Sun Valley
Pop. 1,427

Situated just outside Ketchum, Sun Valley is a small town whose economy centers upon the Sun Valley Company’s business activities. Home to the famous Sun Valley Lodge and Sun Valley Inn, this community’s name is most widely associated with the renowned Sun Valley Resort.

After watching the 1932 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, New York, W. Averell Harriman came up with a business plan that would eventually make him famous. An avid skier as well as chairman of the board of directors of the Union Pacific Railroad, Harriman dreamed of a world-renowned resort that guests could only reach via the railroad. To find the perfect site for his plan, Harriman sent Austrian Count Felix Schaffgotsch across the American West. Finally, the Count stumbled upon Ernest F. Brass’ 3,888-acre ranch in Ketchum, which Harriman promptly purchased for $39,000. Development of the resort began immediately with the help of several important figures: the Count picked the site for the 220-room lodge; U.S. Olympic Ski Team member, Charlie Proctor, developed the ski runs on Dollar Mountain and Proctor Mountain; railroad engineer, James Curran, designed and installed the first chair lifts; and popular resort marketer, Steve Hannagan, named the ski resort and advertised it to the world. In December 1936, the resort was finally ready for business, and Harriman’s idea became an instant success. Although the resort has been sold twice since its opening and new runs have been developed on the technical Bald Mountain, some things remain the same. It has always been a world-class resort rivaling some of the most luxurious skiing destinations in Europe, and Sun Valley has continued to attract the rich and famous from near and far for decades.

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