From paragliding and speed flying Sun Valley to ski tuning, Nordic Town USA, Baldy's Big Mountain Skiers and this Winter's Art Scene.
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NORDIC TOWN USA
Sun Valley claims its rightful place in the Nordic ski scene
Skiers compete during last year’s Nordic Fest. Photo Nils Ribi
When the Sun Valley Nordic Ski Alliance, a coalition of local individuals and businesses, coined the term “Nordic Town USA” to describe the Wood River Valley a couple of years ago, their intention wasn’t to make the area sound self-important. It was simply to spread awareness across the world that the Valley holds more than 200 kilometers of some of the top Nordic skiing trails in the country.
The goal was also to help create enough interest in the local Nordic culture to sustain it in the future, according to Jim Keating, the co-chair of the annual Sun Valley Nordic Festival.
Along with taking on the name and brand of “Nordic Town USA,” the Alliance created the aforementioned Sun Valley Nordic Festival, which is a yearly celebration of both new and long-time Nordic races and events. With the consolidation of so many events into one week of Nordic festivities, Keating said the festival has seen an increase in 1,300 attendees from the first year in 2010 to the second, and that almost every event has seen an increase in participants.
This winter’s 3rd annual Sun Valley Nordic Festival will run Saturday, January 28th through Sunday, February 5th. Keating said the week will build up to the 37th Annual Boulder Mountain Tour on Saturday, February 4th, which showcases world-class athletes racing side-by-side with Valley locals on a 32-kilometer trail north of Ketchum.
The week will begin with the Blaine County Recreation District’s (BCRD) annual Ski the Rails event, which encourages all-skill-level skiers to take to the old railroad from Ketchum to Hailey. Throughout the week, Keating explained, the festival will also showcase speakers discussing Nordic skiing-related topics at The Community Library in Ketchum and feature presentations by the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation crosscountry team’s head coach, Rick Kapala.
Keating said Galena Lodge will continue to offer their Twilight Ski Dinners, and will host the 16th Annual Galena Trails Benefit on Saturday, January 28th. The Downtown Nordic Night, which will offer circuit races and an evening block party at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts’ lot in Ketchum, takes place on Thursday, February 2nd. The week-long festival will close Sunday, February 5th, with the Ski Demo Days.
Keating said giving the Valley a new nickname has helped bring the awareness and attention that the local trails and Nordic community deserves. -Hailey Tucker