Summer Ice Skating Heats Up

If you have noticed more activity than usual in and around Sun Valley’s two skating rinks this week, it’s for good reason. Starting Thursday, more than 200 aspiring figure skaters at all levels and from all over the country, will compete in the annual Sun Valley Summer Championships.

This four-day competition heats up the ice with participants donning elaborate costumes and performing their best programs in front of large audiences and a panel of judges.

More than 200 aspiring figure skaters are coming to town to compete in the Sun Valley Summer Championships

More than 200 aspiring figure skaters are coming to town to compete in the Sun Valley Summer Championships

From the youngest novices to those competing at very high levels, everyone is here to do his or her best. Clubs this year represent Colorado, Washington, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, California, Nevada, Florida and Minnesota. In all, more than 35 clubs are sending skaters to Sun Valley’s storied ice.

Judges return year after year to the Sun Valley Summer Championships, as well. Nineteen judges, technical officials and accountants return this year from locales including California, Washington, Oregon, Ohio, Wyoming, New Mexico, New York, Colorado and Utah. Many say it is among their favorite competitions of the year and something they always look forward to.

Many skaters and officials bring their families with them to Sun Valley to enjoy a vacation before or after the big event. Skaters can be seen in and around the Village and town riding bikes, horseback riding, swimming, shopping, hiking, snacking on an ice cream cone and enjoying everything that makes this area so special. Talk in the locker room is of whitewater rafting or camping trips scheduled once competition has concluded.

Yes, they are skating to win, but the competition is also about friendship, having fun and enjoying Sun Valley

Yes, they are skating to win, but the competition is also about friendship, having fun and enjoying Sun Valley

This summer is extra special as the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club celebrates its 75th anniversary making it one of the longest running clubs in the nation. For decades, skaters have journeyed to Sun Valley to train in the clean mountain air and at altitude. In the past, there were even dormitories located on Resort property to house all the athletes. The tradition continues with groups of skaters training in Sun Valley throughout the summer with their own coaches and with the pros at the Sun Valley Summer Skating School. Coaches offer daily clinics and group and private lessons in all the fundamentals of skating – from edge control, to spirals, jumps, spins and showmanship.

Showcase numbers performed outside on Sunday, are often a highlight of the competition

Showcase numbers performed outside on Sunday, are often a highlight of the competition

The public is invited to enjoy any of the events. Thursday through Saturday, competitors will skate in the indoor rink (a great place to cool off on a hot summer’s day). Sunday, the action moves to the outdoor rink for the popular showcase events. Here, skaters are allowed to use props and perform very entertaining programs that are always crowd pleasers. Tickets are not needed for any of the events. On Sunday, our favorite thing to do is to enjoy lunch on the deck at Gretchen’s Restaurant in the Lodge and then find shade in the bleachers to watch an afternoon of action.

Sun Valley On Ice is an intimate venue to see skating's stars shine beneath the stars every Saturday night

Sun Valley On Ice is an intimate venue to see skating's stars shine beneath the stars every Saturday night

The weekend isn’t just for amateurs, though. Sun Valley On Ice reclaims the rink on Saturday night offering some inspiration and entertainment to all the skaters who are in town and anyone else who loves a good show. The July 26 roster features two-time United Stated Gold Medalist and 2011 Skate America champion Alissa Czisny, 2013 and 2012 World Junior Silver Medalist Josh Farris and Sun Valley’s talented soloists, ice dancers, pairs and core skaters. Tickets are available at sunvalley.com.

And the action doesn’t conclude with the final performance on Sunday afternoon. On July 28 and 29, a ProSkaters’ Live Audition and Performance Camp invites skaters back for more. This is a great opportunity for athletes who are at least 16 years old to get a taste of the professional world of skating. Free auditions will be held on July 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. on the outdoor rink. On July 29, workshops will be held beginning at 4 p.m. with off-ice movement. Following a dinner break, current show skaters will share their experiences about life under the spotlight after which the workshop will continue in the indoor rink. The seminar and workshop are $25 for ProSkaters members and $95 for nonmembers. Please click on www.proskaters.org for more information.

