Mother’s Day is a holiday for which most children and spouses truly want to create a relaxing, special day for the mom in their lives. But good intentions don’t always lead to great results. It can be a day of high expectations and occasionally high stress for those left in charge of plans. Let’s face it — sometimes it is hard to know exactly what to do for the person who does so much.
Crisp linens and peace & quiet await
Sun Valley to the rescue! The Resort is offering a special package especially tailored to what moms want. If relaxation, pampering and a memorable experience are what you’re after, your search is over. There isn’t a mom out there (this mom of three included — hint) who wouldn’t love a getaway to, or even a staycation, in Sun Valley.
First, Mom will check in to a luxury room in the Inn or Lodge (where someone else will make the beds) for a special rate of $225 on Saturday night, May 11. But that pays for much more than a fantastically comfortable bed and the finest linens; it also includes Sunday Brunch for two at the elegant Lodge Dining Room. This famous brunch offers dozens of dishes to tantalize a mother’s taste buds.She can indulge at as many stations as she desires and treat herself to dessert without having to think even for a moment about dishes. Settled in beneath crystal chandeliers with white linens, silver and sparkling stemware, she will feel as important as she is.
Relax and get pampered at the Sun Valley Salon & Spaaah....
But wait, there’s more! For the ultimate in mom downtime, she will also receive a one-hour massage at the Sun Valley Salon & Spa. Her cares will float away beneath strong hands, a pampering and attentive atmosphere, far removed from her regular responsibilities. If you really want to wow mom, add a luxurious manicure and pedicure or facial to her stay. And be sure to make time to soak in one of the hot outdoor pools. Order her a cocktail to sip on the deck and she will really feel like she is off-duty!
Keep the love going by adding Friday or Sunday night to the package for just $100 a night (prices do not include taxes or resort fees).
If an overnight is not in the cards, be sure to at least enjoy brunch on Sunday. Service begins for this highly popular meal at 9 a.m. and runs through 2 p.m. No reservations are necessary and the feast runs $36 for adults and $21 for children 12 and under.
Brunch is a family affair in the elegant Lodge Dining Room
For room reservations, call 888-978-3475.
Mother’s Day is a holiday with history that stretches back to ancient Greek and Roman times. It is a wonderful way to honor and show your appreciation for the woman in your life who makes a difference daily in the life of a family.
Book today! She deserves it! And it will certainly go over better than that gadget from the hardware store or that small appliance you think she just might like, but she probably won’t …
As Sun Valley Wellness Festival board member Pirie Grossman describes it, the process of agreeing on the right keynote speaker for this year’s Festival was proving challenging. “During a board meeting months ago, there were lots of ideas going back and forth but nothing was catching,” Pirie explained. “I was traveling to the TEDx conference in Washington, D.C., shortly thereafter and then going on to New York, so I left with an open mind, promising to look see if anyone perfect came to my attention.
Alexander's account of a near death experience has dominated the bestseller lists
Right before departing, however, Pirie’s fellow board member Elisabeth Grabher reached out to someone everyone agreed would be perfect for the Festival: Oprah Winfrey. And, synchronicity being what it is, it was also an episode of Oprah’s show that first introduced Pirie to Dr. Eben Alexander. After she saw his interview on the program, she began to research his story. Alexander seemed like a huge draw for the Festival and Cheryl Welch Thomas, another board member, contacted his agent to see if he was available.
“We always believe you should throw things out into the universe and see what happens!” laughed Pirie.
In New York, shortly after a conversation with a friend about her desire to have Oprah speak at the Wellness Festival and her keen interest in Dr. Alexander, Pirie returned to her hotel. While waiting at the elevator, the doors opened and a security guard glanced around, talking into his sleeve. “He stepped aside and there behind him stood Oprah Winfrey, no more than two feet from me,” Pirie laughed. “She looked right at me and didn’t try to hurry away. She was warm and approachable – she was Oprah!”
The following conversation ensued.
Oprah: (pause, smile) You have something to say to me.
Pirie: I’m from Sun Valley…
Oprah: Oh! I love Sun Valley.
