Dateline: River Run, November 28, 2013, 8:50 a.m. The excitement at the base of River Run was palpable as a large, happy group gathered on the plaza under bright blue skies and a warm sun. Friends reunited, families convened, the sound of buckles and bindings snapping into place competed with the whir of the chair lift’s motor.
Yes, at exactly 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, the first lucky foursome hopped onto the River Run #1 lift, hooting and hollering on their inaugural ride up Bald Mountain for the 2013-2014 season. Behind them, every other chair filled quickly, transporting the hundreds of expectant skiers and snowboarders to their first magical turns of the year. Sun Valley’s 78th season was off to a great start.
At 8:50 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, skiers and riders were ready to get their first turns
The first holiday gift of the season from Sun Valley Company opened 11 runs, a Progressive Park, two magic carpets and four-high speed quads on Baldy and Dollar to the anxious snow sports masses. Some early season natural snow, combined with Sun Valley’s world-class, standard-setting snowmaking provided a great corduroy surface for enthusiasts. The smiles and thumbs up from the first skiers and boarders down River Run told the story, as they quickly queued back up for another run. Top-to-bottom vertical lured people to Baldy this year, with Upper College, Lower College, Sunset Strip, 42nd Street, Roundhouse Lane, Roundhouse Slope, Lower Canyon, Mid River Run and Lower River Run available for skiing and riding.
Great snow greeted riders and skiers
In the morning, River Run Lodge provided a calm place to coax feet into boots still stiff from the off-season; to enjoy a cup of coffee and a pastry. At lunchtime, River Run and Lookout atop Baldy were open to provide nourishment and refreshment on Baldy.
Dollar was quieter, but still welcoming skiers to the gentle slopes of Quarter Dollar. Snow guns were fired up all over the mountain, readying additional runs and Dollar’s amazing terrain park for operation during the coming holiday season. Dollar will continue daily operation through December 1 and then close until re-opening for the season December 14, so be sure to get over there this weekend to play in early season snow. Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge is open to enjoy a snack or meal and Kindercare is available.
Check back to sunvalley.com or call 800-635-4150 for the most current reports on conditions and terrain.
We are all thankful this weekend for our beautiful ski mountains, family, friends, clean air and sunshine. Opening day was an exciting kick-off to what is sure to be the best season ever in Sun Valley! See you on the slopes.
A group of firefighters enjoyed the well wishes of the community at the picnic Sunday night
For those of us who hold the Wood River Valley in a special place in their hearts, there really aren’t enough superlatives to describe how we feel about the firefighters who worked so hard to protect this one-of-a-kind place earlier this month.
“A lot of emotional healing started for our people at the base of Bald Mountain this weekend,” Minor said during a phone interview from her headquarters in Boise. “For this community to turn around after such a stressful experience and give tribute to our wildland firefighters … it was like nothing we’ve ever experienced before. I don’t know if you know what your tribe up there did for our tribe.”
More than 2,000 brave firefighters battled the blaze that threatened the Wood River Valley
For the men and women whose job it is to walk toward scenes like this one out Greenhorn Gulch, the tribute they received from the community was met with heartfelt appreciation
Minor explained it’s been a particularly deadly and tragic wildland firefighting season, with 32 valiant firefighters lost. “I deal with death and tragedy and this was a very healing experience,” she said, “we’ve never been treated so well.”
Sunday evening’s events invited all firefighters and their families to enjoy a full western barbecue, drinks and entertainment, courtesy of Sun Valley. “The food was amazing. The crowd was amazing. It was a night to remember,” Minor said. “No one could believe Sun Valley and community there were doing all of this for them.”
To thank firefighters Sunday night, the food was plentiful, delicious and free
According to Minor, the Wildland Firefighter Foundation is also amazed by the monetary support of the Wood River Valley. “The money hasn’t stopped rolling in,” she said. “The generosity of this community is unparalleled.” Monies raised at the special presentation of Sun Valley On Ice Saturday night, at the barbecue Sunday night, as well as contributions coming directly to the Boise office totaled more than $30,000 as of Monday afternoon. As we spoke, Minor exclaimed, “I just opened another $2,500 check from Sun Valley.”
