A Walk Through History: Sun Valley Village

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 Two of the tour: Sun Valley Village. For the complete series click here

The Ram Restaurant, part of Sun Valley Village since 1937

STOP ONE: Begin your tour of Sun Valley’s grounds at the outdoor ice rink. Installed in 1936, the rink was a main attraction for the new winter resort. Steve Hannagan, Sun Valley’s publicist, was far from convinced that starlets and socialites wanted to hurtle down a hillside, and he deemed skating far more glamorous. Today, it is one of the world’s premier outdoor ice-skating venues, attracting Olympians such as Sasha Cohen, Johnny Weir and Evan Lysacek to perform in its summer ice shows. The very first ice show was held on the evening of Thursday, February 24, 1938. The Austrian ski instructors kicked off festivities by slaloming down Dollar Mountain carrying flares. This torchlight parade, as it became known, is a tradition that is now a centerpiece of Sun Valley’s Christmas celebrations. That first ice show however, was not quite of the caliber of today’s. Instead of Olympians it featured brave resort guests waltzing on the ice with flares in hand, comical musical chairs and Union Pacific staff who had been given such expert choreographic instruction as “just move around.” It proved such a hit that a repeat performance was ordered for the next week, and ice shows have continued at Sun Valley ever since.

STOP TWO: Now take a walk from the resort’s oldest entertainment venue to its newest. Keep the rink on your right and follow the path away from the Lodge toward the Sun Valley Pavilion. This impressive feat of architecture is the jewel in the crown of the six buildings Sun Valley’s most recent owner, Earl Holding, contributed to the resort during his 35 years of ownership. One of Mr. Holding’s favorite sayings was “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing,” and the Pavilion is overdone in the best possible way. Opened in 2008 through a partnership with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, this one-of-a-kind performing arts facility was constructed with 1,000 tons of marble from the same quarry as the stone used to build Rome’s Coliseum. In its young life it has hosted such glittering names as Garth Brooks, the San Francisco Ballet, Bill Cosby and, of course, the world famous Sun Valley Summer Symphony.

STOP THREE: Walk from the Pavilion around the Lodge and towards the Sun Valley Village. You will pass three cottages. The first is The Harriman Cottage. Built in the summer of 1937, this was Sun Valley’s original “vacation home,” and is still available to rent today. “I wanted to have a place to come and live,” Harriman said in 1983. “And I wanted to encourage people to build houses in the valley. I didn’t want any more hotels to be built. I didn’t want it to be cluttered up as [if] it was a big resort. But I wanted people to come here and live and enjoy it either as a home or as a second home of sorts. All of that was part of the original idea. It has worked out very satisfactorily.” The other two cottages were added in the fall of 1940, one for Dr. Moritz, the resident surgeon, and the other for Friedl Pfeiffer, then the new head of the ski school, although he never lived in it. These are now The President’s and Guest cottages and can also be rented.

STOP FOUR: Continue along the sidewalk to the bus circle at the entrance to the Sun Valley Village, and stop just below the flagpole. Here you’ll find The Tenth Mountain Division Rock. This memorial to The Ski Troops, as they were known, honors the many Sun Valley alumni and residents who fought in the division during WWII. The Tenth is famous for helping push the Germans from the snow covered mountains of Italy, effectively ending the war, but they lost a quarter of their number in the process. Three mountains in the valley are named for fallen Sun Valley employees who served in The Tenth: Handwerk Peak after a waiter at the Ram; Duncan Ridge for a former Lodge employee; and Bromaghin Peak for a ski instructor.

STOP FIVE: Just beyond the rock, to the left of the recreation center, is another of the resort’s links to WWII. These statues are in memory of two members of the Tenth, Austrian ski instructors Sigi Engl and Sepp Froehlich, who between them worked 72 seasons at Sun Valley. Engl initially applied in 1938, but was turned down by Harriman. By the following season however he was firmly ensconced at the resort, and worked here for more than three decades. He served as director of the ski school from 1952 to 1975. Froehlich arrived at Sun Valley the year after Engl, but the outbreak of WWII saw him, Engl and three other Austrian instructors arrested by the FBI on suspicions of harboring Nazi sympathies. Engl immediately joined the U.S. Army, but Froehlich spent nearly three months in prison before enlisting. He went on to win a Silver Star for gallantry in the Pacific.

