Come Skate Away

On a brilliantly sunny Thursday afternoon, approximately 40 students from Ketchum’s Hemingway Elementary School clamored off the yellow school bus and into the Skate House at Sun Valley’s one-of-a-kind outdoor rink. There, they traded boots for skates and helmets and spent the next 60 minutes learning basic figure skating or hockey skills or simply enjoyed taking laps around the large rink with friends.

Local schoolchildren enjoy free skating and some lessons each winter on Sun Valley's iconic outdoor rink

Local schoolchildren enjoy free skating and some lessons each winter on Sun Valley's iconic outdoor rink

These children are a part of a four-week program that brings students from the nearby public school to Sun Valley to skate for free on Thursday afternoons. Sun Valley Company generously donates ice time, skates and helmets. The Sun Valley Figure Skating Club arranges to have a few of their amazing pros on the ice during the session to offer tips, lessons and inspiration. The local Sun Valley Suns hockey team always has a few players on skates, volunteering their time to work with students interested in hockey.

Sun Valley provides free ice time, skates, helmet and some lessons for young aspiring skaters

Sun Valley provides free ice time, skates, helmet and some lessons for young aspiring skaters

“It’s a great way for the kids to get on the ice,” said Sun Valley pro and former Olympian Judy Blumberg.  “It’s good for the kids, it’s good for the Resort, it’s a win-win.”  She added, while helping a young girl untie her skates, “This program gets kids to the rink who may never have gotten here otherwise.”

Hemingway teacher Caitlin Olson agreed. “For the kids who ski every weekend or are involved in different sports or activities, this is a terrific introduction to skating.” She adds, pointing to the rink, “This amazing facility is so close to school and they have a great time when they get here.”

Olympian and Sun Valley pro Judy Blumberg gives her own daughter, and all the skaters, a lot of great pointers

Olympian and Sun Valley pro Judy Blumberg gives her own daughter, and all the skaters, a lot of great pointers

Skating is one of the athletic programs offered to local students through Sun Valley, programs that also include downhill skiing on Baldy or Dollar or cross country skiing. There is never any cost to the student. Sun Valley offers these skiing programs to Blaine County elementary school throughout the Wood River Valley and they are something students always look forward to.  

The opportunity to lace up skates was added to this longstanding program three years ago when the Sun Valley Skating Club was looking for outreach opportunities to introduce more children to this lifelong sport. The fundraiser Battle of the Blades allowed the club to financially help make this a reality. With the tremendous support and input from Sun Valley Resort about 20 skaters showed up that first year.

Physical education class was never this fun when I was in school

Physical education was never this fun when I was in school

The doubling of interest among the children is a testament to just how much fun they are having on the ice and if smiles count as a measure of success, the first day of skating during the 2014 season was a huge success.

Pro Natalia Zaitseva works with an aspiring figure skater

Pro Natalia Zaitseva works with an aspiring figure skater

Who knows if the next Linda Fratianne, Nancy Kerrigan, Gracie Gold or Evan Lysacek took his or her first tentative strokes on the ice this week. Who knows if one of these young skaters will develop an interest in figure skating or hockey that will carry them through high school. What really matters is that they enjoyed a beautiful afternoon filled with exercise, fresh air and laughter all around.

–RES

 

Dine by the Light of the Silvery Moon

There is something wonderful about the combination of moonlight and fresh snow and that is exactly what dinner patrons enjoyed Saturday night at the year’s first Sun Valley Clubhouse Moonlight Dinner. The day’s heavy snowfall dissipated by evening, allowing the light of a big winter moon to intermittently fall on the silent snow.

The Sun Valley Club, located just east of the Lodge, is HQ for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, fabulous lunches, and three times this season, a very special moonlight dinner

The Sun Valley Club, located just east of the Lodge, is HQ for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, fabulous lunches, and three times this season, a moonlight dinner

The lovely spacious dining room at the Clubhouse hosted parties both large and small for a festive meal. The chef offered an a la carte menu with something for every palate. Appetizers included hot southwest chicken tortilla soup, a generous prawn cocktail with house made cocktail sauce, duck flatbread, an apple walnut salad and a bibb wedge salad. Entrees consisted of three choices: chicken roulade, grilled Atlantic salmon and prime rib of beef. Dessert was a choice of chocolate and white mousse cake or my all-time favorite, Bananas Foster.

