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.
Creedence Clearwater Revisited play Sun Valley Tuesday, August 28.
As I prepared to interview Stu Cook of Creedence Clearwater Revisited for this blog, I casually mentioned the prospect to my husband. His reaction was on par with what mine would have been had someone told me Jarvis Cocker was going to perform at my sweet sixteen. If you’re lost by that last reference, stick with me.
My musical influences reflect the soundtrack of a deeply uncool movie. However, my British father’s predilection towards all things American meant that, while I was raised in England, I was exposed to the tunes of the country I was born in at an early age. I remember spinning Venus in Blue Jeans on a portable record player as a tween, dancing to Don McClean’s American Pie everywhere from my living room to my wedding reception, and listening to every single one of Buddy Holly’s hits on any and all family road trips. So you can probably picture my then-future-husband’s horror when, while driving across America in a Ford pick-up truck, he pumped up the volume on Bad Moon Rising, proclaiming that this was one of his all-time favorite bands and I chirped up, “Who’s the band?”
Honestly, I’m surprised we made it to the altar.
In the intervening nine years of living in the Wild West I’ve been properly schooled in the musical history of my current homeland, and so was suitably excited myself to be talking to a member of one of the country’s legendary rock ‘n’ roll bands and Hall of Fame member, Stu Cook.
For the uninitiated, Credence Clearwater Revival was the biggest band in America as the ’60s gave way to the ’70s. At its peak the band’s popularity rivaled that of the Beatles, in four years they churned out a string of hits including the aforementioned Bad Moon Rising, Lodi, Proud Mary, Born on the Bayou, Fortunate Sun and Who’ll Stop the Rain (inspired by their performance at Woodstock.) But, as even a casual observer of rock history will have noticed, in order to have any credibility as a rock ‘n’ roll band, drama is a prerequisite, and Revival had it in spades. Like their contemporaries The Beatles, forerunners Buddy Holly and the Crickets, and the carcasses of countless other great bands that litter history, creative differences split the lead singer/songwriter from his rhythm section, resulting in the demise of Revival in 1972, just four short years after hitting the big time.
Today however, the rhythm still rules as best friends Stu Cook and Doug “Cosmo” Clifford, bassist and drummer of the original band, have resurrected Revival’s distinctive Swamp Rock anthems under the moniker Creedence Clearwater Revisited. Former front man John Fogerty tours as a solo musician and his brother Tom, the band’s rhythm guitarist, passed away in 1990.
Have you ever been to Idaho? Oh yeah, many times. In fact the second concert Revisted ever played was in Idaho, Sandpoint. As for Southern Idaho I’ve been there quite a few times but really just to perform, but I’ve never really had the opportunity to hang out and immerse myself.
But you’ve never performed in Sun Valley before? No, I’ve snowboarded there but never performed. We came about 3 or 4 winters ago. I thought (the snowsports) were pretty good, there are some difficult areas, but it was pretty friendly. The bowls are beautiful, we stayed at the Lodge and it was pretty nice. We enjoyed it. I used to live up in Lake Tahoe and skiing was just outside the door, but when I moved to Texas my wife and I had to go on ski vacations and Sun Valley was the first place we picked as we’d heard a lot about it, but of course had never been there because we were spoiled by where we were living. So that was our first place to check off the list. Since then we’ve been to Jackson Hole, Park City, Telluride, I think we’re going to Steamboat next winter.
So, four members of my family in four different corners of the world were very jealous that I was going to be talking with you this morning. I think that is a small insight into how far your music has reached. It’s pretty impressive. I’ll say! We’ve toured the world – North America, South America, Central America, New Zealand, Australia, Europe and Asia. The enthusiasm of the fans is quite high everywhere and they’re trending much younger. We’re currently on our third generation of fans, hopefully we’ll soon have a fourth.
