Keep Those Wagons Rolling

Though the calendar says that summer is beginning to wind down, you wouldn’t know it in Sun Valley. With the Labor Day weekend only a week away, there is still so much to look forward to under the bright Idaho sun.

Labor Day weekend is almost upon us. Make your plans now so you don't miss highlights like the Big Hitch Wagon Days Parade on Saturday

Labor Day weekend is almost upon us. Make your plans now so you don’t miss highlights like the Big Hitch Wagon Days Parade on Saturday

The holiday weekend is always one of the best times of the year in Sun Valley because there is so much to do and it is so different from Labor Day anywhere else. Events begin midweek and don’t stop until the sun sets on Monday, September 1. And actually, summer fun extends well into September, too.

The festivities begin on August 25 when the Wagon Days Headquarters open at the Ore Wagon Museum located at 200 10th Street in Ketchum. Pop over between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. for information, hats, t-shirts, posters, buttons and information. On Friday the 29th, a Grand Marshal’s Reception will be held at Memory Park in Ketchum between 4th and 5th Streets from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Live music, food and drink will create a lively atmosphere as the city of Ketchum and the Wagon Days committee honor this year’s Grand Marshal, Jane Eittreim, a long-time Wagon Days volunteer.

Wagon Days brings a taste of the old west and the area's history with the eye popping big hitch

Wagon Days brings a taste of the old west and the area’s history with the big hitch

All this is a prelude to the ‘big show’ of Labor Day weekend: the annual Wagon Days Big Hitch Parade. Historic, authentic and eye popping, this is one of the largest non-motorized parades in America. It features real ore wagons pulled by dozens of mules. You do not want to miss the spectacle of the big hitch and the other wonderful wagons as they wend down Sun Valley Road and onto Main Street in Ketchum. The parade begins at 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 30.

Arts are also part of the weekend. On Friday, August 29, from 5 – 8 p.m., the Sun Valley Gallery Association will host one of its’ popular Art Gallery Walks. A guided tour will begin at the Kneeland Gallery on 1st Avenue just south of Sun Valley Road. The walking tour takes two hours and hits many gorgeous galleries. Feel free to also explore on your own, as well.

Sun Valley is seeing gold the next two weeks as Olympic champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White take center ice on August 23 and Evan Lysacek lights up the night on August 30 at Sun Valley On Ice

Sun Valley is seeing gold the next two weeks as Olympic champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White take center ice on August 23 and Evan Lysacek lights up the night on August 30 at Sun Valley On Ice

Also on Friday, the Sun Valley Center for the Arts presents a fabulous concert at River Run: The Head & The Heart. This indie folk rock band from Seattle has opened for Vampire Weekend, The Decembrists and are a stand-alone act on the ascent. A concert outdoors at River Run is the perfect way to enjoy a late summer’s night. Tickets and more information are available HERE.

On Friday and Saturday, don’t be surprised if you’re in Ketchum and come across music and poetry on the street. The Wagon Days Poets and Pickers Strolling Event will bring the power of prose and the magic of music to many local eateries and onto local sidewalks.

At Sun Valley Resort, Evan Lysacek, Olympic Gold Medal winner and Valley favorite, will light up the night at the Sun Valley On Ice show August 30. His energy, charm and magnanimity should not be missed. Tickets are available HERE.

If you like exotic cars, a stop in Sun Valley at the Silver Car Auction is a must

If you like exotic cars, a stop in Sun Valley at the Silver Collector Car Auction is a must

And on Saturday and Sunday, stop by the Sun Valley lawn for the Silver Auction Sun Valley Collector Car Auction. More than 250 cars are on display and for sale and it’s eye candy for any car lover.

More don’t-miss events include a children’s carnival at Ketchum Town Square on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., “queen of pain” mountain biker Rebecca Rusch’s Private Idaho bike bonanza on the 29th, arts, crafts and antiques fairs, live music at the Casino in Ketchum following the parade and a huge community pancake breakfast on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to noon at Ketchum Town Square.

The Great Wagon Days Duck Race is fun for all ages and supports the community in many ways

The Great Wagon Days Duck Race is fun for all ages and supports the community in many ways

The Great Wagon Days Duck Race takes to the Big Wood River on the 31st and the weekend continues on the 1st with a huge celebration on Main Street in Bellevue.

