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The Sun Valley Guide magazine is distributed free three times a year to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area communities.

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Red Baron Jesse Forgeon zooms into history as the winner of The Most Creative Snow Box award.


Snow box Bonanza
Rotarun’s Snow Box Derby attracts kids of all ages

Words by Dana DuGan
Photos by Willy Cook

For five years, the Wood River Valley’s minor-league Rotarun Ski Area, on Croy Creek Road west of Hailey, has been the site of some of the most creative and dazzling displays of sheer lunacy and fun.

It’s every man for himself as teeth and claws are bared in this highly competitive derby.

The Snow Box Derby, a true mountain-town kind of event, is sponsored by the Blaine County Recreation District, Rotarun Ski Club, Ruscitto Latham Blanton Architecture, the Kiwanis Club and Smoky Mountain Pizza.

Not displaying the usual grace of a Sun Valley Suns hockey player, John Stevens is unceremoniously dumped out of his pirate ship.

This year, the Sixth Annual Snow Box Derby is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 25.
Open to ages 5 and older, the derby offers multiple divisions in which to compete: Peewee, Junior, Teen, Adult and Professional. The only construction materials allowed are cardboard, paint, tape and glue, with detailing for purely visual effects encouraged. Wings, tails, teeth, towers—just about anything goes here.

This acrobatic contestant is more concerned with hanging on to his Gatorade than his snow box.

“It’s like the Rose Bowl parade, where you have to use flowers,” said Dave Keir, BCRD recreation director. “After that, you can take it wherever you want. We’ve had racecars, floating islands, snow cats, Sponge Bob, the Red Baron and a Wicked Spud potato. The Hailey Coffee Company did a cup and saucer one year.”

Team Alpine heads out for a smooth start, which is more than can be said for Number 25.


Mostly it’s a fun outing for the family, a silly spectator sport and as much fun as you can have standing in the snow on a (small) mountain in Idaho.
“What’s fun is watching the sleds do a yard sale all the way down. They just seem to disintegrate,” Keir said with a laugh. “Wipeouts, the outfits and the funny hats are all fun. It’s good, friendly competition. And the number-one thing is everyone goes home in one piece.” Even if your snow box doesn’t.


This tough competitor is so sure of his prowess on the slopes of Rotarun that he has no need for goggles or a snow suit.


“Kids of all ages” is the Snow Box Derby’s unofficial slogan, which Ruscitto Latham Blanton architect Michael Bull takes to heart when he volunteers to be the firm’s driver for the day.