It is widely held that laughter is medicine for the soul. If this is the case, dozens and dozens of people in Sun Valley Saturday night got a strong dose of life affirming laughter at the Duchin Room Comedy Series. An overflow crowd packed the historic lounge at the Sun Valley Lodge, laughing out loud, clapping and cheering for the stand-up comedy of Dwight Slade.
Slade, a comedian of international repute and a frequent visitor to the Sun Valley area, went right at local culture. Nothing was off-limits, from the strictly enforced 25 mph speed limit through Bellevue on the way to Sun Valley that drives him nuts, to the locals need to one-up each another when it comes to athletic pursuits. He delivered a hilariously funny account of a “typical” morning at a local coffee shop. To paraphrase, Slade explained, even if you closed down the bars on Main Street the night before, all you need to do the following day to redeem yourself is pull on some Spandex, wipe a little “sweat” onto your forehead and loudly explain the epic 50k loop you just completed. Whether or not you actually did it is totally beside the point.
Funny man Dwight Slade had the large crowd roaring
The headliner earned a five-star review from Scotland’s Minister of Culture at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He has performed in Afghanistan for US troops and at many comedy festivals. His credits also include a Tonight Show feature and a Hi-Def Comedy Special. But what really resonated with the audience of well over a hundred Saturday night, were his ties to the Valley.
Stefan Davis, another very funny man, warmed up the crowd before Slade took the stage, gathering a standing room only crowd. His conversational and self-effacing style won everyone over immediately.
The comedy series will continue for the next two weekends and runs from approximately 8:30 – 9:30 p.m. There is no cover charge. If past weeks are any indication, be sure to arrive early to secure your seat, order a specialty cocktail and even some food. Then sit back and prepare to laugh the night away.
Have a cocktail and relax. The comedy is really good
Next up is Patrick Keane, who boasts multiple appearances on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and appearances on Comedy Central. He will light up the Duchin Room on February 15 and 16 along with Leif Skyving. On February 22 and 23, don’t miss the antics of Claude Stuart who has appeared on the Tonight Show and Last Comic Standing. Opening for Claude is Gary Cannon.
Come on out. It’s free. It’s really, really funny. And it feels good to laugh.
A rehearsal on Thursday allowed the performers to perfect the show
On this, the shortest, darkest day of the year — the Winter Solstice — rich sounds of traditional Christmas carols and holiday favorites will enliven the long night. This evening’s fifth annual Classical Christmas Concert will showcase stirring melodies and soaring voices, transporting audience members into a peaceful reverie and setting the tone for the coming weeks of celebration.
For many, measures of Christmas music strike (pardon the pun) a chord deep within. The first bars of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, the opening notes of carols that have been sung for hundreds of years, a chord from modern favorites, bring a flood of memories and emotions. For instance, for me, Away in a Manger, places me right back beside my grandmother’s upright piano in upstate New York. Her home is decorated with traditional, colorful handmade Norwegian tablecloths and flickering candles. Fresh cookies cool on the rack. Despite the frigid weather, all is merry and bright, secure and safe.
This evening at the Sun Valley Opera House, John Mauldin’s evocative tenor will surely stir your own memories. His sister, Leslie Mauldin’s soaring soprano, will take your breath away. The talents of the Hatvani Chamber Ensemble and of pianist and baritone Jed Moss will weave together bits of memory, feeling and meaning to create an unforgettable evening of live music. Add the festive and popular Sun Valley Carolers and I dare you not to lose yourself to the mood.
It takes a full day to assemble the winter wonderland on the Opera House stage
The stage in the Opera House has been transformed for the night and mirrors the winter wonderland outside, bringing evergreens, white lights and everything but the snow, indoors. As the two violins, cello and piano play the first strains of music, close your eyes and let the holidays begin in earnest. But don’t get too lost in the moment – a very special guest is expected to take the stage along with the featured performers.
