Reckless Kelly, come back to Idaho

http://youtu.be/ZQhgR7Oj-zY?t=3m14s

Cody and Willy Braun of Reckless Kelly, Idaho’s homegrown country music stars, play with their musical father and brothers on The Tonight show in 1993. The boys started their careers playing with the family band. Reckless Kelly come home to Sun Valley for one night only at the Sun Valley Pavilion, Friday, September 6. (Rewind the video to watch the whole interview).
Video not displaying? Click here.

Cody Braun’s lonely harmonica introduces the strains of the final track on Reckless Kelly’s newest album, Long Night Moon. “There’s a river tumbling down the mountainside,” sings Willy Braun, the band’s lead singer/songwriter. “I can feel the north wind blow, through the trees and over to the other side, carrying me down to the valley below, when I’m on the road, bound for home, back to what I know, back to Idaho.”

Described by Willy as an “accidental traveling album,” Long Night Moon leads the listener through the band’s 17-year journey as a successful country rock band. That journey started in the mountains of Idaho under the “snow-capped peaks where I was born,” and, if the lyrics of the new album are anything to go by, is one that will end in the mountains they call home.

“About halfway through writing this record, I noticed that almost all of the songs I was writing, whether they were songs about the road, life, or love, had something to do with traveling,” said Willy. “It started as an accident and I decided to just go with it. Before we knew it, there was a definite theme.”

Despite living full-time in Austin, Texas, Willy wrote a large part of the album on his property in Mackay, just north of Sun Valley. Consequently Idaho permeates the lyrics, sometimes to the detriment of their adopted city. “Sleepless nights where the stars above are drowned out by the city lights,” Willy sings in the album’s title track (catch a preview here.). “And I wonder why I keep torturing my soul beneath this urban sky. But in my mind I’ll be home soon, surrounded by the winter, beneath the long night moon.”

Reckless Kelly’s music has always stood out for its honesty and real connection to the lives of its artists. Willy writes what he knows, he writes from his experiences. These are not songs by committee, intricately designed to please an increasingly fickle mass-audience, this is Red Dirt country, distinctly different from the polished, commercialized sounds coming out of Nashville today. While this may explain why the band hasn’t hit it truly big – yet; it also explains why Reckless Kelly fans are so passionate about the music – it’s authentic.

Reckless Kelly

Reckless Kelly play in Sun Valley next month. Cody Braun, far left, and brother Willy Braun, front, were born in the Moritz hospital, a few feet away from the Sun Valley Pavilion where they'll be performing.

In anticipation of Reckless Kelly’s gig at the Sun Valley Pavilion on September 6, I got a chance to chat with big brother and vocals/fiddle/mandolin/harmonica man, Cody Braun, about the new record, set for release September 3. The band’s 10th studio album, Long Night Moon was recorded at Cedar Creek Studios in Austin. An old farmhouse situated on 10 acres smack in the middle of South Austin, Cedar Creek provided the perfect setting for these country-boys turned city-dwellers to reflect on life, love, the open road and Facebook.

So there’s a song called Idaho on the album, there’s no hidden meaning in that one. It sounds like you are little homesick. Is there anything to that or does it just make for good lyrics?
“No, I think definitely we miss it – we talk about it all the time. Even though we’ve been in Texas for 17 years now we’ve always called Idaho home. We visit a lot. All of my brothers have places up there now, I’m the last one to break, but I figure if they all have places why do I need one?”

As a whole, the album has a more mellow country feel than some of your previous efforts, the traveling theme Willy talks about particularly lends to that atmosphere. 
“This record really is a concept record, in that sense it’s about leaving home and getting out there a bit and then getting back home. It’s about the journey and everything in between. We spend so much time on the road – that’s our life – so that tends to take center stage in a lot of our music. It’s Willy writing about what he know and what’s going on in our lives at the time.”

Willy and Cody Braun, were both born in Sun Valley, along with their younger brothers Gary and Mickey, who have achieved considerable success with their own alt-county band Mickey and the Motorcars. The family grew up between Challis and Stanley in Custer County, spending much of their youth playing gigs with dad Muzzie Braun of Braun Brothers Fame, out at Sun Valley’s Trail Creek Cabin. 

As soon as they were old enough, the two eldest brothers, Cody and Willy, took off to Oregon to start a band. After nine months in Bend they shifted paths, arriving in Austin in 1996 as a trio named Reckless Kelly. “We stole the name from Ned Kelly, an Australian bank robber,” Cody said. “‘They called him Reckless Kelly.’ We were in Oregon trying to figure out a name for the band and we were going to use that one for a couple shows and then find a really cool one. But it stuck.” Now known as an Oregon band they took the burgeoning Austin music scene by storm and today are considered a ‘true local success story’ in the city. But indisputably it’s Sun Valley that lays claim to the boys, after all they were born a few hundred feet away from where they will play next month, in the old Moritz Hospital, now staff housing for Sun Valley Resort.

