Lift Line: Janss Pro-Am Events on Warm Springs

Costumes and GS Races draw professional skiers to the slopes of Baldy

By Laurie Sammis

The 2011 "Cougars" team pose with their fellas for a team photo, including: Karen Holzman, Jane Renolds, Bedford Nabors, Kim Taylor, Samantha Busby and Langley McNeal.

It may look like it … but it’s not all fun and games, parties, costumes and hilarity at the Stifel Nicolaus Weisel Janss Pro-Am events and giant slalom races on Baldy’s Lower Warm Springs this Friday and Saturday. In fact, the Janss Pro-Am is one of the most important fundraisers for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF), a valley organization which provides year-round ski and snowboard training and competition opportunities for athletes from the Wood River Valley and beyond.

And they do a good job of it too! Over the past 45 years, the SVSEF has helped launch many athletes onto the world stage. Past alumni include Christin Cooper, Picabo Street, Reggie and Zach Crist, Lynsey Dyer, Morgan Arritola, Jake Adicoff, Tanner Farrow, Kaitlyn Farrington and Langely McNeal, among many others.

And the program keeps growing with the likes of current SVSEF Snowboarder Chase Josey, who recently claimed the top American male spot in the halfpipe at the World Junior Championships in Spain, or SVSEF Gold Team member Shane Cordeau who took Bronze with a podium finish at the U.S. National Freestyle Championships at Stratton Mountain, Vermont, or Tai Barrymore was recently named to the U.S. Freestyle Pro Halfpipe Team.

And while the development, grooming, nurturing and elevation of all that raw talent is certainly the focus of the SVSEF, some of the serious business of those achievements will be temporarily put on the back burner by each of the thirty-two teams of six (which include one pro racer from the ranks of Olympic, World Cup and Pro Tour athletes, and one junior pro SVSEF athlete, combined with four "citizen" skiers/riders of all ski levels) for the next two days in favor of everybody having a good time and letting their how down in celebration of skiing and riding.

Each team dresses in costume in honor of the race theme and in the spirit of the event’s namesake–former owner of Sun Valley Resort, Olympian, SVSEF supporter, and ski and costume party enthusiast: Bill Janss.

The costumes are always creative, entertaining, and wide open to interpretation of the "Vintage" theme, with many details being acquired only after serious consultation with the staff of the Ketchum Sun Valley Ski & Heritage Museum to ensure authenticity. The race format is a dual slalom that is entertaining for both racers and spectators (for a sneak peek, check out the photo gallery from last year)–and you may even see a few wine bottles racing down the slopes, right alongside a team of Austrian ski instructors or 80′s one pieces.

It makes for great spectating!! So look out for the costumed racers of the Janss Pro-Am this Friday and Saturday–you’re likely to see somebody you know.


Handicap races start today (Friday, April 6, 2012) in full costume at 10:30 AM and continue throughout the afternoon on Lower Warm Springs.

Saturday (April 7, 2012) races begin at 10:30 AM, then break for lunch and are followed by the Race Finals–the four top teams competing in a round robin format to determine the winner–after lunch.

Sun Valley Resort’s Limelight Room also hosts the Awards Celebration Dinner and Vintage Party on Saturday night, April 7, 2012.


All the money raised by the Stifel Nicolaus Weisel Janss Pro Am goes to help support the 500 youth skiers and snowboarders on the SVSEF’s teams. For more information on the Pro Am or the SVSEF, visit


Lift Line: My Favorite Run

Take me home, Warm Springs!

by Alec Barfield

My favorite run on Baldy is Warm Springs, top to bottom. Okay, so I live at the base. Bias established. But how can I deny Warm Springs the title? What’s not to like about being able to walk home after a day on the hill? No cars, no bus, no fuss. I love Warm Springs because the run, in its proximity to where I live, is a reminder of why I moved here. Live in the mountain’s shadow, watch the snowcats at night, ski it in the morning and go home.

That’s not to say Warm Springs gets my vote simply because it drains homeward. No, Warm Springs is still a solid 3,000 foot descent with some of Sun Valley’s best snow. North-facing, that’s just how it goes.

