Vivre à Sun ValleyIyna Bort Caruso
In 1936, the chairman of the Union Pacific Railroad, W. Averell Harriman, purchased 4,300 acres in central Idaho. The idea was to build a ski resort in the Rocky Mountains as a way to encourage westward train travel. It worked. It was named Sun Valley and within the year, “America’s first destination ski resort” opened.
Ernest Hemingway may have been the most famous part-time resident associated with the area. He wrote portions of several classic novels in the adjacent city of Ketchum. But Hemingway wasn’t the only the only big name. From its earliest days, this one-time mining town attracted Hollywood glamour like Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Ingrid Bergman. Today’s generation of A-listers shares the slopes with Fortune 500 company C-suite executives who are drawn to Sun Valley’s unpretentious, small-town feel.
Sun Valley, on the edge of the Sawtooth National Recreation area, offers more than 2,000 skiable acres across two mountains, the gently sloping Dollar Mountain and the main attraction, Bald Mountain. Locals take advantage of winter sports in all its forms and iterations: downhill, cross country, snowmobiling, backcountry and heli-skiing. In summertime, long days of sunlight lend themselves to active lifestyles. The territory is tailor-made for golf, hike, mountain biking, rafting and blue-ribbon fly fishing.
Sun Valley features some of Idaho’s most expensive real estate. Mountain architecture is a dominant style with a bold design that seemingly blends into the topography. The area, however, also has a healthy share of condominiums, ranches, golf compounds and buildable lots--many with “forever views,” thanks to the surrounding public lands.
Ketchum is a resort town in the heart of the Sun Valley region with galleries, fine dining and boutiques. Nearby communities are fast-growing with high end custom residences that manage to maintain their rural flavor.
The region attracts primarily domestic buyers, particularly--although not exclusively-- from western cities like Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco.