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Arts & Culture

Sun Valley Music Festival Winter Series

The Sun Valley Music Festival Winter Series has become a must-see winter event in the Wood River Valley. You’ll find a reinvented classical music experience through the use of eclectic musical selections, unconventional seating, unique staging, atmospheric lighting, and an ever-shifting soundscape.  Sun Valley Music Festival  The Sun Valley Music Festival and its previous identity as the Sun Valley Symphony, has been around for 36 years and is the largest privately supported, free-admission orchestra in the United States. Led by Music Director Alasdaire Neale, over 100 world-class musicians from North America’s most distinguished orchestras help comprise the Festival Orchestra which performs both in the summer season concerts in July and August and for the February Winter Season. Beyond these concerts, the Sun Valley Music Festival also offers education programs and an annual gala.  Winter Concerts This is the second year for the annual Winter Season concert series, held in February. This year’s series will take place over three nights of concerts from February 27-29 at The Argyros Performing Arts Center in Ketchum. Each free concert begins at 6:30pm and features three acts of around 30 minutes each as well as two 20-minute intermissions. The Sun Valley Music Festival relies on …

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Skiing & Snowboarding, Winter

Rotarun Ski Area

Located 12 miles south of Ketchum, the home of Bald Mountain, is the town of Hailey and the home of the area’s lesser known ski mountain: Rotarun. Known as “the little mountain with a big  heart”, this 475-foot ski hill located three miles east of Hailey out Croy Canyon has been a draw to the local community since it opened in 1948. With free night skiing, new snow making capabilities and terrain for Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) programs, this mountain is still making a big impact, showing how small ski hills like these are truly the soul of winter towns. Rotarun a ski hill where the essence of the sport is alive and well thanks to minimal barriers to entry and a welcoming demeanor. We highly recommend checking it out for yourself. History This small mountain has a storied history over the more than 70 years it’s been in existence. Starting after World War II, locals would boot pack up and ski down; shortly thereafter in 1948, Olympian Ann Winn started using the small mountain to teach kids how to ski, the first of many people to do so over the years. The mountain received its first “lift” in …

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Backcountry, What We're Made Of, Winter

What We’re Made Of: The Sawtooth Avalanche Center

The Sawtooth Avalanche Center is an incredible community resource, serving all who live and recreate in the Wood River Valley. Offering forecasts, weather, snow observations, accident reports, education and events, Sawtooth Avalanche is so much more than simply an avalanche organization. Serving those working, recreating and traveling in the Sawtooth National Forest, the Sawtooth Avalanche Center begins daily avalanche forecasts in the fall after enough snow has accumulated and continues until about mid-April. These forecasts encompass a wide area of wilderness—2 million acres—and are broken into zones as well as a list of common backcountry locations. Those zones are Galena Summit and eastern mountains, Soldier and Wood River Valley mountains, Sawtooth and western Smoky Mountains, and Banner Summit.  Sawtooth Avalanche’s forecast area doubled in late 2019 after receiving a grant from Idaho’s Off-Road Motor Vehicle Fund Covering an area this big for a relatively small organization is no easy task which is why Sawtooth Avalanche depends so much on help from the community. The public is encouraged to submit avalanche, snowpack, or weather observations through the sight (though they are not screened, edited or checked for accuracy by Sawtooth Avalanche). Nevertheless, these observations are crucial to ensuring safety in such …

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24hrs in Sun Valley, Backcountry

24hrs in Sun Valley – February – Paddy McIlvoy

In this monthly series, we check in with some of our favorite locals to find out how they would spend a perfect 24 hours in Sun Valley. February is the time of year when a Sun Valley winter really hits its stride. Not only are snowstorms filling the mountains and turning the streets of Ketchum into a snow globe, but the longer days mean there are more hours to explore the outdoors. No one knows how to better pack a day full of winter adventures in Sun Valley than Paddy McIlovy, Managing Partner of Backwoods Mountain Sports in Ketchum. Backwoods is “an outdoor shop run by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts,” and it’s a great spot to check in on daily conditions, buy or rent gear, and get stoked for a day in the backcountry. We caught up with Paddy to see how he would spend a perfect February day in Sun Valley. Here’s what he said. What would you eat for breakfast? A muffin, straight out of the oven, from the kitchen at Galena Lodge. They are just so good. Ok, so a muffin first thing, then what? Oh no, the muffin isn’t the first thing. It’s a reward! Before breakfast, I’d …

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The Guide to Sun Valley’s Breweries, Distilleries & Wine Establishments

After a long day in Sun Valley, whether spent hiking, biking, or skiing, there’s nothing like a good drink with some friends. While we’re no Boulder or Bend, Sun Valley holds its own with breweries producing craft beer. Ketchum and Hailey are also home to a distillery producing several types of liquor as well as a handful of establishments known for their excellent wine selections. We’ve compiled a guide to finding Sun Valley’s best breweries, distilleries and wine establishments. For Brews & Spirits Warfield Distillery and Brewery Ketchum’s only distillery, the Warfield is a one-stop powerhouse with on-site brewery, distillery, and restaurant with an ever-rotating modern American menu. For beer, the Warfield has 14 originals as well as some beers in rotation. True to historical methods of brewing, the Warfield heats their mash with fire and bring malt in and out of the brewery by hand. The Warfield’s distillery also produces small-batch, handmade liquors. Joining the lineup of vodka, gin, and brandy is their own American Whiskey. Distilled in a 215-gallon copper pot, these liquors are imbued with full flavors unique to this distillery. The Warfield is in the process of expanding their operations to increase production of their beer …