The sun will set today at 4:32 p.m. Before the doors to the concert open at 7 p.m., enjoy the brisk winter evening in the Sun Valley Village. Bundle up and take a walk through the Village Light Festival, where thousands of twinkling lights mimic the stars overhead. The Holiday Window Stroll leads through whimsical depictions of holidays around the world, Norway included. Visit the Gingerbread Village, a 20-by-30-foot scale replica of Sun Valley’s charm. Enjoy a drink or a bite at a Village restaurant or bar. Then make your way to the historic Opera House, take your seat, and surround yourself with the sounds of the season.
Tenor John Mauldin rehearses a favorite carol
Historically, in the northern hemisphere, the Winter Solstice has been a time of celebration and gathering. In different cultures throughout the ages, Yule logs have been burned to light the long, dark night. Neighbors gathered and feasted. This pivot point from which days will again grow longer and warmer has always been a time of renewal, ritual and reflection.
What better way to spend this night than by enjoying your favorite music, performed by consummate professionals and wonderful entertainers? Settle in and enjoy this midwinter night’s dream.
Tickets are now on sale at the Sun Valley Recreation Center, by phone at 208-622-2135 or 888-622-2108, or at the door based on availability. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.
Opening night of the 2012 Sun Valley Jazz Jamboree was a high-energy cacophony of color, smiles and the sweet sounds of jazz. From the Inn to the Lodge to the Indoor Ice Rink, converted into a vast performance hall for the weekend, the Resort was crowded with folks poised for a great time. Every chair was occupied in the cozy Duchin Lounge during a show featuring Jerry and Gary, battling banjo players. The rink was filled to capacity while 12 world-class performers, under the banner of Little Big Band N’Awlins Style, bebop’d and blew, improvised and grooved. Though early in the evening, many began to venture to the floating dance floor, one of the most appreciated and talked about features of this Jamboree.
Banjos battle in the Duchin Room
“People love the floating dance floor,” explained Scott Irvine who manages the Sun Valley Ice Rinks and is responsible for converting the indoor rink into a nightclub for the Jamboree. “The floor is sprung, almost like a tumbling floor in gymnastics, and people can dance for four hours and feel like it’s been one hour. It’s really fun – try it!” We bounced a bit among the dancers. It is fun.
Big Band fun
Back in the Lodge, the warmly lit lobby was full of festival-goers, on their way to or from of the dozens of evening events around the Resort. A helpful volunteer from Wood River High School, a musician herself, answered questions with a smile. The famous men’s singing group from Yale University, the Whiffenpoofs, congregated in the lobby, taking in the scene following their performance. Many grabbed a bite at the bar in the Duchin Room (myself included – I highly recommend the vegetable quesadilla) surrounded by hep cats of all varieties, including some of the weekend’s talented and smartly dressed musicians.
One of the helpful volunteers at the Jamboree
This was my first foray into the Jazz Jamboree and I plan to go back for more this weekend. It was terrific to see the Resort so crowded during shoulder season and it was terrific to see all the participants having such a tremendous time. People travel from all over (some I spoke with were from Kansas, Oregon, British Columbia) to be entertained, spend time with old friends and make new ones.
Things are in full swing in Sun Valley. Break out the boas, lace up those dancing shoes and get in on the fun. In addition to music and dancing, there is great food to eat and room specials if you want to relax through the last acts (that run until 1 a.m.) and then just roll into a comfortable bed, ready to start again the next morning.
The Jazz Jamboree runs through Sunday, October 21. Click here for a full schedule and get your jazz on!
Creedence Clearwater Revisited rocked the Sun Valley Pavilion last night
Something strange happened last night. It was as if the Pavilion was caught in a time warp. It started out in 2012, with the regular crowd of Sun Valley visitors and residents sitting sedately in their seats at the pavillion, seemingly ready for the symphony to perform or for a San Francisco ballet reprise. Instead, however, they were waiting for the debut of Creedence Clearwater Revisited in Sun Valley. As Roger the roadie surveyed the crowds with an expression of amused disbelief across his wide, friendly face. I asked him if this was a different type of crowd for the band. He replied, “Not different. Just more so.”
