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A Day in the Life: Kaz Thea

Locals Share Their Perfect Sun Valley Days


Photo by Max Monahan.

SVM: What is your Sun Valley story? How did you end up here?
KAZ: I was working in Walla Walla, Washington, as a wildlife biologist when I met my now-husband, Kurt Nelson. He moved to the Valley in the early ’90s and we kept in touch for years as friends. After that, I took a job in Bend for a bit and then decided to make the move here to be with him and find a job. I worked for Alliance for the Wild Rockies, (a conservation organization), for a bit and have pieced together jobs ever since. I read this quote once by Margaret Mead that moved me: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” It sums up how I feel about change, and making a difference.

SVM: What does your perfect Sun Valley
day start with?
KAZ: A hike up Carbonate or a bike ride out one of the Croy Creek trails—or waking up in the outdoors sipping coffee, chatting with family and friends and discussing what the day will bring. You can usually find us camping with friends on weekends throughout the summer. 

SVM: What would your day not be complete without?
KAZ: A hike or bike ride somewhere in the Valley on one of the area’s numerous trails.

SVM: Where’s your favorite place for lunch?
KAZ: NourishMe or Glow. Both places have so many amazing fresh-food options and most of their products come directly from some of the local vendors at the Hailey or Ketchum Farmers’ Market, or Idaho’s Bounty.

SVM: What about dinner?
KAZ: I usually eat dinner at home with my family. I am always preparing lots of fresh dishes from produce bought at the markets throughout the summer.  Nothing like a fresh tomato. I eat a lot of salad of every variety you can think of in the summer.  If we do go out, we love to go to the Power House for the social aspect. They have a great deck outside, awesome selection of beers, excellent food, much of which is local and homemade, especially their fries and ketchup, but I really enjoy the oat burgers with goat cheese and salad.  It’s always a cool scene at the Power House.

SVM: What makes Sun Valley so special?
KAZ: The community and the resources we have here. The community support of this place is absolutely incredible. I love the Farmers’ Market and being involved in community programs and events. This is a great place to raise a family.

SVM: Where is your favorite breakfast spot?
KAZ: Sitting on my back deck eating fresh eggs and toast from the market and sipping a cup of coffee, planning the day.

SVM: Where do you like to camp?
KAZ: We start camping as soon as the weather gets warm and dry and start close to home (Corral Creek, Baker Creek) and work our way further north as the temperature gets warmer and camp many weekends in the Sawtooths. Lots of the camping is car camping at one of the lakes (Alturas, Redfish, Stanley), but we also backpack. We almost always go on a river trip on the Main Salmon one time in the summer with a group of friends.

SVM: What do you do in the afternoon?
KAZ: I love digging in my garden in the late afternoon after work.  We usually have dinner late because we are busy recreating or working in our yard until late in the day. 

SVM: Who do you want to spend time with?
KAZ: My husband and son in the Boulder-White Cloud or Sawtooth mountains, hiking one of the many area trails or at one of the Sawtooth Lakes on our stand up paddle board with our dog Banjo along for the ride. 




A Day in the Life: Terry Ring


Photo by Kevin Syms.

SVM: How does your perfect day begin?
Terry: It depends on the time of year. There are many perfect days in Sun Valley. You just have to decide to make today one of them. I do love to work, though. I love the interactions with people and I really enjoy the role I get to play in helping people enjoy the Sun Valley lifestyle. But if I’m not working in the summer, I love getting up early, having a cup of coffee and reading The New York Times on my iPad.

SVM: What’s next?
Terry: A hike with the dogs and then some fishing. I love small, headwater fishing where there is always a sense of discovery around every turn. And I love to have a fish take a dry fly. It still always makes me giggle. I even enjoy a refusal. When something is slightly wrong it becomes a little bit of a game of chess, trying to figure out how to fool a fish that doesn’t want to be fooled.

SVM: Do you have a favorite place to fish?
Terry: The best fishing is wherever you are when you’re fishing! It would be terribly boring to fish the same place all the time.

