Wednesday, December 22, 2004

For whom the bell tolls

Carol's Dollar Mountain lodge welcomes kids

Express Staff Writer

The new lodge restores classic Sun Valley tradition to Dollar Mountain. Photo by Willy Cook

"It's more than I expected. I am thrilled. Thrilled for all of the little kids."

—Carol Holding

It happened in Sun Valley.

Carol's Dollar Mountain Lodge officially opened its doors for families during an open house for the public on Monday, Dec. 20. Families, ski legends and the lodge's driving force, Carol Holding, joined by her husband and Sun Valley Co. owner, Earl Holding, gathered for the opening of Sun Valley Company's newest lodge on Dollar Mountain.

"This goes to show, never give up," a beaming Mrs. Holding remarked. "It will come to fruition."

Holding's dream for a children's facility on Dollar Mountain came to fruition Monday night as approximately a thousand people came together to celebrate the opening of the lodge.

"Mrs. Holding has been pushing Mr. Holding for the last 15 years. She was really a big influence," Jack Sibbach, Sun Valley director of marketing and public relations, said.

The new lodge includes a gourmet cafeteria, ski shop and a ski school area specifically designed for children. The room features cubbyholes, large-screen plasma televisions, child-sized restrooms and washers and dryers. Wooden chandeliers intricately carved with bears crown the children's room.

"It's more than I expected," Mrs. Holding remarked. "I am thrilled. Thrilled for all of the little kids."

A small degree of Holding's excitement can be attributed to the speed at which the lodge was completed. Construction crews completed the new 26,000-square-foot Dollar Mountain Lodge in seven and a half months.

"The lodge shows the commitment of the Holdings. Once they decided to do (the lodge) their commitment and passion for the project made it happen," Sibbach remarked.

Mrs. Holding offered further credit to the construction crews.

"You know who gets the credit is the construction workers and the craftsmen," Holding complimented. "To build something like this, in that amount of time, is unbelievable."

The highlight of the evening came when Mrs. Holding braved the brisk night to officially open the lodge by ringing a bell on the patio following a rendition of "It happened in Sun Valley" by Sun Valley Christmas carolers.

Otto Lang, the second director of the Sun Valley ski school, joined Mrs. Holding for the ringing of the bell as a torchlight parade descended Dollar Mountain.

"I begged and begged and begged Earl for 14 years," Mrs. Holding remarked.

Thankfully Mrs. Holding's persistence worked.

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