Roger, a member of the CCR sound crew, surveys the somewhat sedate Sun Valley Pavilion crowd prior to CCR's performance last night.
As the band comprised of American Rock icons Stu Cook and Doug “Cosmo” Clifford took the stage, the crowd politely clapped, emitting the occasional cheer. After a couple songs the cheering grew louder, and by the time lead singer John Tristao belted out Susie Q the Pavilion was transported back to 1970s. The crowd was out of their seats, dancing wildly in the aisles, and not a single muttering along the lines of “That young chap needs to sit down as its awfully rude,” was heard. This was a rock concert.
The band takes the stage.
Out of nowhere, dusted-off leather jackets and tight trousers accessorized with studded belts appeared, legs clad in cut off jean-shorts and more denim than you could shake a stick at were suddenly up and bopping along to the music. Sun Valley was rocking.
But it didn't take long for CCR to get the Sun Valley crowd going...
As CCR rolled out hit after hit after hit, the crowd couldn’t take it anymore and by Bad Moon Rising there was barely a bottom on a seat and an honest-to-goodness mosh pit had formed up front. Now that is not something you see at the symphony. When Stu Cook belted out “Are you ready to rock Sun Valley, Idaho?!” we really were.
Baby Sun with Grand Marshal Carol Knight in The Toy Store's 33rd Annual Doll Buggy Parade. Baby Sun loved the whole event, Little Sun (just behind her in the hat), not so much. "Mom, I'm not a girl." he complained to me.
This past Saturday in Sun Valley was the unofficial family day of the summer season. Over the past few years, two great family-friendly events have chosen to combine on this second Saturday of August, creating the perfect Saturday afternoon outing for myself and my two little ones. Thankfully, the dreadful smoke that had shrouded the valley the previous few days, caused by wildfires many miles away, was taking a much needed day off, providing the ideal afternoon for some fun in the sun.
Starting at 1:30 p.m. from outside the Sun Valley Inn, The Toy Store’s 33rd Annual Doll Buggy Parade saw a bevy of beautiful baby dolls all trussed up in their finest cowboy gear congregating for the traditional stroll down through the Sun Valley Village. The Sun family arrived a little late (as usual) and Baby Sun objected initially to being woken from her slumber. However, when she saw the cornucopia of dolls, dressed-up buggys and little girls, her delight was quite uncontrollable. When The Toy Store owner and parade Grand Marshal Carol Knight lent her her own baby doll, complete with fetching cowboy bandana, it was the icing on the proverbial cake and nothing could stop her now (not even a full orchestra and stone stairs… more on that later).
Ashley Brown of Ketchum pushes her gaily decorated buggy through the Sun Valley Mall. While the theme for this year's parade was Cowboy Bill, it was liberally interpreted. It's hard to separate a girl from her tutu!
The Doll Buggy Parade has been part of Wood River Valley life for more than three decades, moms strolling with their daughters today remembered when they were in the parade as children. Traditionally the trail of pushchairs, prams, strollers and anything with wheels that can carry a doll, winds its way from the Inn to the lawn outside the Sun Valley Pavilion, where it is greeted by the sounds of Sun Valley stalwart Tim Eriksen. Tim is a resort favorite, he has also been serenading guests, at The Roundhouse and Trail Creek Cabin, with his instrument of choice – the accordion, for many years. He told me that this gig is definitely one of his favorites. ”I love playing for the children,” he said.
The much-loved accordion player Tim Eriksen delighted the parade participants with some cheerful tunes, warming them up for the fun to come...
