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Snowsport History
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History of Sundance, Utah

Centuries ago, the Ute Indians retreated to this canyon to escape the summer heat and hunt the abundant game. By the beginning of the Twentieth Century, the Stewarts, a family of Scottish immigrants, had settled the canyon.

While the first generation were mostly surveyors and sheepherders, the next generation saw excitement and opportunity in the snow-laden slopes beneath Mount Timpanogos.

In the Fifties, the Stewarts opened Timphaven, a local ski resort which boasted a chair lift, a rope tow, and a burger joint named Ki-Te-Kai-Somoan for "Come and get it!" (One of the Stewarts had served as a Mormon missionary to the islands.)

In 1969, Robert Redford bought Timphaven and much of the surrounding land from the Stewart family, and Sundance was born.

Rejecting advice from New York investors to fill the canyon with an explosion of lucrative hotels and condominiums, Redford saw his newly acquired land as an ideal locale for environmental conservation and artistic experimentation.

As with most experiments, there were a few early setbacks. A dinner and movie night was abandoned when waiters repeatedly collided in the darkness. A mountain man rendezvous never saw past the first year because the deafening roar of musket and canon competition sent both wild and domestic animals scrambling for the Wyoming border.

Years of experimentation and refinement have ultimately resulted in what we now call Sundance. The Sundance Institute, the spectacular skiing, the stunning natural scenery, and the tasteful excellence of the accommodations combine to make Sundance dynamically unique. Sundance is a process as well as a place. It is the blending of process and place which puts Sundance in uncharted waters, on a steady course of its own.

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Robert Redford



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