27
Nov
2015
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Skiing & Riding

Enjoying the 80th Opening Day

There’s nothing quite like the first day of ski season.

It’s like a combination of the first day of school and Christmas morning—except there’s isn’t any homework afterwards and it takes a lot longer than one day to unwrap all the gifts of another season on the slopes.

The 80th opening day for Sun Valley couldn’t have been much better. Fresh snow had fallen the day before creating conditions that felt more like mid-season than opening day. And that’s always a great sign for the upcoming season.

In fact, “great” was the word I most often heard on the gondola, lifts and from festive folks at Lookout and River Run lodges. The conditions were great, with runs on the River Run side open from top to bottom. The weather was great, and everyone lucky enough to ski or snowboard on the annual Thanksgiving Day opener had plenty to be thankful for. Many folks said it was the best opening day in years.

Craig and his family came up from Los Angeles to ski Sun Valley for the first time since 2007.  While his kids were in lessons at Dollar Mountain and his wife was resting up at the lodge after already skiing 15,000 vertical by lunchtime, Craig was sneaking in a couple more runs before rounding up his family.

“The lifts here are so fast, it’s easy to get a lot of skiing in pretty quickly,” he said. “You can’t beat this place.”

To really get into the party atmosphere of opening day you have to actually do something you normally never have to do at Sun Valley—wait in a lift line.

The line for the first chair of the season started at 5 am this year, and it grew for four fun-filled, albeit chilly, hours.

Wyatt Smith, Nick Chase, Tanner Marcouiller and Luke Poster got this year’s claim to fame for snagging the first chairlift of the season. They’re all locals, although Luke now lives in Boise. Despite skiing Sun Valley their entire lives, this was the first time any of them had caught the first lift of the season.

“We just had to do it once,” said Nick, who is in the early 20s and had failed in an attempt to catch the first chair last year after he’d partied too hard the night before.  This year, however, he learned his lesson and quit the partying early.

“It was worth it,” he said with a smile. “We wanted to get the bragging rights.”

“We wanted to earn the gnar points,” said Tanner, who is still in high school and slept in the parking lot with his friend Austin Shetler—Warren Miller-style—so they could catch the first lift.

The crew of five played cards until the sun came up, but since the River Run chair only sits four, a lift operator had to help them draw straws to see who would make it. Austin drew the short one, so the Wood River high student had to settle for the second chair. Luckily for him, there’s always next season.

“We had to do it to get it checked off the Bucket List,” Luke added.

Just six chairs back another group of locals happily waited for the season to begin. Local fly fishing guide Bob Knoebel is usually on one of the first chairs of the year.

For the opener this year, he was joined by a quartet of local high school sophomores: Enrique Delores, Andy Andrade, Mike Marquez and Armando Ruiz. It’s the fourth straight season opener the group had celebrated together. When not skiing, the four boys all help tutor middle school students, or “Dreamers,” as part of the “I Have Dream Foundation.”

While Bob said he enjoys opening day because it gives him a chance to see and catch up with “lots of familiar faces,” the boys enjoy it for a much simpler reason. They’re just stoked to get back on the mountain.

“Skiing again,” is what Enrique said he most enjoys about opening day, while his bilingual buddies nodded in agreement.
 
There’s isn’t much in life that’s more fun than kicking off another ski season, especially on fresh snow during a blue-bird day at America’s original ski resort. Sun Valley’s 80th season is off to a pretty special start.            


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The Future of Sun Valley is Now


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Exciting things are happening at Sun Valley! Always vibrant and forward thinking, right now the Resort has so many initiatives and developments going on, they needed a spot to showcase them.  The Project Preview Center located in the Sun Valley Village, just across from the Konditorei, is the place to learn about what’s happening on Bald Mountain, in the Village, and beyond. Curious? Then go check it out!
Exciting things are happening in Sun Valley both on and off the mountain!  Come get a look at what&rsquo...