Following the fun of the accordion, the gaggle of girls (and occasional boy) proceeded into the Sun Valley Pavilion, carefully parking their buggys alongside its outer walls, just in time for the Sun Valley Summer Symphony’s annual Family Concert. A lovely tradition, the family concert is designed to introduce youngsters to the joys of classical music, and each year this one concert is just for them. From an orchestra petting zoo to a far more relaxed atmosphere, it was the perfect first experience for Little Sun (4 and a half). He was very excited to sit in his chair inside the pavilion, “read” his program and feel like a “grown-up boy.” Granted, the highlight of the event for him was the family behind us sharing their Goldfish crackers, but I’m sure some of the experience soaked in.
Little Sun, sitting in the Pavilion, was very proud of his "program" - an instruments of the orchestra guide and coloring book.
Baby Sun takes in the sounds and experiences of the Sun Valley Symphony. But not her seat.
For Baby Sun, hopped-up on dolls and balloons, sitting still was not an option, and while the family concert is a tolerant one, after 15 minutes of me chasing her up and down the exquisite stone stairways and walkways we bailed and headed for the freedom of the lawn. But not before she had delighted at clapping along with the crowds and stomping her feet in time with the original composition Board Games, a unique percussion piece performed with metal gloves and wooden board.
Once safely on the symphony lawn, we relaxed and enjoyed the performance of Cowboy Bill. An original piece receiving its world premiere at Sun Valley, Cowboy Bill is the brilliant result of the collaboration of Boston percussionist Alex Orfaly and Sun Valley’s favorite homegrown best-selling author Ridley Pearson, who performed his poem in person at the concert. As conductor Alasdair Neale explains in this video, “It’s Peter and the Wolf meets the Wild West… it serves as an introduction to the orchestra… it highlights individual instruments and sections to introduce young people to the wonderful world of the symphony orchestra.”
And it certainly did its job well, all the way home Little Sun was asking about Cowboy Bill and Bad Bob, the story had captured his imagination – and all without the aid of a television. Amazing! Catch some snippets of the music of Cowboy Billhere.
While a weary Sun family headed home, filled to the brim with music, dolls and ice-cream, we reflected on the extraordinary (and free!) afternoon we had had. Only in Sun Valley!
Newlywed Johnny Weir performs in Sun Valley on Ice this Saturday
After shocking the figure-skating world in August of 2010 by retiring from the sport, the truly fabulous Johnny Weir (now happily married to Victor Voronov) is setting his sights firmly on a medal in Sochi, the home of the 2014 Winter Olympics. I caught up with the three-time U.S. National Champion and 2008 World Championship bronze medalist in advance of his appearance in Sun Valley on Ice tomorrow, to chat skating, Olympics and his love for Sun Valley.
This is your first year skating after a two year retirement. How is it going? Johnny Weir: I announced my comeback to competitive figure skating in January, since then it’s been a very slippery slope to get back in shape, to learn a lot of the skills maybe I bypassed by not competing the last two years. It’s been a full-time job. But I’m really looking forward to coming to Sun Valley. It gives me an opportunity to do a show as opposed to all the training I’ve been doing to get ready for the judges. I’m looking forward to being able to just skate and be glittery—which is what I’m best at!—rather than focusing on the nuts and bolts. It will be nice to let my hair down.
What was it that prompted that decision to return to figure skating? JW: It’s kind of being building. I saw this point in my life where I knew that I could do everything required of me to be a competitive figure skater again and I could also see 40 years down the road where I would regret not trying. I have so many fans who have been encouraging me to continue competing, and instead of really focusing on doing this for myself—as I’ve already achieved so many of my goals—I’m returning to support my fans, to show them that you can still achieve something great, no matter how old you are or how many people counted you out. I want to help inspire people and give people a moment of escape. I want to take people on my journey with me when I skate. That’s definitely something that pushed me to come back. Even if I get out there and try and fail, if I can inspire someone to try, it will have been worth it.
This is your eighth appearance in the Sun Valley ice shows. What do you like about Sun Valley? What keeps you coming back? JW: I live just outside New York City and I’m constantly over-stimulated by lights and city action and craziness, so it’s really nice to get away and be in Idaho. It’s like a mini vacation. It’s wonderful to go to Sun Valley and work and perform for the guests at the lodge. But really it’s just nice for me to be peaceful and quiet and sleep well in the mountain air, keep my windows open in the hotel. It’s always a lovely experience.