Pirie: I’m a board member at the Wellness Festival…
Oprah: I’ve heard about the Wellness Festival.
Pirie: I just sent you a letter asking if you would come speak!
(Pirie quickly reminds Oprah of the date of the event)
Oprah: I’m going to be in Africa then, but do you know who you should get?
Oprah: Dr. Eben Alexander.
Pirie: (gasp!) It is so funny you said that! You were the first letter we sent, he was the second. I saw him on your show. He is amazing.
Oprah: He is amazing. Be sure to let him know I suggested him.
“And away she went,” Pirie explained. “All I could think was when things are supposed to happen, they happen. Isn’t the universe interesting?”
The Wellness Festival offers something for everyone to take care of mind, body and spirit
Immediately, Pirie phoned her fellow board members in Sun Valley with news of the interaction. Cheryl, who had previously received a polite ‘thank you, but no thank you, Dr. Alexander is booked for the foreseeable future’ response from his agent, heard the news and sent a follow-up email. This note detailed Pirie’s encounter with Oprah and boiled down to, ‘this is meant to be, you have to come.’ Two hours later his agent called Cheryl back and said yes.
Ever since, Eben and Pirie have corresponded by email. “We joke, ‘how about that Oprah story?’” Pirie laughed. “He told me when he read that second email he was laughing and crying at the same time. We just couldn’t get over, and still can’t, the chain of events that introduced him to us and allowed us to bring him to Sun Valley.”
The Sun Valley Resort offers terrific lodging choices to allow participants to stay in the center of the action for the weekend. Be sure to call Resort Reservations at 800-786-8259 and ask for the special Sun Valley Wellness Festival rate. This is a wonderful way to enjoy the full Festival experience. And you just never know who you might meet and where it might lead, do you?
The Sun Valley Inn is HQ for the Wellness Festival. Come on in!
One of the exquisite, healthy trout in our local rivers (photo courtesy Bryan Huskey, Silver Creek Outfitters)
Unlike many people who relocate to Sun Valley or become frequent visitors because of our amazing skiing and snowboarding, my family was first drawn to Sun Valley by the area’s world-class fly fishing. Raised by a father who is a consummate fisherman and a mother who also caught the bug, my brother and I were put into waders, handed a fly rod and placed in western trout streams when we no more than eight years old. Fishing was just what we did.
In 1983, the trout streams we waded into were Sun Valley’s. That year, our family’s summer vacation included throwing flies from drift boats in Montana, exploring desolate waters in western Canada and, finally, landing in the Wood River Valley. Before our two-week stay in a Wildflower condo on the Resort property ended, my parents had hired a real estate agent. The fishing, and everything else that comprises a Sun Valley summer, was that good.
Fish on! Just another glorious day fishing in Sun Valley
So, when the winter runoff begins in earnest, when ski runs begin to transition to hiking and biking trails and when facets of bright sunlight bounce off of the currents of the Big Wood River beneath the bridges on my daily errands, my mind turns to fishing.
With May just around the corner, so is fly fishing season. The Big Wood, the river that wends through Hailey and Ketchum, opens on May 25, as does fabled Silver Creek south of Bellevue. According to Silver Creek Outfitters, the area’s leading fly fishing authority with outposts both in the Sun Valley Village and downtown Ketchum, indicators are pointing to good early fishing. According to the shop’s report, “Our snow pack is currently at about 80 percent of average and the Climate Prediction Center at NOAA is calling for below average precipitation for the next several months in Central and Southern Idaho. For the angler, this means the fishing should be good earlier this year on our freestone rivers due to the lower flows and often when the flows are lower, the hatches, like the Green Drake, will also come off a bit earlier.”
Unlike the past two years, when the Big Wood ran high (making for tenuous wading) until well in the early summer, this year’s conditions may let us get our feet wet much earlier. All signs point to productive fishing on this very accessible and very beautiful river in the not-too-distant future, with wade-ability most likely by the end of June.
