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What We're Made Of

Women’s History Month: Women Ski Racers of Sun Valley

We’re already into the third week of March and Women’s History Month! After commemorating the vast history of the Wood River Valley, starting with the Indigenous Peoples and then focusing on the early settlers with ties to the mining and ranching industries, it’s time to focus on those women who made fame with their ski racing careers.  Ski racing has been central to the Sun Valley/Ketchum community since the inception of the resort in 1936, and we’re proud to boast numerous Olympic medalist women with ties to the area. These women represent the trailblazing spirit of Sun Valley and Ketchum and have impacted the history for women in sports for years to come. Gretchen Fraser  Gretchen Fraser, born in 1919 and laid to rest in the Ketchum cemetery in 1994, was the first American to win an Olympic gold medal in skiing. She grew up in Washington, but came to call Sun Valley home in 1938 when she met her soon to be husband, Donald Fraser. Although both Gretchen and Donald were members of the 1940 Olympics team, the games were canceled due to WWII. Gretchen took that time to help rehabilitate wounded veterans through skiing, something she would continue …

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Women’s History Month: Early Women of the Wood River Valley

For the second week of Women’s History Month, we are honoring four women who have shaped the history and heritage of Sun Valley. These ladies have all had an impact on the Wood River Valley, dating back to before the establishment of the ski resort and through its early years.  Two of these women were integral in establishing the Community Library in 1955. They, along with 14 other trailblazing women, “founded the Community Library Association, a privately-funded, privately-governed public library to encourage intellectual and creative adventures in the remote mountains of central Idaho,” (ComLib). All four women contributed to the pioneer spirit of the Valley, fostering a momentum for woman-led innovation that is alive to this day. Marge Brass Heiss 1910-2007 Marge Brass Heiss, daughter of Ernest Brass, was born in Caldwell, Idaho in 1910. She moved to Ketchum two years later when her father bought what became known as the Brass Ranch until the family sold the land to the Union Pacific in 1936. He traded 3,888 acres for $39,000, and Sun Valley was born. In fact, Marge, along with her sister Roberta, gave a tour of their ranch property to Count Felix Schaffgatsch. Within a few months of …

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Women’s History Month: Honoring Sun Valley’s Native Land and its People

Women’s History Month, celebrated during the month of March in the United States, highlights the contributions of women to historical events and modern society. Most people know that Ketchum, Sun Valley, and the entire Wood River Valley have a storied past, one marked by celebrities and old, Western mining culture. However, archaeological evidence indicates that as far back as 10,000 years ago, the Wood River Valley was home to Native peoples from the Shoshone, Bannock & Lehi tribes. To kick off Women’s History Month, we are looking back to the Wood River Valley’s first inhabitants and commemorating the women who have ensured that their stories and culture live on. We are constantly told that we were never here, but our presence is in the petroglyphs, teepee rings and other cultural resources. These are traditional artifacts from time immemorial. We continue to come back to the areas of our ancestors to let the communities know that we have not forgotten our past association with these lands. We come to pay homage to the spirits of our ancestors. We let the communities in and around Sun Valley know that we are a living culture, not a prehistoric culture to be forgotten. Lionel …

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24hrs in Sun Valley, Wellness

24hrs in Sun Valley – March – Ryan Redman of The Flourish Foundation

Flourish Foundation’s executive director and co-founder (with his wife, Paige) Ryan Redman leads the kind of calming, wellness-centered lifestyle many in Sun Valley strive for. From dedicating hours of his early mornings to himself before work to just truly cherishing every part of living in this town, Ryan exudes contentment. Ryan’s Flourish Foundation is no different, with its vision to inspiring systemic change through heartmind cultivation, promoting personal well-being, benevolent social action, and environmental stewardship. Since its conception in 2010, the Flourish Foundation has facilitated programs that nurture life skills and transformation through ethics and values like meditation. Ryan has studied meditation and Yoga from an early age and teaches yoga in Sun Valley in addition to his work at the foundation. We asked the passionate leader, yogi, devoted husband and father of two boys what his perfect 24hrs for March in Sun Valley looks like. How does your ideal day in Sun Valley start? Ryan: After an incredible night’s sleep, I open my eyes and feel tremendous gratitude to have a human body, to live in such a beautiful place, and to be healthy and capable of providing service to the world and serving myself. Then, after my thoughts …

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24hrs in Sun Valley, Innovation, Wellness

24hrs in Sun Valley – February – Katja Peller of 5b Fruit

Wellness-focused couple Parker Morris and Katja Peller have taken their passions and turned them into two thriving businesses, 5B Fruit and 5B Floatation. After hiking Baldy on a hot summer day, the two were craving a healthy smoothie. Not finding one that satisfied them, the two opened what they thought would be a small smoothie stand and turned it into the popular shop it is today. While their days are busy behind the counter at 5B making delicious smoothies and bowls, they still have time to enjoy raising chickens and their dogs Tilly and Garth on their farm south of Bellevue where they’ll be getting married this summer. Learn how Katja spends the perfect day in Sun Valley! How does your perfect day start? Coffee/breakfast somewhere? Easy morning at home? Katja: Usually, mornings start very early to make sure things are taken care of around the farm. The drive from my house to Ketchum is about 40 minutes so I listen to a podcast to start the day off. Then I stop at Lizzy’s on my way into town. A day can’t start and is not complete without a cup of coffee. My favorite way to start the day is …

