One of my earliest memories was that of attending a Sun Valley Suns Hockey Game. Bundled up in my snow pants and massive ski coat, sipping hot chocolate covered in a mountain of whip cream, watching the players skate by at speeds that do not seem humanly possible. The only bad part was that the rink always smelt like sweat, but that just added to the experience.

The Sun Valley Suns hockey team is one of the top attractions of our little valley. When the Suns play, the entire community shows up to cheer on their beloved semi-pro organization. In 1975, George Gund III, the father of Sun Valley Hockey, built the Sun Valley Ice Arena. From this historic building stemmed one of the longest standing semiprofessional hockey teams in all of North America. The Suns don’t only play in Sun Valley. They travel around the entire world to compete in places such as Japan and Europe. These teams come to our home arena as well. Even The USA Olympic Hockey Team has graced our humble stadium with their presence. Former NHL players have played for and against the Suns, and countless great college players as well.

Today, the Sun Valley Suns have been playing for nearly 41 years. In Idaho, we don’t have a lot of sports teams- there are very few college teams, and no professional teams to speak of. But when a town of 5,000 people has a team that they can call their own, it means a great deal to the valley and the people of it as well. What is truly awesome about these games is that everyone there knows each other. People are taking, sipping hot drinks, and enjoying each other’s company. Going to a Suns game is as commonplace for us as it might be for someone else to go to their local bar. It means a lot to the valley to have a place where we can all gather to share a steaming drink, a good laugh, and a hearty cheer for the team that you have come to love more than any other professional team. This team, this team is yours, this team, is ours.’

Not much is as highly anticipated as skiing is in Sun Valley, Idaho. Yet Warren Miller’s beautiful and invoking movies which strive to capture the essence of skiing are a close second. It has been 67 years since Warren Miller attempted to capture the excitement, the adventure, and the soul of skiing and snowboarding. Miller has made 55 films over his career, and although he is no longer currently directing these films, they still contain the same message which Miller began his career upon.

Since Miller first began his quest to demonstrate the wonders of snow sports to the world, his crew has traveled the globe seeking out the most stunning and gnarly slopes out there. Their travels have taken them far and wide, and at times it seems as if there are no more mountains for them to summit, lands to conquer or slopes to shred.

Yet Miller’s newest film, Warren Miller Here, There, and Everywhere promises to be one of his best movies yet. Take a wild freeskiing journey with ski legends Wendy Fisher and Ingrid Backstrom in Crested Butte, tour the rugged, stunning terrain of Eastern Greenland by dogsled, then experience an enchanting Swiss holiday aboard the Glacier Express. Explore the glacier backcountry of Montana, and catch big air at Fenway Park! The crew takes the audience on a transcending voyage throughout all of these incredible destinations, and many more.

Warren Miller Entertainment gives the audience a special treat this year, as Warren Miller himself nostalgically reminisces about his youth, traveling the world and finding the hidden, snowcapped corners of the Earth.

And best of all, Here, There, and Everywhere is coming to Sun Valley on December 28th and 29th! Warren Miller’s movies are an annual tradition here in the valley and are a time when the whole community comes together to watch the thing that they love most. The movie will be shown at the iconic Sun Valley Opera House. Is there any better place to watch a movie about skiing? I dodn’t think so. Narrated by John Mosely, Here, There, and Everywhere has an incredibly important message, one which is currently socially pertinent. The movie emphasizes the importance of maintaining our world’s natural beauty, which is currently being diminished at an alarming rate. This film reminds us of the incredible world which surrounds us, and well, I guess it is fair to say that we get taken Here, There, and Everywhere.

