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….

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New Year, New Season, New Future and Hopefully, New Snow.

2010 is just a few hours away and we now look forward to what the New Year, the new season, and possibly the new snow holds for Sun Valley. With 75 years of history behind us, containing a storied past of great skiers, celebrities, politicians, ripping locals, blue skies, and sun-filled seasons of good skiing; we are excited and hopeful for what the future has in store for our much-loved mountain.

We have a rough year behind us. In 2009, the economy served to threaten our tourist-dependant community and it is easy to see the misfortune. But instead, we look back on a community that continues to grow, people that continue to work hard, a company with a vision for the future, a passionate, outspoken and hard-working generation of youth in the valley who want the best for their hometown, and a mountain that has continually stood tall over our valley as it has for ages, serving as a pillar for our community and a cornerstone for ski culture throughout the world.

With timeless Bald Mountain, a new terrain park on Dollar, a new era of management, an ever-present supply of sunny skies and short lift lines, 3,300 feet of vertical just waiting to be skied, an environment that provides endless terrain for Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, and mountain biking, and a community that continues to support and enjoy this blessed place, we can be nothing but grateful we live in Sun Valley and be nothing but optimistic for all that 2010 has in store.

Now with a forecast calling for 17-20 inches in the area overnight tonight, it seems the New Year is most definitely starting out right.

So check out to the festivities in Sun Valley, head to one of the parties in downtown Ketchum, or snuggle at home on the couch and ring in the New Year with optimism, love, hope, and cross your fingers for all that snow. Happy New Year to you and yours!

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Olympic Hopeful and Local, Langely McNeal, and Five Things She Loves About Sun Valley

Part of a generation of kids born and raised in the Ketchum/Sun Valley area, Langely McNeal, has had skis on her feet since she could walk. For her, Sun Valley is home and Baldy holds a special place in her heart. And now, for the past few years she has been training to get closer and closer to every skier’s dream, the Olympics.

Langely is one of two American women in the hunt for the Vancouver Games in the new event, SkiCross. Much like a motocross race on skis, with all the bumping, pushing and crashing, SkiCross is fast, furious, and terrifying. But anyone who has seen Langely on the hill knows this ball of fire can definitely hang. Langely, who still calls Sun Valley home and trains on Baldy, is a member of the US Ski Team’s SkiCross team (part of the US Freestyle team) and a member of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation’s Olympic Development Team. As the top ranked US woman in SkiCross and with support from the SVSEF and the US Ski Team, Langely will be traveling to Europe to compete in several qualifying races in hopes of earning herself a spot in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Keep an eye out for our local girl and check out the five things she loves about Sun Valley below.

5 Things I Love about Sun Valley

1. The steep terrain on Baldy that feeds right into the non-existent lift lines.

2. The feel of carving a ski on the perfectly groomed runs, then having hot chocolate and whip cream at Warm Springs Lodge.

3. Being able to walk out my front door with a mountain bike, road bike, running shoes, whatever, and knowing I’ll be able to find some sweet trail in any direction.

4. The people, hands down. So many great personalities in our valley and amazing friends that you can’t find anywhere else.

5. The ridiculous amount of sunshine we see all year round… so spoiled!

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Christmas Blackout 2009!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas in Sun Valley is a time full of parties,shopping, ice shows, fireworks, dinners, dancing, drinking, sleeping, opening presents during a leisurely breakfast and then skiing. Unfortunately for 17,000 people in Southern Idaho, Christmas in Sun Valley this year was a little different….

A blackout caused by a break in a power line somewhere in the desert around Picabo, possibly the result of an overload (read: too many Christmas lights!), commenced at 10:30 pm on Christmas Eve. A cold, cold night with temperatures dropping ensued and the power was not restored until around 2:00 pm Christmas Day and the lifts on Baldy never even got rolling. (read: no Christmas skiing!) But we think, just maybe, this was a blessing in disguise.

