- Historic Sites
America’s very first alpine ski resort—they invented the chair lift there—is still as good as it gets
November 1998 | Volume 49, Issue 7
Claudette Colbert, Gary Cooper, and Hemingway used to have hunting parties in Trail Creek Cabin. Groucho Marx married his third wife there in 1954. Everywhere I turned—in a ski resort of all places—I kept running into history. Sun Valley has kept up in every way, though. It never actually made money for the Union Pacific, and the railroad sold it in 1964. In 1977 it was bought for twelve million dollars by R. Earl Holding, the lowprofile owner of Sinclair Oil. While maintaining the homey-deluxe feel of the place, he has expanded it considerably—now in addition to the lodge and the nearby Swiss-style Sun Valley Inn, which opened in 1937 as a less expensive complement, there are acres of condos. The busiest months today are actually July and August, when corporate and executive meetings swell the valley’s population.
I liked it just fine in January. I also don’t intend to wait another thirty years before I next ski.