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Local Bands Offer New Perspective on Who's a Local
Friday, March 29, 2024


Remember Justin Pisteoff? He was the guy who last year at this time complained that the Ketchum Post Office was causing him POTSD, or Post Office Traumatic Stress Disorder, since companies often refuse to deliver mail and packages to a town that forces its poor residents to have box delivery only.

Just to rub it in, he also published the Worst of the Valley Awards.

Well, Pisteoff is back again but this year with a more positive spin on things.


Having long observed the dialog over how long you have to live in the Sun Valley area to be considered a local, the local curmudgeon has come up with a Local Band initiative that he thinks will inspire positive and interesting discourse among residents, no matter what decade they arrived.

Pisteoff has developed a line of rubber wrist bands designed to recognize the year wearers came to the Wood River Valley.

There are eight different colored bands recognizing the type of grit and determination it takes to live here.

The yellow band recognizes the 1960s when Sun Valley's famed Diamond Sun race saw daredevil skiers racing down Ridge, through the bumps of Rock Garden and careening down Canyon and Lower River Run, crossing the finish line where the Big Bear at the River Run Lodge is now.


The red band, known as The Burn, designates the 1970s. The black band, known as Inhibition, recognizes the 1980s, and the grey band, known as Exhibition, represents the 1990s. The blue band, titled Canyon, recognizes the 2000s, while the green band stands for Broadway and the 2010s.

The pink band, known as Quarter Dollar, recognizes the 2020s. And the gold band--or the Born Identity band--recognizes those who are Wood River Valley natives.

Pisteoff said he hopes that the bands will spark conversations, with newer residents asking those who came in the 1960s and '70s what it was like then. Or someone who moved here in the 1980s can side up to another who moved here from the 1980s because they can reminisce over common experiences.

"I'm proud to be able to call this beautiful valley my home for 32 years and, as anyone that's lived here a long time knows, it's not that easy," said Pisteoff. "Those guys with the yellow or red bands--they're true legends, they have great stories. If you get a chance to talk to them, do! You'll definitely learn something."

Gone are the ski bum days when you could have a restaurant job, buy a season pass and live in Ketchum, Pisteoff noted.

"The crises of 2008 wiped out many of the ski bum era survivors causing many of them to lose their condos, and then the online shopping era caused tremendous hardships for local retail businesses. Then, of course, we had the AirBnb era which sent rents soaring and, finally, the COVID era," he said.

"Some of us thought the COVID era might offer a respite, a chance to hit the pause button, but how wrong we were. I'd say anyone who has survived all this needs a medal or, at the very least, a local band--something that can be worn with pride as a symbol of an unwavering determination to live the magical dream that is to call Sun Valley home."

Local bands cost $2 each with the proceeds going to the Affordable Housing Fund administered by the Spur Foundation. They are available at Madeline + Oliver on Sun Valley Road, the Valley Apothecary, the Starbucks Visitor Center, The Board Bin on Fourth Street and Johnny G's Subshack.

And what about second homeowners? Well, Pisteoff hemmed and hawed. But he finally decided that, if you're have two or more homes but consider Sun Valley the one dearest to your heart....well, that makes you a local.

But, he warned: "Don't get a decade that's not yours. The Local Band police will be watching."

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