smiles count as a measure of success, the first day of skating during the 2014 season was a huge success.

Pro Natalia Zaitseva works with an aspiring figure skater

Pro Natalia Zaitseva works with an aspiring figure skater

Who knows if the next Linda Fratianne, Nancy Kerrigan, Gracie Gold or Evan Lysacek took his or her first tentative strokes on the ice this week. Who knows if one of these young skaters will develop an interest in figure skating or hockey that will carry them through high school. What really matters is that they enjoyed a beautiful afternoon filled with exercise, fresh air and laughter all around.

–RES

 

Dine by the Light of the Silvery Moon

There is something wonderful about the combination of moonlight and fresh snow and that is exactly what dinner patrons enjoyed Saturday night at the year’s first Sun Valley Clubhouse Moonlight Dinner. The day’s heavy snowfall dissipated by evening, allowing the light of a big winter moon to intermittently fall on the silent snow.

The Sun Valley Club, located just east of the Lodge, is HQ for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, fabulous lunches, and three times this season, a very special moonlight dinner

The Sun Valley Club, located just east of the Lodge, is HQ for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, fabulous lunches, and three times this season, a moonlight dinner

The lovely spacious dining room at the Clubhouse hosted parties both large and small for a festive meal. The chef offered an a la carte menu with something for every palate. Appetizers included hot southwest chicken tortilla soup, a generous prawn cocktail with house made cocktail sauce, duck flatbread, an apple walnut salad and a bibb wedge salad. Entrees consisted of three choices: chicken roulade, grilled Atlantic salmon and prime rib of beef. Dessert was a choice of chocolate and white mousse cake or my all-time favorite, Bananas Foster.

Our group of seven reserved this special dinner to celebrate my son’s ninth birthday. The big, comfortable table, welcoming atmosphere and varied menu was the perfect choice for a special occasion. Conversation was animated and laughter constant as we tucked into our meals and enjoyed watching the snow fall lightly outside the big picture windows. The birthday boy enjoyed a man-sized portion of prime rib and the rest of the group, for the most part, followed suit, enjoying the flavorful carved-to-order meat accompanied by roasted garlic mashed potatoes, baby carrots and asparagus. The prawn cocktails were also a popular and well-received choice. For dessert, my son blew out the candle on his mousse cake and enjoyed every bite.

The moonlight dinner at the Sun Valley Club was a perfect place to celebrate a special birthday

The moonlight dinner at the Sun Valley Club was a perfect place to celebrate a special birthday

If you missed the fun last weekend, don’t fret. There will be two additional Moonlight Dinners this season, the first on Valentine’s Day, Friday, February 14 and the second on Saturday, March 15. Please call the Sun Valley Clubhouse directly at 208-622-2919 to make your reservations. Plan a little extra time before or after dinner, too, to take advantage of a snowshoe or a gentle cross country ski around the Nordic Center’s amazing trails. Under the light of the moon, there is nothing more serene.

The Ring and Foster families also celebrated a birthday Saturday under the light of the moon

The Ring and Foster families also celebrated a birthday Saturday beneath the light of the moon

Chances are you will be spending more and more time at the Nordic Center and Sun Valley Club as the Resort opened cross country skiing trails originating from the Club on Monday. Recent storms allowed for the opening of 5 kilometers of trails including Practice Loop and Leif’s Loop. Until there is additional snow, there will not be groomed classic tracks, but classic skiers are invited to enjoy the skate skiing trails. Glenn’s Loop is also open for snowshoeing and all trails are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lessons are available and all the gear cross country enthusiasts need is available to rent on premise. For more information, please call the Sun Valley Nordic Center at 208-622-2250.

It's beginning to look a lot like cross country skiing season in Nordic Town USA with the opening of 5km of trails in Sun Valley

It's beginning to look a lot like cross country skiing season in Nordic Town USA with the opening of 5km of trails in Sun Valley

With the Boulder Mountain Tour and the Sun Valley Nordic Festival coming soon, many people’s thoughts are turning to serious cross country fun. In Sun Valley, festivities celebrating the Nordic lifestyle begin January 24 and run through February 2.

The weekend’s snowfall put everyone in a great mood and the season is truly underway. Whether you favor fat or skinny skis, play hard on the mountain or on the trail and then be sure to stop by the Sun Valley Club to enjoy a hearty, delicious and nutritious lunch. And be sure to book a special night for that special person on Valentine’s Day. It will surely be a night to remember.