Our group of seven reserved this special dinner to celebrate my son’s ninth birthday. The big, comfortable table, welcoming atmosphere and varied menu was the perfect choice for a special occasion. Conversation was animated and laughter constant as we tucked into our meals and enjoyed watching the snow fall lightly outside the big picture windows. The birthday boy enjoyed a man-sized portion of prime rib and the rest of the group, for the most part, followed suit, enjoying the flavorful carved-to-order meat accompanied by roasted garlic mashed potatoes, baby carrots and asparagus. The prawn cocktails were also a popular and well-received choice. For dessert, my son blew out the candle on his mousse cake and enjoyed every bite.

The moonlight dinner at the Sun Valley Club was a perfect place to celebrate a special birthday

The moonlight dinner at the Sun Valley Club was a perfect place to celebrate a special birthday

If you missed the fun last weekend, don’t fret. There will be two additional Moonlight Dinners this season, the first on Valentine’s Day, Friday, February 14 and the second on Saturday, March 15. Please call the Sun Valley Clubhouse directly at 208-622-2919 to make your reservations. Plan a little extra time before or after dinner, too, to take advantage of a snowshoe or a gentle cross country ski around the Nordic Center’s amazing trails. Under the light of the moon, there is nothing more serene.

The Ring and Foster families also celebrated a birthday Saturday under the light of the moon

The Ring and Foster families also celebrated a birthday Saturday beneath the light of the moon

Chances are you will be spending more and more time at the Nordic Center and Sun Valley Club as the Resort opened cross country skiing trails originating from the Club on Monday. Recent storms allowed for the opening of 5 kilometers of trails including Practice Loop and Leif’s Loop. Until there is additional snow, there will not be groomed classic tracks, but classic skiers are invited to enjoy the skate skiing trails. Glenn’s Loop is also open for snowshoeing and all trails are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lessons are available and all the gear cross country enthusiasts need is available to rent on premise. For more information, please call the Sun Valley Nordic Center at 208-622-2250.

It's beginning to look a lot like cross country skiing season in Nordic Town USA with the opening of 5km of trails in Sun Valley

It's beginning to look a lot like cross country skiing season in Nordic Town USA with the opening of 5km of trails in Sun Valley

With the Boulder Mountain Tour and the Sun Valley Nordic Festival coming soon, many people’s thoughts are turning to serious cross country fun. In Sun Valley, festivities celebrating the Nordic lifestyle begin January 24 and run through February 2.

The weekend’s snowfall put everyone in a great mood and the season is truly underway. Whether you favor fat or skinny skis, play hard on the mountain or on the trail and then be sure to stop by the Sun Valley Club to enjoy a hearty, delicious and nutritious lunch. And be sure to book a special night for that special person on Valentine’s Day. It will surely be a night to remember.

–RES

Sun Valley University

On Tuesday, it was off the races for USCSA competitors

On Tuesday, it was off the races for USCSA competitors

If it seems like there is a lot of youthful energy and exuberance on Dollar and Baldy, at the Nordic Center and in town right now, there is. More than 500 competitors from 65 colleges and universities across the nation are in town competing in the 35th Annual US Collegiate Ski & Snowboard National (USCSA) Championship. Returning for the second year to the slopes of Sun Valley, this five-day competition is kicking it into high gear from Greyhawk, to the Terrain Park, to Sun Valley’s mammoth 22-foot halfpipe.

The big jump contest will happen under the lights on Dollar on Thursday night

The big jump contest will happen under the lights on Dollar on Thursday night

Athletes across all four disciplines of Alpine Skiing, Cross-Country Skiing, Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding are here to lay claim to the title of the top collegiate team in the country. Competition is fierce. Today, the USCSA is hosting events in Alpine racing, Cross-Country, Snowboarding and Ski Cross. This morning’s fresh cover of snow provided a few new inches of powder, and an inspiring wintry feel.

