Find Your Inner Diva

Day one of DIVAS

Day one of DIVAS -- the terrific coaching team motivates the group

The standard definition of the word di·va  [dee-vuh, -vah] is: Italian, literally, goddess, feminine of the divine, god. The term has evolved in modern times to describe famous female opera singers (no idea why) and then devolved to a term for a woman that must have her way exactly, or no way at all.

Danielle Carruth, our intrepid leader

Danielle Carruth, our intrepid leader

But there is another definition of DIVAS, specific to Sun Valley: Idahoan, “Die Incredible Vimin Alpine Shredders.” And for 90 local women skiers, this is the only definition that matters. Sun Valley’s DIVAS are skiers of intermediate ability and above who take part in an eight-week clinic, skiing one day a week with a rotating cadre of some of the mountain’s best coaches. It’s women teaching women and it’s such a big success, that in its third year, DIVAS has a wait list. According to Snowsports Supervisor Nick Maricich, the DIVAS program is the top women’s clinic in the country and is being emulated by many other resorts. Yay us!

What makes the program so popular? The answer is as diverse as the skiers. In a pre-season questionnaire sent out by DIVAS co-founder and Sun Valley skiing royalty, Danielle Crist Carruth, each woman was asked what she hoped to get out of the clinic. Possibilities ranged from improving bump technique, to improving confidence; from skiing with the girls and making new friends, to getting away from the kids for three hours. I just appreciated being asked what I wanted for a change and chose D: all of the above.

This Monday morning, on day one, I joined 29 other shredders at the base of the Warm Spring Lodge. In my second year of the program, I was excited to be there. My inaugural year as a DIVA was not only a huge boon to my ability to carve pretty round turns, I also met some great people and laughed – a lot. This year, with the goal of finally conquering moguls and pulverizing powder, I took my turn skiing down in front of a slew of coaches, praying I didn’t fall or disqualify myself from the group that also wanted to ski varied terrain.

The ski off helps coaches put skiers in appropriate groups

The ski off helps coaches put skiers in appropriate groups

I was placed with five fun women  who shared similar goals. The always positive, extremely helpful and very entertaining DIVAS co-founder Nicky Elsbree was my coach du jour. Each week is themed and the focus on Monday was balance – apropos for women at the beginning of a New Year. For the next two-and-a-half hours, Nicky helped us work on our balance from every angle.

Being a DIVA is an exercise in balance in itself. Most of the 90 women up there every Monday, Tuesday or Friday are balancing multiple commitments, from jobs to children to spouses and volunteer gigs. The three hours we carve out each week for ourselves, carries over to everything else. As one of my fellow DIVAS said on the lift, the valley spread out beneath us, if we don’t get out here and enjoy where we live, we may as well live anywhere. Amen. Skiing with DIVAS forces you to focus, to quiet the never-ending mental “to do” list, to be present.

Nicky Elsbree works on a DIVAS' balance

Nicky Elsbree demonstrates balance

For those interested in adult specialty ski programs, Sun Valley has something for everyone. DIVAS also offers a beginner clinic called DIVAS 101 and the Snowsports School runs popular programs including Mountain Masters, Masters Race, Ski Club and the new men-only program, ARCS.

If you’re here for the winter, or most of it, these clinics are probably the best way to get excellent instruction at a great value, while meeting new friends and enjoying the mountain lifestyle.

Please call the Sun Valley Snowsports School at (888) 490-5950 or email snowsports@sunvalley.com and find your inner diva.

–RES

DIVAS: Mother’s Day Ideas

Top 5 Ways to Spoil Mom in Sun Valley this Mother’s Day

By Laurie Sammis

Mother’s Day is nearly 100 years old. Declared an official national holiday by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914, Mothers Day began in the United States after Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia began a campaign to set aside a day just for mothers. Her mother had died and Anna wanted all mothers to be remembered with a day of quiet reflection and family. But mother’s have been celebrated since the time of the ancient greeks, who used to honor Rhea, "Queen of heaven" and "mother of the gods" in the springtime with flowers, sweet honey cakes and fine drinks at dawn.

Perfect. It sounds like the beginning of the Mother’s Day tradition of breakfast in bed.

But if you really want to indulge mom this Mother’s Day, book the special Mother’s Day Package at Sun Valley Resort and give her a weekend to remember. This exceptional weekend package includes Saturday night’s lodging in the Sun Valley Lodge or Inn, Sunday Brunch for two and a one-hour massage. The Sunday Brunch is not to be missed and offers a lavish display of breakfast specialties including omelet and crepe stations, seafood, an array of gourmet salads and a symphony of desserts.

And don’t forget the pre- or post-massage soak in the Sun Valley Lodge heated outdoor pool–with poolside cocktail service and the expansive blue Idaho skies, it is a unique extravagance (and a local tradition)!

