Reggae and Rock (and bluegrass and country)

Though many associate Sun Valley with classical music (thank you Sun Valley Summer Symphony), the best in rock ‘n’ roll and country music (thank you Sun ValleyResort, the Sun Valley Center for the Artsand others), Sun Valley also has some strong reggae roots.

It's nearly time to enjoy some reggae (and jazz and bluegrass and alternative country) in the mountains

It's nearly time to enjoy some reggae (and jazz and bluegrass and alternative country) in the mountains

These roots, and what has sprung from them, will be on display on July 10 starting at 4 p.m. when Reggae in the Mountainsreturns for the seventh year, bringing some fabulous music and a laid-back summer vibe. Reggae in the Mountains has presented two shows each year since its inception, one in the winter and one in the summer, attracting thousands of loyal fans.

Don Carlos is reggae royalty and he will play Sun Valley on July 10

Don Carlos is reggae royalty and he will play Sun Valley on July 10

This week’s concert features international superstar Don Carlos and the Dub Vision Band. Don Carlos is reggae royalty and the opportunity to see him in such an intimate venue is one that shouldn’t be missed. In addition to the legendary front man, the horn section of the Dub Vision Band will blow you away. While according to concert organizer, head of Mountain Niceness and overall really nice guy Danny Walton, “Don Carlos doesn’t need an opening act, but we wanted to bring in great local talent to create a whole afternoon and night of music,” he said. Lighting up the night with be Matt Cifrese, a popular alternative country artist (think Johnny Cash to the Clash), the amazing jazz-inspired Paul Tillotson Trio and the Sheep Bridge Jumpers, a local eight-piece bluegrass band.

Past concerts, like this one in the winter, have drawn large, enthusiastic crowds (photo visitsunvalley.com)

Past concerts, like this one in the winter, have drawn large, enthusiastic crowds (photo visitsunvalley.com)

The event is casual and family friendly. Food and drink will be available for purchase from local vendors. “We expect a huge turnout,” Walton said. “The first concert we did with Don Carols was during the winter. It was negative 10 degrees but 2,000 people came out to hear him play. Don Carlos is the warmest, most positive guy and the cold didn’t seem to bother him at all.” Note: This week’s weather promises to be a bit more welcoming! Walton attributes the continued success of Reggae in the Mountains to the top quality entertainment it provides as well as wallet-friendly ticket prices. “It’s incredible bang for your buck,” Walton said, “and since it’s on a Thursday night this year, you have the whole weekend to get out there and enjoy everything this amazing area has to offer. Reggae in the Mountains runs from 4 – 10 p.m. right in the heart of Ketchum in the Town Square (next to the Visitors’ Centerat Sun Valley Road and East Avenue). You can’t miss it.

The Paul Tillotson trio is a crowd pleaser and made up of consummate jazz musicians

The Paul Tillotson Trio is a crowd-pleaser and made up of consummate jazz musicians

Pre-sale tickets are available for $20 until July 10 and $25 at the gate day of show. Kids under 12 are free. Special packages are available that include a VIP sponsor tent, parking, a no host bar, food, servers, swag and shade, according to organizers. These “Very Irie People” tickets are $100 each. Tickets are available at Atkinsons’ markets in Ketchum and Hailey, Lululemon, Zenergy at Thunder Springs and Johnny G’s Subshack in Ketchum. If available, you may also buy them the night of the concert. “Skip the long lines and buy early, though,” suggested Walton. More great music is right around the corner, too, when on July 13, the one-and-only Los Lobos plays the Sun Valley Pavilion and on July 27, Josh Ritter & The Royal City Bandrock River Run. There is truly something for everyone.

The one-and-only Los Lobos will rock the Sun Valley Pavilion on July 13

The one-and-only Los Lobos will rock the Sun Valley Pavilion on July 13

It has been a busy summer already and tickets to all events are selling quickly. Don’t count on availability the night of the show and don’t be disappointed. There truly is nothing like world-class acts beneath Sun Valley’s stars. The hills are alive with the sound of music and you won’t want to miss a minute. –RES

Bring on the Boulder

The Boulder Mountain Tour caps off a week of cross country celebrations

The Boulder Mountain Tour caps off a week of cross country celebrations

Things are in full swing in Nordic Town USA as Sun Valley celebrates a week devoted to everything cross country. Each January, the Sun Valley Nordic Festival brings together devotees of cross country ski culture with training opportunities, parties, concerts, a film festival and food and drink specials all over town. The fun culminates this weekend with the 39th Annual Swix Boulder Mountain Tour on February 1.