Many contributions were not large, but were no less meaningful to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. During the ice show Saturday night, for instance, many children put a handful of small bills into the collection jar, one explaining that is was tooth fairy money he wanted to give to the heroes.
A double rainbow greeted the firefighters at River Run -- things were definitely looking up
Every donation, no matter how large or small, counts. “This money will help so many firefighters and their families in an immediate, tangible way,” Minor said.
One big check delivered on Sunday evening came from Cox Communications. In addition to donating $5,000 to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, Minor said Cox also provided an invaluable service to the fire teams at the height of the crisis. Within 24-hours of the creation of the Incident Command Post, the local team of the communications company moved in to provide wireline Internet connections. This served not only to allow incident managers to get out incredibly timely information about the fire, it also served another critical purpose.
“In this very scary fire season, families quickly get worried when they don’t hear from their firefighter,” Minor explained. “What Cox did in this case was give the more than 2,000 firefighters at the camp the ability to easily call home which was invaluable.”
Guy Cherp of Cox Communications (right) presents a check to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, one of many donations made over the course of the weekend
Guy Cherp, Vice President of Operations at Cox, who presented the check Sunday night said, “Cox was honored to provide a means for firefighters to communicate with loved ones.” He continued, “It was impressive to work with the great people fighting the fire, which includes our Wood River Valley firefighters. Cox is deeply grateful and appreciative of the firefighters putting their life on the line to protect our community and we were so moved by their heroic efforts that we wanted to support them.”
“The fire season isn’t over yet,” Minor said, “but Sun Valley’s response to our people made the rest of the journey for these people so much better. We saw a whole community come together to take care of each other and to take care of us. This was medicine for the firefighters’ souls.”
The simple sign at the base of River Run said it all Sunday night
The intermittent heavy rain that fell this weekend offered more than a hint of the poetic following the raging wildfires that threatened the Wood River Valley just a week ago. As the moisture swept through in waves during Saturday night’s Sun Valley On Ice show that benefited the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, and again on Sunday, during a huge picnic and concert at River Run honoring the 2,000-plus heroes who fought the behemoth Beaver Creek Fire, there was no question there was change in the air. With her thunderous announcements in the evening sky, Mother Nature proclaimed that Sun Valley had turned a corner – that it’s time, again, to look ahead.
Visitors and locals mingled with fire professionals at the base of River Run and looked forward to enjoying the rest of the summer
Sunday evening’s party at the base of Baldy’s River Run drew firefighters from all over the state and country who were part of the Great Basin National Incident Management Team #1. It also drew our local heroes from the Ketchum, Sun Valley, Hailey and Wood River Fire Departments. To say thank you, Sun Valley distributed 565 tickets to firefighters and their families, providing a full western barbecue and beverages, all for free.
A little rain couldn't keep the crowd away from the party at River Run
In the light drizzle, the firefighters, still in uniform, looked relaxed and happy, enjoying live music from local bands Up a Creek and Old Death Whisper. They shook hands with appreciative locals and visitors alike and by all accounts, greatly enjoyed the party thrown in their honor.
“We thought we’d have the picnic to bring the entire community together to thank the firefighters,” said Jack Sibbach, Head of Sun Valley Marketing. “This fire affected the entire Wood River Valley and this was a great opportunity for everyone to gather in one place and say thank you. It’s also the time for all of us to now look forward to the rest of the summer and the fall.”
At the storied Sun Valley ice show Saturday night, the fire’s Incident Commander Beth Lund also expressed her appreciation for the huge turnout, the support for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation and for the Valley that so clearly valued her team’s efforts. She reiterated how dangerous a job it is to fight these fires and how organizations like the Wildland Firefighter Foundation provide critical help to families who suffer a loss or an injury amid the unpredictable flames.
Admission to Saturday's Sun Valley On Ice was free, but donations were accepted on behalf of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation
The cast of Sun Valley On Ice then emerged under the lights wearing fire hats and skated from the heart, honoring the events of the past weeks. The show was provided free to guests with a suggested donation to the firefighters.