Are you excited to be playing in the Sun Valley Pavilion?
“It’ll be the first time I’ve been to the Pavilion. I’ve seen it from the road, the first time I saw it I thought ‘Wow, what a neat venue.’ We’re really excited, it’s always fun to come home and play anywhere, but to get to play such a beautiful venue is going to be really fun. We’ve got a cool show worked up for this summer, with nine records to choose from we’ve got a ton of material.”

No question it will be a great show, Reckless Kelly’s reputation as the Real McCoy when it comes to performing on stage is well-earned and with this gig coming just 3 days after the release of the new album, the boys will be excited to show off the new tunes to a real hometown audience.
We’re really exited about the new album, it was a really fun record to make, a lot of fun songs on it. It’s a little bit more mellow than some of the other records we’ve done in the past, but it’s got a lot of really cool vibes. I get to play some different stuff on it, including a tenor guitar – that was a lot of fun.”

Reckless Kelly has always been known for the honesty of its music, you clearly pour a lot of meaning and connection to your lives into your work. But with 2008′s Bulletproof, in particular American Blood, you dived head-first into the whole political/country music mele. It was a bit of a shock to some of your fans. How’d that go down?
“Yeah – we got a little bit of backlash from American Blood. But we got a lot more positive than negative. Pennsylvania Avenue [a get-the-vote-out single released in September 2012] was a real-middle of the road kind of thing, it wasn’t one side or the other. But we’ve never really been afraid to go out there and talk about it. I’m personally not super political, none of the guys are, but Willy gets to a point sometimes when he’s sick and tried of writing about love gone wrong and wants to write about what’s happening around us. With the war overseas going on for 15 or so years now it’s hard not to be influenced by that.”

http://youtu.be/Gy67Qoosj1g

Reckless Kelly’s 2012 Pennsylvania Avenue Music Video. (Video not displaying? Click here.)

2011 saw Reckless Kelly’s first Grammy nomination, for Album Art. That must’ve been really exciting for you guys.
Yeah, that was awesome, and this record also has some really exciting art work. We got a bunch of surprises in store. A lot of stuff that ties the songs together with the art work. It’ll be fun to see people’s reactions to that.”

Can you give us some insight into what’s in store?
“Well, certain parts of the record artwork will be glow in the dark, you’ll get a little LED black light that comes with the packaging so you can see all of the different stuff that’s hidden in glow-in-the-dark ink. There are also some hidden messages throughout the packaging. We’ll be giving fans clues as to how to find those on our website.”

Does this inventiveness with the CD packaging come from an impetus to get people to buy the physical media rather than download the music? Reckless Kelly has been through the heart of the digital music revolution, is this part of how you’re navigating that monumental shift?
Yeah, we’ve definitely embraced the digital thing, we’ve noticed that the digital sales have been up considerably. Every time we put out a record they go up 20 to 30%. Last year it was closer to 50%, so it’s definitely the new way people are getting music; you have to embrace it. But at the same time we’ve always really enjoyed making records that are a whole piece of art, art work included. It’s fun putting a whole record together and having it be interactive. We’re definitely kinda going crazy with this one, it’s going be really cool and I think people are going to like it.”

Another giant shift during your tenure in the ‘biz’ has been the advent of social media. As a brand, Reckless Kelly seems to have fully embraced social media, but as a songwriter it sounds like maybe Willy is not so keen. One track on Long Night Mooon is called Be My Friend (In Real Life), and takes a direct hit at the current Facebook and smartphone obsession. Do you all have iPhones? Is Willy always telling you to put them down?
“We don’t leave home without them, we’re just as stuck as everybody else! That’s definitely my favorite song on the record, I think it’s a fun message, more of a reminder to people to just put it down. If you’re having dinner with your friends just have a conversation instead of checking whatever it is every 5 minutes. Again, it’s just what’s going on around us right now, it’s a fun tongue-in-cheek little song.”

Are you personally on social media? Do you do the whole Twitter and Facebook thing?
I do Facebook and Instagram, those are my two main deals. I have a Twitter account but I can never remember the password, and then when I do get on it’s like, I just had a cheeseburger, big deal. I can’t imagine anybody wanting to follow me through my daily routine.”

You’d be surprised… It’s amazing what people will gobble up. But social media has had a positive impact for the band?
Absolutely. It’s been wonderful. It’s a full-time job just updating and keeping up with everything. But we started our own label a couple years ago and as far as promoting the band you can do so much on your own now. You can get the word out that you have a new album or tour without spending any money. That was impossible years ago, we used to collect addresses from people and mail postcards. It’s a bummer that Facebook changed the way they’re doing stuff though, now they charge to reach all your fans so it’s not as effective as it used to be for us. We’ve got 160,000 followers, so for us to pay for an entire blast would be $10,000 or something stupid, it’s really crazy.”