Technically, I’m speaking about Warm Springs the run. Warm Springs can also, however, be a connector, a faithful linker to the gems tightly sandwiched beneath the lowest ridge: Greyhawk, Hemingway and Cozy. So cozy. Often stitched with race gates, that trio undoubtedly sees the mountain’s fastest skiers.

Warm Springs base photo by Katie Matteson.

“Take it over to Hemingway,” patrol told me long ago, trying to get my friends and I off of College.

Well, I did.

… But not all the way. I ski Hemingway fast, but I ski Warm Springs the fastest. Even if it’s not as steep, Warm Springs is open and normally uncrowded. Let ‘em run, I say. The base is watching. Seriously, they are. The lodge’s long windows give a fantastic view of Lower Warm Springs, which becomes a show in and of itself, with skiers fast and slow meandering toward the bridge.

My second favorite run on Baldy? The trees off Fire Trail — and for entirely different reasons: Woods, silence, powder. Yet my answers are just that, my own. Anyone who spends time on Baldy, depending on their priorities, will tell you that this or that is best. They’re right because we’re all right. At Sun Valley there’s hardly anywhere to go wrong and you may as well ski the groomers, the bowls and the trees with the same lofty expectations.

Lift Line: Spring Skiing Tips

A warm spring day on Warm Springs.

By Katie Matteson

Spring has sprung and conditions, weather, outfits and the mountain are all vastly different than they were in December. So to help you make the most out of the last couple weeks of the season, here are some Spring Skiing Tips from local experts.

As Executive Director of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Don Wiseman has seen his fair share of ski conditions but as a former Sun Valley ski instructor, founder of Sun Summit Ski and Cycle, and Sun Valley local for over 25 years, he has a wealth of knowledge about skis, snow, gear and good ol’ Bald Mountain.

1.) Be prepared for all conditions. Conditions can vary greatly during the spring. It could be icy and hard at the top, and creamy at the bottom of the mountain.

2.) The type of ski that is ideal for spring skiing depends on where and even when you are skiing. If you are headed to the Bowls or Plaza or down into the Ridge South Slopes, a good, fatter, all-mountain ski will work. But if you are staying on-piste, on the groomers, a sharp, fast pair of GS skis will work too.

Meredith Richardson, a Sun Valley snowboard instructor, wicked videographer who makes edits like this, has a few tips for the boarders.

1.) Wax on, wax on. Always have your board waxed unless you plan on hiking down the mountain, slush is not your friend.

The fun of onesies.

2.) During spring ugly is beautiful. This time of year it is crucial to find and wear the most ugly "onesie" imaginable. It is like a rite of passage on the mountain, honoring the trends that came before us.

Drew Daly is a five-year member of the Sun Valley Ski Patrol and perennial guide for Sawtooth Mountain Guides. He might have crashed a snowmobile during his first season on the Patrol, but this Vail native is nothing short of a mountaineering and skiing expert. Here are his tips for  April skiing in Idaho .

1.) Timing is everything. You can have some of the best skiing of the year in the spring, but if you don’t time it right it could be some of the worst. Check the weather forecast and wait for it to heat up a bit. But don’t wait too long or the isothermic snow could swallow you like quicksand.

2.) Be prepared for anything. You never know what you might encounter during a day of spring skiing. Pack your stylish fanny pack with an extra layer for those freak snowstorms. Throw in water and sunscreen for the classic Sun Valley “powder day.”

To read even more local experts’ spring skiing tips and wardrobe suggestions (hint: they all seem obsessed with "Onesies"), check out this story.

Lift Line: This Weekend’s Can’t Miss Events

Forever Plaid is hanging up its bowties.

By Katie Matteson

 Forever Plaid is closing the curtain!

Don’t miss the FINAL show of Forever Plaid!  This finger snapping, toe tapping, fun for the whole family musical comedy is playing for a final time. Don’t miss your last chance to see one of Sun Valley‘s classic acts.

When: Friday, March 30th, 7:30 PM.Where: The Boiler Room, Sun Valley Village.Info: Their final show is $10, and tickets are available at the door.

 The Roundhouse season is ending!: Your last chance for fondue this winter!

The ski season isn’t over for another couple weeks but the last weekend for fondue, beer and the best view around is this weekend! The last night for dinner at the Roundhouse is Saturday, March 31st and the last day for Roundhouse lunch is Sunday, April 1st.

