View Post
Arts & Culture, Uncategorized, What We're Made Of, Winter

What We’re Made Of: Art Connoisseur – Meredith Skillman

It’s no secret that the art and culture scene in Ketchum is akin to big cities like New York City. There are numerous concerts like the acclaimed Sun Valley Music Festival symphony performances and big names in indie, rock, jazz and more from the Sun Valley Center for the Arts. There are plays put on by the Company of Fools and the Spot and annual cultural events like the Wood River Studio Tour. But in terms of everyday art in Ketchum, nothing represents the scene better than Ketchum’s numerous art galleries. Displaying mediums from photography to sculpture and more, there’s a little something for everyone and it all caters to a sophisticated demographic. It was for this cultural scene that Meredith Skillman, the Gallery Registrar at Gail Severn Gallery, decided to call Ketchum, Idaho her home.  “There aren’t many places in the U.S. where you can get the small-town experience and also work in art galleries,” said the North Carolina native who moved to the Valley seven years ago. Skillman had originally intended to be a musician like both her parents, even majoring in vocal performance at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill but switched to art history after …

View Post
Innovation, What We're Made Of

What We’re Made Of: Higher Ground

In 1999 the Higher Ground organization began right here in Sun Valley, Idaho with a goal of using recreational therapy for people with cognitive, physical, and developmental disabilities, as well as active-duty military members and veterans. The extraordinary beauty, recreational possibilities and a community that believes that people of all abilities should be able to experience the healing powers of the mountains made Sun Valley an ideal incubator to bring this therapy to fruition. When they first started, it was just about teaching locals with disabilities how to use adaptive skis but their programming has since grown to include so much more. Today, locations for Higher Ground have expanded to the surf of Los Angeles—home to over 300,000 veterans—and  the hiking trails of western New York, home to another one of the largest veteran populations in the country. Using top recreational therapists and mental health professionals, Higher Ground strives to give people of all abilities a better life, bridging the gap between disability and belonging.  Programming Higher Ground offers two types of programming; one for recreation and one for military. Recreational therapy is defined by the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) and National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) as a systematic …

View Post
Biking, What We're Made Of

What We’re Made Of: Wood River Trails Coalition

Originally founded in 2011 under the name the Wood River Bike Coalition, the Wood River Trails Coalition (renamed so in 2019) is a non-profit trail stewardship organization working to create, maintain and sustain the Wood River Valley’s network for all users. With so many locals and visitors alike using the trails for walking, hiking, biking, and enjoying with dogs and horses, trails in the area take a pretty good beating every year. According to the Wood River Valley Trail Study from 2012, the Ketchum Ranger District of the Sawtooth National Forest alone sees over 90,000 user days annually, 35,000 of those being visitor user days. Harsh winters mean that trails need even more maintenance after the snow melts to ensure they are up to snuff for summer outdoor enthusiasts. It is with the help of the Wood River Trails Coalition that this is made possible. Partnerships With more than 500 miles of single-track trails for various uses, land management agencies are tasked with the job of maintaining this vast area. Without predictable annual funding to pay for a proper trail crew to maintain current trails and begin projects on new ones, the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management have a difficult …

View Post
Arts & Culture, What We're Made Of

What We’re Made Of: Company of Fools

The Company of Fools (CoF) theater group has been putting on world-class stage productions in the Wood River Valley since the group relocated to Hailey in 1996. Founded in Rusty Wilson’s unheated garage in Richmond, Virginia in May 1992, Wilson and original CoF members Vicki Bodin, John Glenn, Denise Simone, Robert Throckmorton and Joel Vilinsky took inspiration for their name from an essay by visual artist Cecil Collins, “The Vision of the Fool”. Collins describes the fool as embodying truth, joy, creativity and a childlike wonder of all that is magical and mysterious. The CoF went on to launch three productions in their four years in the garage before Wilson and Simone relocated to Hailey to continue their work on the stage of Hailey’s Liberty Theatre, the Fools’ home.  In November 2012, the CoF merged with the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, becoming part of what is now the largest arts institution in the state of Idaho. And now, over 20 years later, the CoF is recognized for its award-winning theatre and arts education programming it has brought to the community. The group and the individuals who make it up have been consistently recognized for their contributions to the arts; …

