Annual Valentine’s Dinner Dance – The Sun Valley Lodge Dining Room. Friday, February 7th at 6:30pm

Ode to Sun Valley

For the Marziello family of New Jersey, Sun Valley holds a special place. Lisabeth Marziello started bringing her four children to the Resort for the magical holiday season when they were tiny and has returned for the past 15 years for the lively week of December 26 through New Years’. Her parents, Bill and Harriet Harris, have been Sun Valley loyalists for 25 years.

The Marziello family at Baldy from left: Samantha, Joseph, Sophia and Fiona. And, yes, that is Sylvester Stallone in the middle!

The Marziello family at Baldy from left: Samantha, Joseph, Sophia and Fiona. And, yes, that is Sylvester Stallone in the middle!

“The children have all learned to ski in Sun Valley, starting in the preschool program on Dollar, and moved with their favorite instructor, Basil, to Baldy,” Lisabeth explained. “They are now all black diamond skiers!”

The family also returns during the warm weather months to ice skate, horseback ride, bicycle and go whitewater rafting. In all, according to Lisabeth, the family that includes Joseph, 21, Samantha, 20, Fiona, 16, and Sophia, 14, spend about a month in Idaho each year.

When assigned an essay in English class this fall, 14-year-old Sophia, a freshman, composed an evocative piece detailing what she loves about winter in Sun Valley. This ode reminds that Sun Valley is a place that cultivates lifelong relationships, lifelong loyalty. The essay, which incidentally received an A grade, appears below.


Another reason to love Sun Valley, no matter your age: the gourmet hot cocoa bar at a la mode

Another reason to love Sun Valley, no matter your age: the gourmet hot cocoa bar at a la mode in the Village

Sun Valley by Sophia Marziello
In the wintertime, a blanket of shimmering snow covers the ground for as far as the eye can see. The sweet aroma of hot chocolate fills the air as you walk down the peaceful streets of Sun Valley,

The wind as cold as ice hits across your face, as you race down the slopes of Mt. Baldy; which is one of the greatest features of Sun Valley. In the small, but spirited, town of Sun Valley, Idaho, there are so many great things to do. From skiing, to sleigh rides, and drinking Sun Valley’s famous hot chocolate, everyone is guaranteed to have a great time. In Sun Valley, while the snow is falling, and the air is filled with the laughter and cheer of your family, it seems like a perfect Winter Wonderland.

Christmas lights light up the night, as you listen to the wonderful voices of carolers, and take in the majestic scenery of Sun Valley. Surrounded by trees, chirping birds, and the smell of smoke,
from nearby bon fires, there is no other place I would rather be. One of my favorite places in Sun Valley is the Sun Valley Lodge.

Surrounding the beautiful Lodge, are dozens of ice sculptures, made by local, creative, artists. From animals, to sleds, and the annual great Sun, these sculptures come in all different shapes and sizes.

From the moment I step off the plane, and feel the cool breeze of winter glide across my face, I know that I have finally arrived in Sun Valley, and I feel right at home. Sun Valley will always be close to my heart, because of the fond memories I made their, the majestic scenery, the peaceful walks with my family, the fun activities, and of course, their famous hot chocolate.

Come taste the hot chocolate that won Sophia's stamp of approval at a la mode

Come taste the hot chocolate that won Sophia's stamp of approval at a la mode

For a young lady, this loyalty can begin with something as simple, but as tasty, as the hot chocolate bar at a la mode in the Sun Valley Village. For the many families who have made Sun Valley a holiday tradition for 10, 20, even 40 years, the loyalty may have started with a special lunch at Roundhouse, a memorable day in the powder, cross country skiing next to Trail Creek … whatever it was, it kept them coming back.

We look forward to seeing the Marziello family back at the Sun Valley Lodge in December or warming up with a gourmet hot chocolate at a la mode. We are certain Sophia and her family will create new memories to last a lifetime during this holiday season.

The holidays in Sun Valley truly are magical -- from giant ice sculptures to horse drawn sleighs

The holidays in Sun Valley truly are magical -- from giant ice sculptures to horse drawn sleighs

After all, holidays in Sun Valley spring straight from a well-worn, best-loved children’s storybook. It looks like winter is supposed to look with snow blanketing tall mountains and dusting the branches of fir trees. It smells like it’s supposed to smell with the ubiquitous, welcoming, warm scent of wood burning fires. It feels like it’s supposed to feel with cold temperatures biting cheeks and noses, but the warm sun mitigating the sting. It sounds like it’s supposed to sound, whether that sound is jingle bells on a passing horse-drawn sleigh, carolers circulating during the holiday season, or the bell at Warm Springs Lodge pinging to announce that freshly baked cookies are hot out of the oven.

Come visit us this winter and your family will be the main characters in this wonderful, time-proven tale. Like the Marziello family, chances are you will be back again and again and again.


Jazz It Up

On October 16, Sun Valley will jump, jive and wail for five days as the annual Jazz Jamboree, and all the live music, dancing and fun that comes with it, swings into town.  There is no cooler place to be!

Jazz Jamboree swings back into town next week

Jazz Jamboree swings back into town next week for the 24th music-filled year

People travel to Jazz HQ at the Sun Valley Lodge from all over the country for one of the most highly anticipated festivals around. Why? To listen to the music of more than 40 bands; to watch 260 shows on ten stages; to dance the night away after learning all the moves; to see old friends and make new ones; to take advantage of this spectacular time of year in this one-of-a-kind place. The fun is non-stop as enthusiasts choose from live jazz, Dixieland, Swing, Zydeco, and the Blues all day and all night, at all types of venues.

