Sun Valley celebrates eight decades of skiing


Bryce James lived a life of freestyle skiing, speed skiing and extreme skiing until a paragliding accident left him paralyzed with the diagnosis that he would never walk again.

He regained his health and walked again recalling fond memories of the 1970s and 1980s. Demetre and 90 pairs of skis.

James was in full force at The Party on the Hill on Friday night wearing a pair of iconic Bobbie Burns skis with their colorful squares and matching outfit. And many of his friends wore vintage ski gear from his collection as hundreds gathered to celebrate more than 85 years of skiing history at Sun Valley.

Ski instructors Pam Street and Tony Jefferson revisited Sun Valley’s debut for the retro costume contest. Jefferson came second to Sondra Van Ert for the contest which included prizes such as an Ikon Pass and The Skis.

“The 1970s and 1980s were a great time in the skiing world – lots of color, lots of trying new things,” he said. “I must say that my favorite skis were those of Bobbie Burns.”

The party on Dollar Mountain was held at the same time as the gathering of members of the US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame and the International Skiing History Association

Members of the Sun Valley Snowsports School skied in formation on Dollar Mountain, while youth from the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation performed somersaults in the terrain park.

Members of the Sun Valley K2 Show Team, who made a splash in Dick Barrymore’s ‘The Performers’, took their turn, along with five-time freestyle skiing world champion Scott Brooksbank and Olympian Suzy Chaffee, pioneer of women’s freestyle skiing.


Who would have guessed that he would see Spanish flamenco performed at Dollar Mountain?

And ballet ski world champions Alan Schoenberger and Bob Howards were among a handful of ballet skiers performing this long-lost art.

Ross Anderson, known as ‘the fastest skier in American history’ after setting the speed skiing record of 154.06 miles per hour in 2006 at Les Arcs France, has told how he trained to go fast in a wind tunnel. Oh, and he built his own ski course, he added.

The United States Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame inducted 11 skiing legends on Saturday night at the Sun Valley Inn, including Sun Valley’s Bobby Burns, freestyle skiing pioneer, and Alison Owen, the first American racer to win a FIS Cross-Country World Cup.

The International Skiing History Association honored several new ski books and films, including Christin Cooper’s “Spider Lives,” a tribute to professional skier Spider Sabich. It also showed three days and evenings of vintage ski movies.


Onlookers watch a ski ballet show.

“Fire on the Mountain” featured stunning vintage ski clips from all 10and Mountain Division in training and battle with insight into how those who fought on skis came back to open new ski resorts and even invented the waffle bottom jogging shoe for Nike.

A Swiss film, “The Fabulous History of Skiing”, gave an insight into the history of skiing dating back to the Mongols, who claim to have invented skiing much to the annoyance of the Norwegians. It also provided a chilling look into the future of skiing as it ended with a skier hurtling down the green grass of the Alps and through columns of red rock and sand dunes.

“This entire week is a thoughtful look at Sun Valley,” said Jake Moe, a Sun Valley resident who co-founded “Powder” magazine. “Sun Valley’s contributions to the sport of skiing are legendary. It produced a lot of legendary individuals like Christin Cooper and Picabo Street and they are legendary because the mountain of Sun Valley made them legendary.

Moe said he was always told that those who want to be world-class tennis players should go where great tennis players train.


Ballerinas Kate Johnston, Taylor Lehane and Isla Sundby performed an impromptu ballet for the crowd at Dollar Mountain on Friday night.

“You can’t go train in a bubble. Well, you can’t train at Soldier Mountain and be world champion,” he added. “Baldy is addictive and it’s so addictive that if you work at a company in Ketchum and you say, ‘I have to go run some errands’, people understand that this solution is needed.

“I spoke the other day with a guy who started skiing Baldy in 1946 and he hasn’t missed a year since. He said, ‘Caldy is what I am.’ We become addicted and the number of days of skiing becomes more important than our IQ or the money in our checkbook. The number of days we ski on Baldy trumps everything.

About George Dailey

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