–RES

New jet service is cause for celebration

Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN) servicing the Sun Valley Resort area has become party central this winter. On Monday, the champagne flowed, cake and ribbons were cut and a water arch cascaded on the runway as Sun Valley welcomed the first Delta regional jet to the tarmac at 12:31 p.m.

On Monday, Sun Valley cheered new Delta regional jet service from Salt Lake City

On Monday, Sun Valley cheered new Delta regional jet service from Salt Lake City

The flight that originated in Salt Lake City, Utah, touched down amid cheers. Why is everyone so excited? According to Friedman Memorial Airport manager Rick Baird in a prepared statement, “We believe this new jet aircraft, along with very competitive new fares and enhanced cooperative marketing with Delta Air Lines, will encourage more people to fly SUN. We are doing everything we can, including significant airport improvements and air service enhancements, to make flying into and out of Sun Valley the best choice for air travelers,”

Passengers on this inaugural flight were welcomed with goody bags, cake and champagne

Passengers on this inaugural flight were welcomed with goody bags, cake and champagne

Delta Connection carrier SkyWest Airlines will operate the new flights that use 65-seat, two-class Bombardier CRJ-700s aircraft. New on this route are the nine First Class seats, eight Economy Comfort seats, 48 economy seats as well as on-board Wi-Fi. My guess is everyone will wish that the flight lasted longer than the approximate one hour in the air.

This new service adds approximately 4000 additional Delta seats into Sun Valley from Salt Lake City, one of the nation’s biggest hubs. There are three round-trip flights four to five times per week during peak season between February 14 and March 31, three round-trip flights daily during the summer season from May 22 to September 1 and two round-trip flights daily during the spring and fall.

Flights can be booked at www.delta.com.

Air service into Sun Valley is also provided by Alaska Airlines and United Airlines making it easier than ever to get here.

Visitors arriving on Monday can expect some great skiing and riding from USA Today's #2 Ski Destination in America

Visitors arriving on Monday can expect some great skiing and riding from USA Today's #2 Ski Destination in North America

And no matter how you get here, it’s worth the trip. While Mother Nature is wreaking havoc on the east coast and being stingy with snow in the west, in Sun Valley, the skiing and riding are terrific. Last week, the resort opened the only 22-foot superpipe in the Pacific Northwest, adding terrain and thrills to those ready to drop in.

With the best and largest computerized snowmaking system in North America, it’s super on our slopes right now. Both the quality and amount of snow being made are getting a consistent thumbs up. 552 snowmaking guns have been hard at work covering 645 acres of groomable terrain, enabling 14 lifts and 56 runs to be up and running across Baldy and Dollar. The word on the hill is that the skiing is really good, just be sure to bring the sunscreen.

Welcome to Sun Valley!

Welcome to Sun Valley!

“We’re seeing a lot of smiling faces and it’s been very rewarding to hear the guest comments,” said Jack Sibbach, Sun Valley’s spokesperson. “We have to give credit to the mountain department. To have worked as hard as they have to get as much of the mountain open as they have is really impressive.”

Find out for yourself why USA Today recently named Sun Valley the No. 2 Ski Destination in the North America. An expert panel of ski and snowboard enthusiasts and travel writers selected what they felt represented the “Top 10” ski destinations in the country. The choices were then put to a vote by the public with Sun Valley emerging as the second best behind the region of South Lake Tahoe in a very tight race.

The 22-foot superpipe on Dollar is again open for the season. Feel free to drop in

The 22-foot superpipe on Dollar is again open for the season. Feel free to drop in!

It has been a great year for Sun Valley as we were also named a Top 10 Travel Destination in North American by the Lonely Planet travel media group, the 4th Best Ski Resort in North America by SKI Magazine, and one of the Top 8 Ski Towns in North America by Powder Magazine.

And there are still months of winter ahead to enjoy this award-winning place! Hop a regional jet, reserve your room and come enjoy everything that makes Sun Valley so special.

–RES

New Year’s on Dollar

2014 started on a sunny high note for Sun Valley holiday-makers ringing in the new on Dollar Mountain. Slopes were filled with smiling faces on the first days of the New Year and family fun was the name of the game.

