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History of Sun Valley, Idaho

In 1935, Averell Harriman, then Chairman of the Board for Union Pacific Railroad, dreamed of a way to attract passenger traffic to the West. Harriman, a longtime skier, then struck upon the idea of developing a destination ski resort. To that end, he directed Count Felix Schaffgotsch to seek out the ideal site for such a resort.

Schaffgotsch happened upon Ketchum, a mining town, founded after the Bannock Wars. Ketchum's mainstay at the time was sheep herding, perfected by the Basques.

Guided about the area by a local boy on barrel slat skis, Count Schaffgotsch was enchanted by the Idaho Rockies.

To Harriman he wrote, "It contains more delightful features for a winter sports center than any other place I have seen in the United States, Switzerland or Austria." Schaffgotsch had found the consummate ski destination where the powder is dry, the sun always shines and the harsh winter winds never penetrate. The brilliant sunshine spawned the name for the marvel that was to become the nation's first destination ski area, "Sun Valley."

Harriman and Hannagan agreed that Sun Valley was to be a resort where luxury was a must, complete with glass-enclosed swimming pools, exquisite food, impeccable service and an orchestra performing nightly. The elegance established at its inception attracted a clientele of East Coast notables and Hollywood stars that has become a tradition of the resort.

In 1937, Sun Valley's tryst with Hollywood began with the filming of Claudette Colbert's "I Met Him In Paris" and continued with such productions as "Sun Valley Serenade", "Bus Stop", "Breakheart Pass", and many other movie and television productions.

In 1938, Sun Valley basked in its first summer season. Today the summer still sparkles with a wide variety of activities to choose from such as archery, tennis, trap and skeet shooting, golf, hunting, hiking, and riding, as well as fishing in Silver Creek -- the finest dry-fly fishing in the Western United States.

Sun Valley joined the Little America group of hotels under the ownership of Earl Holding in 1977. With a concern for the environment, Earl Holding is dedicated not only to preserving Sun Valley as the ultimate ski resort but also to making Sun Valley the finest year-round resort in the world with quality facilities and quality personnel.

It is this continual striving for excellence and harmony with the environment that characterizes Sun Valley as the Grand Dame of skiing in America.

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Sun Valley



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