This weekend, things are also heating up in Sun Valley. On Saturday, August 23, Olympic Gold Medal ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White will cast their spell at the Sun Valley On Ice Show. Limited tickets are still available to enjoy this dazzling duo in an incredibly beautiful and intimate venue. Buy yours today so you don’t miss out!

Don’t forget that even when the weekend is over, the fun isn’t. The one-and-only Beach Boys arrive at the Sun Valley Pavilion on September 9 for a show you won’t forget. Call (208) 622-2135 or visit sunvalley.ticketfly.com for tickets.

Seems like a pre-Labor Day nap, or a few, might be in order. There is so much going on and you won’t want to miss a minute! Make your plans now!

–RES

No matter how many times you've seen it, the Wagon Days parade delivers excitement and fun

No matter how many times you’ve seen it, the Wagon Days parade delivers excitement and fun

Women on Wheels

Legendary endurance cyclist Rebecca Rusch calls Sun Valley home and is offering a camp as part of Ride Sun Valley (photo credit Sterling Lorence)

Legendary endurance cyclist Rebecca Rusch calls Sun Valley home and is offering camps for women as part of Ride Sun Valley (photo credit Sterling Lorence)

This week, Sun Valley is a two-wheeling kind of town. With Ride Sun Valley staging amazing races and events up and down Bald Mountain, across country and through city streets, more and more people, of all ages and from all over, are discovering for themselves why Sun Valley is single track Nirvana.

Rebecca Rusch is holding camps all week, sharing  tons of riding, showing women around the marathon Nationals course, sharing ride tips, favorite places and advice

Rebecca shared tons of riding, favorite spots, tips and advice with her Tuesday camp group

Ride Sun Valley has brought to town some of the best cyclists in the country, including top women. But the Wood River Valley is already home to arguably one of the best female mountain bike racers of all time, Rebecca Rusch. Rebecca is among the world’s top endurance athletes, having cemented that distinction last August when she won her fourth straight Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race, setting a new course record in 7 hours, 28 minutes and six seconds.

Rebecca is offering a Ketchum-style women only “no-drop” ride camp as part of her Gold Rusch Tour. Participants gathered Tuesday morning to begin their adventure through the area’s extensive single track with Rebecca in command of the route.  With IMBA Epic Ride Center designation and more buttery-smooth single track than you can imagine, Sun Valley is the crown jewel of the Gold Rusch Tour list of stops,” according to Rebecca’s website. 

Pro Sara Schroeder rounds the corner to the finish line at Sunday's Enduro Race

Pro Sara Schroeder rounds the corner to the finish line at Sunday's Enduro Race

No guarantee you’ll end up riding like Rebecca, but your skills will surely improve as will your confidence. Plus, riding with a group of girls is just plain fun and with soaks in the river and yoga included, this will certainly be a highlight of the week. It is appropriate for racers and recreational cyclists alike and it is free. Camp runs through July 6.

The legendary Juli Furtado is also in town. Considered one of the best women mountain bikers ever, Juli will lead a women’s only ride on some terrific local trails as part of Ride Sun Valley. While she retired in 1997, this elite World Champion, three-time World Cup Champion and five-time National Champion has gone on to manage her own bike line, Juliana, as a sub-brand of Santa Cruz Bicycles. This no-drop ride takes place July 7 at 10 a.m., will last between one-and-a-half and two hours and be set at an easy to medium pace. No men allowed!

At 14, Luma Randolph represents the next generation of girls who love single track

At 14, Luma Randolph represents the next generation of girls who love single track

On the other end of the experience spectrum, look for 14-year-old Luma Randolph, a Wood River Valley native, in the Ketchum Criterium race on July 3. This will be Luma’s second Criterium and she, for lack of a better word, is “stoked.” During last year’s event, Luma said she wasn’t scared, despite being the youngest racer in a crowded field that moves fast. “I wasn’t drafting,” she laughed, “so I wasn’t too worried about crashing.”

Luma, who comes by her passion for riding honesty (her father is Greg Randolph, a Ride Sun Valley organizer and former Olympic cyclist and pro mountain bike rider), can’t get enough of the week’s events. She positioned herself at the base of the rock garden right before the finish at Sunday’s Enduro race, where the elite athletes get from Baldy’s summit to base in something like under 25 minutes, and watched intently. “It’s really inspiring to see what the pros do,” Luma said. “Everyone rides the course a different way and I picked up a lot of pointers.”