The Swanson and Gabbert families enjoyed an afternoon on Dollar's Tubing Hill

The Swanson and Gabbert families of Seattle enjoyed an afternoon on Dollar's Tubing Hill

Skiers and snowboarders honed their skills in lessons, navigated the new Prospector Park skill-building terrain area, hit the Family Cross Course, rode the rails and soaked up the sun and the beautiful views.

At the end of an exhilarating ride, the Swanson girls are ready for more

At the end of an exhilarating ride, the girls are ready for more

The Swanson family, visiting for the holidays from Seattle, came out for an afternoon of tubing with their three daughters and friends. As guests at the Resort, their condo was a short walk from Dollar’s slopes and they strolled over to enjoy the tubing course.

“It was a great way to spend the afternoon,” said mom Mari Swanson. “The kids had a terrific time and it was a nice break from skiing, but still a great way to be outside.”

The feeling on Dollar at New Year's? Woo hoo!

The feeling on Dollar at New Year's? Woo hoo!

I spent part of the beginning of the New Year on Dollar, as well, making my first tentative turns following knee surgery last spring. Accompanied by my patient 8-year-old and a patient friend, I tried out my repaired leg on the gentle slopes of Quarter Dollar before progressing all the way to Dollar Face by the day’s end. While my technique and style might be slow to come back, the joy of being on the snow and on skis with Sun Valley at my feet, returned immediately.

My son and friend made sure to try out Prospector Park (thumbs up), a few park features and the Cross Course. We enjoyed an al fresco lunch on the fabulous Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge patio where great food is accompanied by a big show and it seems the sun is always shining.  Even when you live here, there is no better way to feel like you’re on vacation than lunch on the patio.

Carol's Dollar Mountain Lodge is HQ for great food, lift and tubing tickets and even super post holiday shopping for gear

Carol's Dollar Mountain Lodge is HQ for great food, lift and tubing tickets and even super post holiday shopping for gear

They say the way you spend January 1 sets the tone for the year to follow. Hopefully, the months to come will be as enjoyable, laughter-filled and memory-making for those who spent New Year’s Day on Dollar as that beautiful day last Wednesday.

Wishing you all peace, joy and lots of fun in the snow in 2014!

–RES

Dollar is all about family fun

Dollar is all about family fun

New Year’s Cheer

No matter your age, it is important to give a nod to the year that was and ring in the new. And there’s no better place to do so than in Sun Valley! On Tuesday night, even the youngest merrymakers are invited to enjoy parties, designed especially for them, throughout the Resort.

It's time to celebrate!

It's time to celebrate!

Parents of the littlest revelers can luxuriate in some grownup time on New Year’s Eve knowing their children are having the time of their lives at a Bowling Night created just for them. From 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, children between the ages of 12 months and 7 years will enjoy arts and crafts, indoor and outdoor play, bowling at Sun Valley’s historic alley and game room and an age-appropriate movie. This is a safe, stimulating environment where the kids are the stars of the night. The price is $75 for the evening and dinner is available for an additional $8.50 per child. Reservations are required. For more information or to sign up please call 208.622.2135 or email recreation@sunvalley.com.

Bowling at Sun Valley's historic alley will be part of the fun for little revelers on New Year's Eve

Bowling at Sun Valley's historic alley will be part of the fun for little revelers on New Year's Eve

Bigger kids will flock to the Boiler Room in Sun Valley Village to enjoy a party of their own. This Rockin’ New Year’s Eve features the music of DJ Marlin – a wildly popular local entertainer. Children from 8 to 14 are invited to dance, enjoy video walls with kids’ freeride edits and music videos. A photo booth is sure to be a highlight of the night. Bald Mountain Pizza will provide lots of hot, delicious food, drinks and a treat for everyone. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the party continues until 10 p.m. Parents are welcome and availability is limited so be sure to call 208.622.2135 or email recreation@sunvalley.com so as not to miss out on a minute of fun. The all-inclusive price is $50 per child.

Children love to skate on Sun Valley's iconic outdoor rink

Children love to skate on Sun Valley's iconic outdoor rink

Sun Valley offers special Kids’ Night Out activities throughout the season, not only on New Year’s Eve. The schedule this week includes crafts like making Sun Valley Winter Wonderland backpacks and snowman canvas prints, and activities like ice skating on the famous outdoor rink and bowling. Contact the Sun Valley PlaySchool at 208.622.2288 for more information on all the fun as well as reservations.

