Sun Valley Gun Club Opens May 14.

On May 14th, head out to the Sun Valley Gun Club for the opening of the Summer 2014 season! Introducing two new wabble-double traps, a redesigned 10 station sporting clays course, and new this season, free sporting clay clinics. For more information please call the gun club at 208.622.2111

A Walk Through History: Sun Valley Resort

Sun Valley Resort’s historical walking tour is a must-do for anyone visiting Sun Valley. But for those who can’t wait until they’re here to discover the secrets behind this historic resort, here is Part Three: Sun Valley Resort. For the complete series click here

The Red Barn once belonged to the Brass Ranch, on which Sun Valley Resort was built

STOP ONE: Take Sun Valley Road from the Lodge towards Ketchum and stop at the bright Red Barn on your left just before you reach the city. This barn is all that remains of the original Brass Ranch on which the resort was built. Used by the Brass family as a granary and machine shed, it is now an iconic image of Sun Valley. In January 1936, a week or so after Count Felix Schaffgotsch arrived in town and deemed the area “perfect” for a million-dollar ski resort, he bumped into Roberta Brass sitting on a fence pole near this very spot. “This is it,” he told her. “This is where Union Pacific is going to put in a ski resort. Next year at this time there will be a thousand people here.” Two months later Roberta’s father Ernest sold the family’s 3,888-acre sheep and cattle ranch to the railroad company for $39,000, or about $10 an acre. Construction of the Lodge began in May of that year, and its doors opened eight months later.

STOP TWO: Travel a few hundred yards along Sun Valley Road toward the Lodge and turn right down a dirt road to the Sun Valley Stables. It was here the Sun Valley Rodeo enjoyed its brief life. Having given little advance thought to what it would do with a ski resort during the summer, Union Pacific quickly whipped up a rodeo grandstand in the spring of 1937 and Sun Valley hosted its first Wild West rodeo on August 14. It proved too expensive however, and once visitors discovered the real draws of Sun Valley in the summer, the gimmick was no longer needed. The rodeo ended its regular run with the closing of the resort for WWII in 1942 and the stands were finally torn down in the late fifties.

STOP THREE: Continue east a mile or so along Sun Valley Road past the Lodge to the magnificent Sun Valley Club. Built in 2008, this 58,000 square foot clubhouse provides a luxurious base from which to access 27 of the resort’s 45 golf holes in the summer, and 25 miles of Nordic trails in the winter. Union Pacific was quick to spot the importance of golf to a resort, starting work on the Sun Valley golf course in the fall of 1937. Designed by William P. Bell, it opened in the summer of 1938.

STOP FOUR: Walk through the clubhouse and out to the expansive patio, where you will enjoy what is arguably the best view of Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain in the valley. While it now stands as the centerpiece of Sun Valley Resort, Bald Mountain was not the initial attraction. When Schaffgotsch first arrived in the Wood River Valley, at the end of his six-week, 7,000 mile odyssey across the West in search of the ideal spot to build Harriman’s ski resort, it was the gentle inclines of Dollar, Proctor and Ruud mountains that caught his eye. He certainly noticed the “bald” mountain, but deemed it too advanced for the majority of skiers in America, where the sport was still in its infancy. He was wrong. Although lifts didn’t open on Baldy until December 23, 1939, even in the first season guests attempted to tackle its 3,400-foot vertical rise using the services of an early snowcat named “the tank.”

STOP FIVE: A few hundred yards further along Sun Valley Road look for a sign on your right pointing to the Hemingway Memorial. Take the trail down the hill and discover one of the most tranquil spots on the valley’s floor. A bronze bust of Ernest Hemingway sits there, presiding over the trickling Trail Creek. Inscribed on the memorial is part of a eulogy Hemingway delivered for the man who brought him to Sun Valley in 1939. Gene Van Guilder was a publicist for the resort and an avid outdoorsmen. He introduced Hemingway to the excellent hunting and fishing in the area, but tragically was shot in a hunting accident a few weeks after the author arrived at Sun Valley. A notoriously shy public speaker, Hemingway surprisingly agreed to write and deliver Van Guilder’s eulogy, perhaps an indication of how comfortable he felt at Sun Valley. Sadly, Hemingway’s association with Sun Valley ended with his suicide in 1961. He is buried in the Ketchum Cemetery a mile or so from this spot.