Looking for some other things for mom to do while she is enjoying her weekend indulgence in Sun Valley? Here are a few ideas to help make her day.

1) Let her be Sonja Henie for a Day

The beautiful Sun Valley Outdoor Ice Rink is an original Sun Valley Story and the location for the 1941 academy award nominated musical “Sun Valley Serenade” staring Sonja Henie, John Payne, Milton Berle, Glenn Miller and Lynn Bari. Let mom don white figure skates and twirl and dip around the outdoor rink to the sounds of the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Follow it up with a cocktail on the Lodge terrace or in the historic Duchin Lounge. Or bring the whole family and let mom skate with the kids for her own personalized version of Disney on Ice.

2) Enjoy a Historical Tour and Picnic at Trail Creek

The Ketchum / Sun Valley Heritage and Ski Musuem features information and historical tours of the area, along with amazing exhibits with photos and memorabilia on everything from the early days of skiing in America to author Ernest Hemingway’s years in Idaho. Visit their Hemingway in Sun Valley [http://ksvhs.com/?page_id=403] page for more information on where to go to touch a little of the history related to the celebrated author and visit a few local institutions at the same time–the Sun Valley Lodge, Trail Creek Cabin, the Casino Club, the Ketchum Korral, etc. Visit the Hemingway Memorial and picnic alongside Trail Creek (grab provisions from the Sun Valley Deli).

3) Bike to Lunch at the Sun Valley Club

The views are spectacular and the wrap-around terraces overlooking the 18-hole Sawtooth Putting Course (a great place for kids and new golfers to practice) and the Trail Creek Golf Course are perfect for sipping Bloody Marys outside when the weather is nice. And it is a short bike ride (or walk) from the lodge–with the Ernest Hemingway Memorial is just a short pedal along Trail Creek Road.

4) Indulge Her with some Retail Therapy

Designer fashion, gifts & accessories in the Sun Valley Village shopsDon’t miss the village shopping–with 15 unique shops for every need, from specialty hand-dipped chocolates to jewelry, unique toys, gift items and designer fashions at the Brass Ranch (for the largest collection of European and American ski and sportswear, including Arc’teryx, Bogner, Canada Goose, Eider, JetSet, Kjus, Moncler, Ralph Lauren, Rossignol, Toni Sailer and more) or Panache (with big designer names like Nanette Lapore, Brunello Cucinelli, Chan Luu, Elizabeth & James and Diane Von Furstenberg, who makes a personal appearance for their annual fashion show fundraiser every summer).

Looking for the latest cool finds, local shopping deals and steals, check out Sun Valley Magazine’s weekly SWAG blog to make sure you don’t miss a thing.

5) Pamper Her with a Spa Day

Book a bevy of services through the Sun Valley Spa and give mom a day of indulgence. Start with a hike in the morning (there are several within easy walking distance of the lodge) and then give her a head-to-toe makeover with a manicure / pedicure, followed by a facial and a 90-minute Sun Stone "Hot Stone Therapy" massage or herbal body wrap. Heaven!

 

So spoil mom this year in all the ways she deserves and enjoy everything Sun Valley has to offer.

 

DIVAS: Catching up with Danielle Crist Carruth

Danielle Crist Carruth

Mom (of three), Sun Valley SnowSports School Ski Instructor, DIVAS Program Co-Founder

By Laurie Sammis

As part of an ongoing Winter Profile series featuring real mountain divas–who are living and working and loving life in the mountains–we caught up with former Alaskan heli ski guide, wife, mother of three, DIVAS Program co-founder (along with Nicky Biddle Elsbree)  and longtime Sun Valley SnowSports School ski instructor veteran Danielle Crist Carruth on Baldy last week. Here is what she had to say about life in the mountains.

 

Sun Valley SnowSports instructor and DIVAS co-founder Danielle Crist Carruth enjoying her last run of the day

First Run in the A.M.? On a powder day, a quick run down Plaza (Picabo’s Street) before they open the bowls is always in order.

Last Run of the Day? For me, the end of the day is made for poking around in all the little tree stashes that haven’t been found. And there are plenty of them…

Favorite Run on a Sunny Day? Sunny spring skiing is my favorite. Corn snow in the bowls is just tough to beat.

Best Run on Baldy? Any day you are spending a lot of time on the cold springs double chair is a good one in my book, as you really can’t beat the lower bowls when conditions are right.

Favorite Lunch Spot? I love the Club House (as it is affectionately called by locals; but marked on trail maps as Lookout Lodge, at the top of Baldy), and secretly hope they never rebuild it. This is followed closely by Fondue on the deck of Roundhouse on a sunny spring day.

First Memory on Skis? Squaw Valley. Wooden Hart skis. Girls in bikinis.  Picnic lunching in the granite cliffs on a sunny spring day with family friends.