Here in Sun Valley, we take our winter sports about as seriously as life itself. In our little slice of paradise tucked away in between rows of snow packed peaks, there is a stunning culture of child development and growth. And this is demonstrated no better way than through our devotion to teaching children the beauty of skiing/snowboarding, and the sheer joy which comes with them both.  In 1963, the Sun Valley Ski Club established a junior race committee with the purpose of putting children on junior national teams, and eventually, going so far as the greatest amateur competition in the world, the Olympics. Founded by members Jack Simpson, Jane Kneeland, and Pete Lane, the program was established as a non-profit and the SVSEF was born. Since then, the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation has instilled the values of sportsmanship, citizenship, character, teamwork, creativity, passion, and perseverance into the young minds of Sun Valley. Today, the SVSEF teaches the sports of alpine skiing, freestyle skiing, snowboarding, and Nordic skiing to children of all ages. They are continuing their dedication and focus on creating talented and successful athletes, yet more importantly, they are driving home the values and characteristics that all kids should have to better their wellbeing. The SVSEF mission is this: “To provide exceptional snowsport programs for the youth of the Wood River Valley thereby enabling each participant to reach his/her athletic potential, while developing strong personal character through good sportsmanship, strong values, and individual goals.” The Sun Valley Ski Education was founded not with the sole purpose of creating champions who will bring some form of glory to the valley, but the idea that through sports, it is possible to teach children values that they will be able to carry with them the rest of their lives. I myself was once a part of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, and my sister currently is a top Nordic skier in her age group. One thing that we have both noticed is the incredible level of enthusiasm the coaches bring to training every day, and the awesome involvement of the upper levels of the organization within the community. Groups like this, whose only goal is to help future generations grow and prosper in this world, is a large part of what makes our little valley so amazing.

Fall in Sun Valley is a truly magical experience. The leaves turn to magnificent hues of red and yellow, traffic loosens up, trails are less traveled, and the world seems to slow down a bit. The Idaho wilderness becomes just a little more beautiful, if that were possible. While we adore winter and summer in Sun Valley, here are just a few of the reasons that fall is our best kept secret.

Fall in Sun Valley Offers Vibrant Colors

In Sun Valley, Idaho, as the weather changes, so do the leaves. Fall in Sun Valley is known for incredible and dramatic color changes that make nearly any outdoor activity not only surreal, but at times overwhelmingly enchanting.

When & Where to Catch the Fall Colors in Sun Valley

In order to optimize viewing of the beautiful aspens and cottonwoods, one of the best times you can visit Sun Valley is in early October. This is when the vibrant and colorful foliage begins to fall off the ends of the Aspen and Cottonwood branches. These leaves create an almost unimaginable wonderland filled with bright yellow and flaming orange that makes up the harmonious season of autumn. There are a number of incredible hikes around the valley which best enhance your intake of fall foliage. Some of these include Proctor Mountain, Chocolate Gulch, and Adam’s Gulch.

Fall Slack Season Means Great Atmosphere & Deals

What makes this season so special is not just the changing leaves, but the transformation of the valley itself. Early October is known in Sun Valley as the “Fall Slack”. The summer visitors have just checked out and skiing enthusiasts have not yet arrived to enjoy our skiing and snowboarding. It’s one of the only times throughout the year where locals can take some extra time off to enjoy their beautiful valley. There’s a sense of freedom and comradery in the air, and you will find excellent deals at the local restaurants and establishments.

The Celebrities Make Their Appearance in the Fall

It is also rumored that famous people who frequent Sun Valley come out during the fall. Maybe they’re buying a frap at the local Starbucks, or passing you as you ride down the bike path. Who knows, maybe that guy you saw the other day walking nonchalantly away was Bruce Willis. I myself just recently saw Mark Zuckerberg (Creator of Facebook) sitting outside one of the best Mexican places in town, Desperados.