What do you like to do while you’re in Sun Valley? JW: I’m an avid lover of fur and wildlife so I like gently walking around and seeing what kind of creatures I can spot. One year I did a photo shoot out in the hills and then down by that little red barn, and I saw a wolf there. I really like trying to animal spot, and I love the swans outside the lodge. I don’t really own hiking boots or hunting boots, so usually I’m trying to trek around in a pair of Christian Louboutin loafers, which never ends up well!
I’ve also made a few friends there over the years. Suzy Hart at Déjà Vu, my absolute favorite shop, and every year Ditta Von Teese’s parents will come and support me at the show. I have the most fun at Sun Valley that’s why I come back.
It’s well known that shopping is one of your favorite things to do. Are there any shops or places in Sun Valley that you’re excited to come back to? JW: Well, Deja Vu is my must-stop shop. Then there’s Davis, which carries a lot of the big New York designers, it’s a very fashionable, way too expensive store, and it’s always cool to see these clothes I’m so accustomed to seeing in the city in this sleek modern space in the middle of Idaho. There’s also that fantastic restaurant downtown with the cute little garden—Vintage—I like to have my pre-show meal there. Even though we stay at the lodge we like to go down into town and bring a little color.
Well, we can always use a little bit of color here. JW: Yes! And that’s something I like to bring to the summer ice shows, my own color. I’m a very unapologetic person when it comes to my personality; I embrace every flaw that makes me up. I like coming to small towns, it never hurts a town to have a little crazy flavor.
Speaking of that flavor, can you give us a sneak peek into your performance this Saturday? JW: I’ll be performing a show number to a beautiful rendition of Chopin as my first performance. It’s a very classical piece and I’ll show off what figure skating means to me; the artistic elegance, the beautiful side of figure skating.
And then, people have got very accustomed to seeing me skate to Lady Gaga and that pop element, so this year I’ll be skating to Fighterby Christina Aguilera. It’s a song that’s very indicative of what I’m going through in my life right now and everything I’m willing to give up and do for this season to make it a success. As for color at the show, I’m wearing a wrestling singlet.
What is that success you’re looking for this season? JW: I’m absolutely looking forward to returning to international competition. The grand prix series this fall—6 countries in 6 weeks and every skater performs in two of them—I’ll be performing in Moscow and Paris. The skaters with the most points at the end compete in the final, which will be in the new Olympic arena in Sochi, Russia. Then next January is the U.S. Nationals, which I’ve won three times. If I do well there I can be selected for the American team for the World Championships, from there each country receives its allotted number of spots for the 2014 Winter Olympics. I’m definitely starting on the road to Sochi.
You are a two-time Olympian, watching the Olympics today and planning for your return in Sochi must bring up a lot of emotions. JW: After the winter Olympics finished in Vancouver in 2010, I was so proud of myself and so proud of my career. I finished on the absolute two best performances of my life. It was that one moment of glory where everyone’s clapping for you and you feel that the World is really behind you. I really thought I would win a medal at that Olympics [he placed sixth]. So it was really a bittersweet experience.
To be honest for a few months after, it was more bitter. I didn’t want anything to do with figure skating. I didn’t compete or watch anything on TV. And those few months turned into a couple years. But I’ve really enjoyed it, being able to live the life of a famous person rather than of a figure skater. I’ve written a book, recorded a song [his memoir Welcome to My World, and single Dirty Love were both released in 2011], and have a TV show [Be Good Johnny Weir, returning next month]. It’s been fun, trying new things and also being able to try something and fail at something. But the time came when I realized I wanted to go back. I’m 28 now, I’m getting old!
Has watching the London Olympics spurred you on at all? JW: Watching London has been really eye-opening for me. A lot of the feelings I had in Vancouver have come flooding back. Every night I watch some new record being broken, another American winning a medal, I see the stories of the Olympians from around the world and it re-enamors me with the Olympics. It’s given me the passion to want to compete in Sochi.