40 bands, 260 acts, 10 stages ... enough said!

40 bands, 260 acts, 10 stages ... enough said!

This 24th installment of the Jazz Jamboree story has some special events. Free dance lessons and an amateur dance competition will get everyone moving.  Come out to check out the All Star Big Band Bashes, a Marching Band Salute, a Pianist Showcase, even a Jazz Worship service. For a full schedule of what is available, click HERE.

The party kicks off with a free event and the entire community is invited to come out and tap their toes. At 7 p.m. on October 15, Meschiya Lake & Dem Lil’ Big Horns will get things rolling with their supercharged take on New Orleans style jazz. Opening for Lake (who incidentally was honored Best Female Performer at the 2011 Big Easy Music Awards) and her band will be the Wood River High School Dixie Band. The action takes place at the indoor Sun Valley indoor ice rink that is converted into a fantastic jazz club, replete with a sprung dance floor, for the duration of the Jamboree.

A Next Generation concert, scheduled for October 19 at 5 p.m. in the Limelight Room includes my favorite act at the Jazz Jamboree – the Whiffenpoofs of Yale. This all-male A capella group, founded in 1909, consisting of 14 seniors, is the world’s oldest, and perhaps best know, collegiate A cappella group. Every year, I take my children to see the Whiffenpoofs’ concert and their music and style always carry me back 20-plus years to my undergraduate years in New Haven. My children remain impressed that the Whiffs still perform in tails and I love seeing formal wear in the middle of the Idaho mountains. Performing with the Whiffenpoofs at this free event are Bill, Shelley & Westy and high school choirs. 

Whether your taste runs to funky New Orleans grooves, big band swing, rhythm and blues, traditional jazz, sousaphones, lyrical standards, big band or almost any other permeation of this always-evolving music, you will find something to love at the Jazz Jamboree.

The Whiffenpoofs of Yale entertain fans of all ages in style at the Jazz Jamboree

The Whiffenpoofs of Yale entertain fans of all ages in style at the Jazz Jamboree

Sun Valley invites all jazz enthusiasts to take advantage of special room packages during the Jazz Jamboree. Call 208.622.2030 or email for rates reserved for festival participants and stay and play right in the middle of the action.

Come join the party!


Sun Valley History: The wagons of Wagon Days

The 55th Wagon Days parade takes place tomorrow, Saturday Aug. 31 at 1 p.m. In honor of the event, The Valley Sun’s guest blogger Jennifer Tuohy digs into the history behind the centerpiece of the parade, The Big Hitch, also known as the Lewis Ore Wagons, the only wagons of their kind in existence today.

The 2013 Wagon Days poster by Ketchum photographer Steve Snyder showcases the majestic beauty of the Lewis Ore Wagons. Click on the poster to purchase a copy.

On August 15, 1958, Katherine Lewis rode down Ketchum’s Main Street as the Queen of the very first Wagon Days Parade. It was her 85th birthday, and the town she had called home for seven decades was honoring her in a way only this town could. Behind her snaked a line of seven unique ore wagons that had been pulled out of storage especially in honor of Ketchum’s grande dame.

As Kate, as she was known, watched the giant wagons rumble through town for the first time in over a decade her thoughts likely travelled back through the years to the story behind this remarkable sight. A story that began, as many stories of the Wild West do, with the quest for gold.

In May of 1879, David Ketchum arrived in Idaho’s Wood River Valley searching for metallic treasures in its mountains. Although he discovered the first lead and silver deposits in the area, Ketchum left a few months later. But many came behind him, chasing the same dream, and on August 2, 1880, the town of Ketchum was born.

One of those who followed in Ketchum’s footsteps was Issac Lewis. But he didn’t come just to mine, he came to build a community. Hailing from Butte, Montana, Lewis was a banker and a businessman and – as many businessmen did in those days – he saw an opportunity to create a community out of this town of dusty mining tents and dirty miners. He quickly invested in real estate, opened the town’s first drug store, helped build the Gueyer Hot Springs Resort, purchased the weekly newspaper, and constructed the town’s first bank. In his own words he “virtually made the town.” The effort Issac put into building Ketchum is still visible in the form of the First National Bank building which still stands on Main Street.

Issac’s son, Horace, soon joined him from Montana, along with his wife, Katherine. They settled on the brand new Lewis Ranch, which extended from just east of what is now Spruce Avenue in Ketchum to the mouth of Trail Creek Canyon. Horace, looking out at the daunting mountains surrounding his new home, spied another investment opportunity for his family: transporting the lead and silver from the valleys beyond into the new railroad-town of Ketchum.

The Lewis Ore Wagons remain a centerpiece of the valley's history. Alongside Bald Mountain they are one of the most recognizable features of the former mining town of Ketchum. Photo courtesy Sun Valley Resort.

In 1884 he formed the Ketchum & Challis Toll Road company to construct a road over the precipitous Trail Creek Summit and built a chain of massive wagons known as the Ketchum Fast Freight Line. A testament to human engineering and masterful animal husbandry, these giant wagons carried between 18,000 and 24,000 pounds of ore along a road no wider than a wagon. They careened around hairpin turns and teetered along sheer ledges on giant six-foot wheels, covering 12 to 14 miles per day. Built to withstand the stresses of traversing the summit loaded with ore, the wagons were daisy chained together and powered by a team of draft mules, chosen for their temperament, strength and stamina. This awesome combination of metal, wood and beast was masterfully controlled by a unique craftsman, the mule skinner. Using a jerk-line, a rein approximately 100 feet long attached to each member of the team, the mule skinner controlled as many as 20 mules at a time through a series of distinct whips and jerks.