Whether you are a competitor, a recreational skater or would like a few lessons, there is no cooler place in the summer than Sun Valley ice

Whether you are a competitor, a recreational skater or would like a few lessons, there is no cooler place in the summer than Sun Valley ice

Whether you can do a swizzle on the ice, or prefer to order a Rum Swizzle from the Duchin Room and enjoy other’s efforts, be sure to stop at the Sun Valley skating rinks this weekend. It promises to be an action-packed few days.

–RES

Sun Valley Welcomes the Mile High City

On July 2, the inaugural flight linking Sun Valley and Denver with direct service on United Airlines touched down. Welcome!

On July 2, the inaugural flight linking Sun Valley and Denver with direct service on United Airlines touched down. Welcome!

The cheers went up as the wheels touched down on July 2 when the first United Airlines flight connecting Denver and Sun Valley landed. The inaugural flight flew through a beautiful early dusk summer night, arriving at Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN) in Hailey at 8:40 p.m. The flight was completely full and the new service got a unanimous thumbs-up from the passengers and community representatives who welcomed them.

Just in time for the busy holiday weekend, passengers deplaned, easily grabbed their luggage and knew they could be in Sun Valley proper after a short and scenic 20-minute drive. After a good night’s sleep the weekend possibilities were endless: fly fishing, hiking, biking, tennis, golf, Sun Valley On Ice, parades, fireworks, horseback riding … the sky is the limit.

This passenger captured the spirit of the day upon landing in Sun Valley for the busy holiday weekend (photo Fly Sun Valley Alliance)

This passenger captured the spirit of the day upon landing in Sun Valley for the busy holiday weekend (photo Fly Sun Valley Alliance)

With daily, nonstop flights from Denver (United), Los Angeles (Alaska Air), San Francisco (United), Seattle (Alaska Air) and Salt Lake City (Delta) it has never been easier to plan your dream vacation in Sun Valley.

Welcome to paradise! It's going to be an amazing summer (photo Fly Sun Valley Alliance)

Welcome to paradise! It's going to be an amazing summer (photo Fly Sun Valley Alliance)

Below, please find the flight schedule for the latest flights to paradise:

Daily nonstop fights to/from San Francisco (SFO):
CRJ 700 – 70 passenger regional jet with first class and economy seating
Service runs daily July 2 through August 25 and five times per week until September 23
• Departs SFO 5:30 p.m., arrives SUN 8:19 pm
• Departs SUN 8:35 a.m., arrives SFO 9:31 a.m.

Daily nonstop flights to/from Denver (DEN)
CRJ 700 – 70 passenger regional jet with first class and economy seating
Service runs daily July 2 through August 25 and five times per week through September 23
• Departs DEN 6:52 p.m. – arrives SUN 8:40 p.m.
• Departs SUN 7:34 a.m. – arrives DEN 9:15 a.m.

Everyone agrees that direct service from Denver deserves a thumbs-up

Everyone agrees that direct service from Denver deserves a thumbs-up

Welcome Mile High City and everyone that enjoys connecting through Denver. We are really happy you are here. Have a happy, safe Fourth of July weekend.

–RES

The Fourth is Looking Fab

The big Fourth of July holiday is just around the corner, and no one does it better than Sun Valley. Now is the time to make sure you’ve secured tickets to all the concerts, shows and events that will make celebrating the nation’s independence unforgettable.

At Sun Valley itself, the Fourth will be feted with the first Sun Valley On Ice of the season on Friday, July 4. This star-studded event beneath the stars features the one-and-only Gracie Gold. Gold, the 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist and 2014 National Champion, is figure skating’s golden girl. Known for her beauty, grace, athleticism and lyricism, Gold will take your breath away. It’s rare to get this close to a star of Gracie’s caliber, so be sure to get your bleacher, Sun Room, or fabulous dinner buffet seats today. Also lighting up the ice on the Fourth will be Jason Brown, the 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist and 2014 US Silver Medalist, as well as Nathan Chen, 2014 Junior World Bronze Medalist and 2014 US Junior Gold Medalist. The fabulous core skaters and featured skaters of Sun Valley will keep the action – and beat — going strong. We’ve heard a rumor that there is a strong disco influence in this show and it is sure to be quite a night.

