Sun Valley is a wealthy resort town that is situated in the Idaho county of Blaine County. This town covers an area of ten square miles and has a population of approximately fourteen hundred and fifty residents. The town is served by Friedman Memorial Airport, which lies around fifteen miles to the south in Hailey, Idaho. This town attracts visitors from all over the United States who are looking to enjoy the area’s skiing, tennis, bicycling, tennis and hiking. Most of these visitors come from major American cities such as Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. Sun Valley was started by the chairman of Union Pacific Railroad, William Averell Harriman. He thought that the winter resort would cause an increase in passengers on his trains. When the Winter Olympics of 1932 was held in New York, this caused an increase in the interest of winter sports among Americans, which presented the perfect opportunity for Mr. Harriman’s little project. Being a lifelong skier, he felt that American would love to have access to a ski mountain resort like the ones that were featured in the European Alps. In 1936, he sent one of his employees across the country to scout for a prime location for a ski resort. This employee, whose name was Felix Schaffgotsch, scouted many locations in the Rocky Mountains and California, but was unable to find a location that met all of his employer’s criteria. Just about to give up, Schaffgotsch stopped near Ketchum, Idaho after hearing that the Union Pacific Railroad had spent a large amount of money in snow removal. Upon reaching the area, he found Bald Mountain to be a captivating location that had plenty of snow, a large amount of snow precipitation, moderate elevation and was fairly devoid of strong winds. He proposed the site to Mr. Harriman, who visited a few weeks later. Mr. Harriman was also impressed by the site and purchased the Brass Ranch for a total price tag of four million dollars. This ranch covered an area of thirty-eight hundred acres and Mr. Harriman began construction on Sun Valley the following spring, spending an addition one and a half million dollars on the project. The flagship of the new resort was Sun Valley Lodge and was opened to the public in 1936. It featured a concrete exterior that was shaped like an “X” and had two hundred and twenty rooms. A wood grain was fitted over the concrete form and simulated wood. Mr. Harriman then established the Challenger Inn and the village in 1937. He also installed ski chair lifts which were the first ones to be used in the world. He adapted the design of the chair lifts from banana loading equipment that he saw being used in the tropics.
Today, Sun Valley is used to refer to not only the ski resort but also the area that surrounds the city, including the Hailey Valley Area and the city of Ketchum. It has become a season home to many famous and affluent people including John Lewis, Adam West, Ernest Hemingway, Barbara Kent, Tony Robbins, Demi Moore, Bruce Willis, Ashton Kutcher, Richard Dreyfuss and Clint Eastwood. The major attraction in the town is Bald Mountain. This mountain is the one that is primarily used by skiers and is known for its long runs that consist of different levels of difficulty and has a constant gradient. Bald Mountain has a height of ninety-one hundred feet, with a base elevation of fifty-seven hundred feet. It has a vertical drop of thirty-four hundred feet at its northeast face. Bald Mountain has fourteen lifts; seven are detachable quads, four are triples, two are doubles and one is a surface lift. It covers an area of two thousand acres, of which six hundred have snow making capabilities. There are seventy-five runs that have three levels of difficulty. Thirty-six percent are beginner, forty-two percent are intermediate and twenty-two percent are expert. Bald Mountain Ski Area is another prominent ski resort, but is independent from Bald Mountain. It was founded in 1959 and opened to the public in the 1970s. It has a summit elevation of forty-four hundred feet with a vertical drop of six hundred and eighty feet. It receives an average of one hundred inches of snow and has two surface lifts. Dollar mountain is another ski area that is a part of the Sun Valley Ski Resort. This mountain has mostly beginner slopes and has a summit elevation of sixty-six hundred feet. Base elevation of the mountain is six thousand feet and has a vertical drop of six hundred and twenty-eight feet. Dollar Mountain has four chair lifts which are named the Dollar, Quarter Dollar, Half Dollar and Elkhorn.
But, skiing is not the only attraction in the town of Sun Valley. It also has a vibrant art community. This fact is evidenced by the Sun Valley Center for the Art and Humanities. This non-profit arts organization was founded by Bill and Glenn Janss in 1971. It sits on five acres of land and has an assortment of exhibitions and workshops throughout the year. Workshops have included ceramics, photography and fine arts. Other attractions in the town of Sun Valley include Bald Mountain Trail, Trail 142, Duchin Lounge, Solavie Spa Resort, Gilman Contemporary, Sawtooth Wilderness Area, Sun Valley Heritage and Ski Museum, Gail Severn Gallery, Fisher Creek Trail, Gallery DeNovo, Redfish Outlet Lake, Apple’s Bar & Grill, Cristina’s Restaurant, Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch, Mahoney’s Bar and Grill, Papa Hemi’s Hideaway, Sun Valley Brewery and Cafe, Sun Valley Resort Ram Restaurant, Vintage Restaurant, Wise Guy Pizza Pie, Knob Hill Inn, Sun Valley Company, Sun Valley Hotel and Best Western Kentwood Lodge.