Who First Got You on Skis? Same person who taught my brothers (former Olympians and X-Games competitors Reggie and Zach Crist) and all of our children: My dad Roger Crist, aka Poppa.

When did you learn to ski? I was 2 years old. It was "trial by fire" in my family. If you couldn’t keep up, you were left in the lodge with a coloring book for hours. Sometimes that was preferable!

Favorite Memory on Skis? Hard to pick just one, but my favorite days are the ones when you head up without a plan just because you know the skiing is going to be great and you run into just the right people in just the right places … and you are just part of all that great energy that surrounds an amazing day on Baldy.

Favorite Off-Mountain Activity? Nothing beats hanging out with my family, whether it’s on the mountain, in the living room, or road tripping to Moab or California.

Do you have a skiing or mountain obsession (something you couldn’t live without)? My neck gator. Or my buff in the springtime. I can’t ski without my neck garb. Really.

Why Sun Valley–what do you love about it? I love the people.  There are places with more snow and more gnarly terrain, but there is no place where you can get as much vertical in a day than here. And there is no place with better people to ski it with.

What is Your Passion?  I have to admit I’m pretty passionate about skiing. It sounds simple, but I get a lot of pleasure out of shredding great lines with good friends or helping someone else appreciate this sport as much as I do. I’m incredibly passionate about spending time with my family and friends. There are, of course, lots of ways to do that, but skiing tends to be a pretty good one … and probably my favorite.

What is your job on the mountain? I am a Sun Valley SnowSports School ski instructor. I have been doing this job, and loving it, since college (during Christmas break). So, forever.

What is the Best Part about your job? I love getting people fired up about skiing and the mountain lifestyle.  I think we are incredibly lucky to be able to live here and raise our kids here and play here with such quality people. If just a little of that great energy can rub off on someone else, then that’s not a bad way to make the world a better place.

DIVAS: Sitting Down with Nicky Biddle Elsbree

Nicky Biddle Elsbree

Mom (of two), Sun Valley SnowSports School Ski Instructor, DIVAS Program Co-Founder

By Laurie Sammis

As part of an ongoing Winter Profile series featuring real mountain divas–who are living and working and loving life in the mountains–we caught up with former collegiate ski racer, wife, mother of two, DIVAS Program co-founder (along with Danielle Crist Carruth) and Sun Valley SnowSports School ski instructor extraordinaire Nicky Biddle Elsbree last week. Here is what she had to say about life in the mountains.

Sun Valley SnowSports instructor and DIVAS co-founder Nicky Biddle Elsbree

First Run in the A.M.?  On a Powder Day…Upper River, the road less traveled. On any other day it would be Graduate for a groomer, as it’s so sweetly falls away…

Last Run of the Day? Plaza… Picabo’s Street…whatever you want to call it. It’s a nice little secret–if your legs can handle “one more.”

Favorite Run on a Sunny Day?  Maybe a groomer..and I don’t know exactly why, but there’s something about skiing Squirrel with the sun on your back and your shadow stretching slightly ahead. Also any Bowl on a sunny day.

Best Run on Baldy? Exhibition and Lefty’s are my favs when they are ripe for the taking. They are interesting and challenging: right, left or straight down the middle.

Favorite Lunch Spot?  I’m not big on combining lunch with skiing. I just don’t have time to get bogged down and prefer to just snarf down a snack. Although my body somehow requires a Bowl of Soul for Apres, no matter what the time.

First Memory on Skis?  I have two (hundred). The first real memory was going down a patch of parental packed snow on a hill in our neighborhood. We’d get lugged up (again by the parents) and ski down…or at least try.  The packed snow hill (involving shovels) represented a huge effort on the part of my folks and there are some fun pictures to prove it.

The second is letting the rope tow at Nashoba Valley (MA) whirr through my mitts as I tried to get brave enough to really grab on and go. That thing was fast and furious. And scary. But it had the advantage of making the ski down seem easy.

When did you learn to ski?  I learned when I was 2 years old. The between-the-legs, work-my-parents-back method was our only option. Lucky for them we figured it out pretty fast. Unlucky for us, my big brother and I both broke our legs at 5 and 3 years old (at Stowe and Nashoba the same winter). After that, we figured it out a little better, so it was easier on everybody.

Favorite Memory on Skis?  That’s tough as there are memories galore. Eastern skiing, western skiing, dabbling in Europe, good days and GREAT. My fondest memory of skiing (as recently as two hours ago) remains the FREEING feeling that magically happens while on the slopes. There is nothing on earth that compares.

Favorite Off-Mountain Activity?  Let’s see…with kids, I’d have to say sledding, tubing and hockey. Without kids, I gotta give nordic skiing the nod, even though it doesn’t happen very much. It is great for the dogs and good to clear the head and inhale that mountain air while getting exercise!