This video demonstrates the skill of the mule skinner, showing how each mule in the team of up to twenty, must be commanded to perform a different task. (Not displaying? Click here.)

At the height of the mining activity in the Wood River, Big Lost, and Salmon River valleys the Ketchum Fast Freight Line employed 700 mules and 30 wagons to haul 700,000 pounds of ore to the Philadelphia Smelter on Warm Springs Road annually. There it was turned from raw ore into precious metal and shipped down the Oregon Short Line railroad.

Between 1880 and 1885 approximately $12 million worth of lead and silver left the valley. By 1902, when rail service to Mackay and Challis arrived, the Ketchum Fast Freight Line became obsolete and in 1909 the wagons were retired for good. Two years later Horace passed away.

For a couple years, the wagons sat sadly in a barn on the Lewis Ranch. Then, in 1911, Horace’s widow, Katherine, sold the ranch to Ernest Brass, moving down the road to a house in town. Her home is also still standing, currently occupied by the Elephant’s Perch sporting goods shop.

Kate Lewis's moved into this home in Ketchum in 1911. It is now the Elephant's Perch sporting goods store. Photo from Google Maps.

Connoisseurs of the history of Sun Valley Resort will have already made the connection in this story. That ranch between Ketchum and Trail Creek, which Kate sold to the Brass family, had a grander future in store.

For the next 20 years Ernest Brass and his large family struggled to get by. In January 1936, after losing half his herd to an appetite for the poisonous purple larkspur, Brass met a handsome foreigner named Count Felix Schaffgotsch. Schaffgotsch was on a scouting mission for Averell Harriman, searching for the perfect spot at the end of a railroad track on which the president of Union Pacific Railroad could build a luxurious ski lodge. Brass Ranch was that spot. In April, Ernest Brass sold his 3,888 acres to Union Pacific for $39,000. That December the Sun Valley Lodge opened its doors. Among the names on the guest list for opening night was Katherine Lewis.

The wagons on the other hand, were not invited to the party. Mining had long since been replaced in the valley’s economy by sheep, who had no need for breakneck rides down mountain sides. These giant emblems of Ketchum’s past sat in a rapidly crumbling barn along what is now Sun Valley Road until 1925 when one of the valley’s last teamsters, Sam Sanders, brought them out for the Fourth of July parade, and then one more time in 1940 for the Sun Valley Rodeo. For the next 15 years the wagons were left silent and forgotten. Then, in 1958, the city of Ketchum was looking for a way to honor its founding mother Kate Lewis’ 85th birthday. What better way to do that than to resurrect the source of her family’s fortunes, the Lewis Ore Wagons, and parade them through town, in what became known as the first Wagon Days parade.

In October 1958, two months after riding triumphantly through Ketchum, Kate Lewis passed away. Her nephew Palmer G Lewis, donated the wagons to the city on the condition that they be displayed once a year to commemorate Idaho’s mining heritage, and so the annual event that is Wagon Days was born.

In 1985 the wagons were given their very own home, a museum designed and built especially to house them, and allow them to be on display year round. The city has kept its promise to the Lewis family, and trots out these massive symbols of American history annually (barring wildfire and city politics) for the grand finale to the Wagon Days Parade. Held Labor Day weekend, the event has extended into a 5 day festival celebrating the area’s heritage, but the Saturday parade at 1 p.m. is still the centerpiece, and the Lewis Ore Wagons’ hair-raising trip down Sun Valley Road and around the corner onto Main Street is still the highlight. If she could see what “her town” has become, and the smiles of joy the parade brings to the thousands who gather to watch the largest non-motorized parade in the West, Kate would be so very proud.

Jennifer Tuohy

Preserving this unique and irreplaceable relic of history is a costly effort. As the Lewis Ore Wagons near their 130th birthday, the Wagon Days Committee is looking to raise $10,000 to help maintain the wagons through an indiegogo campaign. Donate to the campaign here.

For a full schedule of events this Wagon Days’ weekend go hereFor a list of the 100 unique wagons from across the West participating in the 2013 Wagon Days’ parade click here.  


Free Fly Casting Clinics

Hosted By Silver Creek Outfitters

DATES: Starts Tuesday June 25th runs through Labor Day Weekend 

Tuesday through Saturday 5:30 – 6:30pm

Join a member of our guiding team and learn to fly cast, or brush up on that double haul technique. With our new location in Sun Valley, we are now able to offer nightly casting clinics to all who are curious or just a little rusty. We offer nightly sessions Tuesday through Saturday on the lawn in front of the Sun Valley Lodge from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Equipment will be provided, but feel free to bring your own.

Location: On the lawn in front of the Sun Valley Lodge


World-class Wellness

Sun Valley is the perfect place to focus on mind, body and soul

Sun Valley is the perfect place to focus on mind, body and soul

For years, I considered my lengthy summer sojourns to Sun Valley an opportunity to regroup: to think, to get fit and healthy and to change up my normal routine for the better. In other words, I always thought of my time here as ‘Spa Sun Valley.’ While many of my friends paid exorbitant prices at wellness retreats so that they could work out, eat well and get a little synthesis for the soul, I did everything they were doing and more, in my normal day-to-day activities. From mineral hot springs, to breathtaking hikes, from spa treatments to fresh, healthy food, Sun Valley’s clean air, sunshine and gorgeous scenery provided the ultimate reboot, addressing mind, body and soul.