Bugs! Hatches! Dinner is served! (photo courtesy Bryan Huskey, Silver Creek Outfitters)
For novice anglers or those looking to enhance or refresh their skills as the season begins, Silver Creek Outfitters Fly Fishing 101 Clinics begin on May 4 and continue throughout the summer. These popular two-day classes cover the basics of a sport that may seem intimidating, but really isn’t – from casting to knot tying, bugs to wading. Beginning at the end of June, the shop’s top guides also offer free casting clinics on the lawn in front of the Sun Valley Lodge.
And if May 25 seems like an awfully long time to wait to cast some line into a ripple, you can fish now on the Big Lost River. This tailwater gem (surrounded by some of the most inspiring, stunning views in the state) is about a two-hour drive from Ketchum near the town of Mackay. Again, Silver Creek Outfitter’s fishing guru reports, “Hatches on the Lost this time of year are a combination of Midge and Baetis and on the right day they can be spectacular. Some fish are spawning in the shallow riffles, so please wade with caution and leave them alone.”
Be sure to stop by the Ketchum location of Silver Creek Outfitters for the best advice on early season fishing (the Sun Valley store will open for the season when the season opens).
If you’re dreaming of clear trout streams, spectacular scenery and lazy lunches riverside, your wait is nearly over. Be sure to get your Idaho fishing license (for a day or a season), check your fly line, air out your waders and boots. And if you haven’t done so already, maybe it’s time to check in with a local realtor. You may get hooked, too.
Catching (& releasing) is only a part of fly fishing, but it sure is fun
Husband, father and grandfather R.E. “Earl” Holding was born November 29, 1926, the youngest of three children born to Franklin Eugene and Reva Johnson Holding. He attended school in Salt Lake City, graduating from West High School in 1944.
Earl learned the value of a day’s labor as a youth and worked many jobs at the Covey and Hillcrest apartments where he lived. Due to World War II, he was able to attend school for half the day and work for the other half. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps upon graduation and served in Europe at the end of the war. After returning home, he attended the University of Utah where he received a degree in Civil Engineering. In 1949, he married his sweetheart and best friend, Carol Orme. Even before they were married, Earl and Carol started their first business together when they planted a 25 acre fruit orchard at Dimple Dell. They worked side by side to cultivate and irrigate the land, harvest the peaches, pears and apples, and sell them to local stores. Earl and Carol were seldom apart throughout their 64 years of marriage; they formed an unbeatable partnership in business and in life.
Earl Holding Visionary
In 1952 the Covey family offered Earl and Carol the opportunity to move to and manage the Little America on the western prairie of Wyoming. During the 13 years they lived and worked at Little America, the couple started their family and fell in love with the State of Wyoming and its people. From that time on, Wyoming became home.
Despite his business success, Earl never forgot that it was the people he worked with who made the difference. He often remarked that “you do business with your friends.” He inspired those around him to give their best efforts, and then, even a little more. He was as fiercely loyal to his family and his employees as they were to him. Most of the employees hired by Earl in the early days spent their entire careers with him and even their children work with the company to this day. Earl enjoyed working alongside his people and watching them succeed.
Earl deeply loved the land and the beauty of the American West. After spending his childhood in an apartment, he always longed for open space where he could have a dog and a horse. This desire eventually led to the acquisition of his ranches in Wyoming and Montana. He looked for every opportunity to spend time at the ranch working the fields, cattle and crops and being surrounded by the natural beauty of God’s creations.
Many of his business ventures were centered on creating something from nothing, making improvements, and building from beautiful natural materials. When planning the Grand America Hotel he personally traveled to Bethel, Vermont to select the granite for the project. He was fascinated by the possibilities found in nature, from drilling for oil to preserving a stand of trees on a ski run.
His happiest times were spent with his children and grandchildren, hiking, biking, fishing and exploring the great outdoors. He also loved hearing his grandchildren sing or play music. His face would light up when a new baby came to visit. Earl was known for his competitive spirit, whether it was racing mountain bikes with his grandsons or skiing his favorite runs in Sun Valley. He always wanted to take his family along with him, even on business trips, so he could teach them the important things in life.