Sun Valley On Ice kicks off a star-studded season of Saturday night shows on July 4 with headliner Gracie Gold.

Following the show, Sun Valley will set off a dazzling fireworks display, lighting up Dollar mountain and beyond.

Tickets are still available but are going fast. To make sure you don’t miss a moment of this spectacular show, click HERE or please call 208.622.2135. To make the most of the weekend, book a special hotel package, as well. Stay at the Sun Valley Resort July 4 and enjoy two tickets to Sun Valley On Ice and buffet for only $209 per person, double occupancy. Bleacher seating is also available for two plus one night’s lodging for $158 per person, double occupancy. Ask about children’s tickets, too. For reservations, please call (866) 893-4452.

Close your eyes -- you'll swear it's John, Paul, Ringo and George

Close your eyes -- you'll swear it's John, Paul, Ringo and George

The fun continues in Sun Valley on July 5 when the Fab Four play the beautiful Pavilion. At 8 p.m., this first-class Beatles’ Tribute band weaves their precise attention to detail and uncanny, note-for-note live renditions of Beatles’ songs into the fabric of the weekend. This incredible stage show includes three costume changes representing every era of the Beatles ever-evolving career and live performances of classics like “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Yesterday,” “A Day In The Life,” “Twist And Shout,” “Here Comes The Sun” and “Hey Jude.”

A concert at the glorious Sun Valley Pavilion is one you will never forget

A concert at the glorious Sun Valley Pavilion is one you will never forget

The holiday weekend kicks off with music of another sort – the upbeat, “dare you not to dance” sounds of Michael Franti & Spearhead, performing an evening concert at River Run on July 2 at 6 p.m. A part of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts Summer Concert Series, Franti is a Valley favorite and puts on an amazing show that also features SOJA, Brett Dennen and Trevor Hall. Tickets are still available for $40 for members, $50 for nonmembers. Early entry (entry 15 minutes prior to general admission) costs $85 for members, $95 for nonmembers plus a $1 per ticket Reverb charity donation. A special VIP Party pack is available. Please click HERE to buy tickets and for more information.

Please note, picnics will be allowed at River Run, as usual, but due to liability concerns, Sun Valley Company will no longer allow outside alcohol at concerts. Bring ID if you’d like to purchase alcohol on site. Bags and IDs will be checked by Sun Valley Security.

Last time Michael Franti & Spearhead played River Run, an amazing time was had by all. Don't miss it!

Last time Michael Franti & Spearhead played River Run, an amazing time was had by all. Don't miss it!

Fun with Franti begins earlier in the day, though, when the Soulshine Tour Yoga Experience hits the idyllic Trail Creek Cabin picnic grounds. Starting at 11 a.m., live music, DJs, yoga and fans all take part in what organizers call “one ridiculously awesome jam.” The morning begins with a very special mass acoustic music and yoga practice, featuring Michael Franti and friends playing live and a class led by Allie Purdy. The yoga is appropriate for all levels, ages, shapes and sizes. The yoga event will last a roughly 90 minutes, followed by an hour-long traditional yoga class taught by Allie Purdy with Michael Franti performing a couple acoustic songs on either end of the class and physically participating with fans. Doors will open at 10:30 a.m. for this event. Please bring yoga mats and water, but leave your dog at home. The event is rain or shine and is non-refundable. Tickets are $20, $10 if purchased with a ticket to the Soulshine Tour Concert (plus tax). For more information on The Soulshine Tour Yoga Experience, please visit: soulshine.com.

And the Fourth wouldn’t be the Fourth without the Hailey Fourth of July Parade. This true community event features an old west shootout gang portrayal and fun-filled, family-friendly parade that runs down Main Street in Hailey from noon until approximately 1:30 p.m. This year’s theme is “Wood River Valley Inspires.” The Grand Marshal will be Dick Fosbury noted for his “Fosbury Flop” and for sharing his love and enthusiasm for sports, especially track and field, around the world.