And that was without the benefit of attending the annual Sun Valley Wellness Festival. This event, chosen by Travel to Wellness as one of the Top 12 wellness vacations in the world, returns to the Resort from May 23 – 27. It is my version of ‘Spa Sun Valley’ taken up a few notches! Whether you are traveling 10, 100 or 1000 miles to attend Wellness Festival events, you are sure to experience an eye opening and habit-altering reboot.

Hiking in the area provides a fresh vantage point

Hiking in the area provides a fresh vantage point

“Sun Valley has always been a destination for health and wellness,” said Nick Maricich, Sun Valley Wellness Chairman. “Since Sun Valley’s opening in 1937, people have come from all over the world for healing experiences in this pristine alpine environment. Whether it is skiing, fishing, hiking, golfing, bike riding or simply watching the sun rise over the Pioneer Mountains, being in Sun Valley encourages an openness to new ideas, a re-centering and re-framing of priorities. It is the Sun Valley Wellness Institute’s mission to build on these experiences and to help Sun Valley get the recognition it deserves as one of the top destinations in the world for all aspects of health and wellness.”

Energy guru Amory Lovins is a featured speaker at the Wellness Festival

Energy guru Amory Lovins is a featured speaker at the Wellness Festival

The Memorial weekend Wellness Festival is the epicenter for this goal. For the mind, the Festival brings some of the most prominent speakers from many fields to the Sun Valley Inn. This year, one of the predominant questions asked by organizers is: What does energy have to do with wellness? The answer? Everything! Keynote speakers on this topic are global energy leaders Amory Lovins and James Woolsey. Their talk, to be held at the Sun Valley Inn Continental Room on Saturday, May 25, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., focuses on energy present and energy future. According to Festival organizers, “energy underpins our planet’s health and our personal health, from enabling alleviation of suffering from poverty, to providing clean air, to helping to ensure our national security. Energy is perhaps our greatest challenge, but also our greatest opportunity.”

During a break from Wellness Festival activities, the bike path awaits

During a break from Wellness Festival activities, the bike path awaits

Another part of the complete wellness picture, focusing on health and the body, is the Hands-On-Hall. Free to the public, everyone is encouraged to stop by the Inn for massage, healing touch, energy work, Tarot card readings and Henna body art that is particularly popular with the younger set (children are welcome).

To address the spirit, 16 workshops will be offered throughout the weekend focusing on topics as diverse as ‘Attuning to the Unseen World,’ ‘New Beginnings,’ ‘The Four Pillars of Health’ and ‘An Introduction to the Human Design System.’ These workshops are intimate and guaranteed to engage participants on a truly meaningful level. Please click here for tickets for all lectures and workshops and further information.

Trailheads to wonderful hikes lie just across Sun Valley Road from the Lodge, and spread north, south, east and west. Bikes are for rent at Pete Lane’s, located in the Village, and a bike path is readily accessible. Between lectures, workshops and inspiration at the Festival, take time to breathe the mountain air and let the Sun Valley sun work its magic. Take a break beside the scenic swan pond and let everything you have heard and seen sink in. Chat with friends in the Lobby Lounge. Grab a healthy bite at one of the Resort’s many restaurants.

The Resort's two outdoor hot pools are a great way to naturally relieve stress

The Resort's two outdoor hot pools are a great way to naturally relieve stress

To enjoy the full benefit of a wellness retreat, book a room at the Lodge or Inn at a special rate of $120 a night (please call 1-800-786-8259 for details and reservations). As a guest of the Resort, enjoy ‘Spa Sun Valley’ at its finest – soak in the relaxing outdoor hot pools, book a fortifying body treatment at the Salon and Spa, indulge in healthy food and wonderfully comfortable beds. All the Festival offers will be moments away.

You don’t need to go far for a world-class wellness experience. It is all right here.


Go ahead, you're worth it

Go ahead, you're worth it

Children, the Swan Pond and springtime

Now that the snow on the Valley floor has melted into ever greening patches of grass, spring is officially in the air! Small buds are appearing on branches, stalks of flowers are beginning to take an experimental sniff in the warming air and children are itching to be outside.

Nothing goes together like children and springtime in Sun Valley (photos courtesy of Lisa Dirksmeier)

Nothing goes together like children and springtime in Sun Valley (photos courtesy of Lisa Dirksmeier)

The two-year-old class from Sun Valley’s Community School Early Childhood Center scratched that itch this week with a special field trip to the nearby Sun Valley Lodge and the iconic and always fascinating swan pond. A perpetually interesting, constantly evolving neighbor to the school, the Sun Valley Resort is often a destination for these preschoolers. For them, there is nothing better than communing with the ducks and swans and fish.

One lucky duck gets lunch courtesy of a little student at Community School

One lucky duck gets lunch courtesy of a little student at Sun Valley's swan pond

Teacher Lisa Dirksmeier said, “Sun Valley’s cornucopia of magical, extraordinary offerings are a vital part of our life.” One grandfather, along for the trip, likened the Resort to the “land of make believe” as the children took their time navigating the long pathways that meander around the Village. Frequent stops included discussion of the construction equipment being used to beautify the property, appreciation of figure skaters taking advantage of a warm day on Sun Valley’s outdoor ice and pausing to listen to chiming bells and music.