When: This weekend!Where: The Roundhouse, Bald Mountain.Info:  Call 208-622-4111 for reservations or visit


A Wood River Bicycle Coalition Fundraiser with 5B CrossFit and the Ketchum Fire Department!

Get your row on and join us for the Ketchum Row Down, a fundraiser for the Wood River Bicycle Coalition! The Wood River Bicycle Coalition, Ketchum Professional Fire Fighters and Ketchum Volunteer Fire Fighters are hosting this exciting event.  This is event is sponsored by 5BCrossFit of Sun Valley and Hailey. There will be five different rowing events, including a 500-meter fun row for the kids! After the rowing heats, some competitors will compete in a CrossFit mystery Workout of the Day (WOD) and the athlete with the fastest combined time and the fastest row of their heat wins!

The Wood River Bicycle Coalition has set a fundraising goal of  $2,000.  The funds will start the process of extending the trail from the end of Corral Creek Trail to the trailhead of the Pioneer Cabin Trail.  This addition is long overdue and promises to be a Valley Favorite when complete.

When: Saturday, March 31st. 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.Where: Ketchum Town Square.Info: More info can be found at


For more fun stuff happening in and around Sun Valley this week, check out The Cheat Sheet.

Lift Line: Sun Valley’s Sol Fest 2012

By Alec Barfield

I’ve come to the realization that this town has a knack for names that stick. Off the top of my head, here’s a few good ones:

"Marley in Mountains”— pure Rasta brilliance.

"Irving’s Red Hots" — Chicago meets Idaho.

"Whiskey Jacques" — the one and only.

"The Pio"— short and sweet.

"Sun Valley Summer Symphony"— sophistication with a ring.

And that’s just a small sampling of the catchiness. Maybe there’s something in the water. Maybe we’re all sun-drunk. Whatever it is, when it comes to names, locals like quirky and unique. We’re about firsts around here…

Which is why this weekend’s extravaganza is already off to a great start. Say it with me: "Sol Fest." Even my Japanese grandma could tell you that "sol" means "sun" in Spanish. And considering that "sol" is also a homophone of "soul," I’d say that "Sol Fest" is a genius name for what’s happening over the next three days.

Parties. Live music. Skiing down Main Street. More Parties. Lots more music. Plus oodles of Family Fun at Dollar Mountain. What I’ve also realized is that Sun Valley doesn’t mix a great names with mediocrity. When I said "parties," I meant four showdowns at three of Ketchum’s finest establishments: Grumpy’s and Whiskey’s on Friday, Apple’s on Saturday afternoon and Whiskey’s again that evening. And when I said "live music," I meant that there will be seasoned artists, musicians who didn’t just get famous on YouTube, playing at each shindig besides Apple’s (because they’ll be hosting the 4th annual Baldy Poker Run).

Blitzen Trapper

As cool as the Bermuda Cowboys (Friday@Grumpy’s) and Fox Street All Stars (Friday@Whiskey’s) should be, the main event is definitely the Blitzen Trapper show on Saturday. To be clear Saturday, the whole day, is actually the main event. If you’re trying to make a day of it (and I hope you do), then the Saturday’s festivities will begin at Apple’s around nine for the Poker Run. From there, it’s onto the Main Street Party, where Blitzen Trapper will headline a FREE multi-act concerto in Ketchum. Things just keep getting better: afterward there’s going to be a talented crew of long-shirted jibbers sliding across rails at the 511 building. Local favorite, Old Death Whisper, will round out the evening with a 10 o’clock show at Whiskey’s. Not a bad Saturday, eh?

For folks looking for Family-oriented Fun, there will be a Slide, Glide, Ride Relay at Dollar Mountain on Sunday. But don’t worry, the Main Street Party and subsequent Rail Jam will definitely be a good time for little ones. I should mention, however, that Sol Fest is going to be a young crowd. In the company’s own words "Sun Valley Resort is rolling out the red carpet for college students." Yup, everyone’s favorite demographic is getting some love from the nation’s oldest ski resort. Specifically, college students with a valid student I.D. will get 50% off lift tickets and "aggressive" lodging specials. Sounds gnarly.