In other interviews I’ve read you’ve expressed surprise at the success of Revisited, that originally the idea was just to help a friend promote a couple of concerts. So what happened? You know I’m still puzzling about the first career… I have to say I think we’ve successfully built on the best parts of the original band’s legend. It all really comes down to the music. Great songs, timeless music. Somehow the fan base has grown organically, people have taken the music in and passed it on, shared it with their peers and their families, generation to generation. So here we are almost 45 years later with an amazing network of people who know the music, enjoy it and want to come and experience the Creedence concert experience.
Because we’re the original rhythm section we can make the music’s sounds and feel, that part is easy. The hard part was to find people who could play the music along with us. [They did, and today tour with lead singer/rhythm guitar player John Tristao, who rose to prominence as lead singer for People, and guitarist Kurt Griffey, who has recorded and toured with members of the Eagles, Foreigner, Moody Blues, Wings, and Journey. Multi-instrumentalist Steve Gunner rounds out the group.] Back then (Revisited formed in 1995) we had no idea if our fans would embrace what we were doing but our fears were put to rest.
One of the key elements to the success of the band in its current form seems your commitment to honoring the legacy of Revival, by just performing the hits people want to hear. The intention was never to add to the body of work in terms of song catalog we wanted that to remain undiluted and celebrated. We didn’t want to add any confusion and possibly degrade what was already there. It was never our intention to carry on from the old, the old still stands as the gold standard, we’re just out there playing the music live at concerts.
That music was described as Swamp Rock, and it sort of came out of left-field in an American music landscape just recovering from the British domination of the 60s. Here you guys came, four guys from San Francisco, playing pure southern rock and roll. The San Francisco Bay area was a real melting pot of culture and ethnicity when we were growing up there. All these cultures, from Midwest hillbillies to the southern black population, brought their music and musical tastes with them when they moved out West. So up sprang all these radio stations directed at those audiences, and we preferred listening to them. [The music] felt better, it had more body, earthier and grittier. We were just coming of age at the right time where that music just spoke to us more than the stuff on the hit parade. It was a crazy time in music and that was the stuff we loved, so it was bound to be recycled in our own way.
A lot of those British bands were pure American blues enthusiast. When they started learning the catalog of artists who were pioneers of the musical genre of rural and urban blues they were purists – they didn’t want commercial success. But eventually it found its way back to the states in bands like The Yardbirds and Van Morrison. It was kind of shocking that it took the new crop of British musicians to reawaken America from its pop music stupor.
What would you say was the definitive Creedence track? At the risk of being obvious, I would say Born on the Bayou. It was the song that started the swamp rock craze, it was sort of the title track of Bayou Country, the second album. That was our coming out album, while the first album had some success with Susie Q and I Put A Spell On You, but they weren’t original. Proud Mary was actually the flip side of Born on the Bayou, if my memory is not completely fractured. We were hoping Born would be the hit because we thought that song really says where we were coming from, but it was Proud Mary really went on to become a standard. If we’d been left to our own devices to choose the single who knows what would have happened.
From the outside, the original band was definitely dominated by John Fogerty. Can you give some insight into the real roles you, Doug and Tom played in the creation of that sound. Fogerty was obviously the strong personality – but you guys were clearly integral to the sound, and it’s funny how history gets rewritten. Well we all played our own instruments! But you’re right, history does get rewritten, and that’s what Doug and I are in the process of doing with this project. Proving to the world that there were more people involved than just one guy, and the fact that we have 18 years of success doing that says a lot.
We all learned to play our instruments together. We played for nine years together before we had any success at all, then we were working as one person. From downbeat to fade-out, we all understood our roles. You can’t make a rock ‘n’ roll record without a bass player and a drummer. It may sound like we were playing very simple stuff but hey, has anybody else been able to do it? Very few!
When Doug and I fire up the band today it feels like Revival. We understood what went into it. Although it’s expected that the lead singer, band leader and writer would get the focus—we played on every one of those records. Would they have happened without us? Who knows.