While getting there was more than half the fun, the children were thrilled to arrive at the pond which graces the entry to the Lodge. A hefty supply of bread, crackers and cereal supplied a feast for the ducks and fish, with a few handfuls reaching the children’s mouths, as well. The little ones chatted with the animals, encouraging them to come back, come back, come back!

A trip to the playground and a picnic lunch rounded out the adventure and left, for Lisa, indelible memories. “I hope the children, while they may not remember this exact trip, will recollect a time of pure, uncomplicated joy,” she said, “a time when traveling was light and easy, and friends, two red wagons, some breadcrumbs and a lunchbox was all that was needed to create a magical afternoon.”


What's good for the goose is good for the gander ...

What's good for the goose is good for the gander ...

Sun Valley Movie History: The perfect location

In the second in the Sun Valley Movie History series celebrating the Sun Valley Film Festival, guest blogger Jennifer Tuohy compiles a list of movies shot in Sun Valley. The festival opens tomorrow, for more on the event, which runs through March 17, visit

Arguably the most famous movie star to shoot a film in Sun Valley, Marilyn Monroe is pictured here at the North Fork store just north of Sun Valley, where she filmed scenes for Bus Stop.

From standing in as the mountains of Europe to being celebrated as a character in its own right, Sun Valley’s role as a favorite Hollywood shooting location often had as much to do with the stars’ and producers’ wish to ski there as it did its suitability for filming. Following the opening in December 1936, a total of  32 Hollywood movies have been shot in and around Sun Valley. Over 300 have been shot across the great state of Idaho (for that list click here), but for the sake of my sanity I focused the following chronological list solely on Hollywood movies shot in Sun Valley and its surrounding mountains. I also chose to excluded TV specials (such as Lucy Goes to Sun Valley and Raquel Welch’s variety show), promotional videos, documentaries, and independent movies shot in the southern Wood River Valley. I also left out the unique genre of Ski Films, which is a whole blog in itself – for another day perhaps. The resulting list reflects the birth, intense early passion, slow burn phase, and eventual break up of Sun Valley’s relationship with Hollywood location scouts (Shredder? Really?). Hey Hollywood, maybe it’s time to make up and give it another shot?
Jennifer Tuohy

Filmography links and data courtesy of
The Internet Movie Database

Movies Made in Sun Valley

1937 I Met Him in Paris
Claudette Colbert, Robert Young, Melvyn Douglas. Dir:  Wesley Ruggles
The first Hollywood flick to be shot in the newly-christened Sun Valley-area was filmed at Baker Creek in the Smoky Mountains, where a Swiss village, complete with its own grand lodge, was created. Filming began as soon as Sun Valley Lodge opened, with the stars staying in Sun Valley and the crew finding lesser accommodations in the town of Ketchum. (For more on I Met Him In Paris’ Sun Valley connection click here.)

1939 Stanley and Livingston
Spencer Tracey, Walter Brennan, Nancy Kelly, Richard Greene Dir: Henry King, Otto Brower
The head of Twentieth Century Fox, Darryl F. Zanuck (also responsible for Sun Valley Serenade), was a frequent guest at Sun Valley. He arranged for the opening sequences of this movie to be shot in the Boulder Mountains just north of town.

1938 Everything Happens at Night
Sonja Henie, Ray Milland, Robert Cummings Dir: Irving Cummings
Scenic shots of the area were used in this Swiss-set comedy/drama. Ice-skating star Sonja Henie wasn’t to come to Sun Valley until her next Hollywood movie in 1941.

1940 The Mortal Storm
Margaret Sullivan, James Stewart, Robert Yong Dir: Frank Borzage
Sun Valley’s mountains stood in for those of Austria in this WWII film.

1941 Sun Valley Serenade
Glen Miller, Sonja Henie, John Payne Dir: H. Bruce Humberstone

This clip featuring the signature song of the movie, “It Happened in Sun Valley,” and showcases Sun Valley Lodge in all its 1940s glory. (Video not displaying? Click here.) While the principle sets for the movie were filmed in Hollywood, the skiing and scenery was all Sun Valley, earning this crowd-pleasing flick almost daily showings at the Sun Valley Opera House, straight through to today.

1941 A Woman’s Face
Joan Crawford, Melvyn Douglas Dir: George Cukor
Sun Valley just provided the snow for this melodrama.

1942 Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood No. 3
Hedda Hopper, Anna Boettiger, Ronald Colman, Gary Cooper, Martha Gelhorn, Ernest Hemingway Dir: Herbert Moulton
“Newsreel-style accounts of the Hollywood Dog Training School where Carl Spitz trains stars’ pets and dogs for films; a hunting party in Idaho with Ernest Hemingway hosting Gary Cooper, Anna Boettiger, poet Christopher LaFarge, and others.”

1942 Northern Pursuit
Errol Flynn, Julie Bishop, Helmut Dantine Dir: Raoul Walsh
“A Canadian Mountie of German descent feigns disaffection with his homeland in hopes of infiltrating and thwarting a Nazi sabotage plot.” The landscape around Sun Valley stands in for the Arctic. Watch the trailer here.

1946 An Old Chinese Proverb: One Picture is Worth Ten Thousand Words (Short Film)
Bob Burns, Ken Carpenter, Jerry Fairbanks

1950 Duchess of Idaho
Esther Williams, Van Johnson, John Lund Dir: Robert Z. Leonard

This trailer for Duchess showcases Sun Valley Lodge and a snippet of Connie Haines singing the praises of Idaho. (Video not playing? Click here.)

