Sunday, May 31, 2020
Outerbike to Kick Off Sun Valley Summer
The Sun Valley Film Festival, which brought Chelsea Handler, Meg Ryan and Aaron Paul to town, also brought a plethora of out-of-town visitors, judging by the spike in occupancy rate during the mid-March festival.
Friday, May 3, 2019


It’s billed as “the best bike demo event in the universe.”

Sun Valley, get ready for Outerbike.

The event—a biggie in the bicycle world—will pedal into town June 21 through 23. And it could bring up to 600 pedal enthusiasts, in addition to their friends and families and vendors.

“There will be people flying in to get the best bike for the year,” said Ray Gadd, of Visit Sun Valley Marketing Alliance.

The event will fill the void left by the Ride Sun Valley bike festival, which brought hundreds of cyclists and their families to Sun Valley for a couple years. The new event was suggested by Scott and Adrian Montgomery of Crank Tank, and Sun Valley was “left blushing” to be included on Outerbike’s list of “top-notch” locations around the country, said Gadd.

Sun Valley will take its place alongside Crested Butte, Colo., Moab, Utah, and Bentonville, Ark., as a host destination giving bicyclists an opportunity to test the latest and greatest bikes and gear on the market. Sun Valley offers more than 400 miles of singletrack and Bald Mountain boasts America’s longest purpose-built downhill, as well as 3,100 feet of lift-accessed trails.

 “Outerbike’s not exclusive. Anyone can do it!” Gadd told a hundred retailers and lodging owners Wednesday at Visit Sun Valley’s biannual meeting, which provided a look at the winter just past and a look ahead at Summer 2019. “Not since the inaugural unveiling of the Ride Sun Valley bike festival has there been such excitement for a mountain biking event in the valley.”

In fact, there will be plenty of associated events for both adults and children.

While Outerbike officially kicks off June 21, Billy Olson and The Powerhouse in Hailey will bring back the popular SheepTown Drag Races, which culminates with bicyclists dragging flaming logs down Main Street.

Participants pay a registration fee, which gives them access to the bikes, lunches, beer, prizes and a party, in addition to a three-day lift pass for Baldy. Sun Valley Resort will crank up the lifts to service the mountain bikers a week early, Gadd said.

The City of Ketchum will augment Outerbike by throwing its annual Summer Solstice Soiree to celebrate the longest day of the year on June 21. And some Outerbike participants may want to stick around to catch the Sun Valley Center for the Arts’ reggae concert featuring Ziggy Marley and Michael Franti at River Run, Gadd said.

“This will give bicyclists the chance to try out some cutting-edge equipment and see all the newest electric bikes and other things,” said Olin Glenne, owner of Sturtevants. “There’s a constant evolution in bicycles--they keep getting better, more efficient, lighter, funner. Combined with—hey!—I get to go to Sun Valley, there should be a lot of excited riders.”


  • SUMMER FLIGHTS will kick off June 20 with flights to and from Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and Denver.

    A fourth flight has been added to the morning mix, which means travelers should get to the airport no later than 90 minutes before their flight, said Friedman Airport Manager Chris Pomeroy. Travelers may be asked to step out of line temporarily to allow travelers on earlier flights ahead of them to avoid some of the bottlenecks that ensued last summer.

    A flight to Salt Lake City leaves at 6:55 a.m.; Los Angeles, 7:10 a.m.; Denver, 8:10 a.m., and San Francisco, 8:40 a.m.

    TSA will offer Sun Valley-area residents an opportunity to get precheck status for $85 on June 21. Precheck status allows frequent fliers to avoid lines, Pomeroy said.

  • THE PARKING LOT at Friedman Memorial Airport is being expanded.If the lot is full, users may need to find alternate transportation. Mountain Rides picks up and drops off passengers at St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Clinic. A sidewalk leads from the clinic to the airport.
  • Visit Sun Valley began targeting its TARGET GUESTS—active, fun-loving families, affluent outdoorsy travelers, activity-pursuing participants and culture seekers—in April with a “What We’re Made of” campaign.

    Videos are centered around Patios and Parties, Dirt and Delicacies featuring Squash Blossom Farm in Bellevue and Berms and Builders, featuring bicyclist Adrian Montgomery. Marketing campaigns will also feature a few pictures of ballerinas in the mountains, playing off of San Francisco Ballet’s upcoming performances over the Fourth of July.

  • Visit Sun Valley will launch a new WEBSITE on May 15.

    “Ours is four years old, and that’s super old,” said Aly Swindley of Visit Sun Valley.

  • Visit Sun Valley is looking for ways to GROW MAY, JUNE AND SEPTEMBER with events.
  • The VISITOR CENTER located inside Starbucks is gearing up for summer visitors. It received an average of 45 guests a day during winter and the number more than doubles in summer.

    Most summer inquiries are about Hemingway, Hemingway, Hemingway, said Swindley. The next most frequent questions involve campgrounds and RV parking, hot springs and day trips.

    “Our staffers are not just friendly faces. They’re holding babies so people can go to the bathroom,” she added.


    “Winter was pretty good—I’m still having powder dreams,” said Scott Fortner, executive director of Visit Sun Valley.

    LOT, or local option, collections were up 7 percent. Enplanements from November through March were up 3 percent. Occupancy rates from October through March was up 3 percent. TripAdvisor page views from October through March were up 28 percent. And the number of people looking at the Visit Sun Valley site climbed 33 percent over last year during the October to March time period.

    Predictably, there was a huge spike in visitors during the Boulder Mountain Tour and President’s Day week.

    “The Sun Valley Film Festival also produced a very large spike, which we hadn’t seen in the past,” said Fortner.

    Fifty-percent of business owners said business was better this winter; 32 percent, the same, and 13 percent, worse. Most restaurant owners said their dining business did the same or better than last year; a few retailers said business was down.

    “But overall, it’s turning up,” Fortner said

  • Visit Sun Valley partnered with the NEW YORK TIMES on a paid media story, “Think you Know Sun Valley, Idaho?”

Freekskier targeted young skiers with “The Skier’s Guide to Sun Valley,” which included a contest for a trip to Sun Valley that garnered 25,000 entries. And “Vice” did a profile of Casino patrons.

Sun Valley also landed 60 mentions or articles in such national publications as Sunset, Outside and Men’s Journal.


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