Earl’s tireless efforts on behalf of the Olympics helped bring the 2002 Winter Games to Salt Lake City. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the Olympics believing the Games stood for the ideals of athletic excellence and international cooperation.
He kept a silver dollar in his pocket which he often turned while pondering an important decision or challenge. He said it reminded him how hard it is to make and keep a dollar and that things in business, as in life, should be genuine. For him, the effort and fun of pursuing an ideal was its own reward.
Earl was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Earl and Carol were sealed for time and eternity in the Jordan River Temple. He remained close to his childhood friend, President Thomas S. Monson, who was his classmate at West High School. He was deeply moved when the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang at a celebration honoring his 80th birthday.
On April 19, 2013 at the age of 86, Earl passed away at home of natural causes. He is survived by his wife, Carol, their three children, Anne, Kathleen, and Stephen, their spouses, twelve grandchildren, his brother, Ralph, and many extended family members, business associates and friends who were just like part of the family. He was predeceased by his parents, his sister, Helen Jean, and his close business partner and childhood friend, Kenneth Y. Knight.
Earl was fortunate to have the best group of nurses and aides ever assembled to work with him since his 2002 stroke, and the family would like to extend gratitude to each of them for their excellent care. The family also expresses appreciation to Dr. Craig Harmon, Dr. Elaine Skalabrin and Dr. Ted Kimball, along with the entire team at the University of Utah Stroke Center.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 27, 2013 at the Federal Heights Ward, 1300 E. Fairfax Road, Salt Lake City, Utah. Friends may pay their respects at a reception to be held Friday evening, April 26, 2013 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Grand America Hotel, 555 South Main, Salt Lake City, Utah. A private burial will follow at their Wyoming ranch.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Earl Holding to the Boy Scouts of America or to the University of Utah Stroke Center.
Those who have had the pleasure and privilege of working for Mr. Holding hold him and the Holding family in highest esteem. “We will miss Mr. Holding as he was a very special person to us all. In his memory, we are honored to continue to support the Holding family as we strive together to keep Sun Valley the elegant jewel he brought into the present era. Thank you.”
Color and pattern prevail for spring at the Brass Ranch
Bright color, bold stripes, prints big and small, diminutive handbags, patterned scarves galore – spring has sprung in Sun Valley’s fashionable boutiques. Both Brass Ranch and Panache in the Village are harbingers of the season, fully stocked and ready to help guests and locals alike transition their mountain style to suit the warm, sunny, and very busy, months ahead. It’s time to start thinking about how you want to look at the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, concerts, the Wine Auction, picnics, parties and all the other places to see and be seen.
From classic to trendy, Brass Ranch has something for every taste
Even a cursory glance around the Resort location of the Brass Ranch, purveyor of that special alchemy between classic and trendy that translates into Sun Valley chic, leaves no doubt what this season’s trends trend toward. From feminine floral blouses, to leather biker style jackets, to bright dresses perfect for a summer cocktail party on a wide expanse of Sun Valley lawn or a glass of wine on the Inn patio, Brass Ranch will help you mix and match, coordinate and punctuate.
Buyer Rebecca Fundy said that everyone is going to look great this spring, no matter his or her fashion preferences. “We love the clothes this season,” she enthused, quickly collecting signature looks to make her point. “We have bright denim, colored stripes, black and white with leather accents. A gentle acid wash is back, the open knit tops are beautiful. It’s a good year if you’re 15 or 75.”
Price points are also mix and match right now. “You could wear the simplest outfit and pair it and upgrade it with a fabulous Missoni scarf or another accessory incorporating color, pattern and other trends,” Rebecca explained.
Designer Missoni accessories can upgrade the simplest ensemble
At Brass Ranch, the Sun Valley aesthetic is all under one roof. “We are really one-stop shopping,” Rebecca said. “We carry a carefully edited selection of shoes, handbags, swimsuits, even cosmetics in addition to the beautiful seasonal sportswear from top designers. And our men’s department showcases how men in Sun Valley prefer to dress — traditional with a twist. The same punches of color and pattern are prevalent in menswear this spring.”