1949 Mrs. Mike
Dick Powell, Evelyn Keyes, J.M. Kerrigan Dir: Louis King
A Canadian Mountie marries a Boston-bred heiress, uniquely unprepared for the hardships of life in the Great White North. Mrs. Mike nonetheless perseveres through minor inconveniences and major tragedies. Based on a true story and a bestselling book. Sun Valley pretends to be the “Great White North” in this biopic.

1948 That Wonderful Urge
Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney, Reginald Gardiner Dir: Robert B. Sinclair
“When an heiress finds out that the friendly young man she’s met at Sun Valley is really an investigative reporter, she ruins his career by falsely claiming they’re married.” Another Darryl F. Zanuck movie, shot in his favorite ski locale.

1952 The Wild North
Stewart Granger, Wendell Corey, Cyd Charisse Dir: Andrew Marton
Filmed in the Boulder Mountains, along Trail Creek and on Galena Summit.

1952 The Big Sky
Kirk Douglas, Dewey Martin, Elizabeth Threatt Dir: Howard Hawks
Rock Hudson, Marcia Henderson, Steve Cochran Dir: Joseph Pevney
“In a small village in the icy wilderness of Alaska Captain Peter Keith has to defend himself against two especially mean villains, who are after his wife Dolores and a boatload of precious hides.” Background shooting took place in the mountains around Sun Valley.

1953 How to Marry A Millionaire
Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall, Betty Grable Dir: Jean Negulesco

Sun Valley stands in for Maine in minute 2 of this trailer. (Video not playing? Click here.)

1954 Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Howard Keel, Jane Powell, Jeff Richards Dir: Stanley Donen
An avalanche scene in the movie was shot at Corral Creek Canyon near Sun Valley.

1955 The Tall Men
Clark Gable, Jane Russell, Robert Ryan Dir: Raoul Walsh
Once again, Sun Valley provided the scenic snow shots for this flick.

1955 Storm Fear
Jean Wallace, Cornel Wilde, Dan Duryea Dir: Cornel Wilde
The movie was shot on location in Sun Valley.

1956 The Miracle of Todd-AO
“A short film demonstrating the new 70mm widescreen Todd-AO system. After a prologue that shows all that the eye can see through the Todd-AO wide angle lens, we take a ride in a roller-coaster, fly over the canyons of the Grand Teton Mountains, ski in Sun Valley, and follow a motorcycle chase through the San Francisco.” Catch scenic shots of the Sawtooths and the Wood River Valley in this clip.

1956 Bus Stop
Marilyn Monroe, Don Murray, Arthur O’Connell Dir: Joshua Logan
“A naive but stubborn cowboy falls in love with a saloon singer and tries to take her away against her will to get married and live on his ranch in Montana.” The scenes of the couple stranded at a bus stop in a blizzard were shot at the North Fork store, north of Sun Valley, which still stands. Watch the trailer here.

1957 Ten North Frederick
Gary Cooper, Diane Varsi, Suzy Parker Dir: Philip Dunne
Location shots only for Sun Valley in this Cooper vehicle.

1965 Ski Party
Frankie Avalon, Dwayne Hickman, Deborah Walley Dir: Alan Rafkin

Great shots of Baldy and Dollar mountains to be found in the trailer for this raucous ski flick. (Click here for the video.)

1977 The Deadly Triangle (TV movie)
Dale Robinette, Taylor Lacher, Geoffrey Lewis Dir: Charles S. Dubin
“A former Olympic ski champion, now the sheriff of a ski-resort town, investigates the murder of the member of a skiing team that came to the resort to train.” Filmed entirely in Sun Valley.

1978 Crisis in Sun Valley (TV movie)
Dale Robinette, Taylor Lacher, Bo Hopkins Dir: Paul Stanley
“Semi-follow up to “The Deadly Triangle” dealing with a sheriff and his deputy in a sleepy ski town involved with a group of urbanites planning a dangerous mountain climb as well as investigating sabotage in a condominium development.” Filmed entirely in Sun Valley

1980 Swan Song (TV movie)
David Soul, Bo Brundin, Jill Eikenberry Dir: Jerry London
“A champion skier who pulled out of the Olympic games because of a mysterious illness decides to make a comeback.”

1980 Powder Heads
David Ferry, Catherine Mary Stewart, William Samples Dir: John Anderson, Michael French
Filmed in Sun Valley, Edmonton and Jasper.

1985 Pale Rider
Clint Eastwood, Michael Moriarty, Carrie Snodgress Dir: Clint Eastwood

Pale Rider revived the both classic Western and Hollywood’s romance with the majestic mountains surrounding Sun Valley. The film crew constructed an entire mining village in the Boulder Mountains, and the opening credits capture the drama of the Sawtooth Mountains. (Video not displaying? Click here)

1996 Champions on Ice
Scott Hamilton, Nicole Bobek, Surya Bonaly Dir: Paul Miller

2001 Hemingway, The Hunter of Death
Albert Finney, Paul Guilfoyle, Fele Martinez Dir: Sergio Dow
“During the Kenyan struggle for independence from the British in the late 1950′s, a scientific safari led by Ernest Hemingway undertakes the ascent of Mount Kenya.” Filmed on location in Sun Valley and Kenya.

2001 Town & Country
Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton, Nastassja Kinski Dir: Peter Chelsom
The last big budget movie to be made in Sun Valley  provides plenty of glimpses of town and slopes. Unfortunately, when the crews arrived there was no snow on the ground and several scenes were filmed with manmade snow. As luck would have it, a foot of the real white stuff arrived the next day, so some of the scenes were re-shot using the “natural” background. But the movie was cursed with bad luck from the get-go and went on to be one of the biggest box office disasters of all time.

