The Dirt is Going to Fly

Mountain biking is a big part of what makes Sun Valley so amazing. Come get your ride on this week.

Mountain biking is a big part of what makes Sun Valley so amazing. Come get your ride on this week.

If you see more smiling, dirt-spattered people in town than usual this week, it’s for good reason. Ride Sun Valley returns to local trails beginning June 26 and dips, plummets and races its way the grand finale event on July 5. This festival celebrates singletrack and all pursuits on two wheels. It is an ode to one of the activities that makes the area so amazing and is the perfect start to the holiday weekend.

Ride Sun Valley is back and with it, a celebration of mountain bike culture

Ride Sun Valley is back and with it, a celebration of mountain bike culture.

Though many rides and races cater to accomplished, competitive mountain bike athletes, there is definitely something for everyone during Ride Sun Valley. Amateurs, enthusiasts and spectators alike are all part of the action.

Riders who may not qualify for the US Marathon Mountain Bike Nationals (most mere mortals!), scheduled for July 5, have many other options for getting involved. One great way is by riding some trails with local experts. Free, guided rides on fantastic singletrack are being offered throughout the weekend all around the area. Organizers of Ride Sun Valley call it one of the best ways to get your stoke on!

Rides leave from the Sun Valley/Ketchum Visitors Center, located at the corner of Sun Valley Road and East Avenue (adjacent to Town Square) at 8:30 a.m. on June 28 and 29. The format is first-come, first-ride and participants should bring food, water and spare/repair equipment. Space is limited so try not to be on Ketchum time! The rides are appropriate for visitors and locals alike and will be led by people who know all the best singletrack secrets.

Experienced mountain bikers will take to Baldy during Ride Sun Valley for some daring runs.

Experienced mountain bikers will take to Baldy during Ride Sun Valley for some daring runs.

Shuttle rides and bike transportation are provided to remote trail head start locations on both days.

The first ride is at Fox Creek which boasts not only great singletrack, but some of the most gorgeous wildflowers in the area. The ride lasts two hours and encompasses four miles of bike path and six miles of singletrack, climbing 700 feet. The technical level is moderate and difficulty is medium.

Expect something like this on the free, guided bike rides. It is this beautiful. (photo Tal Roberts)

Expect something like this on the free, guided bike rides. It is this beautiful. (photo Tal Roberts)

A longer ride also goes out that day and lasts 4 – 5 hours covering 21 miles (mostly singletrack) and a 2100-foot elevation gain. This gorgeous ride takes you to Fox Peak and ends up back at the Expo.

Sunday also offers two rides, one out Corral Creek and one on Red Warrior to Greenhorn Gulch. The first is a one-and-a-half-hour ride that covers four miles of bike path and six miles of singletrack. It is rated easy on the technical scale and climbs 340 feet.

The second ride lasts about three hours and stretches over 11 miles of glorious singletrack. Elevation gain is 1500 feet and shuttles take you to and from Ketchum.

No bike? No problem. Stop into Pete Lane's in the Sun Valley Village. The selection of rentals is great.

No bike? No problem. Stop into Pete Lane's in the Sun Valley Village. The selection of rentals is great.

For a full schedule of events (and it’s long!), please click HERE.

Mountain biking is one of the most wonderful things about Sun Valley. Be sure to get out there on the trails yourself and cheer on the pros bringing their talents and enthusiasm to our hills.

It’s bike season!

–RES

Let the Healing Begin

A group of firefighters enjoys the well wishes of the community at the picnic Sunday night

A group of firefighters enjoyed the well wishes of the community at the picnic Sunday night

For those of us who hold the Wood River Valley in a special place in their hearts, there really aren’t enough superlatives to describe how we feel about the firefighters who worked so hard to protect this one-of-a-kind place earlier this month.