Prints pretty as a picture at Panache
Across the walkway, Panache’s two boutiques are also full of color, flair and texture. Owner Kathy Crosson said the spring collections have arrived and today is the day to incorporate the latest looks into your wardrobe. “Right now, the selection of sizes and styles is at its best,” she said. “People forget that by July, we are getting fall in, so now is the time to shop to make sure you don’t miss out.”
At Panache, pattern and color are also at the fashion forefront. “In addition, we are seeing a lot of lace and eyelet and yellow is huge,” Kathy said. “The season is filled with very pretty, feminine looks in shapes that are both comfortable and flattering to many women.”
Many Sun Valley staples are also on display on Panache. Summer weight cashmere, perfect for chilly nights, is a must-have. Luxe accessories including handbags, shoes, scarves and jewelry complete the look.
Beautiful, bold spring dresses at Panache are perfect for the busy summer ahead
Pete Lane’s, just a few steps away, is also stocked for spring and summer with the best names in active wear. Whether you are on the trail, or toasting the day that was, Pete Lane’s casual, stylish and functional selection, will truly make you look like a local and get you through days that begin when the sun rises at 6 a.m. and sets at 10 p.m. Layer up and get out into the mountains the rivers. Adventures await! The expansive shop also has an extensive selection of menswear and everything a child might need to make a splash in Sun Valley. Accessories, footwear and gear galore also make this a one-stop shopping destination for the entire family.
For yoga, a hike, a bike ride, a coffee date ... Pete Lane's does Sun Valley casual just right
Though temperatures this week haven’t exactly cooperated, spring is in the air and it’s time to celebrate with what is a very pretty season in fashion, indeed.
Men can find everything they need to enjoy the mountain lifestyle at Pete Lane's
At four p.m. on Sunday, the Challenger chairlift glided to a halt and the 2012-2013 ski season officially ended. But since this is Sun Valley, there was nothing quiet about the last weekend of skiing and riding on Baldy!
As quotidian skier and custom ski maker Caleb Baukol reported, “there were fireworks on top (real ones) and at the base, there was mayhem of the best kind.At 3:57, as a crowd jockeyed to get on the last chairs to the top, poles were broken, friendships were tested, but that crucial last run was worth it!”
The last run of the season may just be the best
The Warm Springs Lodge patio was turned into a huge outdoor party, blending their passionate and uninhibited style with the local, high energy vibe. Costumes with a focus on “gaper-chic” were de rigueur and crowds were thick, from the base of the lift, to the street party outside of Apple’s Bar and Grill, to Lookout atop Baldy (home of the biggest hit of the season — the taco bar) and all the way back down.
At Warm Springs on Sunday, the party was on!
The mood all weekend was light, despite relatively cold temperatures and a good shower of snow first thing Saturday morning. Sun Valley Ski Patrol held their last morning meeting of the year al fresco, showcasing the best view, hands down, of any office in the Valley. Late season skiers also did good, bringing non-perishable items for the Hunger Coalition in return for a free second ski ticket with the purchase of one.
It was a great season by all accounts. Early season powder was some of the best in years. SnowSports ran fabulous lessons and programs appropriate for novices to experts, guests to locals. Pros of the highest caliber took to our slopes in eye popping contests from the Rev Tour to the Orage Masters and filmmakers flocked to Sun Valley to capture what the mountain lifestyle looks like from some pretty dramatic angles.
A great time was had by all. Thanks Sun Valley for an epic season!
The perfect closing day combo: Guest Services in costume!
If you had as great a season as we did, be sure to log onto here to vote for Sun Valley as your favorite ski resort.
Thanks to the early spring, the ambivalence and blues that are endemic to many skiers and boarders when the lifts stop running, may not last long. Thoughts are already turning to biking, golfing, tennis and fishing. Still, there will be many among us who will continue to stare longingly at Baldy’s greening slopes as we pass for weeks to come.
See you back on the hill in just a few short months for amazing mountain biking, hiking, lunch at Roundhouse and sightseeing! Summer in Sun Valley is definitely something to look forward to.
