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Skiing & Snowboarding, Spring, Winter

Orage Masters, This Really Did Happen In Sun Valley

The Orage Masters mascot for 2013. Surreal entry to a surreal event. photo: G Randolph   They call it the anti-comp.  “They” being more specifically the French Canadians and their international brand of irreverent entertainment, vices, and ski apparel bearing the name “Orage”.  A battle royale for the ages.  Visually disorienting; competitively uncompetitive.  And yes, “It” really happened in Sun Valley. Back flipping Pizza? Check. Or is it pizza you’ll flip for?   Thought not an entirely novel concept–get crazy and party your brains out at the end of the year– the Orage Masters returned after a two year hiatus from the anti-competition circuit bringing a flare of end-of-the-year revelry that caught the Sun Valley locals a little off guard.  Accompanying their traveling gong-show was some heavy local talent with Collin Collins, Banks Gilberti, and Karl Fostvedt back on home turf to represent. I was stoked to bring my young, impressionable pre-teens to see them rip and they did not disappoint. Visual chaos might be the most appropriate way to describe the Orage weekend. photo: G Randolph   The notion is fairly simple:  get together all of your best buds after a season of traveling, competing and filming where the …

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Skiing & Snowboarding, Winter

Profile – Olympic Halfpipe Coach and Local Shred – Ben Verge

If you don’t know the coach for the US Olympic Halfpipe Rookie Team, Ben Verge, it’s really no surprise. He for the most part has lived a skiing career in Idaho off the beaten path or radar of anybody looking for someone like Ben. Although he may have graced the pages of a few magazines over the years, his story is like that of many other skiers that chose where they want to ski over the best place for a ski career. Ben is one of those guys that likely stood a good chance of being a professional, but that just wasn’t his goal. The guy lives it. He skis every day despite conditions, and when they are unfavorable, chances are he knows every tree to bonk, every roller to butter, and every obscure stupid hit to have fun off of, and he will. In turn, if you are skiing with him, so will you.  With parks and pipes spoiling freestyle skiers, it’s hard to find people with that much instilled creativity and the ability to make the best of any condition. Honestly, Ben does, and it wasn’t until years after being washed up as a ski bum construction worker he would finally find his professional career – as a Coach.

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Skiing & Snowboarding, Winter

The Future Strikes Back. Again! Sun Valley’s Kinder Cup Ski Race

Since most people still kicking today in Sun Valley can recall, the Kindercup has played a vital role in the ski and snowboard community.  Each March every little grom who has been ripping around the hill all winter gets geared up for the “Big Race”.  The valley comes out to enjoy a warm spring day and see what their little future Olympians are made of.  It’s that one time each season that the dads actually take a few minutes to sharpen the edges and smear some wax on the skis which have bounced around in the back of the truck like cordwood all winter. Moms nervously skitter about trying to talk their kid into putting on the race bib, hoping little Jonny has brought his A-game.

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Bucket List, Dining, Skiing & Snowboarding, Winter

Crossing it up at Galena Lodge – Where Good Skiing meets Good Food

Twenty-three miles north of Sun Valley, tucked at the base of Galena Summit and nestled beneath the Boulder Mountains, sits a snow seeker’s manna. Constructed during the 1960s using vestiges of the property’s nineteenth-century mining colony, the Galena Lodge is a valley favorite for those wishing to escape “the big town” for a day of peace, beauty, and scrumptious food.

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Bucket List, Skiing & Snowboarding, Winter

Williams Peak Yurt

While the Sun Valley Resort is well-known for its immaculately groomed runs and glitzy Hollywood skiing history, a lesser-known aspect of the area is the limitless access to backcountry skiing in the surrounding mountain ranges. As forecasted, clouds built on Saturday evening. We enjoyed a beautiful sunset on the White Cloud Peaks before preparing for the “40% chance of a trace.” After Sun Valley’s establishment in 1936, the burgeoning ski-school quickly developed a “ski-touring” arm to offer guests access to this winter wonderland of ski-terrain.  Backcountry cabins were erected at the foot of the Pioneers Mountains (aka The Pio Cabin) and up Owl Creek in the Smoky Mountains to serve as base-camps for guided ski trips with resort guests.   Today, two guide-services maintain backcountry huts and Mongolian style yurts nestled deep in the local mountain ranges.  They offer both guided and non-guided groups a comfortable base camp from which to explore the backcountry ski terrain. The group breaks a fresh trail into the Marshall Lakes Basin, just an hour and a half from the yurt.   We recently enjoyed a long Presidents Day weekend at the Williams Peak Yurt in the Sawtooth Mountains. (operated by Sawtooth Mountain Guides)  We …

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Skiing & Snowboarding, Spring, Winter

Put on the Skis and Saddle up! Ski what? Ski Joring!