Do you have a skiing or mountain obsession (something you couldn’t live without)?  Hats. I pretty much love hats and could not live without them.  I do wear a helmet as it’s the right thing to do, but oh how I love my hats. Oh, and ski apparel too (jackets, pants, outerwear)…but I’ve really gotten a grip on that. Really.

Why Sun Valley–what do you love about it?  I love Stoecklein’s Baldy poster from way back.  It evokes what Sun Valley is to me: magnetic, peaceful, wondrous, alluring, changing, quiet, western. And after one year (tops): HOME. And now, 23 years later, it’s still home.

What is Your Passion?  I’m passionate about coaching. It seems I’ve found my niche in ski coaching and instructing, adults and kids alike. I like to empower people to become better and it lights me up when they do.

What is your job on the mountain? I am in the midst of year seven with the Sun Valley SnowSports School, and count my blessings every day, as I’m a ski instructor and there are a lot of times when it doesn’t feel like a job. It hardly feels like work on an early-up powder morning with clients (most of whom become, or have become, friends) or while skiing, and laughing, with “my” Thursday Smith kids. So guess I am a living example of the philosophy that you should do what you love and it usually works out.

Parting Thoughts… When my parents come out to visit, I always say thank you (for taking the time to teach us how to ski and introducing us to the industry and the mountain and the lifestyle). Thank you.

MOUNTAIN DIVAS: Helmet Safety 101

Form Over Function … or Safety First?

A Guide to fitting and buying helmets.

By Laurie Sammis

If we are really honest with ourselves…we have to admit that for many Mountain Diva’s form comes before function. You know the drill and you’ve seen them on the hill (perhaps even secretly admiring them from afar). It’s the perfectly pulled together Diva with the color-coordinated outfit and somehow matching accessories. The fact that she has the latest in ski technology and can shred the mountain like a pro just adds to the awe factor.

But, when it comes to helmets, every Diva (especially mountain mamas) knows the mantra: SAFETY FIRST.

Why safety first? Well, we need to set a good example for our kids, as well as our sisters and peers. And since we are often the ones purchasing helmets for our kids, it is even more important that we know the essentials–and the DOs and DON’Ts of proper helmet fitting.

The good news is that helmet design has come a long way since the classic Bell downhill ski helmets first hit the slopes. They are now lightweight, aerodynamic and well padded (some even have extra soft ear flap choices). They also come in lots of shapes and sizes (to fit every head shape) and are offered in a dazzling array of colors, designs and finishes (Mountain Divas rejoice…you can still feel like you are choosing form over function, even if it is safety first)!!

To help you make the right choice, hear are a few tips on getting the perfect fit, followed by a quick rundown on some of the more popular helmets you’ll see on the slopes this winter:

Getting The Right Fit

1. Measure Your Head. Ski helmets are generally sized based upon your head circumference (usually measured in centimeters). Even the ones that use a Small, Medium, Large scale are  based on head circumference, so measure your head and compare to the manufacturer’s size chart. Measure one inch above the eyebrows all the way around. Measure kids’ head circumference in the same manner. (Jump to the end of this blog for a conversion chart of centimeters to inches.)

2. Try On Several Brands. Be sure you try BEFORE you buy. Remember that ski and boarder helmets, just like heads, come in lots of different shapes and sizes, and there is one that will be the best fit for your head. The wrong shape will feel too tight (and may even pinch or have “hot spots” in certain areas) or will be too loose at the top or on the sides. Keep trying. Just like Godilocks, there will be one that will fit “just right.”

3. Check the Fit. This is really important for fitting kids helmets. A helmet should fit securely, but not so tight you have pain. “The helmet should feel snug around the crown and shouldn’t move around too much,” says Greg Bearce, supervisor at Pete Lane’s Warm Springs. If it feels like a good fit, try the following test:  gently hold the helmet in place and try to turn your head from side to side, then up and down. The helmet should feel snug and should have very little room for movement (less than an inch), and should not obscure your vision.

4. Bring Your Goggles. Be sure to bring your goggles to make sure they fit your helmet. Otherwise, you may find yourself at the top of the mountain on a powder day without proper visibility, because your goggles are too big or too small to fit your helmet.

Kids on Dollar Ski Cross Course5. Ski Helmets for Children. Whatever you do, don’t buy a helmet that is too big or it will be useless. This is especially important when buying for kids or trying to recycle helmets for younger siblings. Resist the temptation to buy a helmet for a child to “grow into” because the fit will be wrong and the helmet won’t be able do its job of absorbing the impact and preventing concussions.