So if you like wintry festivals with tons of good music and possibly gelande quaffing, don’t get stuck inside this weekend.

It’s time for Sol Fest, everybody. Come join the pun, err, fun!

Schedule of Events:

Friday March 23

      5:00 pm SolFest kick-off party at Grumpy’s Bar and Grill with musical request specialists Bermuda Cowboys

      10:00 pm Southern rockers, Fox Street All Stars, play Whiskey Jacques

Saturday March 24

      9:00 am – 2:00 pm Baldy Poker Run, register at Apple’s Bar and Grill

      5:00 pm Main Street Party. Blitzen Trapper headlines multi-act, free concert

      8:00 pm 511 Rail Jam at 511 Building, downtown Ketchum

      10:00 pm Local troubadours, Old Death Whisper, play Whiskey Jacques

Sunday March 25

      11:00 am Slide, Glide, Ride Relay at Dollar Mountain, a fun event for families and friends of all ages and sizes.


Lift Line: Surviving Sun Valley on College Break

By Steve Reighley

 Are you on college break enjoying Baldy’s steep runs but struggling with Ketchum and Sun Valley’s steep prices?  There are plenty of ways save your wallet this winter ‘s break and still have a great time.  Whether it’s with skiing, dining, or simply getting around town, keep an eye out for new deals and ways to save.


For skiers, don’t forget to inquire about the College Six Pack, which allows you to ski any six days throughout the winter for the price of just $259.  Saving $43 a day, or the College Triple Play pass for just $139. Now these are tough to beat no matter where you are.

Getting Around

Save some gas money and utilize Mountain Rides.  Sun Valley’s free public transportation system is a great option for getting around town and to and from the ski areas (Baldy and the terrain park on Dollar) without having to spend a dime.  No matter where you’re staying there should be an easily accessible bus stop for one of the many free bus routes.  Hop on board and save time, money and the environment.

Eating Out

If you find yourself dumbfounded by the food and drink prices in ski towns these days, at least one wallet saving option awaits right across the street from Warm Springs Lodge.  No, it’s not a Ramen Noodle outlet store, it’s  Irving’s Red Hots. You can grab a tasty, affordable hot dog and be back on the slopes in no time.  Saving a little extra money for some aprs beers on the sun drenched deck at Warm Springs or for some of Sun Valley’s wonderful nightlife. If you’re looking for a cold beer and some grub after a long day of skiing, check out the happy hour specials at some of Sun Valley’s best restaurants (This article highlighting the Valley’s best Aprs Skiing options).

So if you’re on college break and trying to save a buck, be mindful of options like these and don’t let the high prices keep you from having a good time.

Lift Line: Meet a Lift Supervisor

Dollar Mountain Lift Supervisor Julian Tyo.

Dollar Mountain’s Julian Tyo

By Katie Matteson

Julian Tyo loves his job. He gets to hang out on Dollar with park rats and ski-teamers in the winter and move dirt around and ride bikes in the summer. As the Dollar Lift Supervisor for the past two years and a member of the talented Trail Crew in the summer, Julian has been an integral part of some of the "reinvention" of the Original Ski Town. He has seen the terrain parks and half-pipe move to Dollar, creating a mountain filled with thrills for kids and skiers of all ages. He has seen (and helped create) one of the most epic mountain bike courses ever at the National Mountain Bike Championships, held here in Sun Valley last summer. He is an avid telemark skier, one of the Co-Directors of Sun Valley Tele (the longest running tele series in the country), a member of the newly formed Marketing Alliance’s Event Committee and a guy that loves where he lives, works and plays.

 First Run in the A.M.?

Upper College to Flying Squirrel to Warm Springs. Because it fits like an old glove.

Last Run of the Day?

I try not to call such things.

 Best Run on Baldy?

It’s a tie between Limelight and Greyhawk.

 Favorite Lunch Spot?

Kobe Sliders at the Sun Valley Clubhouse.

 First Memory on Skis?

Classic Nordic skis at Mt. Hood with my parents. In my memory, the day went something like this: Dad throwing me in the snow, dad and his friends getting "lost," mom and dad arguing about getting "lost" and burgers at a funky diner in Sandy. I’m fairly certain I had a vanilla milkshake.

