The Jolly Holiday Season Begins

Santa listened earnestly to many children's wishes during the Winter Wonderland Festival

Santa listened earnestly to many children's wishes during the Winter Wonderland Festival

Things were jolly, indeed, this weekend in Sun Valley. Families flocked to the Village to enjoy the second annual Winter Wonderland Festival. Children raced around with scavenger hunt cards looking for clues, boarded a colorful train for a ride, carefully (or not) decorated gingerbread cookies with gobs of frosting and whispered in Santa’s ear.

Train rides around the Sun Valley Village were popular among the younger set

Train rides around the Sun Valley Village were popular among the younger set

Members of the Wood River High School choir serenaded the group gathered outside the Boiler Room and Sun Valley provided delicious food and warm drinks to keep the merriment going. By all accounts, it was a lovely, festive way to spend the afternoon.

Peter and Chloe enjoyed gingerbread man decorating in the Boiler Room

Peter and Chloe enjoyed gingerbread man decorating in the Boiler Room

Then, on Sunday, the elegant Lodge Dining Room opened for its bountiful champagne brunch. Newly configured this year, the Brunch offered its signature abundance of fresh, delicious food to suit everyone’s palate at numerous stations. From bowls of crab legs and shrimp, to made-to-order omelets and crepes; from Eggs Benedict to salads and fruit, it was hard to maintain discipline at this all-you-can-eat occasion! And that doesn’t even begin to cover the dessert table and the flowing champagne! Live guitar music offered a soothing soundtrack beneath lively conversations. This special meal will be offered on Sundays all season long and is something everyone who visits Sun Valley should experience.

Dessert, glorious dessert!

At champagne brunch, it's dessert, glorious dessert!

A crepe station is always popular at brunch

The crepe station is always a popular option

On the mountains, Baldy and Dollar hosted happy skiers and boarders all weekend long. Dollar is now open daily for the season, providing top-to-bottom runs as well as many fun and challenging terrain features. On Baldy, runs on Seattle Ridge also opened on Saturday. Skiing and boarding are now available on all over the vast mountain, offering great possibilities for a full day on the snow. Roundhouse Restaurant, Seattle Ridge Lodge, Warm Springs Lodge, River Run Lodge and Lookout are all providing tasty treats of all varieties to keep your energy high for just one more run.

Baldy's Seattle Ridge is open for the season!

Baldy's Seattle Ridge is open for the season!

But the fun is only beginning. A special breakfast with Santa takes place on December 21 and 22 at the Lodge Dining Room. Also on the 21st, be sure to come to the Sun Valley Village at 5 p.m. for the Tree Lighting Ceremony outside the Inn. Carolers, Santa and ice carving demonstrations will ring in the season.

There is nothing like Christmas Eve in Sun Valley with the Nutcracker on Ice, Torchlight Parade and fireworks

There is nothing like Christmas Eve in Sun Valley with the Nutcracker on Ice, Torchlight Parade and fireworks

On December 22, be sure not to miss the sixth annual Classic Christmas Concert at the Sun Valley Opera House. The tradition is enriched this year with several popular local acts including the Sun Valley Hallelujah Chorus and special guest Joe Fos. Carolers and dancers from the Footlight Dance Centre will also perform. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are available for $20 at the Sun Valley Recreation Center or online.

Everything leads up to Christmas Eve festivities, including the popular Nutcracker on Ice at the outdoor rink, followed by Sun Valley’s traditional torchlight parade and fireworks.

Please join us to celebrate the happiest of holidays!


The Rev Tour goes Local

Langely McNeal -- standout Ski Cross racer and fantastic local girl -- came home for the Rev Tour

Langely McNeal -- standout Ski Cross racer and fantastic local girl -- came home for the Rev Tour

When Ski Cross racer Langely McNeal looks up at Dollar, she sees a lot of things. She sees the mountain where she learned to ski 25 years ago when she took her first turns with father, Whiz, one of the longstanding members of Sun Valley Ski Patrol.  She also sees the future in Sun Valley’s amazing Terrain Park and Pipe. “So many amazing freestyle skiers and boarders have come out of Sun Valley before all this was here,” she smiled, gesturing to the playground that Dollar has become. “The kids that get to grow up on Dollar these days are so fortunate. Sun Valley has built a world-class training facility for Halfpipe and Slope. I would love to see more development with Ski Cross. The potential is unreal and I think Sun Valley could be the ultimate training Mecca.”