Having grown up as a huge Buddy Holly fan it’s hard for me not to draw comparisons with The Crickets, who continued well past the legend of Holly. They still tour today, not quite at the same level, but slowly and surely the drumming style of Jerry Allison is getting the credit it deserves in the band’s history. It seems like that’s what you’re doing with the Revisited, giving yourself and Clifford the recognition that the rhythm section should have in Revival’s history. I completely agree. In fact, this project was sort of born out of the snub of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. When the band was being inducted on its first year of eligibility , we were snubbed by John Fogerty. He actually refused to perform with us at the event. On top of that the Hall of Fame organizers didn’t tell us until the day of the event that that was how it was going to go down. It was a big scene. Basically, after the band was inducted Fogerty and the house band and some of his all-star buddies, Springsteen, Robbie Robertson, took to the stage to play Creedence songs. Doug and I and our families just got up and walked out in protest. We made a scene out of it because we weren’t happy that our special day was going down in such a small and petty manner.
And that incident gave birth to Creedence Clearwater Revisited? You know without us knowing it, yes it did. A couple years later, when we started laying the foundation for this project the idea was definitely that we could and we should do something like this to show the world that it wasn’t all about that one guy.
I’m guessing then, that the possibility of a full, surviving-members-of-Revival-reunion is not a strong one? That’s right. I guess anything could happen but if the past is any indicator I’d say it’s not likely. Some 40 years later has there been any significant change of attitude towards something like that? Probably not. It kind of comes and goes every decade or something, but the older you get the harder it gets to walk back into the fire.
[Fogerty indicated he might be open to the possibility in this Rolling Stone interview last year.]
Just one more quick reference to the past, what exactly did you guys have against Lodi? It’s my recollection that we never even played in Lodi, but we played in all the little towns around it. All those little towns up and down the California central valley is where we learned how to play together, when we were The Blue Velvets playing teen clubs and so on. I guess Lodi just sort of represented all of those gigs; the pizza places where they wanted you to tone it down, and they didn’t want to pay you because nobody showed up. It’s a sad song, it’s not really different from the story of people coming to Hollywood, very few make it, and the song was written from the perspective of a guy who didn’t. We were sort of at the bottom of our hopes at that point. It had been many, many years of failure, but if you’re smart you learn from it. We had some pretty good schooling.
Has anyone every approached you guys about doing a movie of the band’s story? It seems like you have all the ingredients for a great rock biopic. Oh my god! Can you imagine sorting the egos out of that one?
Well, who would you like to play you? Gene Hackman, I want a young Gene Hackman to play me.
Okay then, just one more world-of-make-believe question. If you could go back into the history of rock and roll and choose to be a part of one classic rock song, which would you choose? I’d like to have played bass on Sympathy for the Devil.
Be sure to catch Creedence Clearwater Revisited in town for one night only – details below. It’s sure to be a big party.
Details: Creedence Clearwater Revisited perform Tuesday, August 28, doors at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35 to $79, don’t wait, they’re almost gone. Buy them here or call 208.622.2135. The lawn is open ($29), with the performance broadcast on the giant LED screen. Blankets and low-backed chairs welcome. Coming from out of town? Sun Valley Resort is offering a lodging package $138.50 per person, double occupancy, (single occupancy $223) for one night’s lodging and two show tickets. Call 800-786-8259.
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.
Enjoying good brews and good food over Trail Creek at the Sawtooth Brewery Brewer's Reception Sunday.
Historically Trail Creek Cabin was the hotspot of Sun Valley Resort. The cabin in the woods was built in 1937 by Sun Valley’s founder Averell Harriman as a place for his fancy East Coast socialite friends and glamorous, raucous Hollywood buddies to mingle over meat and music.
Manager Matt Robinson is hoping to resurect some of that sophisticated party atmosphere by launching a series of beer tasting dinners. “Beer fits well with the relaxed atmosphere up here,” he said, while pouring some tasty local brews from a mobile chiller. This past Sunday night, Mr. Sun and I abandoned the little ones and headed up to the cabin to sample the goods at the Sawtooth Brewery Brewer’s Reception.