Make sure you catch this dazzling delight on ice Saturday night, it could be your last chance to see him in person before he wins an Olympic medal…
If there is one thing synonymous with summer in Sun Valley it’s the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. It is a Sun Valley original. There is no other place in the world where you can lie on a lawn surrounded by the peaks of the Pioneer, Smoky and Boulder mountains and soak up the sounds of a world class orchestra serenading you.
The symphony has been running for 28 seasons and is the largest privately funded free-admission symphony in America. It gathers together some of the best classical musicians in the country for two weeks every summer. There’ll be oboists from the Omaha Symphony, bassoonists from Baltimore, violinists from Des Moines, cellists from Fort Worth, as well as a slew of guest artists and soloists.
For me, the symphony is an annual must-do. Years ago, before Little Sun and Baby Sun were in the picture, I used to head to the lawn behind Sun Valley Lodge most every night for two glorious weeks in July and August. After a long day in the office, relaxing on the cool grass with a simple picnic garnished from Bald Mountain Pizza moments before, was simply heaven.
Mr. Sun, who in our early days in the valley was a wildland firefighter, was always off protecting our forests during the summer months, so it wasn’t until last year that he finally got to share in my favorite summertime activity. We took the whole family along to the Pops evening on the first Saturday of the season. As with many musical events in Sun Valley, the symphony is very child friendly (if they get too rambunctious, an impromptu playgroup tends to form just out of earshot on the lawn). But on this evening my 3 year-old and 9 month-old were transfixed (probably all that classical music I played to them in the womb). Baby Sun was clapping and squealing along with the audience and Little Sun sat blessedly still for almost 15 whole minutes.
This year, I vow to try at least one night inside the Pavilion itself, I’ve always been reluctant to give up my much coveted spot on the lawn, but after my experience at the San Francisco Ballet’s performance earlier this month, I’m beginning to see the light.
Of course the lawn experience has been enhanced in recent years, with a large LED screen displaying the action inside for all the concerts, apart from the Edgar M. Bronfman In Focus series (which begins this Sunday). The season officially begins however, on Monday July 30 – and I’ll be there to cover it. See the full schedule here, but some highlights include Saturday, August 4th for Pops Night and the family concert the following Saturday that features the world premier of a Sun Valley Summer Symphony Commission, Cowboy Bill by Alex Orfaly. The performance also includes narration by writer Ridley Pearson. For the one night I may squeeze in up there without the children, my pick is Thursday, August 9, Musicians Choice Chamber Music, featuring Mozart and Brahms
Orchestra concerts begin at 6:30pm, unless otherwise noted, and last 60-75 minutes. The Pavilion opens for concerts at 5:30pm. Pavilion seating is available from the East Entrance (West Lake Road) for each of the nine evening orchestra concerts. Ushers will direct the line for seating inside the Pavilion. Reserved seats will be released for general seating at 6:15pm.
Fire and Ice combine in Sun Valley for a rollicking good Fourth.
As I mentioned a few posts back, the one thing I hate about summer in Sun Valley is that there is simply not enough time to enjoy everything there is to do. The next eight days in the valley will prove me right as the Sun family embarks on a marathon of fun that will barely scratch the surface of what’s on offer. Having experienced it all a few times over, I thought I’d share my plan for getting the family through a week of exhaustive Fourth of July fun.
Saturday, June 30
We’ll kick the week off with a gentle morning in the Wood River YMCA pool, then head out for a family hike, the combination of which will ensure Little Sun and Baby Sun are happily tuckered out for the babysitter. This will allow Mr. Sun and I to enjoy a patriotic evening of pops and arias at the Sun Valley Summer Spectacular, featuring International Diva Alyson Cambridge (I wish I could be an International Diva – how does one get that job title?).
