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What We're Made Of

#SunValleyProud: Tutorials & Inspiration For The Days Ahead

We may not be able to welcome visitors back to Sun Valley just yet, so we thought we’d bring a little of Sun Valley to you. On this page, we’ve asked a few of our local friends and partners to share some knowledge, to help you re-create some of the singular experiences of Sun Valley right in your own home. Want to ride a wheelie? Mix that one unforgettable cocktail? Throw that perfect fly fishing cast? Read on, friends. Enjoy these tutorials and share what you’ve learned. And then, when the time is right, we’ll gather back in Sun Valley and show off our skills. Enjoy, stay healthy, and we hope to see you soon. #SunValleyProud Sporty The Manual Trainer | Club Ride Apparel Yearning to manual or wheelie your bike but too afraid of falling backwards? The Sun Valley based mountain bike apparel company, Club Ride has come to the rescue with instructions for building a manual trainer that minimizes the risk of falling. You can use it in the comforts of your garage! Be ready to show off your sick moves just in time for the summer trails to open up. #SunValleyProud View this post on Instagram Want …

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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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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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What We're Made Of, Winter

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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Dining, What We're Made Of

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, What We're Made Of, 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 …

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Innovation, What We're Made Of

What We’re Made Of: Higher Ground

In 1999 the Higher Ground organization began right here in Sun Valley, Idaho with a goal of using recreational therapy for people with cognitive, physical, and developmental disabilities, as well as active-duty military members and veterans. The extraordinary beauty, recreational possibilities and a community that believes that people of all abilities should be able to experience the healing powers of the mountains made Sun Valley an ideal incubator to bring this therapy to fruition. When they first started, it was just about teaching locals with disabilities how to use adaptive skis but their programming has since grown to include so much more. Today, locations for Higher Ground have expanded to the surf of Los Angeles—home to over 300,000 veterans—and  the hiking trails of western New York, home to another one of the largest veteran populations in the country. Using top recreational therapists and mental health professionals, Higher Ground strives to give people of all abilities a better life, bridging the gap between disability and belonging.  Programming Higher Ground offers two types of programming; one for recreation and one for military. Recreational therapy is defined by the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) and National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) as a systematic …

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Biking, What We're Made Of

What We’re Made Of: Wood River Trails Coalition

Originally founded in 2011 under the name the Wood River Bike Coalition, the Wood River Trails Coalition (renamed so in 2019) is a non-profit trail stewardship organization working to create, maintain and sustain the Wood River Valley’s network for all users. With so many locals and visitors alike using the trails for walking, hiking, biking, and enjoying with dogs and horses, trails in the area take a pretty good beating every year. According to the Wood River Valley Trail Study from 2012, the Ketchum Ranger District of the Sawtooth National Forest alone sees over 90,000 user days annually, 35,000 of those being visitor user days. Harsh winters mean that trails need even more maintenance after the snow melts to ensure they are up to snuff for summer outdoor enthusiasts. It is with the help of the Wood River Trails Coalition that this is made possible. Partnerships With more than 500 miles of single-track trails for various uses, land management agencies are tasked with the job of maintaining this vast area. Without predictable annual funding to pay for a proper trail crew to maintain current trails and begin projects on new ones, the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management have a difficult …

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Arts & Culture, What We're Made Of

What We’re Made Of: Company of Fools

The Company of Fools (CoF) theater group has been putting on world-class stage productions in the Wood River Valley since the group relocated to Hailey in 1996. Founded in Rusty Wilson’s unheated garage in Richmond, Virginia in May 1992, Wilson and original CoF members Vicki Bodin, John Glenn, Denise Simone, Robert Throckmorton and Joel Vilinsky took inspiration for their name from an essay by visual artist Cecil Collins, “The Vision of the Fool”. Collins describes the fool as embodying truth, joy, creativity and a childlike wonder of all that is magical and mysterious. The CoF went on to launch three productions in their four years in the garage before Wilson and Simone relocated to Hailey to continue their work on the stage of Hailey’s Liberty Theatre, the Fools’ home.  In November 2012, the CoF merged with the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, becoming part of what is now the largest arts institution in the state of Idaho. And now, over 20 years later, the CoF is recognized for its award-winning theatre and arts education programming it has brought to the community. The group and the individuals who make it up have been consistently recognized for their contributions to the arts; …

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Dining, What We're Made Of

What We’re Made Of: Squash Blossom Farm Owners – Sara & Ed

Ranching is a way of life in Idaho, and when driving into the Sun Valley area it’s hard to miss the thousands of acres planted with malted barley, alfalfa, and seed potatoes. But if you look closely, you’ll find something else: small farms that work to create products—meat, vegetables, and fruit—for the local community. Squash Blossom Farm, located in Bellevue, is one such farm. When Wood River Valley native Sara Berman first learned about sustainable agriculture in a high school class at the Community School in Sun Valley, she didn’t yet know how that knowledge would shape her path through life. The class sparked enough interest for Berman to pursue the subject through college, and then spend time working on different types of farms and ranches across the globe. When Berman met Ed Zinader, who shares her passion for agriculture, the pair began to dream about creating a small, sustainable farm to grow to produce for their friends, family, and the community. They began searching for the right property with patience and determination. When the opportunity arose to purchase a home with acreage just blocks off of Main Street in Bellevue, they jumped at the chance. “I didn’t think we’d …