About Sun Valley
Sun Valley occupies a beautiful spot in the mountains of central Idaho in a country of creeks and forested mountain slopes. It is a world-class ski resort and all season tourist resort and a home to the rich and famous. Sun Valley sits at the mouth of Trail Creek Canyon, near where Trail Creek joins the Wood River. Dollar Mountain is just south of Sun Valley, marked by its grassy ski slopes cut through the surrounding forests. The Sun Valley Inn and Sun Valley Lodge occupy the core of the town, along with a row of tourist shops and the Sun Valley Pavilion, an outdoor performance hall. Million dollar homes line the roads further from the center of town. A dam on Trail Creek forms Sun Valley Lake, a scenic centerpiece to Sun Valley. Ketchum lies immediately west of Sun Valley.
The Sun Valley ski resorts are considered to be among the top ski resorts in the world. particularly the ski runs on Bald Mountain, or "Baldy." Because of its abundance of constant-pitch terrain, varying degrees of difficulty, absence of wind, and a vertical drop of 3,400 feet, Bald Mountain has often been called the single best ski mountain in the world. Dollar Mountain, with a vertical drop of 628 feet, is targeted at beginning and intermediate skiers. Bald Mountain is located on the other side of Ketchum, but the ski resorts in the area are collectively referred to as "Sun Valley," even though they are not all located at Sun Valley proper. Similarly, the valley along the Wood River southward toward Hailey is also referred to as Sun Valley.
Sun Valley Resort was selected for development as a ski resort by Count Felix Schaffgotsch, who was hired by W. Averell Harriman, chairman of the Union Pacific Railroad, and a lifelong skier. After visiting many famous locations, including Mount Rainier, Jackson Hole and Rocky Mountain National Park, he was about to abandon his search when a Union Pacific employee suggested Ketchum, with the recommendation that the Ketchum line had required more money for snow removal than any other branch line. 3,888 acres on Brass Ranch were purchased for $4 an acre and the resort was built in 7 months for 1.5 million dollars in 1936. The Sun Valley Lodge, an X-shaped structure still a centerpiece of the resort today, was the main building. The Sun Valley Inn was added the following year. The first chairlifts in the world were built on Dollar Mountain and nearby Proctor Mountain in 1937.
Earl Holding purchased the Sun Valley Resort in 1977 for 12 million dollars and continued to develop it with new lodges, improvements to the skiing facilities and the construction of the Sun Valley Pavilion. In 2008, the value of the resort was estimated to be $300 million dollars by Forbes Magazine.
As seen in summertime, Sun Valley is a paradise of immaculately tended landscaping, beautifully architected buildings, and a peaceful, open atmosphere. People are seen hiking, cycling, shopping and relaxing in the lawns and picnic areas. Employees and security personnel are friendly and helpful.