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Skiing & Snowboarding, Spring, Winter

Cornucopia of Awesomeness- March Madness in Sun Valley

March in Sun Valley is the best. The short, cold days of winter slowly fade away as the sun climbs higher in the sky.  The daily routine slows down dramatically with the timing of snow conditions.  So take it from me, first off, there is no rush.  Start the day out right and drop by your local coffee house in town for an expertly made cappuccino before hitting the slopes.  After that caffeine hits your veins, the day will start to blossom.  It’s the time of year when the snow begins to soften around midday and you take comfort in knowing that it’s possible after a day of riding to slide your feet into the luxurious embrace of flip flops while having an après-ski beer on the outdoor patio at Lefty’s, Apples, or Warm Springs Lodge, sharing in the camaraderie of good friends.  At times it’s a challenge to just live in the moment.  So I advise relishing every second of every day.

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Spring, Winter

Its the End of the Season As We Know It: Sawtooth National Gelande Quaffing Championships

Gelandesprung (v): German for a downhill ski jump in the style of Oympic nordic jumping, yet with fixed heels. Quaff (v): to drink rapidly with much vigor The legend of the Gelande Quaff was born back around the time snow was new.  On a dark winter evening as the boys huddled for one last round, tipping back cold beers honoring their mastery of the backscratcher into couloirs in tight neon stretchpants, the bar tender slid frosty mugs down the bar to eager hands.  It was a normal night until an order was called, the one who ordered got distracted, and the beer slid past only to leap off the end of the bar.  Fortunately, stationed at the end of the bar, there stood one lone, alert skier who snatched the beer out of the air, pounded it back and slamming it on the table proclaimed, “Gelandequaffing!!” and the rest was history. As the story goes, a new form of sport drinking was born.  It began to catch on in small mountain towns where long winters and poor odds lead to various devices of distraction.  Like most new sports, the development of rules and competition formats would follow as well as the kind of innovation that was tracking in freeskiing and snowboarding.  And today, after nearly a decade of progression Gelande Quaffing has evolved into a World Championship-level competition.  Getting an invite to the said World Champs stands as one of the more coveted mountain town trappings anywhere.

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Fly Fishing, Spring, Winter

Rites of Spring – Stalking Steelhead

Idaho is a landlocked state but what few realize is that it’s connected via one of the longest river systems in the US to the Pacific Ocean.  For millennia, a certain species of traveler, the steelhead trout, has migrated through this river corridor, the Salmon, from the mountains of central Idaho to the ocean and back again.   And a mere hour drive from Sun Valley lies the headwaters of the Salmon River, the origin of the steelhead run. Set amidst the awe-inspiring Sawtooth Mountains, these freestone waters play host to spawning spring steelhead.

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Arts & Culture, Bucket List, Spring

The Greatest Golf Tourney On Earth – The Ketchum Wide Open

The official score card of destiny         Harley’s for hangovers, Banks Gilberti must still be looking for his passport. It began nearly a quarter century ago as a way to pass time during spring slack season at a time of year when the tourists are not on tour and the locals are getting a little restless.  It’s a basic yet brilliant concept: the bars and restaurants in town rally together and each creates a mini-golf hole to try and befuddle even the savviest golfer.  Athletes congregate in teams of two and play a round of ultimate mini golf. Bonuses are awarded for various actions and everyone tries to make it all the way around town before the closing bell rings.   Costumes are taken seriously in Sun Valley and the KWO as it is affectionately known brings out the best of the best. The Vikings and the Americans battle for the title.   It’s no joke and if there was ever a winter of preparation to get ready for this event Sun Valley has got it. Spend hours upon hours at apres and you are the finely tuned machine who will come and represent. The Mutant Turtles …

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Skiing & Snowboarding, Spring, Winter

Rain or Shine Closing Weekend Will Always Go Off

If there are two truths to be said about Sun Valley over the years, one is never trust what the weather man tells you. The second: if you give any local a reason to dress up, they most definitely will. The weather report rolling through the weekend was anything but favorable for dressing up. Yet from most everyone I talked to, that was not going to deter them from hitting the Goldmine, pulling out their vintage gear, busting out the margarita machine, or breaking out the fire pit and camper for a blowout of a last weekend on the hill.

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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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Arts & Culture, Spring, Winter

Film, Parties, Food, and Fun – Taking in The Sun Valley Film Festival

It’s the budding of spring and you can feel Sun Valley kickstarting back to life, switching gears, and you can almost hear the creative juices flowing.  It’s not just the longer days and warmer temps, though. Within the heart of the valley a new bud is sprouting–the Sun Valley Film Festival: an extra long weekend of film, live music, seminars, and workshops which welcomes attendees in our customary fashion.

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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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Arts & Culture, Fall, Spring, Summer

Fine Art & Cheap Wine

Most of the time it’s hard to forget we live in a ski town, but once a month we are invited to indulge and be surrounded by the mad and creative folk of this mountain community. And tonight is my favorite type of Friday night: Gallery Walk–an evening of sipping wine and chatting about art all over town.