 Who First Got You on Downhill Skis?

My five-day foray into snowboarding not withstanding, my fianc first got me on downhill skis at the age of 20 on Mt. Ashland in southern Oregon. Having taken her on a downhill trail for her first time mountain biking, her idea of a good first ski day for me involved one run down the bunny hill followed by a bump run. To this day, she still hates mountain biking and I still hate bumps. My second day skiing was five years ago when she took me to the top of Baldy–tough love!

Favorite Memory on Skis?

Skiing Limelight and Rock Garden on Baldy, Christmas Day 2008, right after the two-foot storm.

 Favorite Off-Mountain Activity?

Summertime putt-putt at the SV Clubhouse.

 Do you have a skiing/boarding obsession (something you couldn’t live without)?

My one piece.

 Why Sun Valley–what do you love about it?

Sun Valley is where I rediscovered myself, fell in love again and where I want to be for the rest of my life. The mountain biking isn’t bad either.

What is Your Passion?

Helping groups succeed and moving dirt. Or is it helping groups succeed at moving dirt? Both for that matter.

What’s your job on the mountain?

This is my second season as the Dollar Mountain Lift Supervisor in the winter, and in the summer I work for the Trail Crew on Bald Mountain.

 How did you get it?

I worked at Pete Lane’s  for three great seasons in the bike shop and the River Run Ski Shop, but ultimately wanted to work outside with the Mountain Department. A friend told me about the position on Dollar and I got hired after a long interview process, starting with the Trail Crew later that year.

 What’s the Best Part about your job?

In the winter I love being a part of the dynamic energy at Dollar–the kids, the terrain parks, the beginner skiers, the adaptive programs, the race teams and the tubing hill. In the summer I love being out on the mountain doing honest work and am honored to have a role in developing lift-accessed mountain biking on Bald Mountain.

Lift Line: Sun Valley Film Fest

By Blog Sun Valley staff

There has been a long and romantic relationship between the Film Industry and Sun Valley. It began when America’s original ski resort first opened on December 21, 1936, with a gala featuring some of the biggest star of the big screen of the day, like Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert.

And it continues this weekend as the Sun Valley Film Festival debuts by welcoming some of the most creative and innovative modern-day filmmakers to share their work for four star-studded days.

The festival features over 60 films with genres including Dramatic Features, Documentaries, Children’s Programming, Short Films, Television Series, Web Series and Idaho based films, including everything from low budget Indie films (like Travis Swartz’s "Nobody Cares," staring Boise actors Chris Thometz and Joe Golden) to big budget Hollywood flicks like “Friends with Kids,” starring the likes of Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm.

And the festival is already garnering national buzz for it’s unique judging categories like the "One in a Million" prize for films made for less than $1 million, and for films like Ryan O’Nan’s "The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best," Buhl’s own Jaffe Zinn’s "Magic Valley," starring Scott Glenn, and the 2012 Oscar-winning short "The Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore."

Films are being shown at The Sun Valley Opera House and The Magic Lantern Theater from Thursday night, March 15th, through Sunday afternoon, March 18th. Check here for the full schedule and ticket prices and package options.

Lift Line: Baldy Challenge

Taking on the Baldy Challenge.

Top to Bottom in One Month

by Alec Barfield

Every mountain has its secrets. The backsides and their stashes, the lonely two-seaters, the wayward tree lines and everything in between. Local pride comes in knowing where to find the good snow and how to avoid the crowds, both of which require a semi-polished understanding of all of the above.

For some, this February’s first ever Baldy Challenge, a PK’s Ski & Sports sponsored contest to ski the entire mountain, began as a test of that knowledge. I can assure you more than a few people thought, "Ski for a month and I’m entered to win my choice of K2 skis? Done. Let’s go to Averell’s or Apple’s and celebrate."

And if you’ve grew up chasing gates on Cozy and Hemingway, and optimistically dropped $25 to enter the contest, the first few days were likely straightforward. Seattle Ridge and the Bowls: check. Warm Springs: double check. But then you may have encountered those unnamed cat tracks, such as Kenny’s, and realized that the real "challenge" was shredding the hidden, the snowless and the hardly skiable on Baldy, upon which you may have begun to question your resolve. Since in reality, this competition has been more about commitment than anything else. Crustiness will beat cockiness, as it should.

