Who, What, Where, Now!
The Sun Valley Story Tour
A bus ride with a history lesson
What do I do on my usual bus ride from Warm Springs to Ketchum? Nothing, actually. I mess with my phone, glance around at other passengers and mindlessly read every ad in sight --- all of which is perfectly normal: it’s public transportation. The radio’s hardly audible; there are no open windows to enjoy and no privacy. Yet none of this bothers me because I care about the environmental and social advantages that buses offer. With the bus, I really only need punctuality and a basic level of comfort to be satisfied. Everything else treatable.
Going above expectations, however, seems to be the rule for this valley’s Mountain Rides. With bus lines from Ketchum to Bellevue, vans from Shoshone and Twin Falls, a website that works and a dedicated staff, our sole transit authority is in fact a boss. The newest addition to Mountain Rides’ services: Friday history lessons. They’ve partnered with the Sun Valley Ski and Heritage Museum, as well as Mandala Media, publisher of The Sun Valley Story, and on June 29th launched “The Sun Valley Tour,” a free historical bus tour that many of us may unexpectedly ride this summer. Running along the regularly scheduled Blue Route, and leaving the Visitor’s Center in Ketchum each and every Friday at 3:45pm, the tour is likely to be a surprise for some passengers.
Now, don’t worry, there won’t be an obnoxious Vince Vaughn lookalike catching riders on random buses, a veiled real estate agent dressed as a cultural guide. Consistent with the wonderful curation of the Ski and Heritage museum, the hour-long tour will be hosted by changing members and staffers of the Historical Board, who will guide your eyes from the phone in your lap to the treasures out the window. For those not familiar, the Blue Route is enormous, serving Ketchum, Warm Springs, Sun Valley Village, Dollar and Elkhorn. A few of the locales passed along the Sun Valley Tour include the old Union Pacific Railroad Terminal, the Ketchum Cemetery, where Ernest Hemingway is buried, the Comstock-Clark Mercantile Building and the site of the original Sun Valley Rodeo. There will also be plenty of talk about Sun Valley’s skiing heritage, while the route winds below legendary Dollar and Baldy Mountains.
A few years ago I had the pleasure of living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where in general the dilapidated “collectivos” have riders scrambling for coins, pushing for room, not finding any and sweatily wishing that there was another way. Mountain Rides proves that there is, although with a lot less people and a few more resources. But solid public transportation options, frequent and comfortable, are key to a healthy community and local economy, wherever you are. Mountain Rides and its partners have now raised the bar above even recent benchmarks, like energy-efficiency and easy-to-use bike and ski racks, by bringing local history into our daily lives and erasing the notion that transit authorities can only worry about getting from A to B.
For more information on the Sun Valley Tour, stop by the Visitor’s Center in downtown Ketchum. The free tour departs from that same location each and every Friday at 3:45pm.