STOP SIX: Follow the path past the bank and turn right to the Sun Valley Opera House. The 320-seat movie theater was added in the resort’s second season, and its early ties to Hollywood were strong enough to secure a much-sought-after copy of Gone With The Wind in the first few weeks of its release. (Wind producer David O’Selznick was a friend of Harriman’s and helped him publicize Sun Valley, although he disapproved of the name, he thought it should be called Ski Haven.) Today, alongside hit movies, catch a showing of Sun Valley Serenade most days. The 1940s classic features scenes shot at the resort as well as future gold medalist Gretchen Fraser skiing for star Sonja Henie.

STOP SEVEN: From the Opera House proceed around the duck pond, taking in the glass enclosed exterior of the resort’s second circular pool (identical to the one in the Lodge), and walk along the length of the Sun Valley Inn. “Realizing that one hotel doesn’t make a resort, Sun Valley this year opened another spacious hostelry, much more moderate in price,” Esquire wrote in its February 1938 article Enter the Ski-golo. The title referenced the original ski school director Hans Hauser’s stable of Austrian skier instructors. It turns out they were all “singularly adept in teaching that old world technique to our susceptible American maidens.” Originally called The Challenger Inn, after Union Pacific’s passenger trains, the Inn is the centerpiece of the Sun Valley Village. Built to resemble a Tyrolean mountain village, the hotel was based on drawings by Ernst Fegté, the German set designer of the first movie shot in Sun Valley, I Met Him in Paris starring resort regular Claudette Colbert. The hotel’s different facades were painted by American artist Walt Kuhn to enhance the illusion of a classic Austrian village street, when inside it is all one building.

STOP EIGHT: Taking the path to your left, pass the Inn and arrive in front of The Ram restaurant. A relaxed, casual setting for socializing after skiing, The Ram had a strong Austrian theme, right down to the long-stemmed wine-pourers called Weinhebers, imported from Vienna by Count Schaffgotsch. It was also a favorite of the celebrity guests. If you were here in 1938 you might spot Ginger Rogers tap dancing away to The Ram Trio’s cheery tunes (possibly including the Hokey Pokey, which musician Larry Laprise claims to have invented here). Pop by in the winter of 1956 and Marilyn Monroe could be tucked away in a booth, relaxing after a day filming Bus Stop in the snow. Stop for dinner in the forties and sit next to Clark Gable, Bing Crosby or Gary Cooper. The Ram was a place where people let their hair down because, according to a 1958 Sports Illustrated feature on Sun Valley, “It has the New York nightclub feeling.”

STOP NINE: Continuing on through Sun Valley Village, follow the path to the left towards the Lodge. You’ll pass through what was originally known as the Sun Valley Mall. Installed in 1966 by the resort’s second owner, Olympic skier Bill Janss, the shopping street was modeled on the popular shopping mall concept of the time. Today it has been so tightly woven into the character of the original village that it is simply referred to as the Sun Valley Village. In fact, one spot here claims a link to the earliest history of the resort. The Brass Ranch skiwear boutique is named after the sheep and cattle ranch that once stood here.

Written and researched by Jennifer Tuohy

Click here for Part One: The Sun Valley Lodge

Click here for Part Three: Sun Valley Resort

It is Symphony Season

Smile! It's Sun Valley Summer Symphony Season

Smile! It's Sun Valley Summer Symphony Season

Listen carefully and you will hear the telltale signs of the season – the slight creak of wicker picnic baskets settling with gourmet treats and a fine bottle of wine; the hiss of steam as hot iron meets linen; the sticky sound of rosin on a violin bow. If you haven’t already guessed, the season is Symphony Season, that glorious time of the year that began to unfurl its many delights Sunday night at the Sun Valley Pavilion.

