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.
When I woke up Saturday, and looked out the window, I, like most, wept a little inside. The trees were caked in slush and low clouds covered the hills in the distance like a scene straight out of Braveheart, which was, well, disheartening. I tossed around in bed wondering how the hell the weekend would ever be salvaged. However, Ullr smiled down us an hour or so later, the clouds majestically breaking revealing a sky which was electric blue. Dumbfounded, I scrambled and threw my gear in the truck speeding out to Warm Springs. What I found in the Greyhawk Lot nearly brought tears to my eyes.
It was mayhem, and parking was an act of savvy and bravado, but everyone was down to help make it work. The different camps were already long established – many from the night before. There was Guy and his annual Margarita Madness closest to the hill.
Just below them in the lot were a number of other of small friends camps. Then there was “Kegs and Eggs” an annual birthday party breakfast lunch and beer pong camp on the far end. DJ Spice Train had poached some electricity from the far building and had set up his turn tables and was blasting tunes across the lot all day.
The Daggers (my crew) were tailgating next to him in prime fashion. Past us was SAP and friends who cooked pounds and pounds of chicken, ribs and dogs handing them out to passers by. Smoke billowed from his constantly sizzling grill adding an aura of serious tailgating to the scene. Many of my friends headed up to shred their vintage snowboards. It is a custom of the Daggers crew to only ride vintage on the last two days of the season.
Throughout that first day the scene and the sunlight fluctuated and people took laps on the mountain, coming back to camp periodically to refresh themselves, relieve themselves or grab a snack.
The base lodge was packed with tons of people over the weekend. I would wager to say that more than half were dressed in costume and enjoying the live music and beers and food on the deck. Down toward Apples, crowds gathered and toasted the season en masse. El Stash played to a huge crowd, and people enjoyed the great atmosphere of food and friends.
At 3:30 on Sunday many made the mass exodus to the top of the mountain to say farewell. There were fireworks and people just taking it all in until the ski patrol asked everyone to leave. By that time is was so cold up there your beer was frozen and most were ready to get to the bottom and into a warm lodge.
Everyone skied down, but not quite as fast as normal. Just taking it all in, milking every last turn and saying goodbye to our beloved mountain each in their own way. There were hundreds that participated in a top to bottom human slalom. It was so fun to watch, and people were totally stoked.
It’s weekends like this that really put an exclamation point on why I live in Sun Valley. Reflecting on the day, it was obvious that over the last four or five years here the energy has been turned up a few notches. People show up, and come out, and love to celebrate the area in which we live. They are not afraid to get dressed up two days straight and hand a dog or a beer to a stranger or invite them to take a run. But more importantly the vibe is on an all time high. I heard people commenting about how this is the way it used to be years ago. And they are right. A new generation is picking up where the last left off. It wasn’t until I was sitting next to TGR Cinematographer Matty Moo Herringer that I got it. he turned to me and said, “I have been to a lot of closing weekends over the years, but this is by far the best… the scene here is so rad”.
We all need to give massive props to the Sun Valley Company on this year. What a season you gave us! Bravo on hosting a great events like the Rev Tour, the Orage Masters, the Dollar Mountain Money shot, the Janss Cup, and the Sun Valley Film Festival just to name a few. You gave us live free concerts for weeks on the deck of River Run this spring. You built a 22 foot super pipe and put yourself on the map as a park that many kids who came here want to come back to. You ran races and competitions all over your property for everyone from masters to ankle biters, from tele-markers in grass skirts to a number of great Intermountain USASA and USSA events. You gave us night skiing for the first time (maybe consider some permanent lights over there!). You agreed to sponsor the Red Bull camp and Super Unknown and Level 1 shoots and we will be excited to see all that happens over on Dollar in the next couple weeks and future. All I heard from visitors was what a great time they have had. And lastly you gave us this weekend. What a blast – keep up the good work, and lets have just as much fun this summer! We live in a great place with great people. We’ll see you this summer! ~Mark If you are interested in seeing more, or purchasing a print please visit www.oliverphoto.zenfolio.com