The 2011 album Good Luck & True Love was the first release on your new label, No Big Deal Records, and you’re now self-managed. What was the impetus for such a big change?
“This last record is our 10th and we just got to a point where we were at the end of a record deal. Instead of re-signing we sat down and talked about starting our own label; what it would entail, how much extra work it would be – it’s been quite a lot. The last record was a real learning curve, this one was easier on a lot of different fronts. It’s great, we’ve loved every second of it. We’ve learned a lot and we have total control, we don’t have to run anything by anybody or talk anybody into what we want to do. If you were to try and talk a label into the packaging we want to do on this record it would have been like pulling teeth. On the cover it says Reckless Kelly, but it doesn’t have the title of the record until you shine the light on it. No way would a record company have let us do that. And then when you have management that’s three other people you have to email and include and get their opinion. At the end of the day we’re going to do what we want to do anyway.”

It sounds like the move was less about reinvention and more about sticking to your roots. But there’s been a huge shift in the country genre since you first broke onto the scene, and mainstream country music is enjoying an unprecedented heyday. Where do you see Reckless Kelly fitting into today’s music scene?
“I think we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing, keep trying to build our fan base, doing the shows, touring the country, making records that we’re happy with, that we’re proud of and that hopefully people like. I don’t really see us trying to fit in with the Jason Aldeans and the Taylor Swifts at this point, we’re still quite a ways off from what they’re doing. We’ve done quite a few shows with country artists and the crowd just kind of looks at us and says ‘What’s going on? This ‘aint country music?!’ The country fans tend to not get it most of the time. But there are a lot of people out there that really like this music and the Americana genre. Another great thing about social media is that people looking for our style of music can find it a lot easier; find it, check it out and download it.”

Clearly, Reckless Kelly are more than comfortable in their own skin, happy being real artists rather than commercially manufactured superstars. But in today’s music industry where the fans quickly ferret out any whiff of inauthenticity and have a real voice in the conversation, it’s no stretch to predict that maybe, just maybe, there’s superstardom in their future.
“We just carry on and enjoy what we’re doing, we’re really luck to get to play exactly what we want to play and set our own schedule. There’s not a lot of people that get to do what they love to do and do it totally on their own terms. If we can just keep building up a fan base and making a living doing what we’re doing then we’re going to be pretty happy.”

And so will their fans.

Jennifer Tuohy

Details: Reckless Kelly take to the stage at the Sun Valley Pavilion on Friday, September 6. Doors open at 6.30 p.m. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. The band will be supported by The TrishasBuy tickets here, priced $35 to $55.

Konditor-yay!

Chef John Murcko and Sun Valley General Manager are all smiles

John Murcko,Director of Culinary Operations, and Tim Silva, Sun Valley General Manager, could not be more pleased with the new Konditorei

The completely reinvented Konditorei Restaurant in the Sun Valley Village will open Saturday, December 22, and all the amazing culinary and creative talents behind the project are in a merry mood. As I happened by the bustling scene Thursday morning, I had to pop in to preview the progress.

Simply put, the new Konditorei is stunning, cozy, charming. From the open pastry kitchen, laden with sweet delights of every imaginable variety, to the comfortable couches surrounding the fire, the Konditorei promises to be the new hot spot at which to gather, eat and relax.

Here is a sneak peek at the great, and delicious, things to come!

–RES

Baking is an around-the-clock pursuit in anticipation of the opening

Baking is an around-the-clock pursuit in anticipation of the opening

Have a seat, relax by the fire

Take a seat, relax and warm up by the fire

Details like the hand-painted ceiling add charm

Hand-painted flowers on the ceiling show an amazing attention to detail

Banquettes provide a cozy spot

Banquettes provide a cozy spot to enjoy the new breakfast and lunch menus or a sweet treat

Some of the baked treats at the Konditorei

"Konditorei" is German for amazing pastries and the new restaurant lives up to its name

DIVAS: Mother’s Day Ideas

Top 5 Ways to Spoil Mom in Sun Valley this Mother’s Day

By Laurie Sammis

Mother’s Day is nearly 100 years old. Declared an official national holiday by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914, Mothers Day began in the United States after Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia began a campaign to set aside a day just for mothers. Her mother had died and Anna wanted all mothers to be remembered with a day of quiet reflection and family. But mother’s have been celebrated since the time of the ancient greeks, who used to honor Rhea, "Queen of heaven" and "mother of the gods" in the springtime with flowers, sweet honey cakes and fine drinks at dawn.

Perfect. It sounds like the beginning of the Mother’s Day tradition of breakfast in bed.

But if you really want to indulge mom this Mother’s Day, book the special Mother’s Day Package at Sun Valley Resort and give her a weekend to remember. This exceptional weekend package includes Saturday night’s lodging in the Sun Valley Lodge or Inn, Sunday Brunch for two and a one-hour massage. The Sunday Brunch is not to be missed and offers a lavish display of breakfast specialties including omelet and crepe stations, seafood, an array of gourmet salads and a symphony of desserts.

And don’t forget the pre- or post-massage soak in the Sun Valley Lodge heated outdoor pool–with poolside cocktail service and the expansive blue Idaho skies, it is a unique extravagance (and a local tradition)!