The view most of Langely's competitors have of her on the course

The view most of Langely's competitors have of her on the course

Langely, though a pre-Terrain Park child, hasn’t done too badly herself. She is back in town this week as part of the Revolution Tour and won the women’s Ski Cross competition on Monday.

“It’s a great course and it’s always so nice to be home,” Langely said. Currently training with the team at the International Snowboard Training Center in Silverthorne, Colorado, this X-Games alumna has her sights set on Sochi in 2014. Recently back from a trip to the very overcast home of next year’s Winter Olympic Games, she turned her face to the sun and exclaimed, “there really is no place else like Sun Valley. I am so excited to be here, so excited the Rev Tour is here. It gives me a great excuse to show off my hometown to my friends and teammates.”

Another Sun Valley local appearing in the Rev Tour is snowboarder, Chase Josey. Chase, a senior at Community School (where Langely’s mother, Beverly, has taught for more than two decades), exploded onto the international scene this past January in Copper Basin. There, he finished 8th in the Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix with a score of 75.00. This was Chase’s first World Cup start. He, too, recently traveled to Sochi and hopes to go back next winter for the Olympics. For the Rev Tour, Chase competes on Thursday in Sun Valley’s fantastic 22-foot Superpipe with qualifying rounds beginning at 9:30 a.m. and finals dropping into the pipe at 3 p.m.

Another young talented Sun Valley snowboarder, Ryan Roemer made heats in Boarder Cross on Monday, but did not advance to the next round.

Local snowboarder Chase Josey previews what fans can expect to see in the Superpipe on Thursday

Local snowboarder Chase Josey previews what fans can expect to see in the Superpipe Thursday

Langely, Chase and Ryan are among the more than 500 athletes in town this week competing in the Rev Tour from as far away as Brazil and Japan. Events include Ski and Boarder Cross, Halfpipe and Slopestyle. According to the Rev Tour website, “In its ninth season, the U.S. Revolution Tour … is designed to serve as a stepping stone for athletes making the transition from competing at the grassroots level to the elite level. The series pre-qualifies a portion of its field and then opens registration to any athlete, but is focused towards riders 13-19 years old (Cross 15-19) and will award the top juniors an invite to be part of the U.S. Grand Prix, Junior Worlds, the U.S. Open, USASA Nationals, and participate in Project Gold camps. Competition formats may vary slightly at each stop, but athletes will always compete as an open class.”

For a look at the Cross Course from a rider’s vantage point, check out this POV video courtesy of Billy Pettengill of team ISTC from one of his training runs.  Billy placed second in Monday’s Rev Tour competition.

Watching Langely and Ryan fly through the rollers on the Cross Course and Chase work his magic in the Superpipe makes us all hold our collective breath and collectively cheer at the end of a successful run. Our homegrown elite athletes, among the best in the world, make us all really, really proud.

Langely was equally proud of her hometown. “It was cool to see Sun Valley step it up and take on the challenge of putting on an event like the Revolution Tour,” she said. “I think it shows that this place is more than capable of bringing many world class events and new business to town!”


Dollar in all its Park & Pipe glory (courtesy of James Bourret Fine Art Photography/Mountain Images Gallery

Dollar in all its Park & Pipe glory (courtesy of James Bourret Fine Art Photography/Mountain Images Gallery

This Pipe is Super

It's game on on Sunday when the superpipe opens

The 22-foot superpipe opens on Sunday. Game on!

The headline? Sun Valley’s new highly-anticipated Olympic-size 22-foot (deep) superpipe will open for business on Sunday, January 6. Taking shape on Dollar’s Old Bowl, this will be one of only three 22-foot pipes currently open in America. One more reason to be sure to include Sun Valley in your winter vacation plans.

The Zaugg “Pipe Monster”, the largest pipe groomer in existence, is busy at work, prepping the extreme feature. According to the Zaugg website, the machine was designed by aeronautical engineers to work much in the same way as an airplane wing. It is lightweight, flexible and able to withstand high stress — traits that might also be useful to those brave enough to jump in.  The combination of this monstrous machine and the know-how of Sun Valley’s Terrain Park experts, is creating a pipe that allows tricks people once thought impossible — like jumps 20 feet above the deck.  Epic.

Practice makes perfect in the Progression Park

Practice makes perfect in the Progression Park

According to Sun Valley’s Brian Callahan, guru of all things Terrain Park, now is the perfect time to get comfortable on the ever-evolving and growing jumps, rails, jibs, pipe and other features specifically built for Dollar. “The Progression Park is open and is a great place to get comfortable,” he said. For people like me who don’t know what a Progression Park is, as Brian explains it, it is a an “extra small terrain park with features appropriate to beginners. It’s the perfect place to learn how to unweight your skis or your board, to get air and really enjoy using all the surfaces.”