Now that the snow on the Valley floor has melted into ever greening patches of grass, spring is officially in the air! Small buds are appearing on branches, stalks of flowers are beginning to take an experimental sniff in the warming air and children are itching to be outside.
Nothing goes together like children and springtime in Sun Valley (photos courtesy of Lisa Dirksmeier)
The two-year-old class from Sun Valley’s Community SchoolEarly Childhood Center scratched that itch this week with a special field trip to the nearby Sun Valley Lodge and the iconic and always fascinating swan pond. A perpetually interesting, constantly evolving neighbor to the school, the Sun Valley Resort is often a destination for these preschoolers. For them, there is nothing better than communing with the ducks and swans and fish.
One lucky duck gets lunch courtesy of a little student at Sun Valley's swan pond
Teacher Lisa Dirksmeier said, “Sun Valley’s cornucopia of magical, extraordinary offerings are a vital part of our life.” One grandfather, along for the trip, likened the Resort to the “land of make believe” as the children took their time navigating the long pathways that meander around the Village. Frequent stops included discussion of the construction equipment being used to beautify the property, appreciation of figure skaters taking advantage of a warm day on Sun Valley’s outdoor ice and pausing to listen to chiming bells and music.
While getting there was more than half the fun, the children were thrilled to arrive at the pond which graces the entry to the Lodge. A hefty supply of bread, crackers and cereal supplied a feast for the ducks and fish, with a few handfuls reaching the children’s mouths, as well. The little ones chatted with the animals, encouraging them to come back, come back, come back!
A trip to the playground and a picnic lunch rounded out the adventure and left, for Lisa, indelible memories. “I hope the children, while they may not remember this exact trip, will recollect a time of pure, uncomplicated joy,” she said, “a time when traveling was light and easy, and friends, two red wagons, some breadcrumbs and a lunchbox was all that was needed to create a magical afternoon.”
What's good for the goose is good for the gander ...
Half a Sun Valley Club "Club Sandwich" and a cup of soup for $8? It's what makes slack worthwhile!
Slack: characterized by slowness, sluggishness, or lack of energy <a slack pace>
As a longtime local, I have to admit that spring slack is my absolute favorite season. It’s not that I can’t embrace the electric vibe of excitement winter brings with it, or that I don’t adore the infectious energy of summer, it’s just that slack is when the locals get their town back.
In the months of April and May, you will see those fabled “gone fishin’ till summer” signs in Wood River Valley shop windows, and dogs do actually lie undisturbed on Main Street. But one of the best aspects of this monumental slowdown are the locals’ specials. Restaurants all over town (well, at least the ones that stay open) offer amazing deals as a way of saying thank you to their most loyal clientele – and to get some bums on those seats before they get too dusty.
Of course the resort gets in on the action too, ramping up some of its regular year-round specials, as well as bringing out some choice ones just for the “shoulder season.” Here’s a quick roundup of some of my favorite spring specials in Sun Valley.
While the high-powered-career woman is not a type often found in Ketchum, hard-working small-business woman is. If you‘re one of those, why not treat yourself to that lunch out with girlfriends you’ve been promising yourself all winter but just couldn’t find the time for? The time is now, round up the ladies, head to Gretchens and enjoy half-price entrees and, most importantly, half-price wine, any Tuesday or Thursday in May.
Pacific Ahi Tuna grilled medium rare, served with pineapple chutney, lime aioli and organic greens on a brioche bun is the perfect accompaniment to lunch with the ladies.
For the families who need something to do with the little ones now that Dollar Mountain has said farewell for the season, pop in on Bald Mountain Pizza for some cheap, nutritious entertainment. Let the tykes build their own unlimited-topping pizza for just $5 (daily 5-9 p.m., now through June 6). Plus, get free tickets to a movie at Sun Valley Opera House following the carb overload.
Pile your pie high with Bald Mountain Pizza's unlimited toppings for $5 deal.