Fall is the Most Magical Time to Visit Hemingway’s Memorial

A short drive east past the Sun Valley Resort will take you out Trail Creek. A turn off leads to a trail that opens up to a shaded, secluded paradise. Here lies the memorial of the great writer Ernest Hemingway. The babbling river pervades throughout the air, the wind subtly blows through the yellow leaves, and the rustling of the leaves creates a beautiful symphony. On the memorial below the bronze head of Hemingway lies a beautiful sentiment, “Best of all he loved the fall, the leaves yellow on the Cottonwoods, leaves floating on the trout streams, and above the hills the high blue windless skies. Now he will be a part of them forever.”

Hemingway's Memorial

Many people overlook fall in Sun Valley for the excitement of skiing in the winter, or hiking and biking in the summer. And while we agree that there’s nothing quite like après ski in Sun Valley, those who never make it to visit in the fall are missing out on a truly special nature experience. So pack your mittens and don’t forget a camera, Sun Valley in the fall is waiting for you.


Although I am a resident of the valley, I have never been a huge mountain biker/hiker/skier or really anything along those lines. But I do love living here. So, I had to find something to that would let me be a part of some kind of community. Right? From that need to find a sports community, I landed at a sport that would turn out to be my one of my greatest passions: tennis. I first started playing tennis at around the age of eight, and was instantly hooked. Seven years later, it’s still one of my favorite pasttimes. The first time I ever picked up a tennis racquet was actually at a local summer camp here in Ketchum at Atkinsons Park, a summer camp run by the City of Ketchum’s Parks and Recreation Department where I am now a counselor. As I learned to play tennis, my dad, who had played in high school, rediscovered his love of the sport and a new love of playing it with his kids. But now I’m getting off track. The point of this post is not to tell my tennis story. Rather, it is to highlight the incredibly strong, and underrecognized community of tennis players in this valley. While tennis may not be as visible as skiing or hiking, it is a surprisingly popular sport, and competitive. Every summer, the Lyle Pearson Auto Show and Lyle Pearson hold two tournaments on the Fourth of July and Labor Day at Sun Valley Resort’s Tennis Center. They are both USTA tournaments and so open to a number of different skill categories for each event. Not only do locals participate in these tournaments, but people from all over the United States flock to the valley to celebrate the Fourth of July and hit the ball around. This summer, there were even some Boise State collegiate tennis players who attended, and of course, dominated the tournament.

The coolest part about the Sun Valley tennis community is not that everyone is a great player, or even that there are tournaments every summer. It’s that nearly everyone who plays tennis in this valley knows each other. Whether they belong to a country club or just play on public courts, tennis players in the valley are super friendly to each other and share friendly camaraderies. They enjoy each other’s company and playing the game that mutually binds them. And, even though I am significantly younger than most, I have been welcomed into all of their groups–from Monday night get togethers on high school courts to the local contingent who show up for every tournament, I have been welcomed into a community of tennis enthusiasts who just love playing the game.

This past weekend, I had the ultimate pleasure of spending a day in one of the most serene, transcendent, and delectable places on this earth: Redfish Lake. Now I am no huge outdoors person, never have been, probably never will be. So the fact that I was stunned by this place should say something to you. At first I was relatively skeptical, yet the first sight of the place changed my mind. Once we pulled in, we realized we weren’t the only ones who had the idea to come that day. There were a lot of parking spaces, yet the ones farthest away were a little bit of a trek. I recommend getting there early in order to get a good spot, or be prepared to take a walk with all of your things. After that, the day was in fact pretty great. The beach was a little small and the sand was a little rocky, but if you bring chairs or towels you should be fine. There are a number of boats and fun activities you can do while there. These include:

  • Renting paddleboats
  • Kayaks
  • Paddleboards
  • Motorboats

My favorite activity of all is renting a pontoon boat and driving it across the lake to the little known Redfish Rock. It is super fun to hang around it and even jump off of it (it’s about twenty feet tall). We then sat down on the lawn and ate a so-so lunch at their food stand. You can get burgers, hotdogs, philly cheesesteaks, and ice cream, and more! If you are looking for a higher quality option, you can get amazing food within the actual lodge. At the end of a wonderful day on the water and beach, on Sundays you can sit on the lawn and listen to some great live music. The sun setting behind the picturesque Sawtooth mountains is just the dessert to a fantastic day in the mountains.

