March puts the ‘sun’ in Sun Valley as days grow suddenly longer and brighter, the snow on the mountains begins to turn to corn, and the party at River Run, Roundhouse, and Warm Springs moves outside. Think bluebird skies, lots of live music, the sun on your face, and nothing to do but play all day. Lucky for so many that spring break falls smack in the middle of this munificent month. This year, the pleasures of a family spring break in Sun Valley are even more palatable with a Kids Ski Free special in March. Yes, you read that...
Sun Valley has a long and rather romantic relationship with shotguns. That’s why the walls of the Sun Valley Gun Club—which opens for the season this weekend—are lined with iconic images of famous folks like Ernest “Papa” Hemingway, Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Jane Russell, Ann Sothern and the legendary shooter Rudy Etchen, with shotguns in hand.
“The history and tradition here is great,” Sun Valley Gun Club manager J.C. Dovey said. J.C.’s been at the Gun Club for a decade now, coming on full-time as manager after retiring as a corporate pilot a few years ago.
J.C said the Gun Club has been around since the late-`30s and has always been a popular spot for shooters of every level, as well as a unique activity for folks staying at the Sun Valley Lodge and Inn just down the street.
Now in it’s third location, the Gun Club has been located just past Trail Creek Cabin since 2006, and has always been known for its world-class instructors.
“If someone has never, ever shot, or if they are new to the sport, we provide everything needed,” J.C. said, adding that his highly skilled staff will “go out there and make sure they’re being safe. Safety is number one. Number two is that they have some success, break some clays.”
Not to be confused with the popular Bay Area Rock band with the same name, the Sun Valley Gun Club offers Trap and Skeet (historically, the most popular options), 5 Stand, Wobble Trap (a more challenging Olympic-style trap) and Sporting Clays.
To meet the demand of Sporting Clay’s growing popularity, the Gun Club has added a second range this year. There will now be a blue beginners course and red expert course.
“You always want beginners to have success, but you want to challenge experts, too, “J. C. said. He explained that Sporting Clays are growing in popularity because they are more like golf courses—no two are ever exactly alike—and that shooters enjoy the variety and challenge.
“Trap and skeet are pretty much the same every where you go, “ J.C. said. “So Sporting Clays are becoming more popular because they offer variety and they make it harder to be perfect.”
The Sun Valley Gun Club is also proud to announce that they will be hosting two Registered Shoots with the National Sporting Clays Association this year. The first will be June 13-14, with a second shoot this fall. These events will allow participants to attempt to qualify for regional and national shooting contents.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a Master shooter or just a beginner, if your shotgun is worth a few hundred bucks or nearly $20,000, the Gun Club is open to the public and everyone is welcome to come on down and enjoy themselves. As J. C, pointed out, “Any gun in the right hands will shoot well.”
[The Sun Valley Gun Club will only be open weekends until Memorial Day weekend, and then will be open daily, from 9am to 4pm until October. Shooter must by at least 12 years old. Reservations are recommended for the busy summer months. Call the Gun Club for more information or to book a time 208.622.2111.]
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