A pro racer at Sunday's Enduro shows how it's done while spectators enjoy a gondola ride up to historic Roundhouse

A pro racer at Sunday's Enduro shows how it's done while spectators enjoy a gondola ride up to historic Roundhouse Restaurant

Ride Sun Valley has brought events appropriate for everyone from young riders, to recreational cyclists, to professionals competing in the Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships to town. Check the schedule and make sure to go out, watch some of the races and get inspired. Sun Valley truly has some of the best mountain biking and road riding anywhere and it is accessible to everyone. Get out and ride!

–RES

I Want to Ride My Bicycle

Bike paths are your road to adventure up and down the Wood River Valley

Bike paths are your road to adventure up and down the Wood River Valley

While Sun Valley is rightfully famous worldwide for its winter recreation, the Wood River Valley is also biking Nirvana. From the 32 miles of converted Rails-to-Trails that stretch from the south valley way past Ketchum, to the hundreds of miles of continuous singletrack, to endless scenic road bike rides and downhill on Baldy, everyone here, from fat tire to skinny tire enthusiasts, loves to bike.

This passion for peddling was in evidence last weekend when temperatures soared into the 80s, trees flashed fresh greenery and everyone was out enjoying spring. Up and down the bike path that hugs the tranquil Big Wood River, bicycle riders were out in force. Seen on one small stretch of rolling, paved path between the mid-Valley and Sun Valley: tandem bikes, toddler trailers, training wheels, skinny wheels, matching Lycra and Cruisers.

Your bike awaits at Pete Lane's in Sun Valley

Your bike awaits at Pete Lane's in Sun Valley

In-town mountain bike trails are quickly drying out, offering great early season riding. And mountain biking is almost an obsession around here. The area has been dubbed ‘Mountain Bike Heaven’ for good reason. To celebrate everything our mountain town has to offer, the Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival rolls in for the third year from June 29 to July 7. This comprehensive event features everything from Enduro downhill courses to bike demos; from Pump Park parties to the Ketchum Criterium and, of course, the USA Cycling Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships. There is an event for every ability and age group.

Local legend, mountain bike endurance athlete Rebecca Rusch, is also hosting an event this summer. The sixth stop of the 2013 Gold Rusch Tour will feature Rebecca’s Private Idaho, a gravel Gran Fondo style event to be held August 31 to September 1. This promises to be a lung-busting, Wild West ride covering 100 miles.

One young enthusiast shows how it's done in Ketchum's Pump Park

One young enthusiast shows how it's done in Ketchum's Pump Park

For a different perspective from behind the handlebars, both Hailey and Ketchum have free Pump Tracks open to the public. These popular amenities let riders work on biking skills (from absolute beginner to advanced) and have a great time utilizing features on the dirt track like rollers and berms to ride with or without pedaling by pumping for momentum on track contours.

Storied Bald Mountain converts from ski Mecca to biking (and hiking) Mecca in the summer months. Shaded and wooded trails wend up the mountain, often through fields of wildflowers. Needless to say, the views are spectacular. Downhill is also wildly popular. Many choose to let the lifts carry them, and their bikes, to the summit before enjoying an adrenalin-saturated ride to the base. No matter if you’re going up, or coming down, be sure to take some time at 9,150 feet to soak up the 360-degree vista. It will make your heart race, too.

Trails on Baldy often go through fields of wildflowers

Trails on Baldy often wend through fields of wildflowers

When you’re ready to get going, be sure to stop by both locations of the retailer Pete Lane’s to gear up for a great ride. The Village outpost is already fully stocked with bikes of every size and purpose, available to rent. With more than 300 bikes from which to choose, as well as helmets, clothing and hydration systems, you will be equipped and on your way to a local trail in no time. At the end of June, Pete Lane’s at the base of River Run will open, offering full suspension and downhill bikes, eradicating all excuses not to give biking Baldy a try.

The Wood River Valley is a two-wheeling kind of town. It’s not a Sun Valley summer (or spring or fall for that matter) without seeing our spectacular scenery from a bike saddle.

–RES

Idyllic doesn't begin to describe peddling around, Sun Valley style

Idyllic doesn't begin to describe peddling around, Sun Valley style