Creating this issue has been an adventure in time travel. I found myself charging through the 1930s with a charming count on a quest for America's first destination ski resort, skiing in the Sawtooth Mountains (circa 2010) with only chocolate-eating, wine-swilling women to guide me, then descending through six decades to simper at Hemingway over martinis in his Glamour House. And I wasn't done yet. After spinning high above Dollar Mountain's future-embracing terrain park in 2011, I landed with a bump in a murky, but strangely rose-colored Sun Valley, 2086. It's been quite a ride, one that I hope you will enjoy as much as I have.
Taking this journey through snippets of Sun Valley's past, present and future opened up some interesting perspectives on the challenges our valley faces today, 75 years after Count Felix Schaffgotsch first shone a light on a once-sleepy mining town. As I dug through dusty papers and pieced together faintly recalled threads of conversation to bring the count's story to life, I found the words he used to describe his great discovery:
"This combines more delightful features than any place I have seen in the United States, Switzerland or Austria, for a winter sports resort. Its great assets are: An ideal situation in a small basin surrounded by perfect mountains, hills and slopes. ... Brilliant sunshine with frequent snow falls giving constant powder during a long season. ... Far away from any big town. … any amount of wonderful runs and excursions, long and short."
Count Felix thought this place was special. He chose Sun Valley over Lake Tahoe, Aspen, Park City and just about every other area in the West that has since become a bona fide ski resort. If there is one thing to take from the past with us into the future it is this: Sun Valley is indeed small, isolated and challenging to access. But if it were none of those things, it would not exist.
While today's cultural and economic landscape is significantly different from that which Schaffgotsch catered to in 1936, the allure of Sun Valley still lies in its small-town charm, proximity to the wilderness and off-the-beaten-path appeal. Let's embrace what made us special yesterday, and hopefully all our tomorrows will be safe.
Jennifer Tuohy, Editor-in-Chief