We live in ski towns… but long before any town in this area ever saw a two planker, they were undoubtedly cowboy towns. Mining, sheep herding, farming and ranching ruled, and it wasn’t until the thirties nearly fifty years after Idaho became a state that the first skiers began running to the hills here. (Above) Course builder, and local Chase Gouley holds onto his rings and makes his way to the finish in front of a crowd of hundreds.  It really was the horse and cowboy that built this area, hauling ore in and out over the mountain passes to smelters, driving sheep and cattle to the plains, and eventually helping build the rail road lines that hauled those herds south. Conversely in the end bringing herds of folks north looking to enjoy winter with skis strapped to their feet.   (Above) Brittney Snyder and Michael Porter make their way to the start to compete in the Local Novice division.  Since the introduction of skiing in the 30′s they have both coexisted here, and carried on relatively autonomous of one another, but every once and again you will glance out of your car and catch a cowboy walking by a skier… …

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Skiing & Snowboarding, Winter

A Day in the Life: The Sun Valley Nordic Festival

Photos: Ray Gadd Nordic Town USA If there was a word to describe Sun Valley, it would have to be a compound word.  Something like skiuntilipartymysoxoff might be a start. Most people think of the area in relationship to its alpine history and celebrity sheen, however that is but part of the equation. The blurry truth is most people here love it all andcan’t get enough of it in. It’s not because we don’t have a Burger King that everyone here looks like they skipped a meal, it’s because there is so much to do.  One of these outlets for hyperactive kids and adults is cross country skiing.  Sun Valley is known as Nordic Town USA with over 200 km of Type-A personality groomed trails and the kind of weather that led man to invent Nordic skiing. The claim is an understatement. The Sun Valley Nordic Festival with the crisp air, perfectly shaped tracks, and heavily breathing humans is a big part of winter in Sun Valley The Sun Valley Nordic Festival Each winter these hypoxic lungs with legs gather to celebrate their community, cramming more Nordic activity into a week than Ringling Brothers packs into the main tent over the …

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Skiing & Snowboarding, Winter

Sun Valley’s Lifestyle Coach, Ambassador of Stoke

It was 1998.  He awoke to his beard on fire, his mangy head of hair smelling like a dog had been roasting in the oven.  Running for the door he was greeted by an oppressive Appalachian mist hanging in the air as he exited into the yard. The ER mirror reflected a soot blackened face.  His life had changed, and he would never return to finish his degree at Ohio State.

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Skiing & Snowboarding, Winter

Living the Dream

The saying, "my life is your vacation" gets thrown around a lot in ski towns far & wide. Many of us here in the Sun Valley area take that saying to heart on a daily basis. Whether you're here ski bumming it up or a working professional, the outdoor access right here makes it possible to live the dream. From November through April we're fortunate enough to have a winter wonderland playground right out the backdoor. Take your pick from meandering snowshoe paths, corduroy cross country and downhill trails, topped off with four mountain ranges offering up some epic backcountry riding.

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Skiing & Snowboarding, Winter

Banks, Chili, Snowboards -The Money Shot – Sun Valley’s own Banked Slalom

Most great stories start out with “it was a cold day” which is precisely where this one begins.  “It was so cold that….” typically comes next, but while it was cold enough to freeze the roots of your molars, it was not cold enough to deter a cadre of 80 plus snowboarders from lining up at the “Dollar Mountain Money Shot”, Sun Valley’s banked slalom race and qualifier for the hallowed Baker Banked Slalom. I sought to justify a balmy -10f as reason to go shoot photos (great light, lots of icy breath, crystals suspended in air) but honestly believed it might keep the riders home snuggled in bed. I was wrong.