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Bucket List, Skiing & Snowboarding, Winter

Idaho Winter Vacation

An Idaho winter ski vacation is certainly a bucket list item for anyone. Names like “Aspen” or “Vail” may be more familiar to some, but Idaho’s ski resorts are known for tons of powder, minimal lift lines, and plenty of small-town charm. There are many small ski hills across the state, but the four listed below are the heavy hitters in terms of the best spots to visit for your winter vacay. Whether you’ve visited Idaho before and are looking to try out a different resort or it’s your first visit, these are the must-visit Idaho winter destinations. Bogus Basin As Boise’s ski resort, Bogus Basin is certainly the easiest resort to reach with the most options for places to stay and other, near-by activities. Founded in 1942, Bogus Basin is an accessible, family-friendly resort which receives between 200 and 250 inches of snow each season. At just 16 miles from downtown Boise, you can wake up and be on the slopes within the hour, ready to experience all Bogus Basin’s 2,600 acres of terrain has to offer. The 1,800-vertical-foot mountain is open for year-round recreation, but for the winter you’ll be enticed by downhill skiing as well as 37km …

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Skiing & Snowboarding, Winter

Boise to Sun Valley: A Quick Getaway

Boise is not only the capital of Idaho but also it’s largest city. Boise is often ranked at the top of fastest growing cities lists in part due to its great access and proximity to the outdoors. Whether its a canyon excursion south into the desert or a whitewater thrill ride north of town boise has a lot of options of all sorts of speeds. Although we are going to be focused on one of Boise’s best attributes and thats being less than a 3 hour drive from the #1 ski resort in the nation. Not only is Sun Valley a must for any winter lover it is also a mountain hub of year around sun soaked activities and sights to see. We will start off with a bit of a winter focus with some stops along the way but then it gets into the year around possibilities of the Wood River Valley. Soldier Mountain Many thousands of skiers drive by the town of Fairfield, Idaho on their way to Sun Valley without even knowing there is a great little ski hill tucked away in the mountains to the north. After a wildfire damaged some equipment during the summer 2020 Soldier …

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Skiing & Snowboarding, Winter

McCall Vs Sun Valley

When visiting Idaho, there are plenty of different options for where to go: Boise, Stanley, Pocatello. But when deciding between a small resort town, you might come down to the decision between McCall and Sun Valley. Which to choose? There are many similarities between the two small resorts towns, but a bevy of differences to separate the winter experiences you might have in each. The populations of McCall and Ketchum are roughly the same (just under 3,000) though “Sun Valley” as a whole area encompasses a much higher number. McCall’s terrain focuses on lake life (Payette Lake being a major draw for the area especially in the summer) with more subtle mountain peaks surrounding it and a greater density of Ponderosa Pines. In Sun Valley, the terrain is ALL about the mountains—jagged peaks at high elevation surrounding you in every direction. McCall definitly sees peak traffic during the summer holidays with its large lake and boating activities. On the other hand Sun Valley is a winter Mecca that sees thousands of skiers descend on the town during December. Both towns are about 2.5 hours from the state capitol of Boise. Although the Boise airport is the main access point for …

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24hrs in Sun Valley, Wellness

24hrs in Sun Valley – January – Danielle Fuller – Gather Yoga

Going into the new year, Danielle Fuller has her intentions set around being mindful and grateful, especially for this beautiful town we live in. The mom of three (and three step kids!) is often busy running errands, doing the pick-up/drop-off for her kids, as well as running her business, Gather Yoga & Studio. After completing her yoga teacher training in 2009 and moving from Portland to Ketchum the same year, Danielle opened her studio in 2013 and since then has been teaching yoga alongside her studio’s other teachers. See how this busy woman does it all while still having fun and staying healthy in this editions of 24hrs in Sun Valley, January edition. How does your morning start? Danielle: Just coming off the holidays, I’m trying to stay true to my New Year’s intentions around health and well-being. I start the day early, around 6:30, with a morning dog walk in the sunshine and snow out East Fork, where I live, while listening to my favorite podcast. I walk my favorite loop and get in the mindset for the day before heading up to town to catch a yoga class with Cathie Caccia at Gather to get my body, mind, …

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24hrs in Sun Valley

24 Hours in Sun Valley – December: Susan Nieves

Originally visitors to Sun Valley from Seattle, Susan and Mark Nieves, the owners of retail shop Independent Goods, were so enthralled with the area that in 2013 they packed up and came to Ketchum to live, raise their family, and open their own store. Ever-present in their store is the importance of connection: to customers, to craft makers, to each other. And that same priority of connection is apparent in Susan’s perfect 24 hours in Sun Valley where much of the day is spent forming and strengthening bonds to others in this town. How does your perfect day start? Susan: We start by playing vinyl—anything from Mary Popins to Blondie—having coffee, and possibly a special treat of pastries from Hank & Sylvies or Konditorie or a Bigwood Bread Ham & Cheese croissant. That gets us and our 4-year-old going. After that, I head into the shop to help customers find gifts for themselves, loved ones, or clients. What’s a day in the shop like? Susan: People hang out here for a really long time and we get to know our customers or tourists really well. Mark and I write the story cards on display with each product; writing them connects …