According to Vicki Minor, Director of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, the affinity and admiration we hold for the heroes of the Beaver Creek Fire is reciprocated. Following Sunday night’s barbecue and concert at the River Run Plaza to honor and thank the firefighters, Minor received feedback unlike any she has ever heard.

“A lot of emotional healing started for our people at the base of Bald Mountain this weekend,” Minor said during a phone interview from her headquarters in Boise. “For this community to turn around after such a stressful experience and give tribute to our wildland firefighters … it was like nothing we’ve ever experienced before. I don’t know if you know what your tribe up there did for our tribe.”

More than 2,000 brave firefighters battled the blaze that threatened the Wood River Valleytwo weeks ago

More than 2,000 brave firefighters battled the blaze that threatened the Wood River Valley

For the men and women whose job it is to walk toward scenes like this one out Greenhorn Gulch, the tribute they received from the community was met with heartfelt appreciation

For the men and women whose job it is to walk toward scenes like this one out Greenhorn Gulch, the tribute they received from the community was met with heartfelt appreciation

Minor explained it’s been a particularly deadly and tragic wildland firefighting season, with 32 valiant firefighters lost. “I deal with death and tragedy and this was a very healing experience,” she said, “we’ve never been treated so well.”

Sunday evening’s events invited all firefighters and their families to enjoy a full western barbecue, drinks and entertainment, courtesy of Sun Valley. “The food was amazing. The crowd was amazing. It was a night to remember,” Minor said. “No one could believe Sun Valley and community there were doing all of this for them.”

To thank firefighters Sunday night, the food was plentiful, delicious and free

To thank firefighters Sunday night, the food was plentiful, delicious and free

According to Minor, the Wildland Firefighter Foundation is also amazed by the monetary support of the Wood River Valley. “The money hasn’t stopped rolling in,” she said. “The generosity of this community is unparalleled.” Monies raised at the special presentation of Sun Valley On Ice Saturday night, at the barbecue Sunday night, as well as contributions coming directly to the Boise office totaled more than $30,000 as of Monday afternoon. As we spoke, Minor exclaimed, “I just opened another $2,500 check from Sun Valley.”

Many contributions were not large, but were no less meaningful to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. During the ice show Saturday night, for instance, many children put a handful of small bills into the collection jar, one explaining that is was tooth fairy money he wanted to give to the heroes.

A double rainbow greeted the firefighters at River Run -- things were definitely looking up

A double rainbow greeted the firefighters at River Run -- things were definitely looking up

Every donation, no matter how large or small, counts. “This money will help so many firefighters and their families in an immediate, tangible way,” Minor said.

One big check delivered on Sunday evening came from Cox Communications. In addition to donating $5,000 to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, Minor said Cox also provided an invaluable service to the fire teams at the height of the crisis. Within 24-hours of the creation of the Incident Command Post, the local team of the communications company moved in to provide wireline Internet connections. This served not only to allow incident managers to get out incredibly timely information about the fire, it also served another critical purpose.

“In this very scary fire season, families quickly get worried when they don’t hear from their firefighter,” Minor explained. “What Cox did in this case was give the more than 2,000 firefighters at the camp the ability to easily call home which was invaluable.”

Guy Cherp of Cox Communications (right) presents a check to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, one of many given over the course of the weekend

Guy Cherp of Cox Communications (right) presents a check to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, one of many donations made over the course of the weekend

Guy Cherp, Vice President of Operations at Cox, who presented the check Sunday night said, “Cox was honored to provide a means for firefighters to communicate with loved ones.” He continued, “It was impressive to work with the great people fighting the fire, which includes our Wood River Valley firefighters. Cox is deeply grateful and appreciative of the firefighters putting their life on the line to protect our community and we were so moved by their heroic efforts that we wanted to support them.”

“The fire season isn’t over yet,” Minor said, “but Sun Valley’s response to our people made the rest of the journey for these people so much better. We saw a whole community come together to take care of each other and to take care of us. This was medicine for the firefighters’ souls.”

–RES