View Post
Dining, What We're Made Of

What We’re Made Of: Squash Blossom Farm Owners – Sara & Ed

Ranching is a way of life in Idaho, and when driving into the Sun Valley area it’s hard to miss the thousands of acres planted with malted barley, alfalfa, and seed potatoes. But if you look closely, you’ll find something else: small farms that work to create products—meat, vegetables, and fruit—for the local community. Squash Blossom Farm, located in Bellevue, is one such farm. When Wood River Valley native Sara Berman first learned about sustainable agriculture in a high school class at the Community School in Sun Valley, she didn’t yet know how that knowledge would shape her path through life. The class sparked enough interest for Berman to pursue the subject through college, and then spend time working on different types of farms and ranches across the globe. When Berman met Ed Zinader, who shares her passion for agriculture, the pair began to dream about creating a small, sustainable farm to grow to produce for their friends, family, and the community. They began searching for the right property with patience and determination. When the opportunity arose to purchase a home with acreage just blocks off of Main Street in Bellevue, they jumped at the chance. “I didn’t think we’d …

View Post
Dining, What We're Made Of

What We’re Made Of: Maude’s Coffee & Clothes Owners – Jacob & Tara

The Entrepreneurial Spirit Jacob and Tara Frehling are the newest generation of a host of entrepreneurial Frehlings in the Wood River Valley. Jacob’s mother Annette owns the clothing shop Sister in Ketchum, cousins Maeme and Callie Rasberry own the lunch spot Rasberry’s in Ketchum, and father James opened the original Esta’s restaurant on Main Street. Now Jacob and Tara own Maude’s, a combination coffee shop and vintage clothing store in the heart of Ketchum. After owning a food truck before Maude’s and with aspirations for future businesses, these Frehlings plan to leave a long legacy in Ketchum. “Our whole pastime in life as a couple is spit-balling business ideas,” says Jacob. The business-minded couple, who married in 2017, met while attending the same high school in Portland, Oregon. Although Jacob grew up in the Valley, he attended the last few years of high school at Northwest Academy and then attended Portland State University a year behind Tara. “We were living in a house with seven other people, a total teenager house,” explains Tara. The couple began dating during college and graduated with degrees in psychology (her) and sociology (him) before Jacob headed back to his hometown to open the first …

View Post
Innovation, What We're Made Of

What We’re Made Of: Community Leader – Courtney Hamilton

Spending your 20’s in Ketchum, Idaho can look a lot of different ways. Many people dedicate themselves to ski-bum life, working at restaurants at night and crushing the pow all day. Some are dipping their toes into different types of jobs, trying to find what sticks. For Ketchum-native Courtney Hamilton, she still probably falls into the second category, but that hasn’t stopped her from wanting to make a difference in the community she’ll always call home. A city council woman, board member of the Ketchum Innovation Center, and board member of Sun Valley Economic Development, Hamilton has also worked for Sun Valley Trekking, as an Adventure Town Ambassador to Clif Bar, TEDxSunValley, home energy auditing, has lead outdoor trips for the Community School and is now the Projects Coordinator for Carson International.     “I’m just your typical mountain town person, trying to find my way.”   Hamilton grew up in Ketchum and after graduating from Community School headed to the west coast to attend college at Pomona College in Claremont, California where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Policy Analysis. Like many other kids who grow up in Ketchum, she felt that pull to go to big cities where the opportunities …

View Post
Skiing & Snowboarding, What We're Made Of, Winter

What We’re Made Of: Sun Valley Guides Owner – Zach Crist

A Local Legend Some folks are legendary in Sun Valley and some folks are lifers. Zach Crist is both. A Ketchum native, Crist has been through all iterations skiing has to offer—riding professionally, being featured in Warren Miller movies, coaching, owning a backcountry guide company—all while still living in the place he wouldn’t dream of not calling home. Now married to Emilie DuPont and father to four kids (ages 1, 3, 8, and 12), Crist has settled into his newest role as the owner of Sun Valley Guides and couldn’t be happier. Crist is evidence that you might think you’ve done all this town has to offer, but there’s always a new angle to enjoy the culture of Sun Valley, Idaho.      The Educational Years Though he was technically born in California, Crist is an Idahoan through and through. He moved to Ketchum with his parents and siblings Danielle and Reggie (also a former professional skier) when he was 6 years old. With his experience on skis since he was 2, Crist ended up joining the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation and was eventually picked for the U.S. Ski Team, joining his brother Reggie on the World Cup Tour. After …

View Post
Dining, What We're Made Of

What We’re Made Of: Restauranteurs – The Mason Family

The food scene of Ketchum would truly be a different landscape without the Masons and as their family continues to grow, so too does the family business.