Fire, Now Ice

After the stress and uncertainty of the past two weeks, it is probably safe to say everyone in the Wood River Valley could use a little entertainment right about now — preferably something cool after all the heat generated by the Beaver Creek Fire.

Sun Valley On Ice is the coolest ticket in town and this week it's free

Sun Valley On Ice is the coolest ticket in town and this week it's free and for a great cause

Sun Valley has just the ticket and invites you to be their guest this Saturday night, August 24, for the spectacle that is Sun Valley On Ice. These ice shows are synonymous with the resort and have showcased the finest figure skaters in the world for more than 70 years. If you haven’t been to an ice show for a while, or even if you have, be sure to come by on Saturday night when general admission is free. Seating in the bleachers will be first come, first served and it promises to be a night to remember!

Best of all, not only will you enjoy a wonderful evening of excitement beneath the wide expanse of Idaho’s summertime, nighttime sky, you will be supporting a great cause. In lieu of charging for entrance Saturday night, Sun Valley is asking that patrons donate to the Wildland Firefighters Foundation. Without the bravery and dedication of more than 1,500 firefighters waging war against the flames up and down valley this month, much of what we collectively cherish could have been lost. This is one way Sun Valley is thanking the firefighters for their efforts.

More than 1,500 firefighters protected the Valley from the monster Beaver Creek Fire. We thank them and raise money for them Saturday night. (photo Great Basin National Incident Management Team #1)

More than 1,500 firefighters protected the Valley from the monster Beaver Creek Fire. We thank them and raise money for them Saturday night. (photo Great Basin National Incident Management Team #1)

The Wildland Firefighter Foundation, located in Boise, focuses on helping families of firefighters killed in the line of duty and assisting injured firefighters and their families. Head of Marketing Jack Sibbach said Sun Valley “honors and acknowledges past, present and future members of the wildland firefighting community,” and “wishes to bring recognition to wildland firefighters.”

We profoundly thank the wildland firefighters for putting themselves at risk day after day to protect this amazing place (photo Great Basin National Incident Management Team #1)

We profoundly thank the wildland firefighters for putting themselves at risk day after day to protect this amazing place (photo Great Basin National Incident Management Team #1)

 

Among Sun Valley’s core skaters, keep an eye on Joel Dear and ice dancers Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre who recently electrified the country with their eye popping Aerial Ice act on the television show America’s Got Talent. The threesome advanced to the final rounds with the rest of their ensemble at Radio City Music Hall before being told that they wouldn’t be moving on.

The only fire you will see Saturday night is in Ashley Clark's hot act (photo Bob McDowell)

The only fire you will see Saturday night is in Ashley Clark's hot act (photo Bob McDowell)

And you will see some fire Saturday night, but it will come from skater Ashley Clark. One of her solo acts this season incorporates her recent training as a fire dancer. It is truly mesmerizing.

Grab a blanket to sit on, come early for a glass of wine or a beer and be sure to bring a jacket for cooler evening temperatures. The suggested donation is $20, but that is by no means a requirement for attendance. The evening’s entertainment begins at dusk (around 9 p.m.) and doors open at 7 p.m.

If you’d like to make a real night of it and celebrate the growing containment of the fire, dinner and show tickets are available for purchase for $99 and include a wonderful buffet at Gretchen’s Restaurant terrace and a great view of all the action on the ice.

Sun Valley On Ice is one of the Resort’s longest-running traditions and a big part of what makes Sun Valley, Sun Valley. Come to the rink Saturday night to honor the firefighters, cheer on the skaters and enjoy what is sure to be a spectacular, and relaxing, late summer’s night. Once again, thank you firefighters.

–RES

Let us entertain you. The cast of Sun Valley On Ice performs beneath the stars earlier this summer.

Let us entertain you. The cast of Sun Valley On Ice performs beneath the stars earlier this summer.