The Sun Valley Summer Symphony brings together the finest musicians anywhere and invites patrons, free of charge, to find a seat under the Pavilion sail or on the vast lawn for a dose of cultural enjoyment that lasts the whole year through. This is the largest privately funded free symphony in America and 2013 marks its 29th magical summer in the Wood River Valley.

The magic happens beneath the Sun Valley Pavilion sail and also on the expansive lawn

The magic happens beneath the Sun Valley Pavilion sail and also on the expansive lawn

Sunday’s concert, held on what was arguably the most beautiful night of the summer to date, was a part of the Edgar M. Bronfman In Focus Series that precedes the regular concert season. Featuring members of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony including Maestro Alasdair Neale as Host and Conductor, Teddy Abrams as Host and Conductor, Nicholas Phan, Tenor and Gretchen Van Hoesen, Harp, the series, themed “The Sacred and the Profane: Spirituality Across the Globe and the Ages,” commenced with a performance of Ives’ The Unanswered Question. The In Focus Series continues July 29, July 31 and August 2 at 6 p.m.

Setting the stage for the inaugural evening and the weeks to come was Maestro Alasdair Neale who has led the Sun Valley Summer Symphony since 1995. Under his magic baton, the orchestra has grown to more than 100 players that present free concerts to more than 50,000 people annually. Maestro Neale’s orchestra includes distinguished and accomplished musicians from throughout North America including the San Francisco Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, the Houston Symphony, the Toronto Symphony and the St. Louis Symphony.

Maestro Alasdair Neale shares his knowledge and passion with the In Focus audience Sunday night

Maestro Alasdair Neale shares his knowledge and passion with the In Focus audience Sunday night

Throughout the years, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony has attracted internationally acclaimed guest artists and ensembles including Itzhak Perlman, Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Brian Stokes Mitchell, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Jon Kimura Parker, Bernadette Peters, Frederica von Stade, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Yuja Wang and many others.  This year, the world-famous violinist Midori will appear as a guest artist on August 4.  Other musicians, dancers, conductors and narrators will also grace the Pavilion stage this season in the role of guest artist.

In keeping with its mission, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony offers a variety of education programs for music students of all ages including the School of Music, now in its 14th year, and the Summer Music Workshops, in its 16th year. Upbeat With Alasdair talks given throughout the year and Concert Preview talks given during the symphony season help to educate music lovers of all ages.

Music from the best classical musicians in the world, blue skies and gourmet picnics -- it doesn't get much better than this

Music from the best classical musicians in the world, blue skies and gourmet picnics -- it doesn't get much better than this

The Orchestra festival begins on Sunday, August 4, at 6:30 p.m. and features Midori on the violin. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis inside the Pavilion. For those on the lawn, a 14 x 25-foot LED screen shows all Orchestra festival concerts from August 4 – August 20. Low back chairs and picnics are welcome on the lawn. New this year, there will be a kids’ music tent at every evening orchestra concert. For all the protocol of concert going, please click HERE.

If you are in Sun Valley during August, be sure to include the Summer Symphony in your schedule. Call ahead to the Short Line Deli in the Sun Valley Village and have them create a gourmet picnic for you, including wine if you so desire. Then find a spot on the lawn, close your eyes and prepare to be transported. There is something about live classical music in the mountains that you simply can’t replicate — a wonderful one-of-a-kind way to enjoy the best of Sun Valley.

–RES

It's free, it's fantastic. See you at the Symphony!

It's free, it's fantastic. See you at the Symphony!

SUN VALLEY SUMMER SYMPHONY

Sun Valley Summer Symphony 2013 Season Dates
  • • Edgar M. Bronfman In Focus Series:  July 28 – August 2 (6:00-7:30PM)
  • • Orchestra Concerts:  August 4 – 20 (6:30pm)
  • • 2013 Benefit Concert, Wynonna and her Band:  August 8 (6:30PM)

Puppies, Sopranos & Picnics

 

Baby Sun prowls the pavilion lawn for puppies to pet at opening night of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony season this Monday.