STOP SIX: Walk back up to Sun Valley Road and take in the mountains suddenly towering over you to the south. Proctor and Ruud in front of you, and Dollar to your right, were the first mountains in the valley developed for skiing. But it was on Proctor Mountain that skiing history was made. Named for Charlie Proctor, the American Nordic Olympian who together with Schaffgotsch selected the skiing terrain, the mountain was home to the world’s first chairlift. Sun Valley’s publicist Steve Hannagan greatly disliked skiing, and hated cold even more, so he constantly looked for ways to make the experience more comfortable. One of his better ideas was the concept of mechanical devices to take people to the top of the mountain. Putting the vast engineering knowledge of Union Pacific to work, the idea of a chairlift was born. Engineer James M. Curran’s previous experience building a device to load bananas onto a ship inspired him to create a people-carrying version, and the world’s first chairlift was installed on Proctor in December of 1936. The second was completed a few weeks later on Dollar. A J-bar lift was also installed on Proctor Mountain in 1936, but it was moved to Ruud Mountain and refitted with chairs the next year. That lift is the only one that still stands, and it is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It can be visited via a short, but steep hike. From where you stand however, if there is no snow on the ground, you can just make out the original, decaying poles from that first chairlift on Proctor jutting up out of the hillside.

STOP SEVEN: Head further up Sun Valley Road to the newly remodeled Sun Valley Gun Club on your left. First situated along what is now Fairway Road across from the Sun Valley Lake, the gun club was constructed from the Hot Potato Hut that once warmed chilly skiers at the top of Proctor Mountain. That original structure is still part of the club, but the addition of marble bathrooms and other amenities has greatly increased the building’s luxury factor. Skeet shooting was once the most popular summertime activity at Sun Valley and the club hosted many internationally accredited shooting competitions. The addition in 1940 of Carl Bradsher, an internationally known skeet instructor from the exclusive Pennsylvania Rolling Rock Club, helped in generating interest in the sport. Today, that interest remains high, and the gun club claims the honor of teaching more beginners than any other club in the country.

STOP EIGHT: Opposite the gun club is the entrance to Trail Creek Cabin. Opened in January 1939 to create a destination for Sun Valley’s jingling scarlet and yellow bobsleighs, the cabin embraced all the rustic Western atmosphere that the Lodge lacked. Built not out of concrete but from real logs brought down off Galena Summit, it boasted a small coffee bar, a whitewashed kitchen where host August Jacobsen turned out pies and hot biscuits, and a fire that was always burning. Today, you can take a seasonal sleigh or hay ride to the cabin and enjoy dinner surrounded by the same spectacular beauty that Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn enjoyed when they had their pre-wedding dinner here in March of 1939. 

The history of Sun Valley is a rich tapestry that weaves the birth of America’s fascination with skiing, the glamor of the overlapping worlds of Hollywood stars and East Coast socialites, and the shadow of international disaster, into the creation of a vibrant and special community in Idaho’s high desert. This introductory tour merely scratches the surface of the fascinating events, amusing anecdotes and historical milestones to be tracked in this isolated valley. To read more about Sun Valley, its history and its characters, pick up a copy of The Sun Valley Story by Van Gordon Sauter. As Clint Eastwood wrote in his foreword “This book captures the magic and the tradition and a whole lot more.”

Written and researched by Jennifer Tuohy

Click here for Part One: The Sun Valley Lodge

Click here for Part Two: The Sun Valley Village 


Ready, aim, fire -- this was a memorable weekend for sporting gun enthusiasts

Ready, aim, fire -- this was a memorable weekend for sporting gun enthusiasts

Last weekend, Silver Creek Outfitters and world famous gun manufacturers, Beretta, joined forces to again provide a memorable event for gun sporting enthusiasts. Dozens gathered on a warm, sunny Friday to demo Beretta’s guns at the scenic Sun Valley Gun Club during what is dubbed the Legacy weekend.

The Sun Valley Gun Club provided what Silver Creek Outfitter's owner Terry Ring called the perfect venue for the event

The Sun Valley Gun Club provided what Silver Creek Outfitter's owner Terry Ring called the perfect venue for the event

During the warmer weather months, the club, located just across the street from the entrance to historic Trail Creek Cabin, invites beginners to sharp shooters to come out and try their aim at Sporting Clays, Trap and Skeet, Double Trap, Wobble Trap, Duck Tower and 5-Stand. Certified instructors are always available to help beginners get started or to provide a refresher lesson. During the Legacy demo day, things get even more fun and interesting.

Beretta's Mobile Showroom brought the storied manufacturer's inventory right to the Gun Club

Beretta's Mobile Showroom brought the storied manufacturer's inventory right to the Gun Club

Beretta shotguns are already featured at the Sun Valley Gun Club, so it only further enhances the experience when Silver Creek Outfitter’s owner, Terry Ring, arranges to have the huge Beretta trailer, with equally huge graphics, pull into the club’s parking lot. Outfitted with Beretta’s beautifully crafted range of guns, enthusiasts are welcome to try out any that look appealing. All you need to do is sign a waiver, chose your gun and take your stand at your assigned station. Locals and visitors alike stepped up to the challenge.

