The history of the “American Shangri-La,” as Sun Valley is sometimes referred, is not too different from the magical village of legend. It all began in 1935, when Count Felix Schaffgotsch, under the hire of Union Pacific Railroad chairman Averell Harriman, set out in search of the perfect spot for a grand American resort.
The count spent months searching the mountains of the west and surveying many areas that would later become famous resorts, but none of them met his strict criteria.
Feeling defeated and ready to abandon the search, the Count was preparing to wire Harriman the bad news when he heard locals talking about Ketchum, an old mining town in central Idaho. The Count postponed his return home and set out for the Ketchum area.
Upon reaching the Ketchum valley, Count Felix Schaffgotsch was overwhelmed by the area and wired his employer, saying: “This combines more delightful features than any place I have ever seen in Switzerland, Austria or the U.S. for a winter resort."
The Count’s enthusiasm spread to Harriman, who rushed to join the Count, and within days purchased 4,300 acres of what was soon to become Sun Valley.
Harriman was determined to build Sun Valley into a resort worthy of its breathtaking and majestic setting. "It is not enough to build a hotel and then mark with flags and signs the things you propose to do in time to come.” Harriman said. “When you get to Sun Valley, your eyes should pop open. There isn't a single thing that I could wish for that hasn't been provided." Part of what he “wished for” included a timeless lodge complete with glass-enclosed pools, haute cuisine, impeccable service and nightly orchestra performances.
After just seven months of construction, Sun Valley opened to the public in the winter of 1936. The resort was an instant success. Local wildlife was seen sharing the mountain with European nobility and Hollywood royalty. Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Claudette Colbert, Bing Crosby and Gary Cooper were all regulars in the lodge, while world champions including Don and Gretchen Fraser, Gracie Carter Lindley and Andy Hennig used the mountain for Olympic training.
In 1977, Sun Valley joined the Little America family, under the ownership of R. Earl Holding. Since then, Holding has redefined the standard of elegance and excellence subscribed to by Harriman. He has lavishly refurbished the Sun Valley Lodge and Sun Valley Inn, from the stairs and halls to the guest rooms and made profound improvements to the mountain amenities. But Holding’s greatest accomplishment is Baldy’s “triple crown.”
"Baldy," says Holding, "is a regal mountain and it is only fitting that she wear a crown radiant with three precious jewels.” Those jewels are Baldy’s three distinctive and award-winning day-lodge facilities: the Warm Springs Lodge, Seattle Ridge Lodge and River Run Lodge.
Unlike the Shangri-La of legend, Sun Valley welcomes visitors back year after year. The tradition of beauty and service, “roughing it in style” as Harriman called it, has become the tradition for families across the globe. So, don’t be surprised if you catch a glimpse of a world champion as you carve your way down Bald Mountain. And just nod if you hear a familiar voice telling tall tales at the local watering hole. It’s all part of the magic and mystique that has made Sun Valley the American Shangri-La.
Sun Valley Resort has long been a responsible steward of its spectacular natural setting. The majority of Sun Valley’s lodging facilities were developed in the 1930’s and have been curated with a keen eye toward quality and sustainability. The resort continues to steward both its significant private lands and, in conjunction with the BLM and USFS, the federal lands under lease. After an extensive sustainability assessment in recent years, the resort is systematically incorporating environmental concerns into its operation.
The most recent demonstration of this pledge is the construction of a new high performance, Green design Laundry. This new, high efficiency, state-of-the-art 21,500 sq. ft. facility was sited to minimize transportation to resort facilities and lessen the resort’s carbon footprint.
The laundry equipment installed throughout the facility includes a large capacity “tunnel washer” that recycles water five times through five cycles, saving 75 percent of the amount of water compared to standard commercial water systems. Previously, it took three gallons of water for every pound of linens washed, now only one-half gallon of water is required for one lb. of linen. The system also has the ability to wash three times the laundry capacity that the resort now handles. This water recycling and savings also has a significant soap and chemical savings with substantially less effluent discharge.
