A lot of local mental energy has been devoted recently to figuring out how to communicate with second homeowners. We know that large numbers of them keep in touch with the Sun Valley area by reading this newspaper in print and online.
So, here's the message the valley wants to send: Your adopted playground and your adopted home want you to visit for a few weeks or months to get the rest and relaxation you desperately need.
It's a win-win proposition for second homeowners and the valley's economy. So, turn off the webcams and remote monitoring systems. It's time to use those timeshares.
Local property managers say they are constantly amazed that some homes and condos go for years without visits from their owners.
Owners who think timed sprinklers and automatic lights are good substitutes for their own presence are only fooling themselves. The neighbors sprinkled throughout the north valley's subdivisions and condo complexes know the timing of the timers better than the owners.
Yet, occupying a second home for any length of time will require a major change in the mindset of owners who purchased a second home primarily as an investment. With returns stalled on investments of all kinds, owners will have to be look at a different kind of return—like peace of mind.
Sun Valley is not just an investment. Sun Valley is a way of life for those who are here for any length of time.
The beckoning mountains call everyone to hit the off button on the high-tech, high-speed, high-distraction, high-stress monster called American life. The alpine air calls us to reconnect with our higher selves, with nature, families and friends.
In Sun Valley, the roar of traffic doesn't drown the delicate song of a yellow warbler. The sun shines through a transparent blue sky, not cloudy gray pollution. The crash of its rushing streams hasn't been dammed to silence.
The distractions of the outdoors—a hike up a peak or along a river, a round of golf played just for the joy of being outside—displace electronic diversions. The experience can change lives.
Sun Valley is one of the few places left in the world where a day in the wilderness can be followed in the evening by attendance at world-class ice shows, stage plays, symphony or opera performances.
If Sun Valley were to post a rate or return like those listed on stocks, bonds and certificates of deposit, the returns would have to be posted as "infinite."
It's time for second-home owners to collect.