Sun Valley – The American Shangri-La
In 1935, Count Felix Schaffgotsch was employed by the Union Pacific Railroad to travel to places across the American west. The Austrian count’s mission was to find the perfect place to ski, a place on par with the Alps where the count hailed from. The trip was almost a failure and, towards the end, the Count made one final stop and found what he was looking for. Sun Valley and the amazing runs of Bald Mountain. The first chairlift in the world was installed a year later and an American legend was born.
The beauty of the Idaho Rockies soon drew Hollywood stars and European aristocrats in droves. Errol Flynn, Clarke Gable and Papa Hemingway were among the first to arrive. Today, Bruce Willis, Clint Eastwood and other stars continue this tradition. The reasons for this place are obvious to any that arrive. It is beautiful, the area is rich with mountain activities, and it’s exclusive. The nearest major airport is hours away and the small airport there tends to be very expensive to fly into. (so if you see a deal on that, snap it up). The Sun Valley Resort is amazing with a year round outdoor heated pool and a year round outdoor ice-skating rink. The Sun Valley Resort boasts every amenity with world class restaurants and shopping; it even has it’s own hospital. The place has so many activities that it would be laborious to name them all. Among the most amazing in the summer are the Sun Valley Ice Shows where Olympic medalists perform weekly. In the winter, the Trail Creek Cabin does a warm dinner at the end of a horse-drawn sleigh ride.
The nearby town of Ketchum has come a long way from the lone mining and ranching town that it was founded as. Now, galleries and bistros line its streets on par with almost anything that might be found in Aspen or Vail. This resort even has its own movie. How many resorts in the world can boast their own movie? The film from the Golden Age of cinema, Sun Valley Serenade, is one of only two movies to feature the Glen Miller orchestra. Speaking of films and guys named Miller, ski movie mogul Warren Miller’s love for Sun Valley is well-documented. Whether you go in winter for the skiing or summer for the wealth of other activities, the American Shangri-la of Sun Valley is not to be missed.