6. Don’t  Wear a Beanie or Hat Under Your Helmet. “This is one of the biggest fashion misconceptions out there,” says Greg Bearce, supervisor at Pete Lanes Warm Springs. “A beanie is var far the worst thing you can wear under a helmet because it prevents the helmet from doing its job,” adds Bearce, “it just allows for too much movement, doesn’t let the helmet do what it was designed to do and can lead to the compression injuries that cause concussions.” Bearce notes that some of the really thin skull caps can work under helmets because they conform exactly to the head. But when in doubt, just avoid any thicker under layers–having the room to fit a hat or beanie probably means that the helmet is too big and is not a proper fit anyway.

Helmet Style, Accessories & Options

Now onto the more creative part of helmet buying. Once you have the proper fit, you can get down to the details of style, color and accessories. Remember that different age groups have different priorities when choosing helmets–some are attracted to aerodynamics or accessories (wireless audio system ear flaps or full cell phone and in-line components) while others (especially younger kids) are drawn to the more immediate visuals of cool colors, metallic finishes or unique designs. And if you can’t find the perfect combo, you can always consider decals or stickers to add a design of your own.

Smith Intrigue

Smooth, flowing lines and elegant finishing details complement the Intrigue’s low profile Hybrid Shell construction. Combining AirEvac 2 ventilation and a soft, fleeced tricot lining beneath a refined collection of designs, the Intrigueis the ideal helmet for women of discriminating tastes. It also has the option for the Skullcandy Audio System (an added bonus for Divas who like to carry their tunes with them down the mountain). And it comes a wide range of fantastic colors, including Black Pearl, White Pearl, Shadow Green, Antique/Coral, Bronze Fallen, Petal Blue Briston, Shadow Purple Baroque, White Fallen.

 

 

 Smith Voyage

Revolutionary new technology discreetly concealed behind a bevy of stylish accents, the all-new Voyage will take you on a trip you never thought possible. Using revolutionary Hybrid In-Mold technology to minimize mass and maximize ventilation, the Voyage offers up the ultimate in performance without sacrificing one ounce of style. This patented technology weighs in a little less (at 450 grams/16 ounces) than the Smith Intrigue and currently comes in White, Black, Ivory Bristol, Ultramarine Night Out, Frost Gray Stereo or Paris Pink Baroque.

 

 

GIRO Seam

Giro’s Seam is the perfect all mountain helmet. An improved Thermostat vent system, Giro’s Stack Vent, and a feather light weight will keep your temp under control, your goggles clear and your comfort level at an all time high. Finish it off with the best fit system ever made (with an adjustable wheel in the back to help dial in the perfect fit) for a snow helmet and you are ready for a full day on the mountain. Lots of Giro accessories (like stereo ear flaps and other adjustments) and a wide range of colors make this a popular and functional helmet for both kids AND adults. Available in Matte Brown, Matte White, Matte Pewter, Cyan Tiles, Matte Black, Matte Red, Black Towers, Matte Blue Sunset, Matte Grey Stripes.

 

 

POC Skull Comp – Bode or Julia

The ultimate race helmet, upgraded. The Skull Comp is now updated to version 2.0, adding a new unique safety feature. After finding that today’s race skiers repeatedly hit gates hard and risk to deform the liner, we shifted the core material to multi impact EPP. On top of the liner, we use a thin outer shell in combination with our patented Aramid membrane penetration barrier, APB. To optimize the energy absorption properties, pneumatic honeycomb pads made of polyurethane are inserted into the multi impact EPP liner. Great fit, performance and protection over and overagain!

There are two editions of the POC Skull Comp, one designed by Bode Miller and one by Julia Mancuso–both extraordinary athletes at the top of their sport. Bode Miller rides with his POC Skull Comp Pro Model helmet in green and white. There is also a Poc Skull Comp Pro – Julia that is blue and white in honor of pro racer Julia Mancuso. And, as if the extreme protection and functionality weren’t enough, the Julia edition Skull Comp comes with a kit of Swarowski Crystals to make your own Julia style tiara.

A pro race helmet with Wwarowski Crystals…Mountain Divas REJOICE!!

Finally, form plus function.

 

Giro Seam, Mtn Blue Sunset

 

==============================

    Helmet Size Conversion Chart
    Centimeters to Inches
    52 cm = 20- inches
    53 cm = 20-7/8 inches
    54 cm = 21 inches
    55 cm = 21 5/8 inches
    56 cm = 22 inches
    57 cm = 22 3/8 inches
   58 cm = 22 inches
   59 cm = 23 inches
   60 cm = 23 5/8 inches

 ==============================

Divas: What I Learned from Skiing

Jonna Mendes showing off her Olympic form.

A chat with Olympian, National Champion, former US Ski team member, and Sun Valley Ski Academy Director of Recruitment Jonna Mendes.

By Katie Matteson

Two-time Olympian and four-time National Champion, Jonna Mendes knows a thing or two about skiing. Skiing since she was three and a member of the Heavenly Ski Foundation‘s Alpine Team since she was eight-years-old, Jonna worked hard to balance skiing and academics throughout her youth and her career, learning the values of time management, hard work and sacrifice.