For those already comfortable catching air, the medium parks are also up and running on Dollar. These jumps and rails are X-Games and Slopestyle caliber, according to Brian, and offer endless possibilities for fun.

Little shredders at the top of the cross course in a season past

Past seasons on the cross course proved a huge hit with the kids. This year will be no different, just better and better.

And if that isn’t enough, the Family Cross Course is in its final stages and will be completed on Sunday. This track lets skiers and boarders bank curves, jump and tuck to the bottom, in direct competition with up to three others. It is a kid favorite, for sure.

Just in time for the amazing Revolution Tour, coming to Sun Valley in March, a huge snowmaking effort is underway, preparing the competition boarder cross course. Be sure to come to Dollar from March 17 to March 22 to watch the best of the best compete in Halfpipe, Snowboardcross, and Slopestyle. The course used by the Revolution athletes will be open to the public, but requires completion of a training session.

In fact, safety on all terrain park features is of the utmost importance to Brian and his team. Sun Valley Snowsports has instructors specifically trained to teach in the park and pipe and will offer special camps and lessons to familiarize users with what’s available on Dollar throughout the season. Call the Snowsports School at 208.622.2289 to sign up for a lesson or clinic to ensure the safest, most enjoyable day at the park ever. Then, let her rip.

Catch some air on Dollar

Come play in Dollar's Terrain Park


(Red) Bullish on Sun Valley

Filmmakers on the move on Dollar

Filmmakers work on getting the right shot on Dollar

What do you get when you combine some of the world’s premiere Red Bull-sponsored freestyle athletes, huge features on Dollar Mountain and a top-notch film crew out of Los Angeles? You get the scene at the base of Dollar this weekend. The amazing guys from SPT, the team that works with Sun Valley’s Brian Callahan to create our ever-evolving terrain park, are the subject of an action-packed, high-flying reality television show that is scheduled to air in April. Sun Valley will be featured in the first episode of this series, spotlighting SPT and produced by National Geographic.

Preparations are full speed ahead, readying for the arrival of the Red Bull athletes. Midweek, SPT was building two rail pads into an airbag (yes, just like it sounds – a huge airbag that the athletes land in). Snow making is going full bore toward the top of Dollar, creating a 65 to 80-foot jump that will launch these guys into our thin mountain air.

SPT, which stands for Snow Park Technologies, is one of the most-sought after consulting teams in the world, creating special projects on snow. Frank Wells of SPT is one of the guys who make the magic happen — designing and building awesome (in the true sense of the world) terrain parks and half pipes, competition courses and staging on-snow productions and events. Though he has worked all over the world, Frank loves Sun Valley.

The morning meeting includes Frank Wells of SPT and Bryant Dunn of SV Ski Patrol

The morning meeting brings together Frank Wells of SPT, the production crew and Bryant Dunn of Sun Valley Ski Patrol

“Sun Valley is one of our favorite places to come and to work,” Frank said, sipping coffee outside Carol’s Dollar Lodge. By 9 a.m., he had been up and down Baldy, secured some footage of a spectacular Idaho sunrise and found time to get in a few turns. He said everyone loves coming to Sun Valley, staying at the Resort and swimming in the Lodge Pool — “the only hot tub you can dive into!” Amir, part of the film production team and a first-time visitor to Sun Valley agreed, “That pool is great.” He and his colleagues are also enjoying the night life on Main Street and are generally having a blast and working hard.

Back on Dollar, Frank and his team brought in some special fierce-looking Snow Cats for this effort, allowing for the creation of the exact features required by the project.  Everything is in place and in control, except that one variable no one can control – not even Frank: the weather. The great news is Sun Valley is expecting two to five FEET of snow to fall above 7000 feet by Monday morning. The challenging news for Frank & Co. is that we are expecting two to five FEET of snow to fall by Monday morning. But Frank, the filmmakers, and, for sure, the athletes, don’t mind a challenge. They are extreme freestylers after all. Let the action begin!


Red Bull athletes will fly from these epic jumps this weekend

Red Bull athletes will fly from these epic jumps this weekend



Getting ready to make movie magic

Getting ready to make movie magic

SVSEF Dollar – Ottos

Mini world cup

Adele Savaria;

Coaches at 8:30

Goodbye Dollar, Hello Snow!