Sun Valley truly has turned a corner; skies are clear, the sun is shining. Those short-lived evening rain showers washed away any remaining ash and soot and changed the entire feeling up and down the Wood River Valley.
Starting Wednesday, jump on the gondola and head up to Roundhouse for lunch with a pretty spectacular view
Now it’s time to end the summer on a high note. Bald Mountain reopens to foot, bike and gondola traffic on Wednesday, August 28. The gondola will run daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and the deck at Roundhouse Restaurant will offer a daily barbecue. There is no more scenic place to eat. Beginning Friday, the famous taco bar at Lookout also makes and end-of-summer, back-by-popular demand appearance.
Sun Valley has extended its sale on winter passes through September 15. Don’t miss this opportunity to save up to $350 on what promises to be an amazing snow season. This year, there are seven passes from which to choose, including a new Young Adult Pass, as well as a new installment payment plan for select products. Come by the River Run Ticketing Office, buy a $15 ticket for the gondola and check out what’s new for the coming season!While you’re at River Run Plaza, be sure to also pop into Brass Ranch and check out the sale in progress.
The centerpiece of the Big Hitch Wagon Days Parade is something you have to see to believe
For Labor Day weekend, it’s on! Festivities begin in earnest on Friday and run all the way through the Monday holiday. Highlights include: an antique car show and auction, Rebecca Rusch’s Private Idaho bike tour, pancake breakfasts in Ketchum, the final ice show of the season featuring crowd favorite Johnny Weir, rodeos, antique and art shows, an Art Gallery walk, a western shoot-out, and of course, the Big Hitch Parade. Be sure to be in Sun Valley during one of the best Labor Day celebrations in the nation.
And it’s not over after Labor Day! September in Sun Valley is a spectacular month during which to golf,hike, bike,fly fish … you name it. This year, it is also a spectacular month for music. Tickets are on sale now for Reckless Kelly, playing September 6 at the Sun Valley Pavilion and Clint Black who will entertain under the sail on September 12.
Again, we thank the amazing firefighters for giving us the gift of enjoying this upcoming Labor Day celebration and the renewed opportunity to truly appreciate the beauty and splendor of our one-of-a-kind valley.
As Brandi Carlile fans well know, her concerts are near legendary in their perfect communion between performer and audience. Whether she is rocking out with her full band or standing quietly at the edge of the stage singing a cappela, Carlile brings a riveting intensity to her shows. Known for her clear and powerful vocals and her signature mix of rock, folk, and alt-country, Brandi Carlile continues to wow audiences from major festivals to Benaroya Hall in Seattle where she has played with the Seattle Symphony.
$30 members / $40 nonmembers • Early entry tickets $70 members / $80 nonmembers
Josh Ritter is a singer-songwriter and guitarist with six albums (and a novel) under his belt and fans who love to sing along with his heartfelt folk-rock anthems. His Americana style first took hold in a big way in Ireland and the UK. A talented singer-songwriter, in 2006 Ritter was named one of the 100 Greatest Living Songwriters byPaste Magazine.
A huge group turned out for Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real Saturday afternoon at River Run
It’s spring break and Sun Valley is ready to party!
Sun Valley Resort set in motion the feel good vibe of spring in the mountains on Saturday afternoon, when a crowd estimated at over 1,000 people gathered at the base of River Run to enjoy the sounds of Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real. The afternoon was sunny and warm and concert goers peeled down to t-shirts and ski pants as they enjoyed a cold beer and hot music.
In true Sun Valley style, with the first chords from Lukas Nelson’s guitar, people rushed the dance floor and didn’t sit down again during the entire hour-and-a-half long concert. The stage, set up just outside of Brass Ranch, offered a large area for dancing and standing and seating room stretched from the bridge to the base of the lifts. Also in true Sun Valley style, the event drew everyone in town — from 20-somethings to kids in strollers, from retirees to Ketchum’s ubiquitous four-legged friends.