2003 Shredder
Scott Weinger, Lindsey McKeon, Juleach Weikel Dir: Greg Hudson
The Tamarack Lodge on Sun Valley Road in Ketchum provides some interior scenes in this ski horror flick set in Kellog, Idaho.

Read the first post in the Sun Valley Movie History series “The Hollywood Connection” here. Coming next, a look at Sun Valley’s Hollywood Godfather, David O. Selznick.

Sun Valley Movie History: The Hollywood Connection

This week the second annual Sun Valley Film Festival comes to town. In honor of the event and the enduring bond between Hollywood and Sun Valley it represents, The Valley Sun blog is running a series of movie history posts by guest blogger Jennifer Tuohy. For more on the festival, which runs March 14 through March 17, visit

Gary Cooper and Claudette Colbert chat on the slopes of Sun Valley in the early '50s. The two were among the celebrities to visit Sun Valley in its opening season and, like many of their contemporaries, returned year after year to their favorite ski resort.

At 11 o’clock on a chilly Wednesday morning, a slender figure clad in a long camel hair coat dashed across the platform of Los Angeles’s Central Station and slipped onto the waiting train. Hidden beneath a ski cap, the irresistible eyes of Hollywood’s most famous leading lady, Greta Garbo, smiled mockingly back at the waiting photographers and newsmen, whom she had manage to evade.

It was December 30th, 1936, and the train was filled to overflowing with Hollywood’s elite on their way to ring in the New Year at a glamorous new winter wonderland nestled in the heart of Central Idaho. Once inside the special Union Pacific train, Ms. Garbo took her seat alongside the assembly of glittering stars and powerful men, including film noir femme fatale Joan Bennett, swashbuckler Errol Flynn, America’s sweetheart Claudette Colbert, Hitchcock heroine  Madeleine Carroll, Gone with the Wind producer David O. Selznick and celebrated director George Cukor. As the “Sun Valley Special” pulled out of LA, beginning its 20-plus hour trek to the tiny town of Shoshone, Idaho, the passengers’ eventual destination was placed firmly on the map, and the special relationship between Hollywood and Sun Valley, America’s first destination ski resort, was born.

Of course, it was not by happy accident that this galaxy of stars had aligned itself to travel in style for a taste of America’s newest passion, skiing. It was the result of months of schmoozing and networking by three men, Averell Harriman, chairman of the Union Pacific Railroad company and founder of Sun Valley; Steve Hannagan, the larger-than-life publicity guru who sweetened the deal by promising stars they could write off their snowy vacation on their taxes if they posed for his photographers; and Count Felix Schaffgotsch, the charming Austrian nobleman who had found for Harriman a “St. Moritz in the Rockies.”

Although Sun Valley was originally envisioned by Harriman as a modest ski lodge for him and his wealthy East Coast buddies, the savvy Hannagan already had a handle on the power of celebrity. Having introduced the idea of the bathing beauty to the world with his enormously successful promotion of Miami Beach, America’s other destination vacation spot, Hannagan knew how important pretty pictures of celebrities cavorting on the slopes would be to the success of Sun Valley. So he convinced Harriman to tap his somewhat limited Hollywood connections to drum up interest in Sun Valley along the glamour-filled West Coast. Harriman sent his golden boy, Count Felix, off to California with specific instructions to gather as many celebrity bookings as possible.

“I am hopeful that we can get a big crowd from Hollywood,” Harriman said to Schaffgotsch on October 29, “and the kind that we want, if you are able to contact them and tell them the story in the vivid and enthusiastic way that you do.” Just a few days earlier he had dispatched letters to his connections, including Selznick, actor Gary Cooper and Hollywood heavy-hitters Samuel GoldwynMerian Cooper (King Kong producer), and Lewis Milestone (Oscar-winning director of All Quiet on the Western Front), in which he introduced the “Austrian boy who discovered Sun Valley,” and asked if they would “put him in touch with a few people who might be interested in hearing about [SunValley].”

Count Felix Schaffgotsch escorts actress Madeleine Carroll into the lodge in January 1937. At Harriman's request, the Count spent a week in Hollywood before the resort's opening charming stars and directors into booking rooms at Sun Valley.

Arriving in Los Angeles on a Friday night in November, the handsome Count proceeded to charm the pants off Hollywood society, securing large reservations from Selznick, Goldwyn and Cooper, as well as Paramount star Paulette Goddard and Charlie Chaplin, among others. However, it was a chance conversation that planted the seeds for another, now deep-rooted connection between Sun Valley and the world of filmmaking.

On November 20th, 1936, after a long week of schmoozing starlets and chatting-up producers, Schaffgotsch sat down at the desk of his Beverly Wilshire hotel room to relay his successes to Harriman. Alongside the list of celebrity bookings, he described a conversation from that day with some Paramount executives. “They want to shoot a picture under the name of St. Moritz,” he wrote. “It was supposed to be taken in Lake Placid. But as it stands now, I have the feeling they will do it in Ketchum … It certainly would be excellent publicity if the first American snow picture will be done there, the title of St. Moritz is not definite yet, and it would be a good breack[sic], if they would change it to Sun Valley.”