Mr. Sun samples the Sunnyside Summer Ale. Matt Robinson pours the Last Chair Stout and Sawtooth Brewery founders Paul Holle and Kevin Jones toast the evening's success with their better halves.
Mr. Sun, who is an accomplished all-grain home-brewer, has very discerning tastes when it comes to beer and traditional Western food. The combination of a great brew and a perfectly smoked pork rib is as important to him as the particular pairing of a sweet Sauternes with a slice of foie gras is to a sommelier. So you can imagine his delight as we tucked into the four course extravaganza starting out with appetizers of shrimp ceviche and elk tartar complimented by a Sunnyside Summer Ale. Next came the first course of False Summit Amber Ale with grilled artichoke and romesco sauce, then a salad of asparagus and arugula salad and a sampling of Flow Trail Pale Ale. The main course was a hoppy Freeheeler Rye IPA accompanied by Trail Creek’s sumptuous house smoked baby back pork ribs, then finally a molten chocolate cake topped with ancho chile ice cream, washed down with a healthy dollop of Last Chair Stout.
Chef Wendy Little and Sawtooth Brewery’s head brewer Paul Holle collaborated on the menu to achieve the perfect balance of malt, hop and yeast with meat, vegetable and manchego cheese. Accompanying our beverage and barbecue feast was a running commentary from Paul and his business partner, Kevin, on the nuances of each libation, including the story behind the bubbly brews.
Sawtooth Brewery's beers paired with Wendy Little's divine asparagus and arugula salad, baby back pork ribs and molten chocolate cake with ancho chili ice cream. Spicy!
As we supped under clear skies, serenaded by the gurgling Trial Creek beneath our feet and surround by the ghosts of Trail Creek, one could just imagine the erstwhile regular Ernest Hemingway discarding his signature Mojito and digging into one of Wendy’s grilled artichokes with a Sawtooth Brewery Amber Ale clasped firmly in his hand.
Matt will be hosting brewer’s receptions throughout the summer, from $47 per person. Check sunvalley.com or call 622.2019 for details. There will also be regular beer and wine tasting on Tuesdays at the Cabin, as well as live music on the deck Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5-8 p.m. For more of Paul’s crafty creations visit sawtoothbrewery.com or stop into the tap room on Main and 6th streets in downtown Ketchum.
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?
It’s President’s Day weekend here in Sun Valley and besides all the gorgeous, bluebird skiing there is to be had on Baldy, the terrain parks to explore on Dollar and the backcountry skiing throughout the Valley, there is tons of fun to be had around town off the hill as well. Here are three things we won’t be missing over this long weekend!
1. Marley in the Mountains: The Good Times return this President’s Weekend for the 4th Annual Marley in the Mountains Festival! Come out and celebrate winter and all the Mountain Niceness! The Greatest Show on Snow! Headlining the 2012 Marley in the Mountains Celebration on Saturday, February 18th is Abja and the Lions of Kush. Other musicians include Soulmedic (California’s top reggae performer), Lions Den Sound System and DJ Vision. Also, Idaho’s favorites Old Death Whisper, Army of Pines, Captain Dano and the Nobodies will perform. Reggae/hip-hop sensation Obie Won will be the event MC. And don’t miss the other special guests and surprises! Marley in the Mountains is proud to partner with Sun Valley Adaptive Sports (SVAS) and its Higher Ground program. SVAS will receive $5 for each pre-sold ticket. Higher Ground would like to welcome all veterans to enjoy a FREE concert ticket. For more info visit www.marleyinthemountains.com.