For bigger kids, the party moves to the Boiler Room on New Year's Eve and features great music and a photo booth

For bigger kids, the party moves to the Boiler Room on New Year's Eve and features great music and a photo booth

And happy children make happy parents. When the kiddos are busy and entertained, be sure to make a reservation for a romantic meal or fun-filled evening at one of Sun Valley’s fabulous restaurants. Enjoy a cocktail at the Ram Lounge at the Inn or the Duchin Lounge at the Lodge and then tuck into locally-sourced, seasonal and delicious fare at the Ram, Gretchen’s, Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta, the Konditorei or Trail Creek Cabin. All are different, all are delicious! Stroll hand-in-hand through the Village Light Display, shop or window shop, delighting in the Resort’s whimsical holiday windows. It is truly a magical time of year in Sun Valley.

Popular DJ Marlin will keep the kids dancing and happy at a special party just for them

Popular DJ Marlin will keep the kids dancing and happy at a special party just for them

No matter how you and your family choose to spend New Year’s Eve, may it be filled with friends, loved ones, good memories and exciting plans. We hope to see you at the Sun Valley Resort to ring in 2014 – be it with champagne or sparkling apple cider.

Happy New Year!

–RES

Build Skills, Catch Air

Skiers and snowboarders spent a beautiful Sun Valley weekend trying out Dollar's newest skill-building terrain park

Skiers and snowboarders spent a beautiful Sun Valley weekend trying out Dollar's newest skill-building terrain park

“Dropping in!” This delighted cry rang out time and again on Dollar Mountain’s new skill-building terrain park that officially opened for the season on Sunday. Designed for beginner and intermediate skiers and boarders, the new features, located skiers’ right on Quarter Dollar, is not only big fun, it enhances the learning curve exponentially.

Children's SnowSports Director Shannon Price thinks this park is fantastic for both fun and learning new skills (and, yes, she is always this happy!)

Children's SnowSports Director Shannon Price thinks this park is fantastic for both fun and learning new skills (and, yes, she is always this happy!)

According to Shannon Price, Director of the Sun Valley Children’s SnowSports program, this progression park is a wonderful addition to Dollar. Kids will automatically be drawn to it and they will have so much fun they won’t even know they’re learning! For those with big dreams of big air, this is the perfect place to start.

The park is built with “soft” features, including rollers, a mini Halfpipe and a family cross course. There are no “hard” features like rails. And everything is designed with young athletes in mind.

“The gentle pipe actually improves children’s skills and form,” explained Shannon. “The layout lets a child who is snowplowing to drop in, and by using the curvature of the pipe, their skis automatically become more parallel. It’s amazing how quickly beginning skiers improve when they use this feature.”

The mini-pipe help skiers get parallel and is good practice for everyone

The mini-pipe help skiers get parallel and is good practice for everyone

The park is open to everyone on Dollar and on a stunning Sunday morning it was getting a lot of use. SnowSports School children’s group lessons explored every foot of the available terrain, yelping with delight the entire way down. Parents and children took to the mini-pipe together and laughed over the rollers on the way back to Quarter Dollar lift.

Skills built on this gentle park will transfer easily to Dollar’s more challenging features that were also getting quite a work out this weekend. Visitors, recreational skiers and snowboarders and members of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation freestyle team flew, jumped, flipped and spun over jumps, jibs and boxes, having the time of their lives.

Local athletes train on jumps on Dollar Sunday, showing how it is done

Local athletes train on jumps on Dollar Sunday, showing how it is done

No matter if you are an absolute terrain park beginner, have a child who has dreams of back flips or cross course racing or just want to try something new, the new terrain park at Dollar has your name on it. Be sure to head to the mountain during your Sun Valley holiday vacation and take a run, or three or four. Make a day of it by enjoying a fabulous lunch at Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge.

If you think your child will want to spend the entire day – or week – trying out everything Dollar offers, book a group or private lesson at the SnowSports School by calling (888) 490-5950 or click HERE. The highly trained, amazingly enthusiastic instructors are sure to make your child’s experience one to remember!

Getting ready to drop into the park!

Getting ready to drop into the park!

Christmas is here and we wish you and yours a spectacular holiday in Sun Valley! Don’t forget the Nutcracker on Ice this evening followed by the Torchlight Parade and fireworks. Then after Santa visits in the morning, be sure to get out onto Baldy and Dollar and don’t miss this wonderful new place to play.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

–RES