Monday, July 2
Born in the Wild West, Mr. Sun will insist on attending Family Night at the Days of the Old West Rodeo in Hailey. Not that I don’t enjoy rodeos, but having grown up in a city curiously bereft of the need to wrangle cattle I do find it all a little baffling (especially when they lasso those cute little calves). But as long as I can keep telling Little Sun he’s too young for mutton bustin’ all will be well (although I’m sure the fearless Baby Sun will sneak off on the first passing sheep). I’ll just have to console myself with gawping at the gorgeous Rodeo Queens.
Tuesday, July 3
The place to see and be seen (at least until the Symphony rolls in to town) on Tuesday nights is Ketch’em Alive. This low-key, free, weekly concert at Ketchum’s Forest Service Park is perfect for the whole family. Just one of the many reasons I simply love summer.
Wednesday, July 4
The big day itself. Being American-born and British-raised, Independence Day has always sat a little uncomfortably with my dual nationalities, but who doesn’t love a parade? And that’s where I’ll be come noon, jealously guarding a prime slice of Hailey Main Street real estate, ready to wave vigorously as Mr. Sun rolls by in a big red fire truck with Baby Sun and Little Sun dangling out the windows. Then, after strapping the kids down for a nap to get them ready for the long night ahead, we’ll mosey on up to Sun Valley to watch 2011 US Gold Medalist Ryan Bradley spin in the first Sun Valley On Ice of the season, followed by the obligatory spectacular fireworks exploding over the Lodge.
Thursday, July 5
I will tolerate Mr. Sun’s efforts to turn my son into something other than a great British/American Wimbledon Champion by exposing him to the skills of the Mountain Bike Cross-Country National Championship riders. The culmination of the week-long biking bonanza Ride Sun Valley, the championship races begin today on Baldy. We’ll watch as the best American cross-country, short track cross-country and Super D riders race for the chance to represent their country at the London Olympics (race start times).
Friday, July 6
Today, it will be Little Sun’s turn to show off his prowess on two wheels as he gets a chance to cover the same trails the pros do in the Ride Sun Valley Kid’s Mountain Bike Race. As you’ve no doubt gleaned by now I’m a bit of a nervous mother, and if it all gets too much for me I will head in to town for some wine and art at the superlative Sun Valley Gallery Association Gallery Walk.
Saturday, July 7
Time to ditch the highbrow (and the kids) for some good old fashioned partying at The Sun Valley Shakedown. There’s quite the line-up, but I’m particularly looking forward to the signature New Orleans-stylings of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
Sunday, July 8
Based on the fact that we have four times as many bikes in our house as people, the chances are high that the whole family will be back at Baldy today to see the culmination of the Mountain Bike Cross-Country National Championships. From the safety of the River Run Lodge we’ll be cheering on the insanely brave boys and girls careering down Baldy. As thrilling as that sight will be, it’s the one later this evening that I am most excited for. The week from will end in paradise as I watch angels dance on earth when the San Francisco Ballet‘s dancers, including the exceptional Maria Kochetkova, grace the stage of the Sun Valley Pavilion for one night only.
Then, if we actually manage to pull off a miracle and cram all this into one week, we’ll likely hibernate until winter rolls in (in about 2 weeks). But please do share, what will be missing out on? Where will you be this week?
There’s a new girl in town, and she’s pretty hot stuff.
To help get the Wood River Valley excited for the San Francisco Ballet performance here next month, the talented Maria Kochetkova, Principal Dancer with the ballet, has been making guest appearances all around town. Baby Sun and I went up to the Sun Valley Club last week to get up close and personal with the prima ballerina.
Baby Sun was enamored by the beautiful Maria Kochetkova
Okay, okay, so she’s not the real thing, but it was still a lot of fun to hang out with her, not to mention a great photo op (which would have been better if I could have convinced Baby Sun to stand still…).
This is the first time the ballet will be performing in Sun Valley. America’s oldest professional ballet company is squeezing in a stop in the Rockies between their Moscow and London engagements as part of its 2012 tour. It’s also the first time carbon copies of its beautiful creatures will be gracing the streets of a city.