Art for Every Aesthetic

The Arts & Crafts Festival hosted by the Sun Valley Center for the Arts brought the highest quality arts in every medium to town for the 45th year

The Arts & Crafts Festival hosted by the Sun Valley Center for the Arts brought the highest quality arts in every medium to town for the 45th year

Sun Valley’s reputation as a destination for art collectors and those who simply appreciate objects of beauty is well deserved. With dozens of local galleries exhibiting works produced in every medium from some of the most important artists of our time, this is a sophisticated arts scene. The Sun Valley Gallery Association hosts nine gallery walks each year that are free, open to the public, and extremely popular places not to only enjoy exhibition openings, but to see and be seen. The next walk will be held on Friday, August 30, and is sure to be one of the highlights of the summer social calendar. Grab a group of friends, reserve a table for dinner and plan to enjoy a wonderful evening on the town, all while enjoying world-class culture.

Another marker of area’s commitment to the arts took place over the weekend as the Sun Valley Center for the Arts (SVCA) held its 45th annual Arts & Crafts Festival in Ketchum. From August 9 to 11, nearly 150 painters, sculptors, jewelry makers, metalworkers, photographers, printmakers, glass, fiber and wood artists (among others!) set up their tents and shared their talents with the steady crowd of browsers and buyers.

The annual SVCA Festival is a feast for the senses

The annual SVCA Festival is a feast for the senses

This juried show accepts more than 500 artist applications each year. The Larry Harris List of the Nation’s Best Art Festivals ranks the Sun Valley Center Arts & Crafts Festival among the top 20 in the Pacific Northwest and California. The quality of the work is evident in even a cursory browse through the field of fine art. Artists from Minnesota, Oregon, New Mexico, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana and many of the other 50 states deserve their spot at the Festival.

Local artist Alison Higdon shares her talent for encaustic painting with the crowd

Local artist Alison Higdon shares her talent for encaustic painting with the crowd

But like most things in Sun Valley, what is perhaps most appealing about this Festival is its lack of pretense; its welcoming atmosphere. A true community event, the weekend attracts serious collectors and neophytes alike. Children are invited to enjoy the arts at an activity tent and everyone is encouraged to watch local artists at work during daily demonstrations. A wide range of live music, good food and lots of places to sit and chat help keep the event casual and inviting.

Though not a gallery per se, the Sun Valley Resort is also a treasure trove of art. Their specialty? Thousands of archival black and white photos depicting nearly a century of the area’s rich history. Stroll the hallways at the Sun Valley Lodge for a glimpse of the glamorous Union Pacific era when celebrities frolicked in the area’s fresh air and sunshine. Pop by the Sun Valley Inn to peruse their exhibition. The collection extends from the Gun Club to Roundhouse Restaurant; from the Sun Valley Club to Trail Creek Cabin and is definitely worth a lingering look.

Enjoying a live concert outside at River Run is one of the joys of summer

Enjoying a live concert outside at River Run is one of the joys of summer

Next up for the SVCA is a concert by Josh Ritter & the Royal City Band on Wednesday, August 14, at River Run Lodge. Known for his distinctive “Americana” style, Ritter is a successful songwriter, guitarist and author. An evening spent listening to live music beneath the summer shadow of Bald Mountain is an experience that can’t be replicated. Buy dinner from the grill or grab a picnic and find your spot on the lawn. Tickets are now on sale for this event, as well as for what promises to be a truly memorable night at the Sun Valley Pavilion when megastar Clint Black brings his extremely popular brand of country music to the Valley on September 12.

Special room and ticket packages at Sun Valley Resort are available for the Josh Ritter and Clint Black concerts, as well as the Huey Lewis and the News concert that takes the Pavilion by 80s storm on August 21.

Not bad for a little mountain town, eh?

–RES

And another type of artistry is on display this week as three show skaters from Sun Valley On Ice continue their quest for the million dollar prize as they compete Tuesday night on America’s Got Talent. Their act, Aerial Ice, features Joel Dear, Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre with three others and moves to Radio City Music Hall this week. Tune in from 8 – 10 pm on NBC and be sure to vote them on!