While a name change was in the picture’s future it was not in Sun Valley’s favor and Idaho’s mountains merely stood in for their Swiss counterparts. Indeed, the movie’s eventual name, I Met Him in Paris, so detracted from its shooting locale that many erroneously believe Sun Valley Serenade to be the area’s first claim to movie-making fame. While Serenade, shot in 1941, certainly put the resort on the map, its star, Norwegian figure skater Sonja Heine, never actually shot a scene there, due to something familiar to many Sun Valliants – un-cooperative skies.

I Met Him in Paris was a moderately successful, lighthearted romantic comedy directed by Wesley Ruggles; today its biggest claim to fame is ironically its shooting location. As soon as the Paramount scouts arrived in Ketchum one a sunny December day, they fell in love with the place. “Paramount location men I talked to in Hollywood have arrived with others yesterday,” Schaffgotsch reported to Harriman on December 8, 1936. “They are crazy about the place. Producer Ruggles coming today; it is very likely picture will be turned here during January.”

The picture’s star, Claudette Colbert, was duly dispatched to the grand opening of Sun Valley Lodge on December 21, and, when she returned a few weeks later to “turn” the film, the friends she subsequently made cemented a long-lasting relationship between the actress and Sun Valley. I Met Him In Paris was actually filmed seven miles up the road from the lodge on land owned by a local silver prospector, 28 year-old Gus Anderson (Anderson appears in the movie as a skating waiter who serves Colbert a drink). The production crew built an entire Tyrolean village set on his Baker Creek property, complete with a Swiss-style lodge with overhanging eaves and carved balustrades, a little church and a skating rink with an ice-bar. After filming was complete the Andersons moved into the lodge, which today stands on the west side of the southern end of Ketchum’s Main Street.

A postcard of The Challenger Inn, modeled on the sets built for the first movie to be shot in Sun Valley, Caludette Colbert's I Met Him In Paris.

The other legacy the movie left behind however, is far grander. During the filming Harriman was contemplating the building of a second hotel at Sun Valley. He instructed Gilbert Stanley Underwood, the architects of Sun Valley Lodge, to draw up some sketches but was disappointed with the results (it looked exactly like the hotel he already had). As soon as he saw the elaborate Swiss village at Baker Creek he knew he’d found his new hotel. He asked the movie’s art director, Ernst Fegte, to come up with a design for a hotel. He complied, producing a series of sketches depicting an idyllic Tyrolean village perfectly evoking the Austrian ski towns Sun Valley was modeled on. Harriman was delighted and demanded the sketches come to life. This proved to be slightly tricky however, as Fegte was far from a trained architect. But with some tweaking the Challenger Inn was born. Now called the Sun Valley Inn, the hotel boasts a variety of different facades, giving the illusion of a classic Austrian village street when inside it is all one building – lending a touch of Hollywood magic to the heart of Sun Valley.

Jennifer Tuohy

Coming Wednesday in the Sun Valley Movie History series: “The Perfect Location” A look at all the motion pictures shot in the Sun Valley area from 1937 through to today.

Be Our Guest

Meet Roger Lloyd, one of Sun Valley's most charming ambassadors

Meet Roger Lloyd, one of Sun Valley's most charming ambassadors

With the busy Presidents’ week holiday right around the corner, Sun Valley Resort is expecting many guests from all over the country and world, arriving to enjoy this season’s amazing skiing and boarding, world renown cross-country, restaurants, shopping and nightlife. The first impression many visitors will get of this magical area is from Roger Lloyd of the Resort’s Guest Services. By the time guests have traveled the 20 minutes from the airport to the Sun Valley Lodge, a true insiders’ look at what makes this area so special will be theirs.

“I love that short drive to Sun Valley,” Roger smiled his signature wide smile. “It’s my opportunity to introduce everyone to Idaho, to Sun Valley. I chat with our guests about everything from recreational opportunities to the Lewis and Clark expedition.” He laughed, “I am full of interesting facts.”

There is almost no one who has come by his interesting facts more honestly than Roger. As a 35-year veteran with the Sun Valley Company, and a 42-year resident of the Wood River Valley, his jobs have included everything from helping to build Baldy and Dollar’s high speed quad chairlifts to lift maintenance to guest services. With brothers Jimmy and Mike (who is director of Sun Valley’s Ski Patrol), the Lloyd brothers boast 100 years with the company.

When Roger Lloyd picks you up at the airport, getting here is half the fun

When Roger Lloyd picks you up at the airport, getting here is half the fun

Even once the airport shuttle pulls into the Lodge porte-cochère and guests embark on what is sure to be a memorable vacation, Roger is always around to help answer questions, make recommendations and simply check in on how things are going. “I love it when people approach me in the Lodge lobby or around the resort and have questions,” he said. “Whenever possible, I also like to walk our guests to their rooms after they check in, so we can keep the conversation going and I can ensure that everything is to their liking.”

The great snow this year is making Roger’s job easy, according to him. “There are so many exciting things going on in Sun Valley right now. From the snow sports, to all the new menu choices at our Resort restaurants and the mountain day lodges, to the culture, shopping and entertainment, I am having no trouble at all recommending activities that I know will be well received.  Ketchum and Hailey are hopping, too.  It’s a great season here.”

When you arrive in Sun Valley, make sure to keep an eye out for Roger. He is one of the area’s greatest ambassadors.

“Whether it’s one of the movers and shakers in town for the Allen & Company conference each summer, a family that is bringing the third generation to Sun Valley, or a first-time visitor, we value each and every guest that comes through our doors and are thrilled to share our history, traditions and community with them,” Roger said.

And his favorite part of his job? “When a guest asks me to recommend a local realtor,” he laughed. “Then I know they will be coming back. And coming back. And coming back.”