Author Ernest Hemingway completed For Whom the Bell Tolls while staying in suite 206 of the Sun Valley Lodge in the fall of 1939. Olympic medalists including Gretchen Fraser, Christin Cooper, Picabo Street, and Muffy Davis have all called Sun Valley their home. Today, Sun Valley, known for its extensive cross country ski trails, is a serious contender to become the Official Olympic Nordic Training Site. It is also considered by many to be a top winter resort, a summer getaway, and simply a wholesome place to raise a family.
According to Jed Gray, “Sun Valley is the finest ‘private’ ski resort in the world because it is uncrowded. There are no “weekend warriors” here. Celebrities and high-profile business people are not hounded by the media. It has a rural feel with a tight knit sense of community”.
Alpine Touring is a popular winter sport in Sun Valley. It is a form of skiing in which athletes make their way up the mountain on their skis that have special bindings and ‘skins’ that keep them from sliding back. At the stopping point, the skins are removed and the skis are used to descend the hill. Eeva Pregitzer, a fan of the sport, shared this experience, “Recently, some friends and I ascended a nearby hill just to view the magnificent full moon from the top of the hill. It was a wonderful way to commune with nature, with like-minded people who enjoy Alpine Touring and also get a great workout”.
The summer season in Sun Valley draws even more visitors than in winter. According to Tom Heinrich, “It’s not just about the great outdoors. Sun Valley has a vibrant arts community that offers a variety of opportunities through dozens of presenting organizations. Local and nationally known artists are represented in our art galleries, through concerts, theater productions, dance productions, opera, symphonic performances, film festivals and lectures.
Alex Higgins adds, “We have a writer’s conference in August, for example, that is usually sold-out well in advance. It is a community of readers and well known writers who get together to discuss ideas in fiction, nonfiction, journalism, poetry, and filmmaking”.
In Terry Palmer's opinion, “Mountain biking in the summer is the best in the world. There are nearly 28 miles of hiking and biking trails on beautiful Bald Mountain alone”. Suzanne Williams said, “Sun Valley is the only place in the country that offers an outdoor symphony each summer for free for three weeks, supported by donations. It is like the Hollywood Bowl with the magnificent backdrop of the mountains”.
In Sun Valley, black diamond runs in the winter are matched by challenging links in the summer. Elkhorn Golf Club was the last collaborative effort between the well-known design team of father and son Robert Trent Jones Senior and Junior. Mike Murphy says, “The back nine follows a creek and has a water hazard on every hole but one. With over 100 sand traps and bunkers, Elkhorn can be a very challenging course”.
More and more, Sun Valley is gaining a reputation as being a great place to raise a family because there is so much for kids to do here. Tom Drougas mentioned that, “Dollar Mountain now has a world class Terrain Park with more than 40 features including a new half pipe, 20 new rails & jibs, a Cross Course with rollers, jumps, and berms. It is fun and challenging for skiers and riders of all ages and skill level. Plus, all Terrain Park features are included in the cost of a lift ticket”.
Sue Englemann says, “Kids thrive here because the schools are terrific and people are genuinely happy here. The Sun Valley Ski Academy offers promising athletes access to world-class coaching, training, and competition along with an outstanding college-preparatory program for locals as well as boarders. My daughter’s school does four camping trips each year. They actually build and live in ice caves for two nights. It gets the kids out of their comfort zones and builds character”.
We asked Dick Fenton to express what is unique about Sun Valley. He said, “In our small mountain village, that is so rich in culture, you can find true balance. There is an extraordinary balance of community, resort and recreation here”.
Photos Courtesty of the Agents and Brokers Interviewed