2. Leif’s Race: An Olympic-caliber alpine skier, Nordic skier, ski jumper, biathlete and ice hockey player, the great, glamorous, athletic and romantic Swede Leif Odmark was Sun Valley’s celebrated Nordic God from the 1940′s though the 1970′s. He founded the Sun Valley Nordic Center and was also a champion Alpine Masters racer. He founded Leif’s Race in 1992, a tradition that has continued for 22 years. Don’t miss this classic, two-part Sun Valley race, Saturday, February 18th. This race highlights two of Sun Valley and our beloved mountains’ mainstays, Nordic skiing and Alpine racing. The Alpine GS race starts at 10:00 AM on Cozy followed by a Nordic 5K at the Sun Valley Nordic Center. We promise there are good times to be had! More information is available at www.sunvalleyski.com.
3. "Love you Forever" Outdoor Art Installation: On Friday, February 17th, New York City-based artist, Erin Rachel Hudak (represented by Ochi Gallery will install a variation of her piece Love you Forever in Sun Valley, Idaho. The original Love You Forever, made of silver and gold mylar balloons, floated just off shore of the Brooklyn waterfront under the Brooklyn Bridge. An adoring public service announcement to New York, the installation became, if only for just a few days, a celebrated destination. In Idaho, accounting for weather, the piece will mimic balloons, but be fashioned out of fabric. In the Festival Meadows, across from Sun Valley’s iconic red barn, Hudak’s message of everlasting adulation will ironically be temporary, but lastingly moving.
Coming soon 24 Hours of Sun Valley
Ever wanted to see the sun rise from the top of Dollar Mountain or ski down Dollar Face during an epic Idaho sunset? Well March 23rd and 24th, you might just have that chance because the very first 24-hour ski race in Sun Valley is coming our way next month!
Started by formal local and now Sandpoint resident, Brian Sturgis, as a fundraiser for his young son who was diagnosed with Cystinosis at a young age, the unique ski race started out at Northern Idaho’s Schweitzer Mountain. That race, 24 Hours of Schwietzer has raised almost $400,000 for the 24 Hours for Hank Foundation since its inception in 2008. Now Brian, Hank and the 24 Hours for Hank Foundation is coming our way for the very first 24 Hours of Sun Valley.
With only a handful of other races of this kind in the entire country, this 24 hour event gives you (and your team of three or four) the once-in-a-lifetime chance to ski Dollar Mountain for 24 hours straight. Sun Valley Resort will be raising lights to guide your way throughout the wee hours of the night, there will be a staging area set up in Carol’s Dollar Lodge and prizes will be awarded to the team or individual who has raised the most money or who takes the most runs throughout the day.
So slip in to your most comfortable boots, click in to your favorite skis or board and join us for 24 hours of fun and fundraising during March’s 24 Hours of Sun Valley. More information is available at 24hoursofsunvalley.com
2012 is upon us! And what better place to ring in the New Year and get a fresh start than in Sun Valley! Sure New York knows how to throw a street party, beach parties in Thailand are hard to beat and I heard that the fireworks in Sydney over the Opera House can be pretty spectacular.
But really, there is nothing better than celebrating a fresh start, the New Year and new beginnings here in the mountains of Idaho. And with a fresh blanketing of snow and plenty of options to celebrate in style, I’m pretty sure once that clock strikes midnight, you’ll be glad you’re here.
We have broken down the events by location in Sun Valley and Ketchum, as well as a listing just for kids and families. So read on to check out our roundup of New Year’s options around the Sun Valley area, then grab your loved ones and go celebrate Sun Valley style. We will see you in the New Year!
>> Events in Sun Valley
1. New Year’s Bubbly Bash at River Run Lodge: NOW SOLD OUT
Hopefully you got your ticket early because this event, put on by Sun Valley Resort and the Sun Valley Center for the Arts Junior Patrons Circle, will be hopping! Eighties cover band, Notorious, will be providing tunes and with a free champagne toast and photo booth, revelers will be partying the night away!
>>Where: River Run Lodge
>>When: New Year’s Eve, 9:00 PM to 1:00 AM.
>>Info: Tickets are now SOLD OUT!
2. Joe Fos Trio at the Sun Valley Duchin Room
Ring in the New Year in the classic Sun Valley Lodge bar–the Duchin Room. The Joe Fos Trio will be providing music and it is sure to be a special Sun Valley New Year’s Eve.