SVM: What’s your favorite thing about fishing?
Terry: The great thing about fishing is that it gets you out to beautiful places with friends and family.

SVM: Do you have a favorite place to eat?
Terry: There are so many great local restaurants it would be tough to pick just one. I usually work my way around town, especially for lunch. But I do really enjoy breakfast at The Kneadery, lunch at Despo’s and après-(skiing or fishing) at Grumpy’s.

SVM: Any other favorite local family activities?
Terry: Taking a Middle Fork (of the Salmon River) trip is one of the best things we’ve ever done as a family. Being able to connect to nature and your family like that is really special. Unplugging and disconnecting from regular life every once in a while is really important.




A Day in the Life: Christopher Roebuck


Photo by Max Monahan.

SVM: What is your perfect Sun Valley day?
Christopher: Spring is my favorite season because you can hike, ski and ride motorbikes all in one day. I’ll never forget the day I hiked Carbonate in Hailey in the morning, skied Baldy with my buddy, Rando, and then rode my dirt bike out Croy Canyon and met my brother, Jeff, who rode over from Fairfield to meet me. I was pretty sore a couple days later, though.

SVM: Where do you like to get breakfast?
Christopher: Sebastian and I will walk over to work, drop the dogs off and then meet Nora over at Java (in Hailey) for hot chocolate with extra whipped cream!

SVM: How about lunch?
Christopher: There are a lot of great places for lunch in Hailey. Shelley’s Deli is terrific, but one of our favorite summer family things to do is to ride our bikes down to Bellevue—the bike path is absolutely killer—have lunch at Mahoney’s and then ride back up Broadford Road.

SVM: Do you have a favorite après-adventure spot?
Christopher: I love to stop by The Wicked Spud after a ride (mountain bike or motocross). Their outdoor deck is awesome.

SVM: Where do you like to go for dinner?
Christopher: Just like lunch, there are a lot of good options for dinner in Hailey. We like the Muleshoe because it’s easy to go there with kids. The (Sun Valley) Brewery is family to me. We go there all the time. Everything is just delicious there.




A Day in the Life: Julie Youngblood


Photo by Dev Khalsa.

SVM: Where do you like to grab breakfast?
Julie: Perry’s. My parents call me in the morning, ask if I’m alive and I come meet them. I always get the Perry’s Potatoes with a side of deluxe hash browns and Hollandaise sauce … and a biscuit. And a cup of coffee. Not the world’s healthiest, but I usually have a big day ahead, or a hangover.

SVM: What is your “Hump Day” like?
Julie: Wednesday’s are my favorite! I usually work extra on Tuesdays so I can have Wednesday off. In the winter it’s Town Series (ski race)—I wake up in the morning and have people over for a pancake breakfast. In the summer, I meet my family for a trail run around 10am. Then I’ll work in the middle of the day and ride horses in the afternoon. Then it’s co-ed soccer, which is the best way to end a day!

SVM: Where is your favorite swimming hole?
Julie: Sheepherder’s Bridge. I just learned to do a backflip, so I like to practice off the bridge. My sisters come watch me ’cause usually I bellyflop. And there’s always little kids watching, which is embarrassing.

SVM: Lunchtime haunts?
Julie: Sometimes I meet Rachel Porter, my roommate, during her lunch break and take the dogs up Proctor Loop. It’s the perfect day hike, close to town. My favorite lunch spot is Subshack. I go there once or twice a week. If they have tuna, I get the Sorry Charlie with peppers, and I get a bag of salt n’ vinegar chips and put them in the sandwich for extra crunch. And they have dollar beer! So while you’re waiting for your sandwich, you can have a Budweiser.