Yesterday, two skiers from Sierra Nevada College took first and second in the women’s alpine giant slalom on opening day. By all accounts, the lightning fast snow was big fun for the racers on Baldy’s Greyhawk run.

And according to Laura Sullivan, Executive Director for the USCSA national organization, in general, the kids are “ecstatic.” She said, “many would not have come to Sun Valley without this event and they didn’t know what to expect. When they got here and saw the Terrain Park, the halfpipe, the great runs, they were beyond excited. The kids who came last year were very positive about their experience and got the word out – Sun Valley is awesome!” We may have a few soon-to-be-locals in the group as Laura said a mem, inviting students to learn about summer job opportunities at Sun Valley has been met with a great response.

Thursday, everyone is invited to Dollar Mountain for a “big air” contest under the lights. Athletes will be showing off their most impressive Slopestyle tricks, all under huge klieg lights. The event starts at 7:30 p.m. and everyone is invited to come to Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge to check it out.

On Saturday, the USCSA is bringing back team Dual Slalom, something Laura said they are very excited about. “The event starts at 9 a.m. and it’s a team event with qualifying races to finals. It should be terrific.”

College Cross-country racers are loving the Nordic Center and Sun Valley's amazing grooming

College Cross-country racers are loving the Nordic Center and Sun Valley's amazing grooming

Off the snow, the visiting athletes are having nearly as much fun as on the slopes. “Many of the kids are impressed with the tradition of the Sun Valley Lodge,” Laura said. “They like downtown Ketchum and appreciate that it’s a walking town. Many of the cross-country athletes have never seen a Nordic Center as nice as this one.”

Laura said USCSA is also appreciative of the 180 local volunteers that have come out to help the 45 people who came to Sun Valley to help with events.

To check out the action for yourself, and to cheer on the athletes, look no further than the base of the runs off the Greyhawk chair, the jumps and halfpipe on Dollar, or the Ski Cross course wending down skier’s right of that mountain. You can also catch a live video feed of the events HERE.

–RES

Greyhawk was running fast on Tuesday

Greyhawk was running fast on Tuesday

A full list of participating schools follows:

Appalachian State University, Babson College, Boston College, Brown University, Cal State Fresno, Cal State Long Beach, Cal State Sacramento, Castleton State College, Clarkson University, Colorado Mesa University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Duke University, Hobart College, James Madison University, Lafayette College, Liberty University, Loyola Marymount University, Marquette University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Michigan State University, North Carolina State University, Northern Michigan University, Northwestern University, Oregon State University – Cascades, Pennsylvania State University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rocky Mountain College, Rutgers University, Saint Anselm College, Sierra Nevada College, Skidmore College, Smith College, St. Olaf College, Stanford University, Stevens Institute of Technology, Syracuse University, The College of Idaho, The Ohio State University, United States Air Force Academy, United States Naval Academy, University of British Columbia, UCLA, UC Berkley, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, University of Colorado – Boulder, University of Idaho, University of Massachusetts – Amherst, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota – Duluth, University of Nevada, University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia, University of Washington, University of Wyoming, Virginia Tech, Viterbo University and Western Michigan University.

Nordic skiing invitation

Ned Wheeler, Director of Sun Valley Nordic Center encourages you to come on out and try cross country skiing on our 41Km of daily groomed Nordic trails. Come visit us in new state-of-the-art Nordic headquarters, the facility open to all Nordic skiers for the first time this winter. Looking forward to seeing out out here!

Nordic Center to Open Monday, December 22nd!

The Sun Valley Nordic Center will open on Monday December 22, at 9:00 a.m.at its new location in the new Sun Valley Clubhouse.

Practice Loop and Leif`s Loop will be open.

More trails will open as snow permits.

Call  208-622-2250  or check the Nordic report on sunvalley.com

Nordic Trail Report