Monday brought my favorite evening of a Sun Valley summer, the opening night of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. The glamorous soprano Deborah Voigt  lent her spectacular skills to an evening of Wagner, Wolf and Strauss.

Nestled snugly in a sliver of shade between the Pavilion lawn, where the serious symphony goers lounged, and the free-for-all behind us where children frolicked, the Sun family joined good friends for an evening of pizza, wine and sensational music.

Baby Sun is a year older, and a lot faster than she was at her first symphony visit, so my ability to completely enjoy the sounds wafting from the awesome orchestra were slightly hampered by her extreme excitement. What was capturing her attention, you ask? Dogs. Baby Sun’s first word was dog, and every time she spies a furry four-legged friend she squeals and rushes off to pet it. As any regular symphony attendee will know, dogs are almost a required accessory on the symphony pavilion lawn, and we were surrounded. There was a gorgeous golden retriever on one side, who patiently let Rose clamber all over her, and, yes, an actual puppy on the other side, whose owners seemingly brought him along to be “socialized.” As they were trailed by a band of children wherever they ventured, I think they succeeded.

Besides the secondary entertainment, Baby Sun did enter into the spirit of the evening, stopping mid-puppy-pat to clap whenever the crowd did, and even attempting to match Ms. Voigt’s thrilling arias with her own high-pitched squeals (I’m not seeing an operatic career in my daughter’s future). And therein lies one of the many things that makes the symphony so special, it caters to all. Nowhere else in the world can you enjoy world-class music for free, while relaxing on a lawn with a picnic and good friends, as your 4 year-old safely plays soccer a few feet away. It’s a unique Sun Valley experience.

For more from the first night of the season, the Symphony posted a slide-show on their Facebook page. And be sure to head there tonight at 6:30 p.m. for the second performance, featuring William VerMeulen on the horn. For a taste of the evening’s offerings, here are conductor Alasdair Neale’s video notes on the upcoming performance:

Video not displaying? Click here .

Happy Trails!

Mrs. Sun

The symphony is back in town

20120720-131620.jpg

If there is one thing synonymous with summer in Sun Valley it’s the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. It is a Sun Valley original. There is no other place in the world where you can lie on a lawn surrounded by the peaks of the Pioneer, Smoky and Boulder mountains and soak up the sounds of a world class orchestra serenading you.

The symphony has been running for 28 seasons and is the largest privately funded free-admission symphony in America. It gathers together some of the best classical musicians in the country for two weeks every summer. There’ll be oboists from the Omaha Symphony, bassoonists from Baltimore, violinists from Des Moines, cellists from Fort Worth, as well as a slew of guest artists and soloists.

For me, the symphony is an annual must-do. Years ago, before Little Sun and Baby Sun were in the picture, I used to head to the lawn behind Sun Valley Lodge most every night for two glorious weeks in July and August. After a long day in the office, relaxing on the cool grass with a simple picnic garnished from Bald Mountain Pizza moments before, was simply heaven.

20120720-131845.jpg
Mr. Sun, who in our early days in the valley was a wildland firefighter, was always off protecting our forests during the summer months, so it wasn’t until last year that he finally got to share in my favorite summertime activity. We took the whole family along to the Pops evening on the first Saturday of the season. As with many musical events in Sun Valley, the symphony is very child friendly (if they get too rambunctious, an impromptu playgroup tends to form just out of earshot on the lawn). But on this evening my 3 year-old and 9 month-old were transfixed (probably all that classical music I played to them in the womb). Baby Sun was clapping and squealing along with the audience and Little Sun sat blessedly still for almost 15 whole minutes.

This year, I vow to try at least one night inside the Pavilion itself, I’ve always been reluctant to give up my much coveted spot on the lawn, but after my experience at the San Francisco Ballet’s performance earlier this month, I’m beginning to see the light.

