New jet service is cause for celebration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flights can be booked at www.delta.com.

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome to Sun Valley!

Welcome to Sun Valley!

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

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

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

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

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

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

–RES

A Young Festival, Off to an Amazing Start

Sun Valley Mayor Dewayne Briscoe hands Jodie Foster the Key to the City

Sun Valley Mayor Dewayne Briscoe gives Jodie Foster the Key to the City (photo courtesy of SVFF)

On Sunday night, following the Awards Ceremony, the second Sun Valley Film Festival was, as they say in the movie biz, a wrap. Filmmakers, producers, screenwriters and fans gathered at Ketchum’s nexStage Theatre for the presentation of awards including the Vision Award, recognizing “the producer’s ability to keep a feature length narrative in focus during the journey of the project.”

Starlet’s Sean Baker was the deserving winner of the Vision Award and not only got to take home bragging rights and a lovely engraved award, but he also got to share the stage with two-time Academy Award wining actress, director and producer Jodie Foster. Foster graciously presented the award, keeping the attention on Baker, and was heading off stage when the Festival’s Marketing and Publicity Director, Candice Pate, summoned her back.

SVFF founder Teddy Grennan and Marketing & Publicity Director Candice Pate hand over the mic to Jodie Foster at the Awards Ceremony Sunday evening

SVFF founder Teddy Grennan and Marketing & Publicity Director Candice Pate hand over the mic to Jodie Foster at the Awards Ceremony Sunday evening

“Ms. Foster,” Candice laughed, “we’re not quite through with you!”

Back in the spotlight, Foster was introduced to Sun Valley Mayor Dewayne Briscoe who presented her with the Key to the City. Mayor Briscoe thanked Foster for lending her support, credibility and star quality to the Festival.

Party central -- the nexStage Theatre

Party central -- the nexStage Theatre

But the focus really remained on the films at the awards ‘closing ceremony.’ The winner of the Gem State Award was Craters of the Moon by Jesse Millward and Stuck by Stuart Acher nabbed approval with the Audience Award. A full list of award winners is available here. Congratulations to all the award recipients, as well as the lucky audience winner of two round-trip tickets on Alaska Airlines, one of the Festival’s primary sponsors.

The mood at nexStage was celebratory and festive throughout the evening, as Master of Ceremonies Mat Gershater kept the event moving along  — no need for music from Jaws to get these winners to cut short their thank you speeches. Optimism and exuberance were the key words of the night and of the Festival, in general, as it stands poised on the brink of greatness.

In fact, Trevor Groth, Programming Director for the well-established Sundance Film Festival and a judge for the Sun Valley Film Festival, said the vibe and energy in Ketchum and Sun Valley over the weekend evoked a nascent Sundance. Ted Grennan, Executive Director of the Sun Valley Film Festival, was positively delighted with the weekend as he and Candice thanked their loyal and overworked staff, dedicated volunteers, the filmmakers, production crews, screenwriters and everyone else for stepping up to put on such a terrific event.

A large, enthusiastic crowd turned out for the Awards Ceremony

A large, enthusiastic crowd turned out for the Awards Ceremony

Caspar von Winterfeldt, SVFF board member and judge concluded, “The Film Festival has undoubtedly reinvigorated the incredible Hollywood legacy here in Sun Valley.  It is drawing talented filmmakers to the valley and that to me is special. I look forward to many more festivals ahead!”

As I looked around the casual gathering of talented film folk and film buffs alike, I took a moment to think, remember this right now. It isn’t going to last. Chances are, the Sun Valley Film Festival, with the backing of our wonderful community and the amazing talent it attracts, will grow into something truly substantial, truly fabulous. It is exciting to see the beginning of the next chapter of filmmaking, and making film history, in Sun Valley.

Congratulations to everyone who played a part in creating this seamless event. The image of Sun Valley that is inextricably linked with Hollywood and filmmaking is finding a new incarnation, indeed.

–RES

Caspar von Winterfeldt presented an award and said he was pleased to see Sun Valley's Hollywood tradition continue

The very charming Caspar von Winterfeldt presented an award and said he was pleased to see Sun Valley's Hollywood tradition continue