After a stellar season, Dollar Mountain has said goodbye for the 2009/2010 season. To send off the season in style, Dollar Mountain and Sun Valley Resort hosted a skier/boarder cross on Saturday and a big Pond Skim Party Sunday.  Dollar was jammed with people in costumes, kids, families, skiers, boarders, mono-skiers, snowbladers, telemarkers, Easter Bunnies and revelers as hundreds lined up for the pond skim. DJ’s played tunes, burgers were grilled, beers were served and even though the pond skim pond was eventually punctured by an enthusiastic skier, good time was had by all. It was the perfect way to celebrate  an awesome season on Dollar Mountain!

Thank you to Tim Silva, Peter Stearns, John Matteson, Brian Callahan, the Sun Valley Snow Sports School,  the Mountain Department, the Sun Valley Ski Patrol, the Snow Making and Grooming Staff, the SPT-crew, the lift operators, the staff at Dollar Lodge and everyone who made Dollar the place to be this year. See you in November!

And in case you haven’t noticed, it is snowing! Head up on Baldy and get some of the fresh snow that has been falling for the past week. Baldy’s last day isn’t until April 18th and there are calls for more snow in the next few days and over the weekend, plenty of time and snow left to enjoy!

Bald Mountain to be open through April 18th!

Spring is definitely in the air as the sun is shining, the snow is soft, an outdoor bar is set up at Warm Springs Lodge and goggle tans abound.

Sun Valley Resort announced yesterday that Bald Mountain will stay open through Sunday, April 18th. Little brother mountain, Dollar, will remain open through Sunday April 4th.

This leaves all of us die-hard Baldy fans, terrain park fanatics, sun-loving skiers, fair-weather boarders and spring-skiing enthusiasts plenty of time to enjoy the blue skies, snow, sun, and skiing. So rather than wondering “what if?” or lamenting Ullr for not bringing us more snow in March, get out there and make some fun spring turns, grab a seat on a sunny deck, enjoy the company of friends and savor the beauty of this place we are all lucky to call home.

The Finer Things of Skiing

It’s the New Year. The holiday storm is over. It is again possible to find a parking place in town and get dinner at a local restaurant. There’s not a 20-person line-up in the express lane at Atkinson’s and you can actually get your skis tuned in a timely manner. The slopes are at a pleasurable, near-empty capacity. And now it is snowing. But after a few weeks of parties, visitors, family, dinners, shopping, barhopping, and skiing paired with working harder than you do the rest of the year, as most locals do during the Christmas season, you are sick. Flakes are falling outside your window and your voice can barely be heard through the telephone when your ski buddy calls at 8:45 am to see if you are in the lift line yet.

Well, we thought we would ease your pain with our list of a few of the "Finer Things of Skiing". Seemingly little things that those who don’t ski or snowboard don’t understand putting up with, things that make skiing seem difficult but things that once we make a wide, sweeping turn on a freshly groomed run or take the first couple powder turns of the season, are completely forgotten. Things that don’t matter in the life of a skier or snowboarder, but make the stay-at-home-because-you-are-sick-and-miss-the-new-snow you feel just a little better about being at home.

1. Core shots from toy truck-sized rocks in the base of your brand new skis.
2. Losing toenails from too many days in your boots.
3. The excruciatingly painful pleasure of taking your boots off at the end of the day.
4. Figuring out just how to carry all your stuff.
5. Inevitably losing some of your gear.
6. Frostbite on your face from a cold, windy day and then having to cover it up for weeks after.
7. Digging your pass out from under your jacket on the coldest of days.
8. Flat light on Warm Springs at 10 am.
9. The walk from the River Run parking lot always seeming so much longer and more difficult at the end of the day.
10. Never being able to actually take a good solo run because inevitably you run into someone you know on the chair or in the lift line.

What do you think? What little things comfort you when you can’t make it up the mountain?
(And don’t worry, by tomorrow we’ll all forget about these trivial things and be right up there with you.)

Check out our pics of some these “Finer Things of Skiing” that really aren’t that bad….


Mark Oliver’s Terrain Park Video “Its Always Sunny in Sun Valley”

Check out local snowboarding / photography / video phenom, Mark Oliver’s awesome terrain park video featuring local athletes who didn’t have their own park before Saturday like Colter Brehmer, Tai Barrymore, Pat Lee, Chase Josey, and Mal Prior.

Its Always Sunny in Sun
Valley Episode 1
from Mark
on Vimeo.