Of course the lawn experience has been enhanced in recent years, with a large LED screen displaying the action inside for all the concerts, apart from the Edgar M. Bronfman In Focus series (which begins this Sunday). The season officially begins however, on Monday July 30 – and I’ll be there to cover it. See the full schedule here, but some highlights include Saturday, August 4th for Pops Night and the family concert the following Saturday that features the world premier of a Sun Valley Summer Symphony Commission, Cowboy Bill by Alex Orfaly. The performance also includes narration by writer Ridley Pearson. For the one night I may squeeze in up there without the children, my pick is Thursday, August 9, Musicians Choice Chamber Music, featuring Mozart and Brahms

Happy Trails!

Mrs. Sun

Orchestra concerts begin at 6:30pm, unless otherwise noted, and last 60-75 minutes. The Pavilion opens for concerts at 5:30pm. Pavilion seating is available from the East Entrance (West Lake Road) for each of the nine evening orchestra concerts. Ushers will direct the line for seating inside the Pavilion. Reserved seats will be released for general seating at 6:15pm.

Sun Valley Summer Symphony Benefit Concert – Chris Botti

Sun Valley Summer Symphony Benefit Concert

Featuring Chris Botti, Grammy Award-winning jazz instrumental artist

Sunday, July 29, 6:30pm

Sun Valley Pavilion

Sun Valley Summer Symphony

Sun Valley Summer Symphony

Sunday, July 22 – Tuesday, August 14


The largest privately funded free-admission symphony in America, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony celebrated its 27th season in the glorious Idaho mountains last summer. Founded in 1985 as the Elkhorn Music Festival by Dr. Carl Eberl, professor emeritus at the College of the City University of New York, and his wife Julianne, the orchestra grew from 22 musicians to 55 at the time of his retirement. Under the leadership of Maestro Alasdair Neale since 1995, the orchestra has grown to more than 100 players and presents free concerts to over 50,000 people annually.

Sun Valley Summer Symphony

Sun Valley Summer Symphony

2012 Season Dates


In Focus
 Series: Week of July 22

Orchestra Season: July 29 – August 14

Schedule and Repertoire TBA

 

The largest privately funded free-admission symphony in America, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony celebrated its 27th season in the glorious Idaho mountains last summer. Founded in 1985 as the Elkhorn Music Festival by Dr. Carl Eberl, professor emeritus at the College of the City University of New York, and his wife Julianne, the orchestra grew from 22 musicians to 55 at the time of his retirement. Under the leadership of Maestro Alasdair Neale since 1995, the orchestra has grown to more than 100 players and presents free concerts to over 50,000 people annually.

Visit www.svsummersymphony.org for more information

2011 Sun Valley Summer Symphony

For one month every summer, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, the largest privately funded free admission symphony in America, calls the Sun Valley Pavilion home. Bring your blanket, low-backed chairs and cooler for lawn seating or sit inside the shady Pavilion for the concerts.

2011 Summer Concert Series- July 24-August 16
-Edgar M. Bronfman In Focus Series – July 24 – July 29
-Benefit Concert – July 31 (ticketed event, featured artist Jackie Evancho, Soprano)
-Orchestra Festival – August 1 – August 16
-Summer Music Workshops – August 1 – 5

2010 Sun Valley Summer Symphony Concert Series


The Sun Valley Summer Symphony celebrates the majesty of its Alpine setting with the beauty of outstanding free classical music performances, and enriches our lives through artistic, educational and cultural programming, made possible through the philanthropic generosity of its community.  This concert series is free to the public except for the August 1 Benefit Concert featuring Garth Brooks.

Chamber Music Concert Dates:
-Edgar Bronfman Chamber Music Concert Series: July 26, 28 & 30 – Free Admission

-Summer Symphony Benefit Concert Featuring Garth Brooks on Sunday, August 1
Please contact the Sun Valley Summer Symphony for tickets to the Benefit Event.

-Summer Symphony Concert Dates: August 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17 – Free Admission

For more information about the individual concert dates please visit the Sun Valley Summer Symphony website.
(208) 622-5607