His report bears out in the River Run base lodge at apres time, where an acoustic quartet peels off bluegrass tunes and folk-rock covers, filling the high-ceilinged lodge with the warm, woody strains. And back at the Sun Valley Lodge later, a trio plays soulful slow jazz in the dusky candlelit bar.
The crowd is mostly older, a common condition around the resort and a frequent knock on Sun Valley: that the people who made this place famous decades ago are the only ones still showing up. The lodge in particular has a country club aura, with Oriental print drapes and carpet, oversize floral displays, a massive fireplace and stately furniture, that leaves me fidgety about my just-here-to-ski wardrobe.
But as I wander the “Wall of Fame” photo gallery in the lodge, stacked with images of folks who put their stamp on Sun Valley — Oksana Baiul, Peggy Fleming, Jean-Claude Killy, Christin Cooper, Picabo Street and dozens more — I wonder whether tomorrow’s superstar is here right now, twirling around on the ice rink or waxing her skis for an upcoming junior race.
On my last morning in town, I bolt over to the resort to squeeze in one more run before heading home. The first snow in weeks is falling, and clouds swallow the gondola cars as they ascend Mount Baldy.
Later, the weather will force the cancellation of our flight out of the Hailey airport, 14 miles away. So we’ll board a bus and drive to the Twin Falls airport, another 70 miles south, crossing Harriman’s Union Pacific railroad tracks en route and leaving his dream behind, in the wild white mountains of Idaho.
Sun Valley, Idaho: How to get there, where to stay, what to do and more
Briley is a writer in Takoma Park who’s constantly adding mountains to his skiing résumé.