3. Trail Creek Sleigh Ride: Celebrate Idaho-style!
Try an old, Idaho tradition to celebrate the start of 2012 with a classic horse-drawn sleigh. Starting and ending at the Sun Valley Inn, this ride takes you and your family out to the Trail Creek Cabin for dinner and brings you back under a canopy of stars. Dress warmly and get ready to celebrate!
>>Where: Sun Valley Inn and Trail Creek Cabin
>>When: New Year’s Eve, Saturday, January 31.
>>Info: Call for reservations 208-622-2135.
4. New Year’s Even Dinner at the Roundhouse
With one of the best views in town and some of the best dinner in the Valley, the only on-mountain lodge that offers dinner service is the Roundhouse–and it offers a picturesque and romantic setting for your New Year’s Eve dinner. The ride up and down the gondola also provides a little more romance for the evening.
>>Where: The Roundhouse, Bald Mountain. Park at River Run and ride the River Run Gondola.
>>When: New Year’s Eve, Saturday, January 31st.
>>Info: Call 208.622.4111 for details! Dinner reservations are currently booked but they are taking names for the wait list.
5. The Ram: New Year’s Dinner in the Sun Valley Village
Head to the cute and quaint Sun Valley Village for a New Year’s Eve dinner you won’t soon forget. The Ram is offering a five-course gourmet meal for $79 per person. Head to the nearby Inn Lobby Lounge to ring in the New Year after dinner!
>>Where: Sun Valley Village, the Ram Restaurant.
>>When: New Year’s Eve, Saturday, January 31.
>>Info: Call 208.622.4111 to inquire about availability.
>> Events in Ketchum
1. Reckless Kelly at Whiskey Jacques: The wildest party in town!
Nationally successful country-rock band, and native Idahoans, Reckless Kelly, headlines the main event in downtown Ketchum. Get ready for a wild night of dancing and fun at Ketchum’s favorite bar, Whiskey Jacques!
>>When: New Year’s Eve, Saturday, January 31. Doors open at 9:00 PM.
>>Info: Advance ticket sales are now over. Tickets will be available at the door for $75/person. Contact Whiskey Jacques for more info, 208.726.5297.
2. Ring in the New Year at the Roosevelt Grille!
DJ Lenny Joseph will be spinning tunes and there will be plenty of dancing to be had at Ketchum’s Roosevelt Grille. Come in for dinner before the party gets rocking at 10:00 PM! Tickets are available starting today and include a complimentary Champagne toast and party favors!
>>When: New Year’s Eve, Saturday, January 31. Party starts at 10:00 PM.
>>Info: Call 208.720.0051 for dinner reservations or to get your wristbands for the party!
3. Romantic Italian New Year’s Dinner at Il Naso
Romance your loved ones with an intimate and delicious dinner at Ketchum’s Il Naso. Dine by candlelight with this five-course, prix fixe meal with a complimentary glass of prosecco.
>>Where: Il Naso, 480 North Washington Ave, Ketchum.
>>When: New Year’s Eve, Saturday, January 31.
>>Info: Call 208.726.7776 for reservations.
4. Dance the night away at the Casino with Old Death Whisper
Ketchum’s famous dive bar, the Casino on Main Street in Ketchum, is hosting local folk/country/rock band, Old Death Whisper for their New Year’s Eve party. Come get into a little trouble and party down with the locals!
>>Where: The Casino, Main Street, Ketchum.
>>When: New Year’s Eve, Saturday, January 31. Party starts at 10:00 PM.
>>Info: $15/person at the door.
>> For the Young Ones – Families & Kids!
1. Sun Valley New Year’s Eve Party for the Kids!
The kids have their own party this year! Kids of all ages are welcome for food, beverages and fun in the Sun Valley Inn’s Continental Room. Come check it out!
>>Where: Sun Valley Inn, Continental Room.
>>When: New Year’s Eve, Saturday, January 31st. 7:30 PM to 1:00 AM.