“The event was a huge success for new and experienced shooters,” Ring said. “Our guests were excited to demo Beretta’s range of shotguns shooting Sporting Clays, Trap and Skeet.  The Sun Valley Gun Club was the perfect venue for the event.”

Many available guns were checked out and in use at Sun Valley Gun's Clubs stations during demo day

Many available guns were checked out and in use at Sun Valley Gun Club's stations during demo day

The Beretta truck moved to downtown Ketchum outside Silver Creek’s flagship store on Saturday, allowing even more people to step in and enjoy the Mobile Showroom. Dealer representatives were on hand to show the full line of Beretta guns and shooting accessories.

Silver Creek Outfitters is known as one of the preeminent fly fishing shops in the country, but is also a destination for those who enjoy sporting guns, bird and duck hunting. Guns, hunting vests, boots, ammo, protective eyewear, shot and field bags and much more can all be found at the high-end outfitters located in both downtown Ketchum and at the Sun Valley Village, just in time for Upland bird and waterfowl hunting season in Idaho’s autumn.

Even if hunting is not your thing, shooting Sporting Clays, Trap and Skeet can be really fun. Just ask all the men and women who came out for the Legacy weekend.

Shooting Sporting Clays and Trap and Skeet is a fun way to enjoy an autumn day in Sun Valley

Shooting Sporting Clays and Trap and Skeet is a fun way to enjoy an autumn day in Sun Valley, whether you are a beginner or expert

For more information on the facilities or to schedule a lesson, please contact the Sun Valley Gun Club at (208) 622-2111. To learn more about Idaho’s fall hunting season through Silver Creek Outfitters, please click HERE.



Sporting Clay Fun Shoot!

Join us for a fun fall day of shooting

Sun Valley Gun Club


• 100 Target Only $50 – Includes Lunch

• Great Prizes for First & Second Place Shooters!

The Sun Valley Gun Club is located just 1.5 miles east of

the Sun Valley Lodge. Our beautiful facility can accomodate

individuals or groups. Our range is perfect for avid

sportsmen and novice shooters alike. Beretta Shotgun

rentals, memberships and certified instruction available.


The Sun Valley Gun Club offers Trap, Double

Trap, Wobble Trap, Skeet,

Duck Tower, 5-Stand and Sporting Clays.

Open 7 day a week 10am–4pm

Mrs. Sun gets her shotgun

Gun Club manager J.C. Dovey had his work cut out for him teaching Mrs. Sun how to shoot a shotgun.

As the welcome chill of fall enters the air, Sun Valley Resort looks to its third season. For some, notably the area’s most famous resident Ernest Hemingway, fall is their favorite time of year in the Wood River Valley.

The opportunity to participate in one of Hemingway’s favorite fall activities is one not to be missed. And you don’t even have to kill anything. While Hemingway was an avid hunter, the Sun Valley Gun Club offers the chance for everyone from the most experienced to the novice to get their hands on a shotgun.

I headed to the historic club to see what it felt like to have a shotgun in my city-bred hands. Manager J.C. Dovey took me under his wing, but not before giving me the grand tour of the facilities.

Almost as old as the resort itself, the Gun Club was once one of the most popular non-winter activities here. Pictures along the wall of the club show hundred of shooters lined up at the original club in the shadow of Bald Mounatin during one of the many “shoots” the resort hosted over the years, stretching all the way back to 1936.

The club’s structure is still the original building that once stood across Sun Valley Lake along what is now Fairway Road. “It is actually made from the old Proctor and Ruud sandwich shacks [or day lodges as they were more grandly called],” Dovey said.

After undergoing a few re-locations (the first fifty or so years ago to what is now the White Clouds Golf Course, and then to its current home, a mile east of the Lodge down Trail Creek Road, in 2006), and the installation of marble bathrooms (“I rent them out as baptismal fonts,” joked Dovey), the Gun Club and has re-captured its former glory. This summer the shooting range was a veritable hot bed of activity. While I was waiting for my lesson the phone rang off the hook with would-be shooters. But Dovey assures me fall is the time to be here, it’s a little quieter and is when the locals move in. “About 25 percent of our guests here are locals and regulars, seasoned shooters who own their own guns,” Dovey said.

The lion’s share of the other 75 percent are once-a-year shooters or beginners like myself who have never held a shotgun before. Dovey tells me this is unique in the world of gun clubs. “We get so many people here who have never shot, but we have extensive teaching staff,” he said with obvious pride. “The only other similar club is Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, but we actually do more lessons than they do.”