Hailey's family-friendly Fourth of July parade is non-stop fun

Hailey's family-friendly Fourth of July parade is non-stop fun

Also in Hailey, enjoy the Rodeo over the long weekend. The Sawtooth Rangers Fourth of July Rodeo runs starts July 2 with “Family Nite” (kids ten and under are free). Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show usually lasts until about 10 p.m. Tickets are available at all Atkinsons’ Markets and at the Hailey Chamber of Commerce in the Welcome Center located at 781 S. Main Street. All Tickets are General Admission and sell out fast so get there early! This is the 66th annual “Days of the Old West Rodeo.” It runs through July 4.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, Ride Sun Valley events continue through July 5. On the Fourth, the Hailey Criterium races around downtown Hailey following the parade. On July 5, some of the best mountain bikers around compete in the U.S. Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships on Baldy.

All the action is back on Baldy on July 5 for the US Marathon National Mountain Bike Championship, part of Ride Sun Valley

All the action is back on Baldy on July 5 for the US Marathon National Mountain Bike Championship, part of Ride Sun Valley

Oh yes, and the gondola and Christmas Lift on Bald Mountain open to bike traffic on July 1.

Phew!

Get out there and enjoy a real, small-town, western Fourth of July with a lot of pretty impressive bells, whistles, and yes, fireworks. Have a safe, fun weekend!

–RES

Sun Valley On Ice Presents: Evan Lysacek. August 30th, 2014.

On August 30th, 2014, make sure to head to Sun Valley to watch Olympic Gold Medalist Evan Lysacek. For tickets and additional information please visit http://www.sunvalley.com/things-to-do/iceshows/ or call 208.622.2135

Sun Valley On Ice Presents: 2014 Gold Medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White. August 23rd, 2014.

Be sure to catch 2014 Olympic Gold Medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White on August 23rd, 2014. For tickets and additional information please visit http://www.sunvalley.com/things-to-do/iceshows/ or call 208.622.2135.

Sun Valley On Ice Presents Johnny Weir and Nathan Chen. August 16th, 2014.

On August 16th, make sure to check out World Bronze Medalist and 3X US Gold Medalist Johnny Weir. Also, on the 16th, 2014 Jr. World Bronze Medalist and 2014 US Jr. Gold Medalist Nathan Chen. For tickets and more information please visit http://www.sunvalley.com/things-to-do/iceshows/ or call 208.622.2135.

Sun Valley On Ice Presents Ashley Wagner and Nathan Chen. August 9th, 2014.

Be sure to catch 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist Ashley Wagner and 2014 Jr. World Bronze Medalist Nathan Chen on August 9th, 2014. For tickets and more information please visit http://www.sunvalley.com/things-to-do/iceshows/ or call 208.622.2135.

Sun Valley On Ice Presents Ryan Bradley. July 12, 2014.

2011 United States Gold Medalist and United States Silver Medalist Ryan Bradley headlines the July 12, Sun Valley On Ice Show. This will be a show you won’t want to miss! For tickets and additional information please visit http://www.sunvalley.com/things-to-do/iceshows/

Sun Valley On Ice Presents: Gracie Gold, Jason Brown and Nathan Chen. July 4th, 2014.

The Sun Valley On Ice kicks off with a bang! Come join Gracie Gold, Jason Brown and Nathan Chen for an unforgettable night. For tickets and more information please visit http://www.sunvalley.com/things-to-do/iceshows/

 

Spend your Summer at the Rink

When it’s hot outside (and it is definitely already getting there) there is no cooler place to be than Sun Valley’s iconic outdoor skating rink. The largest year-round outdoor rink in the country, it is also one of the prettiest. Views extend over Dollar and Bald Mountains and to the historic Sun Valley Lodge.