Looking for some other things for mom to do while she is enjoying her weekend indulgence in Sun Valley? Here are a few ideas to help make her day.

1) Let her be Sonja Henie for a Day

The beautiful Sun Valley Outdoor Ice Rink is an original Sun Valley Story and the location for the 1941 academy award nominated musical “Sun Valley Serenade” staring Sonja Henie, John Payne, Milton Berle, Glenn Miller and Lynn Bari. Let mom don white figure skates and twirl and dip around the outdoor rink to the sounds of the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Follow it up with a cocktail on the Lodge terrace or in the historic Duchin Lounge. Or bring the whole family and let mom skate with the kids for her own personalized version of Disney on Ice.

2) Enjoy a Historical Tour and Picnic at Trail Creek

The Ketchum / Sun Valley Heritage and Ski Musuem features information and historical tours of the area, along with amazing exhibits with photos and memorabilia on everything from the early days of skiing in America to author Ernest Hemingway’s years in Idaho. Visit their Hemingway in Sun Valley [http://ksvhs.com/?page_id=403] page for more information on where to go to touch a little of the history related to the celebrated author and visit a few local institutions at the same time–the Sun Valley Lodge, Trail Creek Cabin, the Casino Club, the Ketchum Korral, etc. Visit the Hemingway Memorial and picnic alongside Trail Creek (grab provisions from the Sun Valley Deli).

3) Bike to Lunch at the Sun Valley Club

The views are spectacular and the wrap-around terraces overlooking the 18-hole Sawtooth Putting Course (a great place for kids and new golfers to practice) and the Trail Creek Golf Course are perfect for sipping Bloody Marys outside when the weather is nice. And it is a short bike ride (or walk) from the lodge–with the Ernest Hemingway Memorial is just a short pedal along Trail Creek Road.

4) Indulge Her with some Retail Therapy

Designer fashion, gifts & accessories in the Sun Valley Village shopsDon’t miss the village shopping–with 15 unique shops for every need, from specialty hand-dipped chocolates to jewelry, unique toys, gift items and designer fashions at the Brass Ranch (for the largest collection of European and American ski and sportswear, including Arc’teryx, Bogner, Canada Goose, Eider, JetSet, Kjus, Moncler, Ralph Lauren, Rossignol, Toni Sailer and more) or Panache (with big designer names like Nanette Lapore, Brunello Cucinelli, Chan Luu, Elizabeth & James and Diane Von Furstenberg, who makes a personal appearance for their annual fashion show fundraiser every summer).

Looking for the latest cool finds, local shopping deals and steals, check out Sun Valley Magazine’s weekly SWAG blog to make sure you don’t miss a thing.

5) Pamper Her with a Spa Day

Book a bevy of services through the Sun Valley Spa and give mom a day of indulgence. Start with a hike in the morning (there are several within easy walking distance of the lodge) and then give her a head-to-toe makeover with a manicure / pedicure, followed by a facial and a 90-minute Sun Stone "Hot Stone Therapy" massage or herbal body wrap. Heaven!

 

So spoil mom this year in all the ways she deserves and enjoy everything Sun Valley has to offer.

 

Knott Your Average Golf Course Designer

Sun Valley’s courses designed by one of the sport’s best

By Mike McKenna

Trail Creek, Hole #18

When you get right down to it, it’s actually easier to make it as a professional golfer than it is as a professional golf course architect.

Don Knott is one of those lucky few people with the talent and tenacity to make the cut as a professional golf course architect. But he hasn’t simply made the cut.

Don has become one of the most highly respected golf course architects of all time. If there were a Master’s Tournament for golf course designers, Don–-who designed Sun Valley’s White Clouds course and redesigned Trail Creek–would get a lifetime exemption.

 

Don Knott designs his golf courses to fit within the natural landscape

"Golf is still golf"

Don didn’t always have a love affair with golf. A collegiate All-American swimmer at UC Berkeley, the Northern California native didn’t pick up the game until graduate school.

He started playing Berkeley’s course simply because he loved the outdoors and had a passion for landscape design. Don quickly got hooked on the game and could often be seen riding his motorcycle to the local college course, carrying his clubs on his back.

Knott landed an internship with the legendary Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architects (RTJ2)  in Palo Alto, California. He quickly made his mark in the company and was hired on, eventually becoming RTJ2′s Lead Project Architect and Senior Vice President of Design, spending the next 26 years helping the firm to construct golf courses all over the world.

"The game is pretty traditional. It’s been 18 holes for a long time," Don explains. "Golf is still golf. People still hit the ball the same way as they always have. The key to all great courses isn’t how much money they cost to build, it’s that they fit into the natural landscape. A good golf course design makes it look like you haven’t moved any dirt to make it, at least that’s the goal."

"There has to be magic"

Spanish Bay at Pebble Beach,  The National Golf Club of Australia, The Prince Course in Hawaii, and Jug Mountain Ranch in McCall are some of Don’s most celebrated designs.

"It’s hard to build a bad course on a great location," Don explains. "But there has to be magic to the location if it’s going to be a truly special course. There’s a reason Pebble Beach is so famous.