A couple of observations about Redfish:

  • There is an amazing vibe
  • The parking is a relatively limited and far away from the lodge
  • Food is great if you go inside the lodge
  • For an awesome day rent a boat of some sort, or bring your own
  • Also, I would bring a football/Frisbee/ baseball/ something to play on the lawn when not in the water.
  • Have an amazing day!

Sun Valley Lake

You won’t find a hipper yet more welcoming coffee shop than Java nearly anywhere. What makes it this is that it was built upon the concept of being somewhere where the owner would like to hang out, and really where everyone wants to hang out nowadays. Todd Rippo created his ideal coffee shop in November of 1991, and hasn’t looked back. His small coffee shop has grown to a group of five restaurants spanning all across Southern Idaho. These locations include Ketchum, Hailey, Twin Falls and Boise. Famous for its vibe, rock music, and delicious Bowl of Soul, Java is one of the best shops around. The baked goods and food items represent Rippo’s roots and upbringing in Southern California to the fullest extent. Some of their most famous and delicious items include:

  • Bowl of Soul: One of the best cups of coffee you’ll ever have
  • Ham and Cheese Scramble
  • Breakfast Croissant
  • And the Dirty Hippie Burrito

These are just a couple of the delicious items that can be found on the menu and I highly recommend them to both locals and tourists.

Observations about the coffee shop:

  • The vibe there is amazing
  • Very friendly customer service who seemed genuinely happy to serve you
  • The shop uses nice coffee beans including fair trade beans which is very generous of them.
  • It is a little hard to find in Hailey and Ketchum but once you do you will definitely be happy you did.
  • Their baked goods seemed as if they just came out of the oven and were delicious!

Java lives up to their iconic slogan of “Wake Up and Live” and so should you!.

By Jack Keating
In 1936, one idea revolutionized the concept of skiing- this idea became known as a chairlift. The very first ever chairlift was built upon the back of Proctor Mountain in Sun Valley, creating a foundation for the massive ski resort that we all see and love today. The actual Sun Valley Resort was created by the Union Pacific Railroad as a destination resort in order to increase the number of people riding on the railroad. They created a number of lifts, the first ever being the one on Proctor. Interestingly, the design of the lift came from a completely different place than Sun Valley itself. They were built based off of machinery that was originally used for loading and unloading, oddly enough, bananas off of ships. The two different uses for the relatively similar machinery stand in stark contrast to each other, one being to transport bananas, and another to transport skiers. Proctor Mountain and its infamous ski lift created an entire valley and for lack of a better word, a skiing revolution which took over the country, and the world.

Yet in the modern age people seemingly disregard the one thing that created the infrastructure of their home. Proctor Lift is no longer in use, and it has not been for many a year. Now, Bald Mountain has set a skiing dynasty within the valley, as it is one of the most popular places to ski in America. A massive trend in society has been made clear time and time again. Out with the old, in with the new. And the Proctor Lift stands as a perfect representation of this concept. It is relatively sad to see it up there, unused, seemingly unwanted. Yet it continues to watch over the valley and the resort that it once helped create, stoically baring the pain of never being used or rarely even thought of, year after year.

By Jack Keating

In 1879, Galena was originally founded as a mining town, looking for (you guessed it) the metal Galena. It became one of the largest establishments around, boasting 800 residents and a number of buildings that made it more than just simply a mining town. Yet when the flow of Galena went dry, it slowly died out and became a ghost town, lost deep in the mountains. The Galena Store, which was once part of the town, became one of the last trading outposts of the Wood River Valley in the early 1900’s. For nearly seventy years, the store was passed between various ownership until the Gelskys bought it and constructed what is now the Galena Lodge. Yet again, for a number of years, the Lodge was bought and sold, each owner renovating and improving the trails systems originally built as mining roads in the late 1800s. One man’s plan was very ambitious, but Galena’s remoted hindered that plan, and Galena was shut down for over a year with talks of potential teardown. This is where the interesting part comes in, for in 1994 the “Help Save Galena Campaign” raised nearly $500,000 to save Galena and donate it to the Blaine County Recreation District, who now successfully operates it.