On a broader scale, Sun Valley Resort has received an “A” for its environmental stewardship by the Ski Area Citizen’s Coalition. The resort was rated in nearly 40 environmental criteria including habitat protection, preserving environmentally sensitive areas, protecting watersheds, water conservation, addressing global climate change, renewable energy, transportation, environmental policies and policy positions, waste stream management, purchasing and environmental reporting and accountability.
Some highlights include:
*Partnering with the USFS, Ketchum Ranger District, to protect Bald Mountain trees from Douglas Fir bark beetle attacks by application of MCH (pheromone) flakes and pouches.
*Expansion of our recycling program resulting in over 31% of all waste recycled in the past year, up from 27% the previous year. This program diverted 480 tons of waste from the landfill.
*In room recycling is now in its third year, recycling customer use products by donating these goods, shampoos, lotions, and bath gels to low income and homeless people of Idaho through the Community Action Partnership Association of Idaho; 1,200 pounds of sundries have been donated.
*Adoption of a composting program resulted in 125.6 tons of kitchen and lawn waste composted.
*91,182 kWh are being saved annually through lighting retrofits in four of our largest maintenance facilities. An additional 691,003 kWh in annual savings are close behind.
*Partnering with the National Forest Foundation in the Ski Conservation Fund, a program designed to raise money for the care of surrounding national forest lands.
Sun Valley Resort continues to commit to the intelligent integration of sustainability concepts and practices into the organizational culture and operating practices of the resort.
The Grand America
The Grand America Hotel is conveniently located on 10 acres in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City, just 10 minutes from the Salt Lake International Airport. Inspired by the world's grand hotels of the past, The Grand America Hotel has the allure of Old World craftsmanship, charm and hospitality, with every modern convenience at your fingertips. Designed to be a European "boutique" hotel of American scale, The Grand America is abundant in exquisite details: chandeliers from Murano and Milan, French cherry- wood furniture, English wool carpets, Italian marble bathrooms, as well as state-of-the-art high-speed internet connections, 32-inch televisions and dual-line phones in every room. Visit The Grand America website
Home to the Winter Olympics 2002 Downhill, Snowbasin offers nonstop skiing on a daily basis with runs for various skill levels. Located just 40 minutes from Salt Lake International Airport, Snowbasin is a must for any dedicated skier. Experience 3,200 acres of skiable terrain and a 3,400 foot total vertical drop. Snowboarders are welcome as well. Contact the Concierge for information concerning Ski Packages. Visit the Snowbasin website
The Little America Hotel & Towers
Together with The Grand America, The Little America Hotel is your gateway to downtown Salt Lake City. Enjoy the comforts of this four-diamond 850-room hotel conveniently located across from the Grand America and just minutes from the city's main business district, cultural hub and sports center. Book an exclusive tower room or an exquisitely appointed guest room furnished with Italian-style baths, a work desk, two line phones and plush terry robes.
Visit the Little America Hotel and Towers website
The Westgate Hotel is conveniently located in the heart of downtown San Diego, facing the Horton Plaza Shopping Mall, one block from the Gaslamp Quarter and across from the Civic Center. European furnishings, paintings and appointments grace public areas and guest rooms. With 223 deluxe rooms, a fitness and spa center, and California and French fine-dining in the award winning Le Fontainebleau restaurant, The Westgate Hotel is the perfect place to call home when visiting Southern California.
Visit The Westgate website
The Little America - Flagstaff
Exceptional accommodations, service and hospitality are yours at Flagstaff Little America. Located on 500 acres of ponderosa pine forest, Flagstaff offers awe-inspiring sightseeing and recreational opportunities to the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Sunset Craters, and the Arizona Snowbowl every season of the year. Flagstaff features 248 luxurious guest rooms, designed with floor to ceiling windows, imported marble and spacious baths and dressing areas.
Visit The Little America - Flagstaff website
The Little America - Wyoming
Do not miss the opportunity to stay at the original Little America Travel Center located on Interstate 80, 300 miles west of Cheyenne. Little America Wyoming boasts 140 guest rooms and suites, a personable staff and is still a welcome haven for all travelers.