Sun Valley’s Gun Club is very much a teaching facility with the price of a lesson included in the rental of equipment. “It’s rare for a gun club, we have 5 or 6 instructors,” Dovey said.

Dovey and his team pride themselves on not letting a novice leave without hitting one of those orange clay thingys. So, when I decided to join a long line of resort guests, including many Hollywood celebrities such as Anne Southern, and make the Sun Valley Gun Club my first experience with that icon of the Wild West the shotgun, Dovey had his work cut out for him.

Rudy Etchen - son of Gun Club manager Fred Etchen who was Sun Valley's first Olympic gold medal winner (winning gold for team trapshooting in the 1924 Olympics) - was considered the greatest shotgun shot that ever lived. Pictured here in 1958 with actress Anne Southern, Rudy was one of the instructors at the resort. Today J.C. Dovey and his team continue the Sun Valley tradition of excellent instructors.

Standing at the far end of the shooting range, escaping the hooting and hollering emanating from the group of Idaho Milk Processors’ indulging in something called an “Annie Oakley,” I picked up my first shotgun with trepidation. Orange earplugs firmly shoved in my ears and my shooting stance adopted, Dovey talked me through how I would shoot my first shot. Not suprisingly I missed by a mile. His words were, “I’d shoot it sooner. Try for this county, not Camas.”

I could tell there was some pride at stake here, but Dovey maintained his calm, encouraging tone and before we were through the entire box of shells I had actually hit one. The sound of my hooting and hollering even shut the milk processors up for a few minutes.

While it was a lot of fun, I had to conclude that I’m just not a gun-toting type. But I highly recommend giving it a shot, it’s something of a rite of passage for anyone that wants to call themselves an Idahoan.

Happy trails!

Mrs. Sun

The Sun Valley Gun Club offers Trap, Double Trap, Wobble Trap, Skeet, Duck Tower, 5-Stand and Sporting Clays. Open 7 days a week 10 a.m.–4 p.m. through October. For rates and more details click here. On Sept. 22 the club is hosting a “Sporting Clay Fun Shoot!” 100 targets for $50, including lunch. Prizes on offer for 1st and 2nd place shooters. Call 208.622.2111 or email A special $149 Fun-Shoot room package is available, call 1.800.786.8259.

Beretta Demo Shooting at Sun Valley Gun Club

Beretta Demo Shooting at Sun Valley Gun Club – Sept 21th

Friday, September 21th 2012, 12:00pm

Spend your afternoon with us at the Sun Valley Gun Club.  Practice your target shooting with any demo gun in the Beretta Mobile Showroom. Dealer representatives will be on hand to show you the full line of Beretta guns and shooting accessories.

Gun Club – Sporting Clay Fun Shoot!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Demo Shooting at Sun Valley Gun Club – Sept 16th

Spend your afternoon with us at the Sun Valley Gun Club.  Practice your target shooting with any demo gun in the Beretta Mobile Showroom. Dealer representatives will be on hand to show you the full line of Beretta guns and shooting accessories.

Gun Club Sporting Clay Fun Shoot

Join us at the Sun Valley Gun Club Saturday, September 11 for a fun autumn day of clay shooting.
100 targets and delicious BBQ Lunch for only $35 per person. Registration starts at 9am.

The Sun Valley Gun Club is located just 1.5 miles east of the Sun Valley Lodge. We offer Trap, Double Trap, Wobble Trap, Skeet, Duck Tower, 5-Stand and Sporting Clays. Baretta Gun rental and expert instructors are on staff daily. Beginners are welcome. Call (208) 622-2111 for more information.

Sun Valley Gun Club Fun Shoot June 19, 2010

The Sun Valley Gun Club is located about 1.5 miles east of the Sun Valley Lodge across from the entrance to Trail Creek Cabin. The facility has been completely remodeled and is ready to accommodate individuals or groups.

Don’t miss our Sporting Clay Fun Shoot Saturday, June 19th! 100 Targets and Lunch for only $35
Special Hotel Rates available for Fun Shoot participants: $119 (plus tax based on double occupancy)
Hotel Reservations: 800-786-8259

The Sun Valley Gun Club offers Trap, Double Trap, Wobble Trap, Skeet, Duck Tower, 5-Stand and Sporting Clays. We feature Beretta shotguns and we use "light target load" ammo to minimize gun recoil. Each shooter is briefed on proper gun safety procedures. Beginners welcome! Certified instructors are always available to assist the novice and the seasoned shooter.

Please contact the Sun Valley Gun Club for additional information at 208.622.2111