"Of course, you have to have nice views. But there should also be a wee bit of mystery and intrigue," Don explains. "The origins of the game are not based on scoring. The origins of golf are that it’s an obstacle course through nature. You hit the ball and then you go see what your fate is."

"Idaho is just spectacular"

"I still love the game and play when I can," says Don, who left RTJ2 in 1999 to found the Knott & Linn Golf Design Group with fellow golf course designer, Gary Linn.

The breathtaking view from the White Clouds course, Hole #4

Based in Mountain View, California, they are busy building courses across the globe, but one of Don’s favorite places to swing the sticks is still Idaho.

"Jug Mountain Ranch in McCall is one of my favorite spots, and the 360 view you get at the courses in Sun Valley makes it a really special place," says Knott, who travels to the Wood River Valley each Summer to play in the Danny Thompson Memorial.

"The whole mountain scene in Idaho is just spectacular," Don declares, professing the type of admiration for the Gem State that golfers all over the world have for his work.

There may be more than 28 million golfers in America alone, but there’s only one Don Knott, and players all over the country–and especially in Idaho–are certainly happy he made the cut as a golf course architect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SV SHRED: Holiday Treats


Family fun in Sun ValleyFun stuff to do for the whole family

By Mike McKenna

It’s tough to find a better place in this big, beautiful world of ours to enjoy the holidays than Sun Valley, Idaho. From fantastic skiing and snowshoeing to bowling, ice skating  and snow tubing, there are lots of fun ways to fill up a day around here.

To help you make the most out of it, here’s a rundown of some of the fun stuff the whole family can enjoy during the holidays in Sun Valley.

 

 Bowling & Game Room

One of the Pacific Northwest’s oldest bowling alleys, the Sun Valley Lodge Bowling Alley and Game Room offers a 1950′s atmosphere and features six lanes, video games, a Juke Box, pool table and snack bar. Open nightly from 4pm to 10pm daily, the Bowling Alley and Game Room can be reserved for private parties. For more info, check bowling alley hours and details here.

Cross Country Skiing or Snowshoeing

The Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center is located at the 58,000 square-foot Sun Valley Club in the backyard of the world famous Sun Valley Lodge. They’ve got all the gear to supply the whole family for some fun frolicking in the snow. For a round up of other local snowshoe trails, from easy to insane, check out Sun Valley Magazine’s "Walking in a Winter Wonderland."

Sun Valley Lodge Skating Crowd

Skating in front of the Lodge at Sun Valley's famous Outdoor Ice Rink

Ice Skating

There’s no doubt where the coolest place is in Sun Valley, it’s the Ice Rink. Open to the public and home to the legendary Sun Valley Ice Shows, the Ice Rink is a great time for the whole family. The ice rink is open daily at 10 am has a full range of rental sizes.

Fly Fishing

Even on the coldest days, fisherman of all ages can be found casting the day away on the Big Wood River. Check out the reduced winter guide rates, which include all the gear, for day of fly fishing with the world-renown guides at Silver Creek Outfitters or read about the basics here.

 

Micro-Stock Car Racing

Sun Valley’s Limelight Room will host the Micro-Reality Stock Car Racing Thursday, December 29 & Saturday December 31, from 6 to 10 pm. $25 per person at the door. Youngsters and those young at heart are welcome to join in the fun, which will include: Video Games, Fast Track Auto Racing, Guitar Hero, Hose Hockey, Giant Twister, Speed Pitch, Calf Roping Lessons, Electronic Putting Challenge, Music & Prizes! For more information or to make reservations call 208.622.2135.

Learning to ski under Sun Valley's blue skies

Ski Lessons

From daylong kids classes to private lessons for the whole family, taking or having the kids take a ski or snowboard lesson is always a good idea. Sun Valley Snowsports Ski School is well known and highly respected for helping shredders of any age improve their skills and have more fun on the slopes. Follow this link for Ski School basics. 

Forever Plaid

Celebrating their final season, Forever Plaid offers "Heavenly Musical Hits" the whole family can enjoy. Kids under 12 are admitted for free. For their full schedule, check out the Sun Valley Calendar of Events.

Movies

Situated in the heart of Sun Valley Village, the Opera House was built in 1937 and serves as Sun Valley’s charming 340-seat theatre. Call 208.622.2244 for check here for films and times.  The Opera House also plays the classic film, "Sun Valley Serenade" each afternoon at 4:30 and admittance is always free. Ketchum’s Magic Lantern Cinema also offers current films nightly and as matinees most days.

Music

The two base lodges at Sun Valley, River Run and Warm Springs, offer live music most weekends and holidays weekdays. Check out the Calendar of Events for times and listings.