>>Info: Call 208.622.4111 for reservations. $75/person.
Let’s face it, if you are a Mountain Diva, you are a busy girl! It’s a festive time of year and the Holidays only raise the bar, thus lowering the amount of R&R for yourself.
And it doesn’t matter what keeps you busy: whether it’s the constant social circuit (a glass of champagne here…a bikini martini or a hot toddy there) or the steady schedule of family fun and kids activities that you are working to coordinate during this busy time (ice skating, ski lessons, tubing at Dollar). But if you feel like an air traffic controller that has just landed 18 jumbo jets on conflicting flight patterns (at night and in a snow storm), it’s time for a course in pampering yourself 101.
Read on, darling diva, as the following 10 quick fixes are geared towards helping you find your inner goddess once again.
1. Pamper Your Body
Every diva knows that the quickest way to complete bliss is through a relaxing and rejuvenating body treatment. Lucky for us, the Sun Valley Salon and Day Spa offers a wide array of options: everything from acupuncture and herbal body wraps to "hot stone therapy" and traditional massage. Just remember that there are hundreds of different techniques, so be sure to be specific on your needs (and aches or injuries) so that your treatment can be tailored to your specific needs–whether it’s a more relaxing in-room massage treatment (you don’t even have to get up and look presentable) or an invigorating sports massage or shiatsu treatment to help those quads recover from multiple days on Baldy. Can’t decide, call 208.622.2160 to get a recommendation on the perfect spa package (they can build in facials or salon services as well) or view the full brochure of spa services here.
2. Drench Your Skin
No time for a full massage or spa package, book a Petite Facial and enjoy 30 minutes of quiet time that includes a thorough cleanse and exfoliation, along with a moisturizing mask to rehydrate and refresh the complexion. You’ll look as good as new in no time! Of course, feel free to splurge with the Spa Prestige Ogenage Facial (for 80 minutes of heaven and a totally renewed, revitalized, and dare we say reconstructed complexion that works days after the facial). You can also enhance any of the standard facials–like the Aqualift Anti-Wrinkle Facial or Ultra Moisturizing Facial or the Classic–with a marine eye-lift or specialty concentrate treatment. Call 208.622.2160 to book your facial.
Poolside cocktail service at the Lodge pool
3. A Soak in the Lodge Pool
What could possibly be better than a following up your massage or facial (or full spa package) with a relaxing soak in the Sun Valley Lodge pool …? We can answer with complete confidence: Nothing can compete. There is simply no better way to finish off your massage than with a glass of champagne or a bartender’s margarita delivered poolside while you lounge in an outdoor pool that is heated to a soothing 100-102° (make sure you drink your water first so that all that pampering from your massage doesn’t go to waste). Come to think of it, this is the perfect way to end any aprs ski day, no matter where you have been (on the slopes of Baldy, exploring the backcountry with Sun Valley Heli Ski or wandering the Nordic trail system).
The bench seat extends around the entire perimeter and watching your drinks arrive via poolside cocktail service through the steam is a rare luxury. And don’t forget the Inn Pool, which offers breathtaking views of Baldy.
4. Pamper Your Toes
Short on time, book a manicure / pedicure and treat your hands and feet. The Sun Valley Salon and Day Spa even offers a reflexology add-on (30 minutes) to help add to the experience. Looking for a little extra sparkle, zip down to Chic Nail Boutique in Hailey for the Glitter Toes, a treatment that melds real glitter to any color for that added holiday glam.
5. Indulge in Sunday Brunch
Plan a decadent Sunday brunch at the elegant Lodge Dining Room on the second floor of the Sun Valley Lodge and indulge in what many consider to be the Northwest’s finest Sunday Brunch. A lavish display of breakfast specialties including omelet and crepe stations, seafood, an array of gourmet salads and a symphony of desserts await, along with the accompaniment of pianist Leana Leach. Open every Sunday for Brunch from 10 am to 2 pm. Sorry, no reservations for the Sunday Brunch.