Whether you’re a golf enthusiast, golf widow/er, or just enjoy a spectacular view, make sure to stop by Sun Valley Club, arguably the resort’s hottest lunch spot, and chow down on the spring dining special of a cup of soup and 1/2 a sandwich for a just eight bucks. (runs from Monday through June 9, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.).
Skiers, when the mountain closes this Sunday, channel the resort’s famed Austrian ski instructors and drown your sorrows at the newly remodeled Konditeroi. This Austrian gathering place has gone back to its Eastern European roots and is offering German beer and a house-made brat for $12.99 through June 7, a bargain for such a scrumptious taste of Sun Valley history.
Catch up on more delectable offerings from the resort’s 17 restaurants here, and follow Sun Valley Resort Dining on Facebook to make sure you don’t miss out this season.
Golfing and skiing are as different as two sports could be, not in the least because one requires snow and the other lots of sun. Well, we have both here in Sun Valley, and while golfers are dusting off their sticks, don’t expect to see snowboards and skis heading into storage just yet. Thanks to the vagaries of Mother Nature, right now you can ski on Baldy in the morning and crack out the clubs in the afternoon.
Today, April 5, is the official opening of Sun Valley Resort’s driving range and practice greens, and with skiing on Baldy continuing through April 14 there’s a fantastic fortnight to be had for enthusiasts of both sports here at Sun Valley.
Trail Creek’s trademark holes: Hole #14, "Bullwinkle," is one of the course's top 3 trademark holes, it got its name from the shape of the large sand traps on the player's left hand side. Joining it are #10, a scenic par 3 over a pond looking right at Bald Mountain, and #3, a long, tough par 4 that is the most challenging hole on the course,
This is the earliest opening of the golfing facilities in recent memory, according to Jeff Petersen, director of golf. “It certainly is very, very early, by far the earliest opening in my nine years here,” he said. “Generally an early opening for us is towards the end of April, so we’re a couple weeks ahead of where we normally are, even for an early opening.”
There’s still a week or two to wait to tread the greens on Sun Valley’s three world class golf courses, Trail Creek, White Clouds and Elkhorn, but Petersen anticipates it will be sooner than last year, which was April 24. “Most likely the middle of the month,” he said. “But it’s up to Mother Nature, as always.”
So while the limited snowfall late in the season may have disappointed the skiers, it has certainly given golfers plenty of reason to rejoice. “It’s the changing of the guard now,” said Petersen. “It’s certainly a little bit shorter and a little bit abrupter than we’re used to but that’s the beauty of being in the mountains.”
Petersen arrived in those mountains in 2005 and took over management of the courses in 2008. During his tenure, golf at Sun Valley has undergone an impressive transformation. “When I first arrived we were in our old golf shop, which was very tiny and outdated. In the summer of 2008 we opened up a beautiful clubhouse, added an additional 9 holes and improved the practice facilities greatly.”
Today, Petersen believes Sun Valley offers everything golfers could want from a golf resort. “There’s a wide mix of different golf holes throughout, from the 18 hole Robert Trent Jones-designed Trail Creek course, redesigned in late 70s/early 80s, which offers a wonderful traditional design and layout, to the new 9 hole White Clouds (opened in August 2008), which offers a more open course, more akin to the mountain-lifestyle, a lot of undulation, lots of up and down. It’s a great contrast to what we have down below on the Trail Creek course.”
Jeff Petersen in Sun Valley's Director of Golf. His favorite time of year to play at Sun Valley is the fall. "Mornings are always preferred, it's so quiet and scenic. Sneaking in a late 9 holes in the evening is a great way to do it too," he said.
The new facilities have also helped broaden the appeal of the sport, a 58,000 sq ft clubhouse provides the perfect spot for a family to relax and hang out while dad or mom gets in a round, plus the Sawtooth Putting Course is a great place to introduce the young ones to the sport, or encourage a newcomer.
I asked Petersen what he thinks makes golfing at Sun Valley so special. “The look,” he said. “You never have the same shot or the same view twice.” Turn one way and you’re staring right into Bald Mountain, turn the other and there are the Pioneers peaking out at you. “It’s just very scenic and very traditional and true to what the surroundings are here.”
