Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nordic days and nights

2010 Sun Valley Nordic Festival premieres this winter

Express Staff Writer

Organizers of the event gathered in Sun Valley on Monday to announce their plans. The group includes, from left, Bob Rosso, owner of the Elephant’s Perch outdoor store; Carrie Westergard, marketing director for the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau; Dave Hanning, from the Ketchum-Sun Valley Historical Society; Sean McLaughlin, Sun Valley Co.'s Nordic director; Rick Kapala, Nordic program director for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation; Tom Pomeroy, Nordic skier; Anna Svidal, assistant executive director of the Hailey Chamber of Commerce; Carol Waller, executive director of the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau; Nils Ribi, from the Boulder Mountain Tour steering committee; Kevin Swigert, Boulder Mountain Tour race director; and Jim Keating, executive director of the Blaine County Recreation District. Photo by Willy Cook

Cross-country skiers and other winter sport enthusiasts alike will have something to celebrate this winter when the first-ever Sun Valley Nordic Ski Festival makes its debut.

The nine-day event will run from Jan. 30 to Feb. 7, and will offer races, clinics, snowshoeing and more winter activities not only for avid Nordic skiers, but also for novices and families. The event is being put together by the Sun Valley Nordic Ski Alliance, made up of groups and businesses that include the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber of Commerce, the Blaine County Recreation District and the Elephant's Perch.

Elephant's Perch owner Bob Rosso said the event—planned to be an annual affair—was designed to be affordable and draw people into this underappreciated sport, not to mention into this community.

The festival is charging only $49 to use the valley's 200 kilometers of Nordic ski trails during the festival. Usually, the price tag would be $297.

With that pass comes a plethora of other deals valleywide. Sun Valley will offer rooms starting at $129 per night for anyone with a trail pass. Local restaurants, hotels and outdoor shops will also give discounted rates to anyone flashing a pass.

"There could be thousands of people or three, but they'll be three really happy people," Rosso said.

The highlight of the festival will be the 35th annual Boulder Mountain Tour race, described by race director Kevin Swigert as one of the "premiere" cross-country races in the country.


"We'll use the BMT as the hub to the wheel of this festival, as the primary draw," he said.

The 32K race will involve up to 800 skiers.

However, Swigert said, the ultimate goal of the festival is to expand the base of people who participate in this sport. To do that, a Half Boulder race of 15K is planned for racers who want a little less challenge.

To view the festival schedule, register for any of the events or buy the nine-day trail pass, visit Rosso said the Web site isn't finished yet, but will be shortly.

Trevon Milliard:

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