Sun Valley’s Got Talent

The Sun Valley Pavilion became a rehearsal space this week for Aerial Ice, a skating act electifying America's Got Talent and starring skaters from Sun Valley on Ice

The Sun Valley Pavilion became a rehearsal space this week for Aerial Ice, a skating act electifying America's Got Talent and starring skaters from Sun Valley on Ice

Anyone who has attended a world-famous Sun Valley on Ice show in the past few years knows that ice dancers Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre and cast member (and skating aerialist) Joel Dear have talent. And they have it in spades. Now the rest of the country will know it, too, as our three skaters, along with aerialist Angela Kim and professional pairs skaters Tosha Hanford and Chris Trefil electrify the country with “Aerial Ice.” During tryouts in Los Angeles, Aerial Ice debuted on America’s Got Talent to a standing ovation from the judges and audience alike. America’s Got Talent, or AGT for short, is one of the most popular programs on television. Each season, AGT invites singers, dancers, magicians and acts of any and all persuasions to compete to win a cool $1 million prize.

Until this year, AGT had never had a skating act. Now they have one no one will ever forget. Aerial Ice, led by artistic director Jill Schulz, received a unanimous “yes” vote from judges Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Mel B. and Howie Mandel to move through to the second phase of the competition in Las Vegas. Klum said the act was “nerve wracking, it was exciting, it was dangerous, it was spectacular. I loved it!” Click here to see the audition performance.

Though his preferred aerial apparatus is a hoop, Sun Valley on Ice skater Joel Dear makes easy work of the silks, too

Though his preferred aerial apparatus is a hoop, Sun Valley on Ice skater Joel Dear makes easy work of the silks, too

Skating to Krewella’s hit song “Alive,” the troupe performed on a large sheet of synthetic ice while Joel and Angela “flew” above the stage, performing beautiful choreography on dramatic “silks” that hung from the ceiling. During the audition it was hard to know where to look — every member of the group was so, well, talented.

During the Las Vegas week on AGT, the six skaters appeared onstage before the judges unsure of their fate as one-third of the acts that made it through the first round were sent home, one-third had to audition again and one-third were told they were going directly through to the big show – the stage at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. Aerial Ice heard those magic word, “We’ll see you in New York!” —  one of 60 acts to make the finals. For the next few weeks about 12 acts will perform live during each episode that airs on NBC Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Aerial Ice was not at liberty to reveal the date of their performance, so we will all just have to stay tuned!

The Sun Valley Pavilion provides a pretty nice space for rehearsing and planning

The Sun Valley Pavilion provides a pretty nice space for rehearsing and planning

This week, however, the six performers have been practicing right in our backyard, in what Brent calls the “most beautiful rehearsal space in the world.” With Sun Valley’s support, Aerial Ice took over the stage at the Sun Valley Pavilion, working for eight hours a day on the program that will bring New York to its feet. A huge sheet of plastic ice dominated the Pavilion stage and technical experts rigged silks and other flying apparatuses from the rafters. The entire team, that also includes highly accomplished skaters Karen Kresge and Lisa Navarro, and everyone else that helps make the magic happen, came to Sun Valley. 

During long days of Aerial Ice rehearsals, Kim, Brent and Joel still found the time to walk a few hundred yards to the Sun Valley skating rinks to give a lesson or rehearse for this week’s highly anticipated Sun Valley on Ice show featuring Olympic Gold Medalist Evan Lysacek.

For Kim, the support of the skating community for Aerial Ice has been amazing. “So many accomplished skaters are on board, Tweeting about Aerial Ice and sharing their enthusiasm,” she said. Her ultimate goal with this project is to increase viewership of the sport and this evolving genre that is so beautiful and that she is so passionate about — to connect with the audience in a whole new way.

Two-time US Bronze Medalists Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre bring grace, elegance and daring to each performance

Two-time US Bronze Medalists Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre bring grace, elegance and daring to each performance

Be sure to buy tickets to Sun Valley on Ice to see all this talent for yourself, as well as the rest of the supremely wonderful, entertaining cast. Then, tune into AGT, call in your vote for Aerial Ice and cheer on the home team!

Congratulations to Brent, Joel and Kim for taking Aerial Ice all the way to New York! Stay tuned to this blog for updates on their progress.

–RES