Dinners were finished by candlelight. Restaurant staffs merrily gathered in darkened booths drinking wine, and ringing in Christmas together. The Pioneer was hopping late into Christmas Eve as their generators proudly ran. Mistletoe above doorsteps was a little more romantic. Presents couldn’t be opened at the crack of dawn and anxious kids were forced to allow their parents a few more hours of sleep. Coffee was made on stovetops with a french press. No one was watching tv. No one was on their computer. There was no rush to get up on the mountain, or anywhere else for that matter. Transistor radios played Christmas tunes from stations in Twin Falls. There was a little extra cuddling overnight. Baldy saw quite a bit more uphill traffic as skiers and boarders enjoyed the bluebird day by hiking up. There were more walks taken and more people nordic skiing. Time seemed to slow down and everyone huddled together.

We may not have gone skiing on Christmas but this year, we all may be a little more grateful for what we do have in our lives; the ease, the convience, all we have been blessed with, and the ones we love with whom we can share it all.

The Reopening of Whiskey Jacques and the Countdown to Christmas Continues!

Christmas is only a week away and things around town are definitely starting to pick up. The mountain is busier. Drinks at the Duchin Room and at Averell’s Bar are flowing in a traditional holiday style. Dollar’s new terrain park and tubing park are opening this Saturday. The SuperPipe on Lower Warm Springs is set to open Saturday as well. Snow guns are running all over the mountain in hopes to open more terrain as soon as possible. Christmas trees are decorated, candles are lit, and everyone is preparing to eat at least one piece of Grandma’s fruitcake.

But in downtown Ketchum there is another event locals and tourists have been hotly anticipating… the reopening of the legendary Whiskey Jacques. After a fire raised the building over a year ago construction crews have been working hard on the bar’s rebuild and everyone in town, of any age and any dancing ability, has been chomping at the bit to get their favorite bar back. A staple in the Sun Valley nightlife for over 25 years, Whiskey’s is a classic wild western saloon right on Main Street in the classic ski town of Ketchum. Whiskey Jacques is reopening with a bang this Friday, December 18. They will be showcasing local band, The Bobo’s, on Friday and more live music will continue throughout the winter with acts like the Gourds, Mickey and the Motorcars, and New Year’s Eve guests, Marmalade Hill.

Other things happening this week around town, new bar and restaurant, Sego, is opening on Washington Street (928-7878 for reservations), at Dollar’s new terrain park on Friday morning some of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation’s Freestyle and Snowboard teams will be testing the new features, and the nexStage and Laughing Stock Theatres are presenting "A Christmas Carol" on Friday and Saturday nights (726-4857 for more info). Also happening is Sun Valley’s Christmas Tree Lighting Festival will take place in the Sun Valley Village on Saturday at 5:00 with performances by the Sun Valley Carolers and live music and drinks at the Boiler Room to follow.

So whether you are tearing it up on the slopes, strapping on your dancing shoes, or helping the community get ready for the Holidays, we’ll see you around town as the countdown to Christmas continues.

Sun Valley Suns Hockey Season Underway!

Been craving some good, old-fashioned competition or some bodies slamming against the boards? Fear not, the Sun Valley Suns’ hockey season is upon us.

The Sun Valley Suns Men’s Hockey team kicks off their 35th season this weekend at Sun Valley’s indoor hockey rink against the visiting Park City All Stars. The local team, who went 23-1 two seasons ago, is back on the rink to keep up the bashing, rowdy, and fun tradition of hockey in the valley. This season is bound to be another one full of competitive games with visiting opponents from Boston, Canada, Utah, California, Idaho, and Montana. Watch out for games against Jackson Hole; a devoted fan spends the season collecting duck heads and when the Suns score their first goal of the second period against the Jackson Hole Moose, the entirety of the rowdy section throws the duck heads onto the ice. Why duck heads? Because moose heads are too big to throw.

The team is made up of 25 local heartthrobs, some rookies and some who have been playing for the Suns for over a decade, with ages ranging from 19 to 50. Every season the team, a long-standing community institution, donates a portion of their door proceeds to local charities, usually around $15,000, and this season won’t be any different. The Suns provide not only a raucous good time on Friday and Saturday nights throughout the winter but they also regularly volunteer throughout the valley in the off-season.

Games are known to be a boisterous time with fans suffering from frozen toes and cold fingers, so dress warmly, enjoy some beer, hot chocolate, and snacks and head to the rink. The action starts tonight, Friday December 11th at 7pm and continues Saturday night. If you can’t make it this weekend, there are more home games next weekend, and more throughout the winter, or check out the website for more info, www.sunvalleysuns.com.

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Crosstoberfest 2009

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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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