Visit The Little America - Wyoming website
The Little America - Cheyenne
Visit an 80-acre oasis of luxury service, surrounded by beautifully groomed grounds and a nine-hole executive golf course. Cheyenne's Little America boasts 188 guest rooms, complete with 31" TVs, cozy goose down pillows, built-in refrigerators, hair dryers, irons and ironing boards and coffeemakers. Take a break from your hectic schedule with a refreshing dip in the Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Visit The Little America - Cheyenne website
BLM - Twin Falls District
Visit Sun Valley
The official Sun Valley Chamber and Visitors Bureau travel guide helps you book vacation packages or lodging, and explore restaurants, shopping, and local activities. For more information visit www.visitsunvalley.com.
The BLM manages nearly 12 million acres of public lands in Idaho, nearly one-fourth of the state's total land area. Four BLM district offices, 12 field offices, and the Idaho State Office administer the public lands in Idaho with a mission of sustaining the health, diversity and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Resources on the public lands include recreation, rangelands, timber, minerals, water, fish and wildlife, wilderness, air and soils, and scenic, scientific, and cultural values. For more information visit BLM - Twin Falls District.
Sun Valley Resort's preferred high speed Internet provider is Cox Communications. Cox Communications, a Fortune 500 company, is a multi-service broadband communications and entertainment company with more than 5.9 million residential and commercial customers. Cox Communications' vision statement reflects a desire to be the best company to work for and do business with, while improving the quality of life in the communities they serve. For more information visit cox.com.
Alaska Airlines, proudly offers daily, nonstop service from Los Angeles and Seattle to Sun Valley, ID (some service seasonal). For a full listing of Sun Valley arrivals and departures check our flight schedule or to book online visit alaskaair.com.
Sawtooth National Forest
The Sawtooth National Forest is a very special place here in the heart of Idaho. We hope you will take the time to learn about this "working/producing" National Forest. Managing and protecting your land is most challenging - not only because of the vastness of this land, but because of the varied, and sometimes conflicting, interests and values that you the owners of this land hold near and dear. For more information visit Sawtooth National Forest.
Skywest, a Delta connection carrier, provides daily, nonstop service from Salt Lake City, UT to Sun Valley, ID. For a full listing of Sun Valley arrivals and departures check our flight schedule. For scheduling from this major hub and other major U.S. cities visit skywest.com.
Photography & Videography
Tal Roberts Photography- www.talroberts.com
Kevin Syms Photography - www.kevinsyms.com
Mark Oliver Photography- www.facebook.com/markoliver
John Plummer Broadcast Video - 208-788-9045
Sun Valley Resort Fact Sheet
Sun Valley Resort
1 Sun Valley Road
P.O. Box 10
Sun Valley, ID 83353
Opening Day: December 21, 1936
Sun Valley Resort is America’s first destination resort, originated in 1936 by Union Pacific Railroad. It is located in the Northern Rockies region of south central Idaho and is open year-round with four distinctly beautiful seasons.
There are more outdoor recreations here than any other destination resort in the U.S.
The Sun Valley Village Resort sleeps 1,200 with a total of 485 rooms.
Sun Valley Lodge: 148
Sun Valley Inn: 105
Apartments, Cottages and Condominiums: 232
BALDY & DOLLAR MOUNTAINS
Ski Season: Thanksgiving Day – Mid-April
Hours: 9 am – 4 pm
SUN VALLEY TOTALS
Sun Valley Lifts: 19
Total Lift Capacity Per Hour: 29,717
(More lift capacity per skier per hour than any other ski area)
Average Skier Day: 2,900
Skiable Acreage: 2,054
Longest Run: 3 miles
Total Runs: 80
Super Pipe (22 ft. high)
Steepest Run: Inhibition (70% or 35 degrees)
42% More Difficult
22% Most Difficult
Snowmaking Acreage: 645
Total # of Snow Guns: 535
Groomable Acreage: 810
Percentage of groomable terrain with snowmaking: 78%
Sunshine: 120 days out of 150-day ski season or 80%
Summit Elevation: 9150 ft.
Vertical Feet: 3400 ft.
Vertical Rise: 19,714 ft.
Lift Capacity: 23,680/hour
- River Run Day Lodge
- Warm Springs Day Lodge
- Seattle Ridge Day Lodge
- Lookout Restaurant
Sun Valley Snowsports School: 240 Instructors
Summit Elevation: 6,638 ft.
Vertical Feet: 628 ft.
