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Nestled in the mountains near Ketchum Sun Valley is a world renowned ski and Winter resort destination considered by many to be among the finest examples of its type anywhere on the planet. While the name "Sun Valley" is generally used to speak of the region itself - including nearby Ketchum and Hailey - this area has served as an all inclusive seasonal home for many famous individuals since first being brought into the public eye by Ernest Hemingway in the late 1930's.
This is not by chance! From it's earliest days Sun Valley was designed to be a destination location. The success of 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York was the jumping board for this visionary concept of a winter getaway developed by W. Averell Harriman, the chairman of the Union Pacific Railroad. During the winter of 1935–36, Harriman enlisted the services of an Austrian count, Felix Schaffgotsch, to travel across the western U.S. to locate an ideal site for a winter resort.
While there were many locations considered, including Mt Rainier and Yosemite - and despite the cost of running a railroad spur to Ketchum - the combination of the scenery provided by Mt Baldy and the perfect snow conditions sealed the
Pioneering publicist Steve Hannigan, who had successfully promoted Miami Beach, Florida, was hired and named the resort "Sun Valley." At the time the luxurious 220 room crowning jewel of this resort area was the Sun Valley Lodge which opened in December of 1936. In addition the Swiss-style Sun Valley Inn opened in 1937 and included round shaped heated outdoor swimming pools, unique for their time at Hannigans request, "so people won't think skiing is too cold".
It was this visionary design that would attract the trend setters of the day, including celebrities like Glenn Miller, Desi Arnaz, Milton Berle, and Marilyn Monroe. The lush accomodations and easy access to exceptional recreation has kept Sun Valley in the forefront of the worlds superstars into modern times as well! Big names like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mark Zuckerberg, Mats Wilander, Warren Buffett, Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey, Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis are all counted among frequent visitors and seasonal residents today.
The heart of Sun Valley features a wonderful array of boutique shops filled with the works of local artisans and the bounty of the Gem State. Home to a number of events, there is always something going on worth enjoying - from the Trailing of the Sheep, and Christmas in Sun Valley to the Ketchum Arts Festival - family, fun, and culture are close at hand.
A gateway to the heart of the Rocky Mountains, beautiful Stanley Idaho is just a short trip from town. Recreational opportunities abound including everything from bird watching, hiking, and fishing to mountain climbing and more! The rich history of vision continues to make Sun Valley a place unlike any other.