The Boulder, as it’s known, brings hundreds of people to town for friendly or serious competition on a course that begins north of Ketchum at Galena Lodge and finishes fast at the Sawtooth National Recreation Area headquarters. The big event is a 32-kilometer race but there is also a Half Boulder that covers 15-kilometers.

This is a week many locals look forward to each year, but it is also an annual event on the calendar of skiers from across the country. One such cross country aficionado is Brad Laesch of Seattle. Saturday’s race will be Brad’s fifth and it’s something he looks forward to each year. During a phone interview conducted as he organized and packed his skis and gear, Brad said, “I love the atmosphere of the Boulder, it is always so much fun. The start at Galena Lodge is such a terrific, energetic location. The actual racecourse is beautiful, nestled in a little bowl area among the mountains. And I always see friends from Seattle at the starting line.”

The Boulder Mountain Tour is a one-of-a-kind race

The Boulder Mountain Tour is a one-of-a-kind race

Each year, Brad and members of his family fly Alaska Air direct into Sun Valley to get in on the fun. In past years, his wife and daughters have participated in the Half Boulder. This year, his daughter Greta, 11, is returning for her third race. When they land on Friday, Greta will warm up on the snow with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation cross country team with a friend from Boise who trains with them on weekends.

Greta, Brad, Lexie and Lily Laesch of Seattle look forward to their annual trip to Sun Valley to race in the Boulder and Half Boulder (not pictured, son Conrad)

Greta, Brad, Lexie and Lily Laesch of Seattle look forward to their annual trip to Sun Valley to race in the Boulder and Half Boulder (not pictured, son Conrad)

As for Brad, he has been training all fall and winter despite poor snow conditions around Seattle. “I’ve been doing a lot of roller skiing around our park,” he laughed. “I get weird looks but it helps me work on balance and I can do drills and intervals. It’s better than nothing!”

Brad and his family, and all the other Boulder and Sun Valley Nordic Festival attendees, also love the whole vibe of town and the Resort this week. Though there have already been coffee tastings at local roaster, the Sun Valley Ski Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Paralympic Biathlon Training, pre-race skiing with Muffy Ritz and other VAMPS coaches, and a spirited downtown sprint, the fun is just getting started.

Racers queue up at the starting line on Thursday evening's in-town sprints

Racers queue up at the starting line on Thursday evening's in-town sprints

Celebrate a race well run Saturday night at one of the most rocking parties of the year – Reggae in the Mountains. The party, called “the greatest show on snow,” takes over Ketchum Town Square at 5 p.m. A concert pre-party will take place at Lefty’s Bar and Grill in Ketchum at 4 p.m. This year, the concert features the nine-piece roots Bob Marley inspired band Sol Horizon from Sonoma County, California, and the nine-piece roots music inspired band Natural Roots from Salt Lake City. After the concert, the party continues in downtown Ketchum at Whiskey Jacques’ with music from Soul Medic, Jah Wave and Lions Den Unlimited Sounds. For more information, visit HERE.

Enthusiasm was high among athletes and spectators for the competitive town sprints

Enthusiasm was high among athletes and spectators for the competitive town sprint relay race

Leading up to the big race, on Friday, the Friends of the Sawtooth Avalanche Center present the Banff Mountain Film Festival and raffle. This annual fundraiser is held at Ketchum’s nexStage Theatre and offers more than $10,000 of incredible raffle prizes and four hours of amazing outdoor films. The event begins at 6 p.m. and tickets are $14 to $15. It is advisable to buy them ahead of time as they do sell out and they are available at Backwoods Mountain Sports, the Elephants Perch and Chapter One Bookstore. You need not be present to win raffle prizes.

Demo days at the beautiful Sun Valley Nordic Center is a great way to wind down the Sun Valley Nordic Festival week

Demo days at the beautiful Sun Valley Nordic Center is a great way to wind down the Sun Valley Nordic Festival week

On Sunday, wind down the weekend at the Sun Valley Nordic Center. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., you are invited to join the best local and national reps who will bring out the latest equipment to demo. A special discounted daily pass costing $10 will get you onto the snow in whatever new boots or skis you wish to try. The Clubhouse at the Sun Valley Nordic Center will offer a special lunch during this event. Sit down and treat yourself to a wonderful meal. You’ve earned it! This demo day is always a fun event.

Sun Valley loves its Nordic roots and culture. The SVSEF was recently named one of very few Olympic and Paralympic training sites for cross country skiing in the nation and we boast miles and miles and miles of scenic and spectacular trails running in every direction. This is truly Nordic Nirvana. Come join us and experience it for yourself!

–RES