6. Lunchat Your Leisure
Lunch at the Roundhouse
Enjoy a leisurely lunch at the Sun Valley Club, surrounded by huge glass walls overlooking the Nordic trails meandering along Trail Creek Golf Course. The sliders are to-die for and the lunch menu has something for everybody. Looking for something a little more quaint, then don’t miss a European breakfast or indulgent lunch at Cristina’s Restaurant (of Cristina’s Cookbook series fame). This quaint little cottage in Ketchum beckons with old-world charm and offers a menu of delicious treats that changes daily.
And for that WOW factor, a gondola ride up the mountain for a full table lunch service at the Roundhouse can not be beat–just don’t miss drinks or fondue at Averell’s before you sit down (and enjoy the incredible views of town and the surrounding Pioneer Mountains)! Plan ahead (and get there early) as parties are seated on a first-come, first served basis; although large parties of 8 or more may make reservations by calling 208.622.2800.
More than 15 shops beckon in the Sun Valley Village
Over 15 unique shops offer everything from technical sportswear and footwear to the latest in designer styles, fine gifts, jewelry and home dcor. Designer lines include the latest from TSE, Juicy, Diane von Furstenberge, Velvet, Juicy, Kjus, Bogner, Toni Sailer, Ralph Lauren, Moncler, Arc’teryx, Lole, Nils, Patagonia, Burton and more. There is even a toy store for unique toys and gifts and Silver Creek Outfitters….so you can get something for everybody on your list.
For a more cultural experience, visit one of the amazing art galleries in town (the Sun Valley Gallery Association sponsors monthly gallery walk nights), featuring nationally and internationally recognized artists showing as part of a sophisticated and thriving arts scene–there is even the U.S. premiere of the Papunya Tula aboriginal artists from Australia this February at Harvey Art Projects in Ketchum.
8. Escape into the Solitude of Nature
Nordic and snowshoe trails offer beauty and solitude
Want to just get away from it all and enjoy the peace and quiet of a high alpine landscape beneath a blanket of freshly fallen snow? Head north out Trail Creek to the Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center, which is located in the glass-walled and river rock Sun Valley Club, nestled along the sprawling Trail Creek Golf Course. With over 40 km of trails groomed daily for skate and classic skiing, the trail system offers gently sloping terrain with challenging hills that offer incredible vistas without leaving you gasping for air. For a round up of other local snowshoe trails, from easy to insane, check out Sun Valley Magazine’s "Walking in a Winter Wonderland." Cap your afternoon adventure off with a hot toddy in the Sun Valley Club.
9. Dinner and a Movie
Treat yourself to a movie at the historic Opera House. Built in 1937 and located in the heart of Sun Valley Village, the Opera House is a charming 340-seat theatre that features the newest releases, along with regular showings of the classic "Sun Valley Serenade" (every afternoon at 4:30 and admittance is always free).Sun Valley restaurant guests can also enjoy a FREE movie after dining at the following Sun Valley restaurants: Bald Mountain Pizza, Trail Creek Cabin, The Ram and Gretchen’s. Movie passes will be available to each diner for a movie on the same evening. Please ask your server for more information. Ketchum’s Magic Lantern Cinema also offers current films nightly and matinees most days.
Comedy and live music are all part of the winter calendar
10. Ladies Night Out
Looking for a little more excitement. Start with some aprs ski fun by checking out Sun Valley’s Calendar of Events to see who is playing at the base lodges–both River Run and Warm Springs. There is often entertainment in the Sun Valley Village as well, with details on times and performers online–the Duchin Lounge has the best live jazz in town and the Boiler Room offers a comedy series and special appearances, along with the farewell season of Forever Plaid this year! There is also live music most nights somewhere in town and Whiskey Jacques has a full calendar with a great lineup and most shows with only a $5 to $12 cover.
Just remember that if you stay out too late…you may have to begin at the top of the list with #1 and start all over again.
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!