Now, as the Recruiting Director for the new Sun Valley Ski Academy  (SVSA), which provides housing, academics and winter sports opportunities in conjunction with the Community School and the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF), she gets to help young athletes achieve their dreams in a balance, supportive atmosphere in a community where skiing is life. Jonna talked with Lift Line about growing up in a ski town and some of the positive things happening in the Sun Valley ski community.

 "Time management. That was singly the most important thing I learned from skiing," she says. "Balancing elite-level skiing, maintaining good grades and traveling, it is hard not to see how important ski racing can be to kids. Beyond that it was about confidence and travel. All have been things that carried straight through to college and into my professional life."

"My parents wanted me out of their hair," Jonna jokes about her introduction to skiing. "Learning to ski, like so many other kids raised in a ski town, is a form of daycare. I first learned to ski when I was three and as soon as I could, at the age of eight, I joined the Development Team of the Heavenly Ski Foundation. Now, my 17-month-old already walks around the house with his skis on. There are so many life skills to be learned on the mountain, so I do really hope he skis competitively."

 "It’s amazing it didn’t happen sooner," she says of the new ski academy. "So many incredible skiers have come out of and through Sun Valley, it’s amazing there wasn’t already a ski academy. Now that the buzz is just beginning, I can only imagine the places the SVSA will go. Sun Valley has the skiing and the community. The SVSEF has the world class athletics and the Community School has the stellar academics."

"The Cross-Country and the Alpine programs here are so strong.," Jonna  syas. "Everything from the training to the competition opportunities, it is amazing."

"The other day I watched the freestyle kids stay in the park for 4 and half hours straight. The coaches had to make them take a break. The freestyle program is becoming a bigger and bigger reason that kids want to come here," she says. "The new facilities that SVCo has created are a big draw for snowboarders and freestyle skiers.

"The biggest benefit of the SVSA is that there are NO COMPROMISES," Jonna proudly states. "If they came to the SVSA, young athletes wouldn’t have to sacrifice one thing to make another work. Instead, it is just about if you will apply yourself academically and in your training, you’ll succeed. There is no rushing through the school week, getting in a car, driving to the mountain, rushing back. It is all at their fingertips. And they have the support that the need to take advantage of everything the SVSA, the SVSEF, the Community School and the town has to offer."

I may have been on the US Ski Team, competed on the World Cup and raced in the Olympics but before that I was just like the SVSEF kids, a rug rat on the mountain giggling and laughing," Jonna recalls. "All of my achievements have been because of people who supported me, the coaches, the scholarships I received, the teachers…It is important to understand what a difference it made in my life and what a difference it can make in the life of all the athletes at the SVSA."

MOUNTAIN DIVAS: Pamper Yourself 101

 

Pampering for Moms on and off the Mountain

Taking a "time out" for yourself is essential for Mountain Divas!

10 quick fixes to help you relax and recharge

By Laurie Sammis

Let’s face it, if you are a Mountain Diva, you are a busy girl! It’s a festive time of year and the Holidays only raise the bar, thus lowering the amount of R&R for yourself.

And it doesn’t matter what keeps you busy: whether it’s the constant social circuit (a glass of champagne here…a bikini martini or a hot toddy there) or the steady schedule of family fun and kids activities that you are working to coordinate during this busy time (ice skating, ski lessons, tubing at Dollar). But if you feel like an air traffic controller that has just landed 18 jumbo jets on conflicting flight patterns (at night and in a snow storm), it’s time for a course in pampering yourself 101.

Read on, darling diva, as the following 10 quick fixes are geared towards helping you find your inner goddess once again.

 

 

 

1. Pamper Your Body

Every diva knows that the quickest way to complete bliss is through a relaxing and rejuvenating body treatment. Lucky for us, the Sun Valley Salon and Day Spa offers a wide array of options: everything from acupuncture and herbal body wraps to "hot stone therapy" and traditional massage. Just remember that there are hundreds of different techniques, so be sure to be specific on your needs (and aches or injuries) so that your treatment can be tailored to your specific needs–whether it’s a more relaxing in-room massage treatment (you don’t even have to get up and look presentable) or an invigorating sports massage or shiatsu treatment to help those quads recover from multiple days on Baldy. Can’t decide, call 208.622.2160 to get a recommendation on the perfect spa package (they can build in facials or salon services as well) or view the full brochure of spa services here.

2. Drench Your Skin

No time for a full massage or spa package, book a Petite Facial and enjoy 30 minutes of quiet time that includes a thorough cleanse and exfoliation, along with a moisturizing mask to rehydrate and refresh the complexion. You’ll look as good as new in no time! Of course, feel free to splurge with the Spa Prestige Ogenage Facial (for 80 minutes of heaven and a totally renewed, revitalized, and dare we say reconstructed complexion that works days after the facial). You can also enhance any of the standard facials–like the Aqualift Anti-Wrinkle Facial or Ultra Moisturizing Facial or the Classic–with a marine eye-lift or specialty concentrate treatment. Call 208.622.2160 to book your facial.