 

Sleigh ride to Trail Creek Cabin with Bald Mountain as backdrop

Sleigh Rides

A sleigh ride to Trail Creek Cabin for dinner has traditionally been one of the most memorable and fun Sun Valley winter experiences for the whole family. Round trip scenic rides are available Tuesday through Saturday and nightly during the Christmas holidays and President’s Week. Private bookings are also available. For dinner at Trail Creek Cabin, the half-hour long horse-drawn sleigh rides leave the Sun Valley Inn at 6pm, 7pm and 8pm for a family style dinner. For more info or reservations call 208.622. 2135 or check here.

 

 

Swimming

Sun Valley Lodge offers two year-round swimming pools. The Lodge Pool is heated to a soothing 100-102° and cocktail service is available for aprs skiers. The Inn Pool offers breathtaking views of Baldy. The Lodge also offers a state-of-the-art fitness room. Check here for more info. The Wood River YMCA also has a pool and lots of other activities for the whole family, from a climbing wall to large fitness facility.

Tubing at Dollar Mountain is fun for the whole family

Tubing

Rubber meets the snow in three 600-ft. lanes at Dollar Mountain’s Snow Tubing Park. Fun for the whole family, the tubing park is open daily. For more details, check here.

New Year’s Eve Party

Kids of all ages are invited to celebrate New Year’s Eve Sun Valley-style at the Inn’s Continental Room. Food & beverages are included. The family-friendly party runs from 7:30pm to 1:00am, $75 per person on New Year’s Eve. For reservations please call 208. 622.2135.

SKIING HERITAGE: Sun Valley Torchlight Parade

A Sun Valley Tradition

By Alec Barfield

Dollar and Baldy Mountain celebrate the season with Fireworks and a Torchlight Parade

The Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade on Dollar Mountain is one of Sun Valley’s most venerable traditions, dating back further than the memory of any living resident. More than merry exercise, the parade truly holds symbolic significance in the community–especially on this Anniversary year. Seventy-five years ago this Christmas season, the Sun Valley Lodge opened its doors to the world and our celebrated resort was born. By now we all know the "creation story" of how Averell Harriman and Count Felix Schaffgotsch, after combing the West, hand-picked Ketchum to be America’s premier ski resort, the next St. Moritz. With such a compelling narrative and host of characters – the railroad, the Count, the celebrities from Hollywood’s golden age – it is no wonder this town loves its heritage.

 

Tomorrow night that history will come to life in the form of lights and fireworks. The parade itself speaks to Sun Valley’s Swiss and Austrian predecessors, who pioneered the mesmerizing trails of fire that snake down the mountain. The location, however, alludes to the resort’s own uniqueness, as Dollar was home to one of the first two chairlifts in the entire world (the other being on nearby Proctor Mountain). While the East was using rope tows and Europe was still relying on funiculars and tramways, Sun Valley began moving skiers like hanging bananas on the novel Dollar Mountain "chairlift." The idea was a momentous innovation that would shape the skiing world forever, and Sun Valley was at the heart of it.

Yet the torchlight parade is a unique and festive Sun Valley time capsule, not only for its connection to this area’s earliest beginnings, but because its participants have been doing it for years. Historically conducted by the Sun Valley Snowsports School, the parade is a nostalgic event, providing an opportunity for friends and family to remember those torch bearers who are no longer with us as they watch the snaking line of past instructors, sweeping right and left, and sharing in the tradition once again. According to ski school director, Allan Patzer, the torchlight has become a truly spiritual event and an honor for present instructors. Not simply a performance, it is an opportunity for remembrance, in more ways than one, of everyone and everything that has contributed to the foundation of this incredible community.

Tomorrow night, after the Nutcracker On Ice Show, look towards Dollar. Rising nearly 630 vertical feet from the valley floor and bereft of trees, the mountain is the ideal host for the event, which will be followed, as always, by a show of fireworks. If you’ve never watched the parade before, this is your opportunity to take part in an elegantly poignant Sun Valley tradition. If you are a regular spectator, one familiar with that glowing stream of Christmas lights, then you understand, and have probably already set your clocks for six p.m.

>> Event Details: 

“Nutcracker on Ice” Holiday ice show begins at 5:00 PM at the Outdoor Rink, Sun Valley Lodge Terrace.

Torchlight Parade & Fireworks immediately following the ice show(usually around 6:00 PM)

Dress: Bundle up and look for hot chocolate and goodies on the Lodge Terrace (and maybe even a surprise visit from Santa after the “Nutcracker on Ice” Holiday ice show.

SHOT OF THE WEEK: Pat Lee on Dollar

Photograph by Tal Roberts Photography

Pat Lee hitting the rails on Dollar Mountain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIFT LINE: On-Mountain Lodges & Après Ski Options

Guest blogger Alec Barfield.

Why leave the mountain after skiing? Sun Valley has all kinds of aprs options, from the Warm Springs base to Lookout at the top of Baldy. Take an inside peek into these local drinking holes.

 

At Lookout Lodge. Getting ready to bomb to the bottom!!

