Monday, June 27, 2022
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Sun Valley Celebrates Eight Decades of Skiing
Dave Valenti, Terry Smith, Bryce James, Bill Pugliese, Bill Sanesh and Penelope Street showed off their vintage ski wear by Skyr and others.
Sunday, March 27, 2022


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

He nurtured his way back to health—and walking again—recalling fond memories of the 1970s and ‘80s. To that end he began collecting memorabilia from those years, including 300 men’s and women’ ski outfits ranging from Roffe to Demetre and 90 pairs of skis.

James was out in full force at The Party on the Hill Friday evening sporting a pair of Bobbie Burns’ iconic skis with their colored squares and an outfit to match. And many of his friends were wearing vintage ski wear from his collection as hundreds turned out to celebrate 85-plus years of skiing history at Sun Valley.

Ski instructors Pam Street and Tony Jefferson reached back to Sun Valley’s early days for the Retro Costume Contest. Jefferson came in second place to Sondra Van Ert for the contest which included such prizes as an Ikon Pass and The Skis.

“The 1970s and ‘80s were just a great time in the world of skiing—lots of color, lots of trying new things,” he said. “I’d have to say my favorite skis were Bobbie Burns’.”

The party on Dollar Mountain was held in conjunction with the gathering of members of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame and International Skiing History Association

Members of Sun Valley’s Snowsports School skied in formations down Dollar Mountain, while youngsters with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation performed flips in the terrain park.

Members of the K2 Demo Team from Sun Valley, who made a splash in Dick Barrymore’s film “The Performers,” took their turn, along with five-time World Champion freestyle skier Scott Brooksbank and Olympian Suzy Chaffee, who pioneered women’s freestyle skiing.

Whoever might have guessed they’d see the Spanish flamenco performed on Dollar Mountain?

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

Ross Anderson, known as “the fastest skier in American history” after setting the speed skiing record for 154.06 miles per hour in 2006 at Les Arcs France, recounted how he practiced to go fast in a wind tunnel. Oh, and he built his own ski course, he added.

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame inducted 11 legends of skiing Saturday night at the Sun Valley Inn, including Sun Valley’s Bobby Burns, who pioneered freestyle skiing, and Alison Owen, the first U.S. racer to win a FIS cross-country World Cup.

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

Onlookers watch a ski ballet performance.

“Fire on the Mountain” featured great vintage ski clips of the 10th Mountain Division in training and combat with a look at how those who fought on skis returned to open new ski resorts and even invent the waffle-bottomed jogging shoe for Nike.

A Swiss film, “The Fabulous History of Skiing,” provided a look at the history of skiing dating back to the Mongolians, who claim to have invented skiing to the dismay of the Norwegians. It also provided a chilling look into the future of skiing as it ended with a skier schussing down the green grass of the Alps and through red rock desert columns and sand dunes.

“This whole week is a reflective 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’re legendary because Sun Valley’s mountain made them legendary.”

Moe said he’d always been told that those who want to be world class tennis players must go where great tennis players train.

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

“You can’t go train in a bubble. Well, you can’t train on Soldier Mountain and be a world- champion,” he added. “Baldy is addictive and it’s so addictive that if you’re working in a business in Ketchum and you say, ‘I’ve gotta go take a couple runs,’ people understand that that fix is needed.

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


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