 

Poolside cocktail service at the Lodge pool

3. A Soak in the Lodge Pool

What could possibly be better than a following up your massage or facial (or full spa package) with a relaxing soak in the Sun Valley Lodge pool …? We can answer with complete confidence: Nothing can compete. There is simply no better way to finish off your massage than with a glass of champagne or a bartender’s margarita delivered poolside while you lounge in an outdoor pool that is heated to a soothing 100-102° (make sure you drink your water first so that all that pampering from your massage doesn’t go to waste). Come to think of it, this is the perfect way to end any aprs ski day, no matter where you have been (on the slopes of Baldy, exploring the backcountry with Sun Valley Heli Ski or wandering the Nordic trail system).

The bench seat extends around the entire perimeter and watching your drinks arrive via poolside cocktail service through the steam is a rare luxury. And don’t forget the Inn Pool, which offers breathtaking views of Baldy.

4. Pamper Your Toes

Short on time, book a manicure / pedicure and treat your hands and feet. The Sun Valley Salon and Day Spa even offers a reflexology add-on (30 minutes) to help add to the experience. Looking for a little extra sparkle, zip down to Chic Nail Boutique in Hailey for the Glitter Toes, a treatment that melds real glitter to any color for that added holiday glam.

5. Indulge in Sunday Brunch

Plan a decadent Sunday brunch at the elegant Lodge Dining Room on the second floor of the Sun Valley Lodge and indulge in what many consider to be the Northwest’s finest Sunday Brunch. A lavish display of breakfast specialties including omelet and crepe stations, seafood, an array of gourmet salads and a symphony of desserts await, along with the accompaniment of pianist Leana Leach. Open every Sunday for Brunch from 10 am to 2 pm. Sorry, no reservations for the Sunday Brunch.

6. Lunch at Your Leisure

Lunch at the Roundhouse

Enjoy a leisurely lunch at the Sun Valley Club, surrounded by huge glass walls overlooking the Nordic trails meandering along Trail Creek Golf Course. The sliders are to-die for and the lunch menu has something for everybody. Looking for something a little more quaint, then don’t miss a European breakfast or indulgent lunch at Cristina’s Restaurant (of Cristina’s Cookbook series fame). This quaint little cottage in Ketchum beckons with old-world charm and offers a menu of delicious treats that changes daily.

And for that WOW factor, a gondola ride up the mountain for a full table lunch service  at the Roundhouse can not be beat–just don’t miss drinks or fondue at Averell’s before you sit down (and enjoy the incredible views of town and the surrounding Pioneer Mountains)! Plan ahead (and get there early) as parties are seated on a first-come, first served basis; although large parties of 8 or more may make reservations by calling 208.622.2800.

 

7. A Little Retail Therapy

Grab coffee at the Konditorei Coffee (don’t worry, nobody can spell it correctly, but it’s pronounced khan-di-tor-i) and then head out to the Sun Valley Village shops for some retail therapy.

More than 15 shops beckon in the Sun Valley Village

Over 15 unique shops offer everything from technical sportswear and footwear to the latest in designer styles, fine gifts, jewelry and home dcor. Designer lines include the latest from TSE, Juicy, Diane von Furstenberge, Velvet, Juicy, Kjus, Bogner, Toni Sailer, Ralph Lauren, Moncler, Arc’teryx, Lole, Nils, Patagonia, Burton and more. There is even a toy store for unique toys and gifts and Silver Creek Outfitters….so you can get something for everybody on your list.

For a more cultural experience, visit one of the amazing art galleries in town (the Sun Valley Gallery Association sponsors monthly gallery walk nights), featuring nationally and internationally recognized artists showing as part of a sophisticated and thriving arts scene–there is even the U.S. premiere of the Papunya Tula aboriginal artists from Australia this February at Harvey Art Projects in Ketchum.

8. Escape into the Solitude of Nature

Nordic and snowshoe trails offer beauty and solitude

Want to just get away from it all and enjoy the peace and quiet of a high alpine landscape beneath a blanket of freshly fallen snow? Head north out Trail Creek to the Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center, which is located in the glass-walled and river rock Sun Valley Club, nestled along the sprawling Trail Creek Golf Course. With over 40 km of trails groomed daily for skate and classic skiing, the trail system offers gently sloping terrain with challenging hills that offer incredible vistas without leaving you gasping for air. For a round up of other local snowshoe trails, from easy to insane, check out Sun Valley Magazine’s "Walking in a Winter Wonderland." Cap your afternoon adventure off with a hot toddy in the Sun Valley Club.