Everyone who is anyone has skated in Sun Valley and no summer stay here is complete without taking in the magical Sun Valley On Ice Saturday night shows

Everyone who is anyone has skated in Sun Valley and no summer stay here is complete without taking in the magical Sun Valley On Ice Saturday night shows

There is a well-known saying here that “everyone who is anyone has skated in Sun Valley,” and in the world of world-class figure skating, that is true, indeed. The legendary Saturday night Sun Valley On Ice Shows have drawn Olympic and world champions, top professional talent and up-and-comers for decades. No visit to Sun Valley is complete without taking in an ice show under the stars. This year’s high voltage lineup includes Sochi Olympic gold medal winners in ice dance, the magical Meryl Davis and Charlie White on August 23. The beautiful Gracie Gold, Olympic bronze medalist, kicks off the season on July 4 and fellow Olympic team member, 2013 US National Champion Ashley Wagner, will take center ice August 9. From Sochi to Sun Valley: It doesn’t get much better than that! Crowd favorite and Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek returns to Sun Valley August 30. Ryan Bradley and Johnny Weir are also among the featured skaters this summer making for quite a lineup. The talented and always-entertaining core skater favorites include Craig Heath, Ashley Clark, Darlin Baker, Jozef Sabovcik, Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre, Anita Hartshorn, Natalia Zaitseva and Jonathan Hunt, Ryan Bradley, Erin Reed and Jason Graetz.

The venue is intimate and there are few places where you can get so close to your favorite skaters. The athletes all say they love to skate in Sun Valley because they can see and hear the audience and the energy is amazing. Many of the stars stay after the show to greet fans and even sign autographs if they have time. Get your tickets early (they go on sale May 15), be sure to bring blankets to sit on (if you get bleacher seats) and layers to add as the evening temperature drops and come out and enjoy this amazing ice show.

Gracious figure skating stars like Sasha Cohen often take time to talk with, and pose with fans, following a show

Gracious figure skating stars like Sasha Cohen often take time to talk with, and pose with fans, following a show

But you don’t need to be the best of the best to skate in Sun Valley. Throughout the summer, there are sessions available to everyone – from a first timer to a competitive skater. Children love to skate and take to it quickly. To make those first turns as enjoyable as possible, you might consider booking a group or private lesson for your child (or yourself!). Group lessons that teach basic skills are offered at the outdoor rink from mid-June to mid-August. This drop-in format teaches figure skating building blocks like stroking, skating forward, skating backward and that all-important skill, stopping. Classes are instructive, fun and affordable. With the help of a professional, you will see improvement in your scratch spins, swizzles, maybe even Salchow jumps!

Pros like Ashley Clark will wow you every Saturday night in Sun Valley On Ice and then are often available to give lessons.

Pros like Ashley Clark will wow you every Saturday night in Sun Valley On Ice and then are often available to give lessons.

For even more opportunities to improve, semi-private lessons are given for up to four skaters of similar level. Popular clinics are also offered throughout the summer season. The Sun Valley Skating School offers up to 20 classes a day on both the beautiful outdoor rink and the full-size indoor rink that is equipped with a ballet studio and a jumping harness. Clinics begin at 8:30 a.m. and run to 5:30 p.m. They include classes on spinning, jumping, stroking, performance, spirals, ice dance and more. Students can pre-register for the whole summer or pay by the week. Walk-ons are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For full information on available classes, pricing and registration, please click HERE.

If you don’t want a lesson, but just want to enjoy a spin around the rink, visit the skate house and select a package that includes ice time, skate rentals, even a helmet. Please call 208-622-2194 for a current schedule.

Skating is fun for the whole family. Rent some skates and try it!

Skating is fun for the whole family. Rent some skates and try it!

For my family, summer and skating are synonymous. My two daughters, who now skate competitively, first laced up skates as toddlers during our summer vacations in Sun Valley. I’m not sure if it was the great teachers, pretty dresses or beautiful setting, but they caught the skating bug and have committed to this sport for 10 years now. As members of the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club (celebrating 75 years this summer), they spend hours and hours each summer at the rink, participating in classes, working on skills, selling snacks at Sun Valley On Ice and being generally inspired by all the talented and enthusiastic skaters at the rink. It is a wonderful way to spend the warm weather months.

Come join us this summer to take part in a great Sun Valley tradition that is now nearly 80 years old. Skating is fun, it’s super exercise and it is a wonderful way to glide away an afternoon or evening.

–RES

And so it begins... my daughter Blake and her friend Alex, two future National Showcase Champions

And so it begins... my daughter Blake and her friend Alex, two future National Showcase Champions