2017: A Year to Remember

As 2017 quickly winds to a close, it is time to raise a glass to the great year in Sun Valley that was. As is always the case in this vibrant mountain town, this year was filled with star-studded events, arts and cultural happenings, world-class sports, and recreational opportunities that simply can’t be beat. In 2017, Mother Nature also cooperated enthusiastically, providing a winter season without compare and a once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse for which Sun Valley lay in the very small path of totality. The rest of the year was memorable, too. Here is a look back at some of the highlights.

There is really only one word to sum up the 2017 winter season and that is Snowpocalypse. The snow fell and just kept falling and falling and falling. Measurements per storm were recorded in feet, not inches, and skiers, riders, and Nordic enthusiasts woke up day after day pinching themselves. We prayed to the snow gods to bring on the pow and it just kept coming!

In 2017, we all had to thank our amazing mountain groomers, lift ops, and Ski Patrol for turning all that pow into one epic day after another

Just another day in paradise, Sun Valley style, circa 2017

Throughout February the snow just kept coming, as did the fun, both on and off the slopes. Winter worshipers took time out for other pleasurable pursuits like the Opus Wine Wine Dinner held at Trail Creek Cabin that paired world-class wine with delectable food.

The snow was so epic in 2017, we just can’t stop reliving the magic

The fabulous February Opus One Wine Dinner included vintages in a vertical wine pairing and a five course meal designed by famed local Chef Derek Gallegos

March was all about blue skies, historic snowfall, ski racing, and amazing tricks on the mountain. Sun Valley hosted the USSA Junior Freestyle/Free Skiing National Championships, inviting the 300 top freeskiers in the nation to show off their stuff. They were all clearly impressed with Sun Valley and we were clearly impressed with them!

Local freestyle athlete Wilson Dunn shows how it’s done at the USSA Junior Freestyle/Free Skiing National Championships

These young competitors’ smiles say it all! 

The Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation also hosted an Open FIS Western Region Tech Series March 23-26 on Sun Valley’s Bald Mountain, with a bonus Slalom on March 27.  Events include two Giant Slaloms and two Slaloms for men and women.

March wasn’t only about skiing, though. The Sun Valley Film Festival returned to town for the sixth year, offering screenings, intimate chats with actors and industry professionals, and a special dinner honoring the incomparable Geena Davis with the Visionary Reward.

All good things must come to an end, and in April, the mountains finally closed. But in true Sun Valley style, the season went out on a high note. Both a blowout Baldy Bash plus a Baldy Bonus weekend saw the fun continue all the way through April 23. Cheers to the amazing season that was!

Sun Valley loves a good party and there was no better reason to have a great time than the extended skiing and riding season on Baldy that, alas, finally had to come to an end

May’s shoulder season is always a good time to focus on health and wellness and to enjoy the always-popular Sun Valley Wellness Festival.  This nationally recognized event brings top speakers, authors, practioners, and visionaries to Sun Valley over Memorial Day weekend to lead workshops, yoga classes, and lectures that always inspire.  This year’s keynote address was given by author, business leader, and powerful woman, Arianna Huffington.

As the snow slowly melted, people’s thoughts turned to outdoor pursuits of the non-skiing variety in June. Though spring came a little late this year, many events incentivized people to enjoy our beautiful surroundings. One was a Birding Weekend organized by the Sun Valley concierge desk that took participants to spectacularly beautiful spots to spy on some rare feathered friends.

A birding weekend got like-minded folks into the beautiful Silver Creek Preserve and Camas Prairie for a long weekend of peeping through binoculars and enjoying complementary events

July is always a very busy time in Sun Valley and this year was no different. The first strains of the immensely popular Summer Symphony wafted through beautiful, warm evenings starting in July and continued through August, drawing enormous crowds of appreciative concertgoers.

The Symphony returned to town this summer, drawing hundreds of music lovers to each free world-class concert

July also saw some amazing skating stars with the return of the fantastic Sun Valley on Ice Saturday night shows. All the top figure skating talent in the world graced the Sun Valley rink, from Meryl Davis and Charlie White, to Ashley Wagner, and Jason Brown.

Olympic Gold Medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White returned to Sun Valley ice in July, delighting fans with their artistry

August was dominated by one thing: the total eclipse of the sun. Sun Valley lay directly in the path of totality for what was called the “American Eclipse” and thousands flocked to the area, eclipse glasses in hand, for a front-row seat. Viewing was done from atop Baldy where there was a big party, the Pavilion lawn, and every peak in between. For more than a full minute, when the morning sun was obscured and twilight fell, you could hear a collective gasp of wonder.

The morning of the total solar eclipse was filled with wonder

In August, Sun Valley was in a solar eclipse frenzy with visitors and locals alike commemorating this once-in-a-lifetime experience

Also in August, Sun Valley got a huge treat when Ballet Sun Valley performed for two sold out nights at the Sun Valley Pavilion. The event brought principal dancers and world famous stars from many major ballet companies to perform an original work as well as beloved repertory.

The amazing Kimin Kim of the Mariinsky Ballet and Cassandra Trenary of the American Ballet Theatre wowed with their interpretation of the Don Quixote Pas de Deux when Ballet Sun Valley came to town  (photo: Baki (Gui Sub Park))

“Keep those Wagons Rolling!” was the cry over Labor Day as the Big Hitch Parade rolled down Main Street. This parade is only part of the busy, family-friendly long Wagon Days weekend comprised of pancake breakfasts, rides for the kids, antiques markets, car auctions, and so much more to draw visitors from near and far.

Wagon Days is always a highlight of the late summer/early fall season in Sun Valley. This year was no exception.

While September is all about ore wagons, October is all about sheep! The annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival returned, bringing with it a glimpse into the region’s rich history.

The grand finale of the Trailing of the Sheep weekend, the sheep parade, is a must-see to be believed!

In October jazz lovers again convened in Sun Valley for the Jazz and Music Festival. Enthusiastic participants enjoy dozens of concerts, dancing, parties, and countless ways to connect with friends old and new.

A favorite event each year, the Sun Valley Jazz and Music Festival brings music lovers from all over the country and the world to Sun Valley to jump, jive, and wail!

The countdown in November was to Thanksgiving weekend and the opening of Bald and Dollar mountains for the season.  The holiday tradition of mixing first turns with a Thanksgiving feast continued!

Skiers and boarders kept the annual tradition of queuing up for the first chairs on Thanksgiving, ushering in Sun Valley’s 82nd season

December is always the merriest and brightest season in Sun Valley and December 2017 was jolly, indeed! The new family-friendly eatery Village Station opened its doors in mid-December, offering delicious options like pizzas, pasta, and entrees (plus on-property delivery!). The Ram Restaurant and Bar, as well as the Sun Valley Inn, were re-imagined and all of Sun Valley’s storied traditions from the winter wonderland festival, to sleigh rides, and carolers were better than ever.

Village Station opened its doors during the annual Tree Lighting and Winter Wonderland celebration in mid-December. Bon appétit!

The holidays are filled with long-standing traditions visitors look forward to each year like the Tree Lighting Ceremony

Here is to a happy and healthy 2018 with an appreciative nod to the year that was! Cheers and thank you for sharing your year with us in Sun Valley!

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