No advantages have gone to the fastest skiers; everybody had before this year’s grand ol’ Leap Day to date and initial the list’s 93 boxes. No advantages have gone to the best skiers; an hour struggling down Inhibition looks the same on paper as getting to Cold Springs in five minutes. Even that local knowledge, as valuable as it is, only made the slightest difference. Need directions finding Stylehung? Call the "Baldy Challenge Hot Line" (PK’s land-line) and stay in the game. The playing field was leveled at the start, Hot Doggers!

Baldy is full of a lot more runs than most people realize.

What’s great about the Baldy Challenge is that the grand prize, to be awarded between 6-8pm at Whiskey’s on March 1st, is wide open. The participants I’ve talked to couldn’t have less in common–other than they mildly enjoy winter. And their approaches have varied, ranging from the slow and steady to two-day marathoners (because skiing all of Baldy is one day is plain ludicrous). Some have carried the checklist to the lifts. Others are making mental notes. Being that this is the competition’s maiden season, there are no proven strategies.

My hope is that the heaps of glory, the rounds of high fives and the piles of smooches (the true prizes!) go to a tortoise, one of the many who put his or her money down and yet had no pretensions of victory, because ultimately the proceeds of PK’s Baldy Challenge go to the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation. A new pair of K2s is killer, but there’s nothing better than supporting the next generation, who are the future keepers of Baldy and this challenge.


Lift Line: The National Brotherhood of Skiing Returns to Sun Valley

The annual "Black Ski Mini-Summit" comes to America’s Original Ski Town

 Over the past 75 years, Sun Valley has played host to countless groups, companies, conferences, summits and special events throughout its storied history. It’s been the locale for family reunions for the likes of the Kennedys and the Hemingways. Allen and Company and their list of some of the world’s most powerful and influential people meet here every summer. Countless weddings, press outlets like Powder Magazine and Transworld Business, film production companies, Wounded Warriors participants, the Special Olympics, international Nordic Olympic teams, alpine ski teams from across the country, world class musicians from Itzhak Perlman to Michael Franti, comedians like Bill Cosby and speakers like the Dalai Lama, artists, crafts festivals and so many more have all enjoyed Sun Valley as playground and backdrop for meetings of the mind.

And this week another distinguished group is joining us for some turns on Baldy. As Sun Valley is pleased to once again host the National Brotherhood of Skiing (NBS) for the first time in over a decade! This biennial event, held in Sun Valley from February 25th to March 3rd, brings an estimated 1,000 members to our beloved ski town and will infuse the local economy by spending more than $500,000!

"We are excited to return to Sun Valley after 14 years. Our members have fond memories of the resort’s beautiful scenic surroundings and wide range of ski terrain.  We are excited to see what Sun Valley has to offer," said Haymon Jahi, NBS President.

The National Brotherhood of Skiing is making its mark on Sun Valley.

Now in celebrating its 39th anniversary, the National Brotherhood of Skiing is continuing its mission to: Identify, develop and support athletes of color who will WIN Olympic and international winter sports competitions representing the United States and to increase participation in winter sports. Fitting with the mission, the theme for this year’s gathering is "Dare to Dream."

There are 60 NBS clubs nationwide who represent more than 3,000 members. Support of this biennial Summit enables the NBS to fund its youth athletic programs and their goal of introducing 100,000 youth to winter sports.

As Jahi explained, "Sun Valley’s long and fabled history make it an ideal location to reflect on our past and plan for the future."

We agree.

The NBS plans a non-stop schedule of events during the Summit.  Beyond the skiing, riding and social events, the organization will host leadership meetings and elect national officers.  Summit week’s most popular events will include:

Opening Ceremonies (Sunday, February 26 – Ketchum Town Square)

Avalanche Awareness Seminar (Tuesday, February 28 – River Run Day Lodge – hosted jointly with the U.S. Forest Service)

Picnic-On-The-Hill/ Club Races, (Wednesday, Feb. 29 – Sun Valley’s Warm Springs Parking Lot)

And numerous aprs ski gatherings (Sun Valley’s River Run Day Lodge & other venues in town).