 

9. Dinner and a Movie

Treat yourself to a movie at the historic Opera House. Built in 1937 and located in the heart of Sun Valley Village, the Opera House is a charming 340-seat theatre that features the newest releases, along with regular showings of the classic "Sun Valley Serenade" (every afternoon at 4:30 and admittance is always free). Sun Valley restaurant guests can also enjoy a FREE movie after dining at the following Sun Valley restaurants: Bald Mountain Pizza, Trail Creek Cabin, The Ram and Gretchen’s. Movie passes will be available to each diner for a movie on the same evening. Please ask your server for more information. Ketchum’s Magic Lantern Cinema also offers current films nightly and matinees most days.

Comedy and live music are all part of the winter calendar

10.  Ladies Night Out

Looking for a little more excitement. Start with some aprs ski fun by checking out Sun Valley’s Calendar of Events to see who is playing at the base lodges–both River Run and Warm Springs. There is often entertainment in the Sun Valley Village as well, with details on times and performers online–the Duchin Lounge has the best live jazz in town and the Boiler Room offers a comedy series and special appearances, along with the farewell season of Forever Plaid this year! There is also live music most nights somewhere in town and Whiskey Jacques has a full calendar with a great lineup and most shows with only a $5 to $12 cover.

 

Just remember that if you stay out too late…you may have to begin at the top of the list with #1 and start all over again.

MOUNTAIN DIVAS: Epic Moms and Girls Who Kick Butt

Get inspired, get involved or just get away–this is your chance to shine!

By Laurie Sammis

Utter the word DIVA and it immediately creates an image of a glamorous and admired woman, one at the top of her game. An image of a woman who is a personality, a tour de force, and a woman who has earned the right (or simply demanded it) to be completely, totally and royally spoiled in every way.

Tracing its origins, quite literally, to the Latin word for divine. diva (or divas, plural) lists as its synonyms goddess, princess and queen. And never mind that our dear friend Mirriam Webster also lists "prima donna" as both 1 and 2 in the same definition, all of us ladies know that we all have a little bit of the diva in us. This blog–DIVAS–is dedicated to finding the inner goddess in each of us (or at least what is left of the superwoman we all want to be in our daily lives).

DIVAS features epic moms and girls who kick butt, both on and off the slopes. Get inspired, get involved or just get away–this is your chance to shine.

And what better way to launch our blog, but with a story about a group of ripping alpine women skiers–named, appropriately, the DIVAS.

DIVAS stands for "Die Incredible Vimin Alpine Shredders" (best uttered, according to SunValley Snowsports Instructor and DIVAS founder Danielle Carruth, with a heavy Austrian accent). "The idea for the program has been in the works for about five years, but the timing was finally right and we are thrilled with the incredible turnout," says Carruth.

Modeled loosely on the success of VAMPS (their boot camp is legendary), which is Muffy Ritz’s Nordic program taught by women for women (and with a nod to the spirit of VAMPS through the name as well), DIVAS is a women’s ski group taught by a core team of all-women coaches from the Sun Valley Snowsports School who focus on improving technical skills over varied terrain.

You don’t have to be an expert: The only requirement is that you can comfortably ski any run on Baldy, from top to bottom. DIVAS meets one-day per week for 2.5 hours on Baldy, although many DIVAS continue to ski together after class.

"We focus on a new theme every week, with very targeted instruction to help improve skills," says DIVAS coach and co-founder Nicky Elsbree, who asserts that breaking into small groups of 5 or 6 skiers ensures that the instruction is personalized to each woman’s individual needs and learning style.

One week the theme may be balance, with instruction on hip position, proper upper body stance and weight transfer. Another week the DIVAS may run gates, focusing on the finish of the turn and angulation, as opposed to taking on a bump run in the bowls, which is more about the top of the turn, initiation and transfer of weight.

"We try to make all our learning fun," says Carruth. "We ran the skiercross on Dollar one day and everybody had a blast, and I don’t think anybody even realized that they were working on things like how to ride a flat ski or how to absorb the terrain," she says, "they might not know they are working on skills that will apply later in the bumps, but they’re doing it and having fun at the same time."

"Building confidence is important," adds Elsbree. "Essentially, we are teaching them how to make subtle changes in their skiing, depending upon the terrain that they are about to enter." The goal is to ensure that no matter what conditions they encounter–whether entering steeps or harder snow or bumps–DIVAS will have the eye and the technique to handle whatever is below them.

"That is what makes skiing so fun," says Elsbree, "It is never the same, so it is always challenging."

>> To sign up for DIVAS next season (or get on the waitlist for this winter season) contact Sun Valley SnowSports at (208) 622-2289 or email snowsports@sunvalley.com for more information on women’s specialty clinics and instruction.