Vertical Rise: 976 ft.
Lift Capacity: 6,037
Day Lodge: Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge
New Terrain Park -3 parks, two cross courses, 76 rails
Superpipe: Old Bowl (620 ft. long, 22 ft. high)
SUN VALLEY NORDIC AND SNOWSHOE CENTER
40K or 25 miles of meticulously groomed tracks for classical, skate skiing and ski touring.
Snowshoe Trails: 14K
Ski and Snowshoe rental, accessories, wax room
Clinics and private instruction
Swimming & Soaking: Two glass enclosed heated pools, one jacuzzi
Spa: Day Spa and full service salon
Ice Skating & Hockey: One outdoor rink, one indoor rink
Entertainment: Boiler Room, Duchin Lounge, Bald Mountain base lodges.
Dancing: Jazz musicians perform nightly for dancing in the Duchin Lounge
Movies: First run movies nightly in The Opera House. Free viewings of “Sun Valley Serenade” play continuously in guest rooms.
Golf: Sun Valley Golf Resort Courses – 45 holes
- 18-hole Robert Trent Jones, Jr. designed Trail Creek Course
- New 9-Hole White Clouds Course designed by Knott & Linn
- New Elkhorn Golf Club
Tennis: 17 courts, full service pro shop & expert instruction
Ice Skating: Indoor and outdoor rinks, skating school, hockey
World Class Ice shows every Saturday night featuring Olympic & world champion figure skaters
Swimming: 3 heated outdoor pools, 1 jacuzzi, 1 children’s pool
Gun Club: Trap and skeet fields, Double Trap, Wobble Trap, Duck Tower, 5-Stand, Sporting Clays, professional instruction
Horseback riding: Sun Valley Horsemen’s Center
Gondola & Chairlift rides: Access to Baldy’s summit, biking & hiking trails
Rafting: Whitewater trips on Main Salmon River, Middle Fork of the Salmon river and others.
Bowling Alley: Six Lanes – SV Lodge basement
Paddle boating, Horseshoes, Volleyball: Sun Valley Lake
Sun Valley Playschool: Available Year-round
RESTAURANTS & LOUNGES
13 Restaurants including 6 Mountain lodges
4 Lounges: The Duchin Lounge, The Inn Lobby Lounge, Warm Springs Day Lodge and River Run Day Lodge
Sun Valley Village: 12 village shops
Major events include Sun Valley Pavilion Entertainment, the Sun Valley Wine Auction, Arts And Craft Show, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, Saturday night Sun Valley Summer Ice Shows, Swing ’N’ Dixie Jazz Jamboree, Car Auction, Writer’s Conference, Danny Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament.
MEETING & BANQUET FACILITIES
The newly renovated Sun Valley Inn Convention Center totals more than 12,000 sq. ft. and is as grand in interior décor as it is impressive in its concealed state of the art technological function. Meeting rooms have extensive telecommunications and audio-visual backbone cabling systems which allow for numerous telephone, data, video, and audio distribution via fiber optics, data rated twisted pair 802.11b wireless and coax. High-speed internet access is achieved through RJ45 twisted pair connectivity, fiber optic cabling along with 802.11b wireless Ethernet. This access also can be configured to allow for virtual LAN networking between meeting rooms within the hotel. In addition an in-house, resort-wide fiber optic backbone can accommodate all possible data and video distribution needs as well as direct fiber connections from carrier circuits to all meeting rooms.
Total Meeting Rooms: 18
Largest Capacity: Seats 1,100 theatre style
Total Meeting Space: 28,500 square feet
Sun Valley Resort is privately owned by the R. Earl Holding family, owners of Sinclair Oil Corporation. Sister properties include Snowbasin Ski Resort, Grand America Hotel, Little America Hotel and Towers, all SLC, UT., Westgate Hotel, San Diego, CA, Little America Flagstaff, AZ, Little America, WY, and Little America, Cheyenne, WY.
Director of Resorts & Resort Development: Wallace Huffman
General Manager: Tim Silva
Director of Hotels: Dick Andersen
Director Marketing & PR: Jack Sibbach
Director of Sales: Brent Gillette
Manager of Mountain Operations: Peter Stearns