If your ski day on Baldy begins on the River Run side of the hill, chances are, the first person you will meet will be a member of Sun Valley’s Guest Services – better known as the Yellow Jackets. This corps of 45 is on site, every day, all over the mountain, with the goal of providing 100 percent guest satisfaction. From the moment you park, to the time you are finished with après ski, they are there to help make your experience in Sun Valley the very best it can be.
“We are basically the goodwill ambassadors for the Resort,” explained Guest Services Supervisor Linda Bowling. “We are all people people. There is nothing we enjoy more than welcoming our guests to the mountain and helping to make sure the day is as great as it should be.” To that end, Yellow Jackets take care of everything from keeping the traffic moving at pick-up and drop-off, to providing wagons to help carry gear from the River Run parking lot to the lifts, to answering any questions about conditions and weather, recommending runs, and much more.
On the mountain, guest services can be found in every day lodge and on many trails. They are available to help in any way. “If we see a guest consulting a trail map, we approach them and ask if they need assistance or a suggestion,” Linda said. “Let’s say someone is at the top of Flying Squirrel and wants to head over to Seattle Ridge. Instead of explaining the route to them, we will often ski them over. It’s a great opportunity to show off the mountain, get to know a guest and reach out in a meaningful way.”
“It’s a pretty intuitive job,” agreed Yellow Jacket Alec Barfield. “We are the eyes and ears on the hill. We really enjoy being the first and last people our guests see. We are available to help in any way we can. We even help Ski Patrol when we are needed to assist at accidents or call in possible problems. We’re everywhere!”
Linda said that’s exactly the point. “We are the frontline at the mountain. It’s our goal that a guest feels like he or she has made a connection in Sun Valley. We not only help on Baldy, though. Based on what our guests tell us, we might recommend cross-country at the Sun Valley Nordic Center, visiting Galena Lodge, a Gallery Walk. We let people know about our great restaurants, cultural events, family activities, just about everything.”
Guided ski tours are also part of what is offered by Guest Services. Each day at 11 a.m. the incomparable Allan Patzer, Director of Skiing, leads tours on Baldy that both acquaint guests with the hill and provide a great historical perspective on Sun Valley. Allan is encyclopedic in his knowledge and colorful in his delivery. Interested parties are invited to meet at the Mountain Room View at River Run Lodge daily to enjoy this two-hour adventure that is appropriate for those of intermediate ability and up.
“Guest Services is such a fun job,” Linda said. “We get to welcome people to our little corner of paradise and share everything we love about Sun Valley and the Wood River Valley. It’s nice to go to work every day.”