 LOOKOUT LODGE (9 am – 3:30 pm):

With its low beams, leather booths and etched glass, Lookout Restaurant is truly a throwback. Unlike the more Tyrolean Roundhouse or the stately River Run base lodge, Lookout has a neighborly vibe, establishing it as the "other" classic spot for regulars to lunch or aprs on the mountain. Need a quiet corner to nurse a tall boy and rest those legs? Or maybe the powder is fresh and speed the priority? Either way Lookout has you covered: food and beer are served quickly and there are rarely crowds. Located at the top of Baldy, it is Sun Valley’s peaceful aprs-ski perch.

Crowd: Anyone looking to avoid the rush of other lodges. Regulars include ski patrol, lifties and locals in the know. Lovers of elegant washrooms: Lookout will meet your marble standards.

 

Specials: Beer pairing is simple: order anything to pair with the unbeatable fish tacos. The purest aprs meal, however, is the Kobe beef slider (think sake-infused beef).

Noteworthy: Come mid-March, Lookout sets up an outdoor grill, complete with sunshine and beer coolers. Remember that peaceful December pilsner in the corner? Last year’s crowds grew into the hundreds…. Let’s aprs, bro!

 

RIVER RUN BASE LODGE  (8 am – 6 pm)

Ahhhh, it’s the last ski run of the day–you are schusshing down Baldy with the beautiful River Run Lodge in sight. You can almost hear the wine corks popping and beer bottles clanking. River Run Lodge has a happening aprs vibe with live music offered on most weekends and holidays and a fabulous outdoor fire pit sitting area to meet new friends or catch up with old chums.

Crowd: Happy people of all ages, from locals to visitors, who just went skiing or boarding at America’s original destination resort!

Specials: Sipping tall boys of Pabst Blue Ribbon at the base of Baldy is one of life’s finer moments for some SVM staffers and fans.

Specials: The aprs scene is a classic mix of local and visitors (season lockers are upstairs) and many a special event has been staged at the River Run Lodge. Don’t miss the the afternoon spring scene or fire pit outside beside the gondola.

Noteworthy: Home to the original chairlift on Baldy and, as old-timers will tell you, to a single chairlift until the 1960s, River Run is now serviced by an 1,800-passengers-per-hour gondola which was the largest Doppelmayr project in North America when built in 2009.

 

SEATTLE RIDGE LODGE  (9:30 am – 2:30 pm)

A quintessential mountain retreat, the Seattle Ridge lodge is massive, impeccably detailed and downright warm. What’s incredible about Seattle Ridge is that it has no secrets: sunshine and gourmet meals play on repeat. The fireplaces are always roaring, heating nearby boots and gloves, and the views only change with the seasons. Enjoy early aprs with friends (the lodge closes at 2:30) while gazing out on Hailey, Bellevue, the Pioneer Mountains and the surrounding lower valleys.

Crowd: Skiers, boarders and occasionally that guy who mono-skis. Literally the whole family. According to many, Seattle Ridge is "the place to be seen." If there’s a celebrity on the mountain, he or she will likely stop by this Sun Valley landmark for lunch at some point.

Specials:  Do yourself a huge favor and try the mouth-watering prime rib. Don’t forget the pitcher of beer!

Noteworthy: Behind the beautiful log construction of Seattle Ridge were teams of helicopters that flew up and down the mountain delivering giant timber.

 

The SVM Staff enjoying apres at Averell's

AVERELL’S BAR – ROUNDHOUSE  (11 am – 4 pm, last call 4:30 pm):

Quite possibly the quintessential spot for aprs skiing in Sun Valley, Averell’s Bar is located halfway up Bald Mountain on the lower level of the historic Roundhouse Lodge. The octagonal building is filled with loving reminders of Sun Valley’s glory days and Averell’s (named after Sun Valley’s founder, Averell Harriman) hosts the Valley’s most majestic views of the Wood River Valley and Pioneer Mountains. Originally opened in 1940 along with Baldy’s first chairlift, Averell’s reopened in 2010 and not many people even knew the room existed after it had spent nearly a decade as a storage locker wasting those breathtaking views.

Crowd: Frequented by movie stars, housewives, Olympians, regular Joes, tourists and the un-or underemployed, Averell’s will surely leave an imprint as it offers a stroll down memory lane.

Specials: The cheese fondue for two (or more) is tough to top and they offer a solid beer and wine selection. SVM staff is known for making major editorial decisions while enjoying beer and fondue at Averell’s.

Noteworthy: Averell’s announces last call to ski down by ringing the bell at 4:30 pm. The last gondola back down departs at 4:45 pm. Dinner at 7,700 feet is a special event (open Thursday-Sunday from 6 – 9 pm), reservations required, call 208.622.2800.

 

WARM SPRINGS LODGE  (8 am – 4 pm):

The bar is small, but the view is huge. The drinks are cute ("Hot Apple Pie"), but they pack a punch. The lodge at Warm Springs does big and little things, and it does them all well. The lodge itself is magnificent, the perfect place to end a long day on the mountain. The famous cookie bell, almost unseen, nonetheless rings loudly enough to produce an even noisier scuttling of tiny boots to the kitchen. Find a seat facing the vaulted windows, grab a pint of the Stone IPA, and wait for the youngsters to return with Sun Valley’s greatest aprs snack.