This only further shows how integral Galena truly is to the valley. When you’re there, happiness pervades throughout the air. You can truly feel it. It is an escape for so many people and helps them forget the hustle and bustle of their daily lives while being truly part of nature. The ability for civilization and nature to coincide in harmony gives me faith that man really does have the ability to exist in our world. Whether you are Nordic skiing, mountain biking, hiking, snowshoeing, staying at the yurts, or simply coming for the food and atmosphere,  most people agree that Galena is truly a magical place, and I highly recommend going there, resident or not.

Last week, I had my first opportunity to visit Sun Valley.  I’ve skied many of the resorts in Colorado and Utah, but I’ve never made it up to the great state of Idaho.

Every year, I vow to ski my age.  At 52, that means I need to pace myself on the slopes.  That said, I couldn’t resist putting in 5+ hours and 30,000 vertical feet of downhill in for each of the two days I skied. I absolutely loved the Sun Valley mountain.

First, a couple of observations about the area:

  1. Sun Valley isn’t the easiest place to get to, and that’s great.  The area is never going be overrun with people.  Boise offers the most flight options, but the drive in will take 2 1/2 – 3 hours.  Twin Falls, is nearly 2 hours away and is a good compromise between flight choices and distance to Sun Valley.  However, the most convenient, by far, is to fly into Hailey (SUN), which is a quick 15 drive from Sun Valley.
  2. The town of Ketchum is the main commercial center.  Sun Valley is more of a resort community.  Obviously, anyone who’s ever been here before knows this, but I’m a newcomer.
  3. There are a plentiful selection of restaurants and stores in the area.  As you might expect, the prices are a bit higher than the suburbs of a big city, but very much in line with prices of other resort towns.
  4. The people are wonderful.  Whether it was at the restaurants, stores, or on the lifts, nearly everyone was friendly and seemed genuinely happy.

Comments about the ski area:

  • This is a drive to ski area, even though the towns of Ketchum and Warm Springs are quite close.  There are very few true ski in-out rental properties.  However, the free parking lots are served by shuttle buses and are only a short 5 minute walk from the lifts.
  • At first, I didn’t understand that the real beginners learn on Dollar Mountain before moving to Bald Mountain.  As a result, the vast majority of the skiers on the mountain were good to great.  I LOVED THAT!  No beginners to dodge.
  • Runs on Bald are long and at a fairly constant pitch.  At most resorts, runs tend to alternate between a steeper pitch and a flatter area.  Not at Sun Valley.  For those who like speed, like me, this is fabulous.
  • There is an amazing amount of snow making equipment on the mountain, though this winter there’s been plenty of natural snow.
  • The bowls are absolutely fabulous!  They were big, long, had plenty of power, and best of all – empty.  Most skiers on the mountain seemed to prefer the groomers, which was totally fine with me.
  • I didn’t notice a lot of difference in difficulty between the green runs and the black runs, at least not compared with other resorts.  Greens at Sun Valley were more like blues elsewhere, while double blacks at Sun Valley would at best qualify as a black at a resort like Telluride.  That said, for an advanced intermediate skier like myself, this resort was heaven.
  • Signage was generally good, except for directions out of the Seattle Ridge area.
  • NO LIFT LINES!  I visited on MLK weekend and never stood in line for more than 2 minutes.

I can’t wait to come back and try some spring skiing in Sun Valley.   Thanks to the folks at Alpine Lodging for helping me find lodging, and that’s the guys at Door 2 Door Ski Rentals for the excellent service.