Scenes from The Gathering

What better way to spend a Saturday night in September?

I am a skier in a ski town. I count the days until the mountain opens and then I count my days on the hill. When the opportunity arose to watch some of the best ski movies of the year at Sun Valley’s The Gathering film festival, I cleared my calendar, grabbed my kids and prepared for a two-hour mental vacation to some of the freshest powder and most spectacular winter scenery imaginable.

The Gathering, a weekend-long celebration of mountain lifestyle attracted a wide cross-section of people, with the common denominator of simply loving to play in the snow. When I arrived Saturday evening, the crowd gathered outside the Opera House broke down as follows: 40 percent middle and high school students (identifiable by their ubiquitous flat-brimmed caps emblazoned with trendy logos), 30 percent families (identifiable by parents and kids sitting together, enjoying the barbecue put on by Sun Valley) and 30 percent 20-somethings (identifiable by the PBR beers in their hands – there was a special, two for $5). Many of my fabulous 25-year-old babysitters were in the latter group, also identifiable by their continuous subtle scan of the crowd in search of pros and filmmakers.

The group was unified, however, in its enthusiasm for the event.  I heard the same comments again and again. People appreciated that the festival was geared toward locals, that it appealed to both skiers and snowboarders, that kids wanted to come and that is was so affordable.

Some of the fastest local kids on snow get stoked for ski season

Helping everyone look the part

Inside the theater, as the first of the night’s feature films rolled, The Gathering’s appeal to the younger generation became even more apparent. On the big screen, a snowboarding film by Burton featured in-your-face footage of athletes sliding anything but a regular run. Rails, buildings, downed branches and tunnels all served as terrain.

When the festival’s main attraction, “Sunny,” started the audience ballooned and its composition shifted. Suddenly, the crowd was comprised of about 80 percent middle and high school boys. With this influx, came noise, enthusiasm, a smattering of bad language and whole lot of energy.  Everyone was swept up in the epic feats of the athletes on the screen and mentally inserted themselves into those scenes. The brainchild of Josh Berman and Level 1 Productions, “Sunny” was cutting edge enough to please a 16-year-old boy – and his father.

Only about seven weeks remain until the arm of the detachable quads attach and whisk me up the mountain. I can’t wait. My kids can’t wait. Neither can the hundreds of others who attended The Gathering. The countdown has officially begun.

The Gathering

The Gathering

Friday, September 21 – Saturday, September 22

Video Premieres

PBR Golf Scramble

Amateur Film Contest

All-Access Festival Pass – $25; Available for purchase at the Sun Valley Recreation Office – 208-622-2135

For more information visit:

Friday, September 21

SV Opera House Lawn

4:00 pm   Rail, Skate Jam
5:00 pm   BBQ
6:00 pm   Athlete Meet and Greet

Sun Valley Opera House Theater

7:00 pm    Smith Optics, Prospecting Idaho
8:00 pm   Teton Gravity Research, DREAM FACTORY

Ketchum Downtown

9:00 pm   Whiskey Jacques Film Party, YES snowboards

10:00 pm   Whiskey Jacques, Live Music, Jonathan Warren & The Billy Goats

Saturday, September 22

10:30 am   The PBR Ski Bum Pro Golf Scramble – 95.00 entry fee

Come out and play with the pros that you see in the movies playing during the Gathering!
Brunch will be hosted by the Big Wood Grill from 10:30 through 12:00. The shotgun style tournament will start at 12pm. After nine holes, PBRs will be pouring on the deck at Big Wood Grill.

All proceeds go to the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation.

Limited space available, contact Mike Fitzpatrick or Brian to sign up.

The first annual golf tournament presented by Thunder Springs Golf, BigWood Grill and Hayden Beverage.

Sun Valley Opera House

4:00 pm   The Gathering Amateur Film Competition – viewing of top entries

Submit your movie! Download Amateur Film Contest Entry Form Download Entry Form

4:30 pm   Toy Soldier Productions: ACT NATURAL

4:45 pm   TGR: Jeremy Jones – FURTHER

SV Opera House Lawn

5:00 pm   BBQ

Sun Valley Opera House Theater

7:00 pm   BURTON SNOWBOARDS premiere

7:50 pm   Gathering Film Competition Winner

View the winning entry on the big screen

8:00 pm   Level 1 introduction

Talk with the Level 1 production crew as they discuss their new feature film SUNNY8:15 pm   Level 1 premiere of SUNNY

Ketchum Downtown

9:30 pm   Toy Soldier Productions: ACT NATURAL
10:00 pm   Whiskey Jacques Live Music, Whiskey Blanket [Boulder, CO]