Friday, December 24, 2010

Celebrating gold in a diamond year

Couple notches 50th anniversary in resortís 75th season

Express Staff Writer

Roberta and Howard Siegel celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary at the opening of Sun Valleyís 75th season at the resortís vintage ski party on Dec. 18. Photo by Willy Cook

It was 50 years ago on Saturday, Dec. 18, that Roberta and Howard Siegel said, "I do." When the Chicago couple met, Roberta did not ski but Howard did.

"I came to Sun Valley in 1955 with my older brother," Howard said. "In 1960, we didn't come for our wedding because Roberta was not a skier."

But Roberta knew she had to learn to ski to enjoy a life with Howard, and so she did.

The couple came to Sun Valley for their first anniversary in December 1961. They said they had a beautiful dinner in the Sun Valley Lodge with crown rack of lamb, mashed potatoes, cherries jubilee and all the wonderful offerings at the old Lodge Dining Room.

Howard bought the Siegels' first Wildflower condominium in 1974 but had not experienced a summer in Sun Valley.

"He didn't know Sun Valley summers," Roberta said. "We love summer equally."

Roberta said they have thought about living in Sun Valley permanently, but decided that Sun Valley should be their playground and not mesh with business. Howard still works as a management consultant and Roberta is a retired social worker.

"I don't know how to retire," Howard said. "I like to help people get better at what they do."

The Siegels have spent most of their Sun Valley life with their two sons, Jonathan and David, as well as David' wife and two children.

"I think it's been such a fabulous family experience," Roberta said. "Our kids did ski school and at the end of the day we would all gather for hot chocolate, talk about the new friends and what they learned. Everyone did their own thing and loved it."


"Since 1962 through the mid-'80s, we came every year," Howard said. "Our kids have come with us since 1963."

The Siegels almost ended up with a second home in Aspen, Colo., but a canceled trip to Aspen led them back to Sun Valley.

"It's where we really wanted to be," Roberta said. "The story is we are keepers. We don't get rid of each other or our clothes."

The Siegels have good Sun Valley friends. They decided their 50th wedding anniversary should be celebrated at the resort because of their history with Sun Valley and the people they know. The couple resurrected some of their favorite Sun Valley clothing from the past, including Roberta's Russian fitch, which she had pieced together for the occasion.

"It's 47 years old," Roberta said. "I gave my first Bogner one-piece to the ski museum. It was a size 8."

For their 50th anniversary, the Siegels dressed up for the resort's vintage day party at River Run, and that evening, the couple took a sleigh ride to the resort's Trail Creek Cabin.

"The folks at Trail Creek were outstanding," Roberta said. "The food was delicious. We had carolers. It was an absolutely perfect Sun Valley event."

The party took place at the yurt at Trail Creek Cabin where 23 guests celebrated with the Siegels.

"The people who attended the party have also been coming here for 50 years," Roberta said. "Sun Valley is a very special, spiritual place. There is nothing in the world like Baldy."

The Siegels are two of many people who came for the winter and stayed for the summer.

"It's the mountain that brought us here," Roberta said. "Fifty years ago, no one would ever have thought we would be here and still skiing."

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