The wildlife viewing also lends to the appeal. “We have a deer family that tends to nest down here in the early spring time,” Petersen said. “We’ll have a couple fawns born in early spring.” As long as they keep their distance, wildlife and golfers exist in perfect harmony, barring the odd hot-dog stealing fox.
Despite the serenity and beauty of the surroundings, this is far from a walk in the park. “The course is very challenging,” Petersen said. “From your very good, low handicap players to the recreational higher handicap players, we have a set of tees for all, it can stretch out to be just shy of 7,000 yds in length, or down to 5500 yards, good golfers and bad golfers all alike can find something that will challenge them.”
A new challenge to look forward to once the season gets going is a completely redesigned #1 hole. The large pond on the left was shrunk and the green expanded, resulting in a better designed hole. “Late last fall we started redesign work of our opening hole on Trail Creek,” Petersen said. “Most of the preparatio for rolling out turf has been done already, and sod and new grass will go down this spring and we hope to be playing it come July 1.”
But, thanks to the infuriatingly indecisive Mother Nature, there are still plenty of rounds to be got in before then, and a few more runs down Baldy, if you’re quick!
Go Play! The Pro Shop and Practice Facilities are open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (208.622.2251), the Clubhouse Bar and Restaurant are open 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. (208.622.2919). The $124 per person “Come Early. Play Late” golf package is available through June 9th and includes one night’s lodging and 18 holes of golf on one of Sun Valley’s courses and cart. (888-383-2522). For more information visit www.sunvalley.com/golf
The Orage Masters “anti-comp” proclaims itself a traveling circus, the “craziest scene skiing has ever seen,” one part tailgate party, one part costume party and one part slopestyle. And this wacky hybrid is pulling in to Sun Valley.
Witness the raucous, riotous, outrageous Orage events yourself on Friday and Saturday, April 5 and 6, when 32 freestyle athletes, participating in teams of four, will take to the jumps, rails and features that Terrain Park manager Brian Callahan and his team have been busy pulling out of their collective vivid imagination.
Though Dollar may have officially closed for the season on Sunday, Brian is out pushing piles of snow around the mountain, including collapsing the 22-foot Superpipe and moving the snow into huge hills to create a high altitude playground of proportions heretofore unseen! This circus has many more than three rings and must be seen to be believed.
Orage, the manufacturer of colorful, high-quality ski outerwear and clothing, gave birth to this end-of-season mayhem in 2001 at Mammoth Mountain in California. In 2011 and 2012, the event took a hiatus as organizers (a.k.a. the ringmasters) searched for the perfect bright, sunny town with a great resort and people who love a good costume party. Needless to say, Sun Valley fit the bill.
The Terrain Park team is busy at work turning Dollar into a giant playground for this freestyle spectacle
Four racers will be on the course at any given time, according to Mike Nick, marketing director for Orage, amping up the atmosphere of a three-ring circus. “Two teams go head-to-head in each heat and the other teams are the judges,” he explained. “Spectators can get right on the course and will be very close to the athletes and the action which makes it even crazier,” Mike explained. He also said that local skiers and boarders are invited to come to the training course on Friday (from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) to meet the athletes and get a taste of Saturday’s escapades.
After training on Friday, a broom hockey tournament will take place from 4 – 6 p.m. at Sun Valley’s Indoor Ice Rink. In the center ring on Saturday, preliminary heats will begin at 11 a.m. and events run until 4 p.m. To cap off the madness, the popular band Old Death Whisper will play a free concert at Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge from 4 – 5:30 p.m. The party moves to downtown Ketchum to Whiskey Jacques at 8 p.m. with a live show and after-party featuring the Casey Donahew Band.
You have never seen anything like this, so you should probably go see it! Sun Valley is, after all, the birthplace of freestyle skiing!
Spectators will be able to get right next to the action on Saturday
As Mike said, “Sun Valley has been doing a lot to reinvent itself in the freestyle world, and the roots are definitely here. This is something of an untapped resort for this generation of freestyle skiers in many ways and the athletes are excited to get here and get onto the course.”