Crowd: Residents of the Edelweiss and groups of all sizes parked at Warm Springs. Weary parents. A few years ago I also spotted Tim Allen on the patio.

Specials: The creative and very seasonal "Warm Ups" menu features drinks such as the "B-52" (coffee liqueur, Irish cream and orange cognac) and the "Nutty Irishman" (hazelnut liqueur, Irish cream and vanilla flavored vodka). Small cups of bar pretzels are on the house.

Noteworthy:  The aprs crowd at Warm Springs follows the sun, meaning the scene heats up, literally and figuratively, after the holidays. By President’s Weekend, Warm Springs definitely secures the end-of-day "scene." Weather permitting, bands will play regularly outside. Nothing goes better with chocolate chip cookies than live music.

 

>> Check the Sun Valley website all season for more information on events/specials at Lookout, Seattle Ridge, Warm Springs and the mountain’s other lodges!

MOUNTAIN DIVAS: Epic Moms and Girls Who Kick Butt

Get inspired, get involved or just get away–this is your chance to shine!

By Laurie Sammis

Utter the word DIVA and it immediately creates an image of a glamorous and admired woman, one at the top of her game. An image of a woman who is a personality, a tour de force, and a woman who has earned the right (or simply demanded it) to be completely, totally and royally spoiled in every way.

Tracing its origins, quite literally, to the Latin word for divine. diva (or divas, plural) lists as its synonyms goddess, princess and queen. And never mind that our dear friend Mirriam Webster also lists "prima donna" as both 1 and 2 in the same definition, all of us ladies know that we all have a little bit of the diva in us. This blog–DIVAS–is dedicated to finding the inner goddess in each of us (or at least what is left of the superwoman we all want to be in our daily lives).

DIVAS features epic moms and girls who kick butt, both on and off the slopes. Get inspired, get involved or just get away–this is your chance to shine.

And what better way to launch our blog, but with a story about a group of ripping alpine women skiers–named, appropriately, the DIVAS.

DIVAS stands for "Die Incredible Vimin Alpine Shredders" (best uttered, according to SunValley Snowsports Instructor and DIVAS founder Danielle Carruth, with a heavy Austrian accent). "The idea for the program has been in the works for about five years, but the timing was finally right and we are thrilled with the incredible turnout," says Carruth.

Modeled loosely on the success of VAMPS (their boot camp is legendary), which is Muffy Ritz’s Nordic program taught by women for women (and with a nod to the spirit of VAMPS through the name as well), DIVAS is a women’s ski group taught by a core team of all-women coaches from the Sun Valley Snowsports School who focus on improving technical skills over varied terrain.

You don’t have to be an expert: The only requirement is that you can comfortably ski any run on Baldy, from top to bottom. DIVAS meets one-day per week for 2.5 hours on Baldy, although many DIVAS continue to ski together after class.

"We focus on a new theme every week, with very targeted instruction to help improve skills," says DIVAS coach and co-founder Nicky Elsbree, who asserts that breaking into small groups of 5 or 6 skiers ensures that the instruction is personalized to each woman’s individual needs and learning style.

One week the theme may be balance, with instruction on hip position, proper upper body stance and weight transfer. Another week the DIVAS may run gates, focusing on the finish of the turn and angulation, as opposed to taking on a bump run in the bowls, which is more about the top of the turn, initiation and transfer of weight.

"We try to make all our learning fun," says Carruth. "We ran the skiercross on Dollar one day and everybody had a blast, and I don’t think anybody even realized that they were working on things like how to ride a flat ski or how to absorb the terrain," she says, "they might not know they are working on skills that will apply later in the bumps, but they’re doing it and having fun at the same time."

"Building confidence is important," adds Elsbree. "Essentially, we are teaching them how to make subtle changes in their skiing, depending upon the terrain that they are about to enter." The goal is to ensure that no matter what conditions they encounter–whether entering steeps or harder snow or bumps–DIVAS will have the eye and the technique to handle whatever is below them.

"That is what makes skiing so fun," says Elsbree, "It is never the same, so it is always challenging."

>> To sign up for DIVAS next season (or get on the waitlist for this winter season) contact Sun Valley SnowSports at (208) 622-2289 or email snowsports@sunvalley.com for more information on women’s specialty clinics and instruction.

Crosstoberfest 2009

Crosstoberfest09

CROSSTOBERFEST 2009 – WHAT IS IT?

UPDATE:  Treasure Vallery Musik Meisters to play Saturday starting a 3:30.  This is a fantastic 9 piece band including 2 Trumpets, Flugelhorn, Alto horn, Trombone, Baritone, Tuba, Percussion, and a German Singer!

Theme: a Bavarian/Oktoberfest style festival celebrating cyclo-cross bike racing and the advent of winter

Who: Organizer:  Sun Valley Company, Race Promoter:  Bill Olson, Sun Valley Road & Dirt

REGISTER FOR THE RACES HERE:  www.powerhousefitstudio.com

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