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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of December 5 - 11, 2001


Whatís in a name?

Sun Valley Company is re-naming a run after action-film star Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The most commonly asked question when the news broke was, "Why?"

Itís a departure from naming runs after Olympic racers, or in one case, former Sun Valley Company owner Bill Janss.

Yet, the better question about the decision is, "Why not?"

Sun Valley Company is in the entertainment business. So is the star also known as Conan the Barbarian and the Terminator. Itís a natural alliance.

Movies have made Schwarzenegger more famous than any of the Olympic giants commemorated on Baldy. If a little of that fame rubs off on Sun Valley, so much the better.

Schwarzeneggerís wife and television news anchor Maria Shriver brought the idea to Sun Valley general manager Wally Huffman. He agreed.

Snow purists will scoff, but itís no sin to consort with the rich or famous. Itís no sin to name ski runs after them either.

In Sun Valleyís case, itís a long-standing virtue. Beginning the day it opened in December 1936, Sun Valley banked on movie stars to give it a glittering cachet.

The reflected fame built business. It was helped along by a brilliant advertising campaign that depicted skiing in Sun Valley as an adventure in sun-bathing. It was developed by the companyís first marketing wizard, Steve Hannagan, who hated cold weather and couldnít imagine why anyone would take up skiing.

By 1948, Sun Valley was "the" place to ski, but as years passed, Sun Valley was eclipsed by Colorado resorts Aspen and Vail, which assembled bigger star-studded reputations.

Schwarzenegger makes no secret of his love for skiing and makes no secret of his presence when heís on Baldy. Renaming Flying Maid for him is a good move.

The runís major moguls require explosive intensity if a skier or boarder is to survive its short treachery without crashing.

The black and white glossies of movie stars hanging in the long corridors of Sun Valley Lodge are handsome reminders of times past. But theyíre showing their age.

If Sun Valley is ever to break out from an increasingly arthritic reputation, it must try out new ideas. Having some fun re-naming its ski runs could enliven the place. Thatís good medicine and smart marketing.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.