Everyone came out to relax and to enjoy the band’s signature sound. Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real stopped in Sun Valley during a tour that next leads to Utah, California and Hawaii. But judging by the number of fans they have in Idaho, hopefully they will return. The four-person band is known for their high-energy performances. Though Lukas is music royalty (his father is Willie Nelson), the 25-year-old lead singer and guitar player has earned his own huge fan base with original music that is less a little bit country, and more a little bit rock ‘n’ roll.
Lukas Nelson rocks River Run
Saturday’s concert was the first of four free concerts celebrating spring on the mountain. The Rock ‘n The Sun Spring Concert Series will continue on March 23 with Paranoid Social Club at River Run, on April 6, The Bernie Worrell Orchestra, also at River Run and on April 13, the day before Baldy is set to close for the season with Diego’s Umbrella at Warm Springs. Concerts run from 4:30 – 6 p.m. This is the first time Sun Valley has ever offered a free après ski concert series of this magnitude with a large outdoor stage and full concert sound system.
The recipe for apres ski spring break style? Eat, drink, be merry
Next up, Paranoid Social Club is an American Rock band formed in 2002 in Portland, Maine. The band’s debut album Axis II produced the hit “Wasted” which was featured as the theme for Broken Lizard’s cult classic film Beerfest, as well as being the soundtrack to every college party in America, according to the band’s website. Their next album featured the single “Two Girls” which was used in HBO’s series Entourage and Cathouse and gave birth to a house remix album produced by club DJs. I’m guessing Paranoid Social Club will bring the crowd to their feet again.
No explanation needed
Expect big crowds this weekend for this party band. Find a seat or your spot on the dance floor and enjoy Spring Break Sun Valley style!
Thanks to Sun Valley Resort for making spring skiing even better.
Everything is going perfectly. You have arrived in Sun Valley and are looking forward to a holiday week of amazing skiing or snowboarding. You checked into the Resort, unpacked your ski clothes and plan to be at the mountain bright and early to take advantage of bluebird skies, bright sunshine and terrific conditions. Now, all you need is some gear.
Step one: fill out the necessary online forms at Pete Lane's
To help ensure you get onto the mountain as quickly as possible, here is a primer for renting equipment at the base of River Run. If you follow these basic steps, perfect turns and pristine slopes will be yours in record time.
Rentals and demos on the River Run side of Baldy are available at Pete Lane’s on the plaza. Pete Lane’s is in the same building as the Brass Ranch, toward the back (very convenient if shopping for beautiful ski clothes is also on the agenda).
At Pete Lane’s, locate one of the computer terminals against the back wall and go ahead and fill out the requested information.
The friendly and well-trained staff is here to help
Next, walk a few steps across the room to where Demo skis are displayed. There, friendly staff members will help you decide what kind of package you require, discuss different equipment options, current snow conditions and your ability level in order to get you on exactly the right set-up. Pete Lane’s offers a wide range of equipment, perfect for a true beginner or expert shredder; appropriate for a day on Sun Valley’s fabled groomed runs or a dip into the powder. At this counter, you may also buy lift tickets.
The always-critical boot fitting comes next. Again, the experts at Pete Lane’s will make sure you get a boot that is sized correctly and that is comfortable, because, as we all know, there is nothing sure to sour a day on the mountain more quickly than aching feet.
Step 3: Making sure the boot fits
Last stop is the back room where your skis or snowboard await. Boots on your feet, skis and poles or snowboard in hand, the lift and gondola beckon, right outside the door.
And don’t forget, if you rent equipment from Pete Lane’s or if you are a Resort guest, there is complimentary ski storage at the base of River Run. Drop your equipment off before heading in to the River Run Lodge from an après ski beer and entertainment. It will be waiting for you the next morning.
Almost there. Grab your skis or your board and you're out the door!
Equipment rental is also available at Dollar Mountain and at the base of Warm Springs. The process is the same: computer first, forms next, boots, skis or snowboards and off you go. Don’t hesitate to ask a staff member if you have any questions – they are all knowledgeable and helpful.
Have a fantastic Presidents’ Day holiday or ski week and be sure to let us know how you liked the gear!