SVM: Tell me about a typical night on the town.
Julie: I usually go to Ketch’em Alive on Tuesdays. My sisters bring a classy picnic of box wine (always) and cheese—you’ll always see someone you know there. For a late bite to eat, I like the “Le Cab” [La Cabañita] deck, ’cause it stays in the sun longest and you can get flautas for $6 and a “boomba” of beer. Depending on how the boomba goes, I’ll usually end up at The Cellar Pub afterwards (‘cause Rick and Paige and Kitten are awesome!). It starts the “1-2-3 cycle” of the Cellar, catching a show at Whiskeys and then the Casino. Then I’ll catch the 12:20 pm curfew bus to Warm Springs. I can be in bed by 12:45 pm—after a late-night snack—and I can still wake up and have a full day.

SVM: How do you calm a sweet-tooth craving?
Julie: Salted caramel bread pudding at il Naso. Hands down. I have dreams about it.

SVM: Favorite place to blow your money?
Julie: Ketchum Flower Company. I usually lose my earrings about four times a year, so I go in there and get another pair. Their smaller earrings are perfect.

SVM: Where do you go to get away?
Julie: Sometimes I go with Taylor Stoecklein to their ranch in Mackay. We’re good buddies, and there’s a lot of solitude out there, especially in the saddle. You can be on a mountaintop with a bunch of cows. It’s really nice. I’m so lucky.




A Day in the Life: Marshall Bennett


Photo by Paulette Phlipot.

SVM: What’s your Sun Valley story? How did you end up here?
Marshall: In 1962, I had a friend that was an attorney for Union Pacific who said, “Let’s go skiing in Sun Valley!” I said, “Where’s that?” He told me about the ski resort and we took a train to Shoshone. It was pouring rain and my wife said, “This better be good!” When we got to Sun Valley it was snowing hard and it snowed for six days straight—it never stopped! We’ve been hooked ever since.

SVM: My perfect Sun Valley day starts with ... ?
Marshall: My close friend, Paul Kenney, and I play golf every day—Monday through Friday. We meet every morning and play nine holes at the White Clouds. I love playing golf there!

SVM: What do you do after golf?
Marshall: I work out at Zenergy after golf. I do cardio and weights—I do it all. I try to be in good shape while I still have all my marbles!

SVM: Where do you and Arlene like to go to lunch or dinner?
Marshall: We love all the wonderful restaurants the Valley has to offer. We are often at Perry’s, Vintage, Rasberrys or CK’s for lunch. And we love to go see my friend Bob Lund at The Grill at Knob Hill for dinner, or we go to the Ketchum Grill, The Pioneer, Il Naso or to the Ram before the Symphony. There are two special events in the summer for us: the Sun Valley Summer Symphony and the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference. We love going to both of them. The Pavilion that Earl Holding constructed with his assistant, Wally Huffman, is a very special place. I don’t think there’s another resort in the world that has this kind of facility. Earl Holding was a dear friend and we still remain good friends with Carol.

SVM: What makes Sun Valley so special?
Marshall: Sun Valley is a remarkable community! Everyone is mingling with each other—rich people, ski athletes, restaurant workers, film stars. That doesn’t happen in other places. There is nothing like the beauty of Sun Valley in the summer. We are lucky to live here. We’ve made many lifelong friends here, we visit and dine at each other’s home, we celebrate birthdays, weddings and other exciting events and we share our friendships and good fortune with one another.

SVM: Tell me about the Marshall Bennett Classic:
Marshall: You’ve heard of that? Well, I hit my head on a rock in a kayaking accident on the Middle Fork of the Salmon in 1976. I was in the hospital for many months, a coma for weeks, and after four surgeries and two years of recovery I finally made it back to civilization. As I was improving by 1978, I started The Marshall Bennett Classic, a gathering of CEOs, chairmen and presidents of large real estate firms in the U.S., Canada, England, Germany, Israel and other countries from time to time. It’s a very exciting experience. More than 150 people attend each year.

SVM: Why are you still working?
Marshall: It’s fun! I’ve been a very lucky person. I have a remarkably lovely, fun-loving wife and she said, “I married you for better or for worse, but not for lunch.” So I live up to her expectations by having lunch with her every day and I keep working—I enjoy what I do.

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