Sun Valley had long been off the radar of the freeski and snowboard movement, the youth and creativity that once defined the original zip code to hang your ski bum shingle had all but evaporated. But then a rumble was felt and slowly the monolith of the past began to awaken. A park was constructed on Dollar Mountain and with that came photographers, athletes, film crews and the few locals who had been living the dream woke up to Christmas. Movements are created out of momentum, one significant event sets the dominos in motion. Which is what is happening in our valley today. We took a moment to sit down with local photographer, Tal Roberts to view this movement through his work as he captures the product of this momentum.
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As the annual harvest moon sat poised to rise over the Pioneer Mountains and shine down on the Wood River Valley, foodies from all walks gathered in the Ketchum Town Square eager to taste their way around the town for the fourth annual Harvest Fest Restaurant Walk. Four hundred and fifty fortunate attendees filtered into the square between 4:00 and 5:00 pm where taste buds were promptly greeted with delightful up-and-coming Idaho wine tastings. As guests primed their palettes, strategies and routes for navigating the 20+ restaurants were drawn. With only two hours to sample, a certain level of planning was necessary in order to enjoy this culinary festival the fullest.
Ketchum and Sun Valley may be known for many outdoor opportunities like biking, hiking, skiing, camping and so on, but what many people do not know is that it is also a well known Skateboard destination.
Sun Valley is a mountain bike paradise with over 400 miles of singletrack spun like a spider web in all directions. However, what many don't realize is the abundance of jaw dropping scenic and leg crushing dirt roads that beg to be pedaled weaving through the region connecting remote corners with main arteries. Local endurance sadomasochist, 24 hour and Leadville suffer queen, Rebecca Rusch, hatched an idea to bring her legions to the valley and show them what a good time was. She called named it in the apropos style, Rebecca's Private Idaho , which sounds deceptively quaint. This quaint little tour is a 50 or 100 mile grind over hill and dale from Sun Valley and back again covering some spectacular country and just hard enough to make on find religion yet shy of questioning life. They charged out the gate like eager rabbits but the road would decide who hopped and who crawled home. In the Old World of cycling, another name for Europe, one of the most popular riding event formats is the Grand Fondo. This is a bit like a massive group ride that is timed but is more about the camaraderie than it is the result. Sure some …
Sun Valley via NYC Gordon Stevenson aka “Baron Von Fancy” takes a few moments to talk about his local roots. From across the brightly lit room, an object of deep familiarity snags my eye. It’s as though I am a trout having an atavistic response to something in the water ahead. A connection to childhood synapse, I can almost hear the sound of canned audience applause, a beautiful yet overdone hostess turns a card as a Pat lets out a familiar, “Do we have an ‘S’ ?” and so I am introduced to the work of Gordon Stevenson, aka Baron Von Fancy. A throwback Wheel of Fortune photo evokes a sense of Americana, the phrase peeled back by Vanna revealing more about Stevenson’s work as you dive in and begin to get it. This installation spans mediums but the impression that is left behind is a tie to the past, making things old new again and slathering it with a cheeky sense of fun, romance and occasionally, irony. Life’s simple pleasures. Stevenson has that side dialed. Baron Von Fancy represents the side of Stevenson which commercializes his art, and the success of this work has landed him collaborations …
Anyone who has been a starving and aspiring athlete can attest to the challenge of making ends meet. Hard work, dedication, training, travel and so forth are about all a person has time for. So much time is spent on one's self that the act of giving back to those who helped get the athlete to the tipping point of "making it" is typically unfathomable until retirement. Which is where Play Hard Give Back becomes one of the next big ideas to come from the Sun Valley lineage of innovative thinking. Spencer Brendel grew up in Sun Valley as one of its most promising hockey athletes. Graduating through the ranks, his life was a circuit of hockey rinks and hard work. His talent and grit landed him in Sweden playing center in the "Juniors" before being recruited to come back to the States and play for Division 3 Saint Thomas College in Minnesota. The Sun Valley Suns had given him much. How would he return the favor? As a student he took the path of his father, Jeff (a guy who has been known to come up with a good idea or three), and earned a BA in marketing and entrepreneurism.
Ride Sun Valley has become a major staple of both the Sun Valley’s summer event offering and the bike festival world as recognized by Outside Magazine. Spanning two weekends with events ranging from the Shimano Super Enduro to kids racing to pumptrack racing to free guided rides to the US National Championships and all parts in between this is a week which celebrates the area’s 400+ miles of mountain bike trails and the thriving local bike scene.
For four glorious days here in Sun Valley, the wine flowed like beer, the beautiful women instinctively flocked like the steelhead of Stanley, Idaho and some serious funding to foster future arts and humanities opportunities for the Wood River Valley was raised. The 32nd annual Wine Auction Weekend invited attendees to partake in copious amounts of world renown vino varietals, mouth watering bites from the valley’s finest culinary experts, and boot stomping live entertainment. While the long weekend showcased a wide variety of wine induced events, two major spectacles took center stage. Friday night played host to the Wine Auction Gala where, “high spirits, great wine, superb food, good company, and a little friendly competition” melded together for some serious fund raising.
The 4th of July weekend brought an alien invasion of sorts to the Sun Valley area this year with the arrival of the second edition of the MASSV Music Festival. The Music and Arts Showcase Sun Valley's (MASSV) vibe permeated the air from the Trail Creek parking lot filling the town's street with throngs of youth wearing costumes which no doubt turned many a head in our typically conservative little town. As the day turned to evening you could hear the excitement building with the thump of bass which gave way to night.
Every good drag race has a Christmas Tree. Sheeptown is a good drag race. It didn’t seem likely that this event could ever have happened. The idea was in actuality a creative ruse, nothing was really supposed to come of it. But minutes after posting a photo of a drawing scrawled on wrinkled paper showing riders towing logs behind bikes in front of hundreds of screaming fans that had flames added to the logs in an attempt to garner more attention, the fire chief had called and demanded more information. “What was the fire chief doing on my blog during the middle of the day anyway?” I wondered. The Avenue of Sheeptown is littered with charred dreams Seven years later and the Hailey FD as well as the majority of the Sun Valley area has embraced the Sheeptown Drag Races. It’s a fairly simple event: fill up a single elimination bracket for head to head drag racing on bikes. The bikes tow logs. The logs are soaked in diesel. It’s free to enter and literally no clear rules exist. Once you make it to the round of 16 the logs are lit afire and the crowd begins …