Dan Drackett, Chair of the Sponsors’ Committee for San Francisco Ballet in Sun Valley, and his long-time friend Robert Smelick, vice chair of the San Francisco Ballet Association, came up with the idea for the cardboard ballerina when they were perusing the giant posters they had made to promote the event.
“We thought, wouldn’t it be fun to have life-size cutouts made and put them all around town?” he said. The Ballet agreed and since last week Maria has popped up at The Christy, Zenergy and The Sun Valley Club. This weekend she’ll be hanging out at River Run. If anyone would like to invite her to come to their pad, post a comment below and we’ll see what we can do.
Maria herself was quite surprised to hear she was already in Sun Valley. I tweeted her my picture of Baby Sun cozying up to her and she responded with a “That’s amazing!” – promptly posting the picture to her instagram account saying “Apparently there is fake Masha living in Sun Valley.”
However, the future of her clone is uncertain. Dan Drackett said they are thinking about having the company sign the replica and then gifting it to a local non-profit. “But if people have ideas, we’re open to them,” he said. (Post any below and we’ll pass them on).
But more importantly, the Russian dancer will surely be a spectacular sight in the flesh. Maria has graced the stage in the title role of Gisele, as Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Kitri in Don Quixote and Juliet in Romeo & Juliet to name just a few.
Catch a sneak peek of her in action in this San Francisco Ballet video (where she also talks about returning home to Moscow as part of this tour), before she and her company hit the special springy stage at the Sun Valley Pavilion for one night only on July 8.
Details: San Francisco Ballet performs at the Sun Valley Pavilion Sunday evening, July 8. Available tickets range from $25 to $250. Special packages including one night’s lodging and two tickets for $184.50 per person are also available. Call 800.786.8259 or click here to buy tickets
Since arriving in Sun Valley almost nine years ago, I’ve discovered one of my favorite sights is that of deep dark clouds rolling into the valley on a quest to obscure our normally brilliant blue skies. The drama they bring as they cuddle up to the mountain tops is breathtaking, as are the storms that generally follow. And really, one does get somewhat bored of 330 days of pure, unadulterated sun.
While 45 holes is a dream to many, the 18 of the putting course was far more our style for a first family golfing day. On the advice of Dominick Conti at the Golf Shop we kitted the children out in collared shirts (“so they will feel part of the golfing experience”) and hit the greens.
As the clouds gathered, threatening but not yet ready to give up their cargo, the scenery was stunning, more than making up for my complete lack of interest in golf. The tykes however, were in heaven. And as most parents discover sooner rather than later, anything that makes your offspring happy makes you happy. (Apart from SpongeBob SquarePants—if I could get my hands on that darn pineapple under the sea…).
Baby Sun gets ready for a run at the balls
After a spring in Florida with his grandpa, Little Sun has ample golfing experience. Tucking his scoring pencil behind his ear (a trick the trusty Dominick had showed him), he strode up to the first of the 18 holes and knocked it out in 3 strokes. Well, as he pointed out grumpily, that would have been the case if Baby Sun’s incurable delight at seeing a little white ball shoot across the grass hadn’t been followed by the irresistible urge to chase it. We eventually curbed this desire by putting a ball in each of her pudgy hands.
Modeled on the famous Himalayas Putting Course at the historic home of golf, St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland, the Sawtooths is a lot of fun for serious golfers but it is absolutely perfect for a family day out. Offering downhill, sidehill and uphill putts as you weave around the 52,000 square foot course, we all felt like “proper” golfers—without actually getting in the way of the proper golfers.
It's time to get into the club!
After an hour of decent physical exertion, lots of laughs and just one tantrum, we headed for the luxury of the patio seating outside the splendid Sun Valley Club. Here Big Sun and I enjoyed a much-needed frosty beverage while the tykes wolfed down some toasty grilled cheese sandwiches. Pure perfection.
Here are some quick clips of the Sun family in action