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Uncategorized, What We're Made Of

What We’re Made Of: Hempitecture – Two Entrepreneurs and Forbes’ “30 Under 30”

Sun Valley has held its own over the years as a home to burgeoning entrepreneurs and start-ups. Joining the ranks of locally-made brands like Smith and Scott, Hempitecture is making a splash on the building industry with their hempcrete building material. And not only has the company been making strides in using their material to build new buildings across the nation, founder and CEO Mattie Mead was recently named one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30”.  Mead began Hempitecture as part of his senior thesis at New York’s Hobart College where he was studying architecture and environmental studies. His thesis explored more sustainable ways of building and drew upon existing examples that use vernacular (true to place) architecture like adobe in the southwest. His research eventually brought him to the UK and France where builders use hempcrete, a construction material made from hemp. It was a light bulb moment for the senior who, in addition to the thesis, was inspired to create the start-up that would become Hempitecture.  It was 2012 then and industrial hemp was still federally illegal and on the Controlled Substances Act. Despite these odds, Mead was driven. “I just knew there was this opportunity that was missing from …

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24hrs in Sun Valley, Winter

24hrs in Sun Valley – January – Tiffany Larson

In this monthly series, we check in with some of our favorite locals to find out how they would spend a perfect 24 hours in Sun Valley. With the arrival of a new year — and a new decade! — it’s a good time to settle into your intentions and goals around wellness and self-care for the months ahead. There’s no better place to nourish your mind, body, and soul than here in Sun Valley, where living your best life is a part of our DNA. For this “Wellness Month” edition of 24hrs in Sun Valley we’re checking in with Tiffany Larson, the owner of The Mill SV. The Mill SV, located on Sun Valley Road in Ketchum, is a running studio and personal training gym. It has a reputation for challenging workouts and a fun, community vibe. Tiffany can be a tough coach, but she knows how to kick back and relax, too. Here is how she’d spend her perfect January day in Sun Valley. What would you do first thing? Every morning is a ritual at my house. The alarm goes off at 5:00 AM, and my partner Gary Tickner and I drive into the backcountry to exercise our five …

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What We’re Made Of: Pro Athlete Extraordinaire – Rebecca Rusch

The Sun Valley area has always been known for its athletes from Olympic skiers to world-renowned rock climbers. Rebecca Rusch, originally from Chicago, has called Sun Valley her home and training grounds for the last 15 years. The ultra endurance pro athlete and world champion’s career has included numerous adventure sports including rock climbing, expedition racing, whitewater rafting, cross-country skiing and most recently, mountain biking. Though other towns may have better gyms or access to elite training facilities, Rusch chooses to call Sun Valley home. “It’s the people and the place that initially attracted me to Sun Valley and that keeps me here,” Rusch said. “I travel all over the world and I still always want to come back here; it feels like home. I appreciate that it’s off the beaten path, it keeps it special.” A story similar to many who put down roots in Sun Valley, Rusch was a self-described “outdoor sports nomad” in her mid-30s, looking for a place to call home while living out of her car. One of her adventure racing teammates, Patrick Harper, was born and raised in Ketchum (his dad, Butch Harper worked for the Forest Service for 30 years; Harper’s Trail is …

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What We’re Made Of: The Covey Chef & Owner – Jesse Sheue

A Ketchum native, local restauranteur and owner of the Covey restaurant Jesse Sheue spent years learning and honing his craft in other locales before settling back in to his hometown with his wife and son. The importance of family and community was a big draw and is apparent in his restaurant which he and his wife designed to have the feel of a big living room or kitchen where everyone can mingle, eat, and connect.  Sheue got his start in the restaurant biz as a dishwasher—the worst dishwasher, he says—at Hailey’s CK’s restaurant when he was 23. “I was terrible but Chris [Kastner, owner of CK’s] took me under his wing and showed me how to act in a restaurant and what it takes.” From there, Sheue went to culinary school, a decision he regretted choosing instead of working in the industry. Sheue headed to the San Francisco area where he would stay for several years, opened up his own restaurant, working in La Jolla for Tony Di Salvo and Marco Ferraro at Jacks, then to Santa Barbara to work for John Pettitt. After marrying his wife Jane in Nepal and backpacking in Asia for a year, they came back …

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Arts & Culture, Uncategorized, Winter

What We’re Made Of: Art Connoisseur – Meredith Skillman

It’s no secret that the art and culture scene in Ketchum is akin to big cities like New York City. There are numerous concerts like the acclaimed Sun Valley Music Festival symphony performances and big names in indie, rock, jazz and more from the Sun Valley Center for the Arts. There are plays put on by the Company of Fools and the Spot and annual cultural events like the Wood River Studio Tour. But in terms of everyday art in Ketchum, nothing represents the scene better than Ketchum’s numerous art galleries. Displaying mediums from photography to sculpture and more, there’s a little something for everyone and it all caters to a sophisticated demographic. It was for this cultural scene that Meredith Skillman, the Gallery Registrar at Gail Severn Gallery, decided to call Ketchum, Idaho her home.  “There aren’t many places in the U.S. where you can get the small-town experience and also work in art galleries,” said the North Carolina native who moved to the Valley seven years ago. Skillman had originally intended to be a musician like both her parents, even majoring in vocal performance at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill but switched to art history after …