Mayor Nina Jonas' father, Bob Jonas - Christmas Bowl - circa 1954

City of Ketchum
P.O. Box 2315
480 East Avenue N.
Ketchum, Idaho 83340
"Small Town, Big Life"

March 12, 2015
In This Issue
A Message From Mayor Nina Jonas: Ski Racing

I, like so many other Ketchum kids, grew up ski racing. Actually I remember being so scared of the non-break-away bamboo gates that I did not want to join, but my dad made me join the Sun Valley Ski Team's Farm Team (now D team). I remember my coaches - Doran, Buzz, Jeff, Michel, Oirle - and the many fun days tearing around the mountain with my friends and taking out those gates. (They got less intimidating once they were plastic and "break-away.") I raced against Muffy Davis and Picabo Street. Needless to say, they beat me but eventually I "retired" from racing at 16 and stuck with recreational skiing on the mountain and in the backcountry.


This year I raced again. As you may know, Councilmembers Baird Gourlay, Jim Slanetz, Anne Corrock and myself were on a Town Series team. My first time back swinging around gates was this January with my new team, "The Village Idiots."  I wasn't nervous, but surprised when I had fun! The spirit of the mountain, the thrill of competition and the joy of improving skills create a love for skiing that sticks with one for life.


The playfulness of Town Series (some times called Town Serious) is enough ski competition for me, but I still love watching racers speed a downhill course or carve up a slalom course. The return of international racing to Sun Valley with this year's Western Spring Series (April 1-6), and 2016 and 2018 Nationals (see story below) is super exciting to me and I promise you too will be thrilled to see these races in real life.

See you on the hill. Nina


I am sure you aware of the dangers at the intersection of 5th and Leadville. It is difficult for drivers traveling south on Leadville to see cars coming up the hill on 5th. Some ideas would be lowering the planter walls on the northwest corner of the 511 building or installing a convex mirror.

--Kevin Jones


The Traffic Authority has been discussing the 5th and Leadville intersection for some time. The planter box will be removed, and the Street Division is beginning to work with an engineer to design a new sidewalk, curb and gutter upon removal of the planter. The same work is being considered at the intersection of 6th and Main streets.

Do you have a question for Mayor Nina Jonas?

Note: If you submit a question to "Ask Nina," your name may be published unless you request that it be withheld.
COMPETITIVE SKIING IN SUN VALLEY                                            by Bob Jonas
Bob and John with their father, Bob Jonas, at base of Baldy - circa 1954

Sun Valley winds-up its 2014/15 competitive ski slate with the upcoming Western Spring Series, a series of alpine giant slalom and slalom races for men and women that runs on Baldy's Warm Springs side April 1-6. (See story later in this newsletter.)


The end of the season has made me reflect on how dramatically the competitive ski scene has changed since Sun Valley's founding in 1936. I rapped with my brother John about that. We talked about how it was for a kid ski-racing in the valley during the forties and fifties.


We didn't have cross-country track, snowboard or freestyle. None of that existed. Just the Ram race on Dollar and the Sun races on Baldy. And the Kindercup.


The Ram and Sun races - the Silver, Gold and Diamond Sun - were standard races operated throughout the winter by the Sun Valley Resort and ski club. These races were equivalent to the latter-day NASTAR races. The Diamond Sun was rarely run, but the Ram, Silver and Gold ski races were fixtures - for both locals and guests.


The Gold Sun was a favorite of local kids. "Just a starting gate at the Roundhouse and a finish line at the bottom of River Run" said John. "You had to make a certain time to get your gold sun pin. We schussed Roundhouse Slope, Lower Canyon, 42nd Street and River Run. Great fun."


The big ski event of the winter for kids and the entire valley was the Harriman Cup. "A big crowd of locals would gather near the bottom of Exhibition to watch the best racers in the world rocket down Exhibition."


Come on out and celebrate the alpine spring series. Watch some of the hottest gate skiers in America, know that the local kids you see zooming around can easily dodge you, and expect the growth of more great world-class ski competition in Sun Valley be it alpine, cross-country track, snowboard or freestyle.


The Western Spring Series ski races April 1-6 will bring approximately 250 top athletes, representing the next generation of skiing families, to Ketchum.


"The races are important to the entire community," said Ruben Macaya, race events coordinator for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation. "Although it is the Western region, we get people from around the country as well as Canada. At least half have never been to Sun Valley.


"The average age is late teens to mid-twenties, and these are people who are going to be skiing for the rest of their lives, introducing their children to the sport and taking their families on ski vacations," he said.


This year's Spring Series is just one of the national-caliber races that will bring people here over the next few years. Sun Valley also will host the  U.S. Alpine Ski Championships for the first time in 65 years in 2016. In addition, Sun Valley has applied to host the Spring Series again in 2017 and already is scheduled to host the alpine championships in 2018.


Although Spring Series winners do not qualify for other races as it is the end of the ski season, top competitors come to the attention of scouts for the U.S. ski team and its May training camp, Macaya said.


A highlight this year will be a free program offering guidance for a successful life following a skiing career. Speakers at the event at the Community School on Friday, April 3, from 4 to 5:30 p.m., will include Olympic medalist Christin Cooper, Saucony President Richie Woodworth, two-time Olympian Otto Tschudi, former Goldman Sachs partner Kipp Nelson and George Macomber, vice president of career and education for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association.


The Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation is seeking volunteers, whether or not they are skiers, to help with events, Macaya said.

Baird Gourlay, Jim Slanetz, Annie Corrock, Nina Jonas

"The Village Idiots" team in the Town Series ski races won the lucky draw and went home with locally produced JYTTE hats. Team members were Mayor Nina Jonas and City Council members Baird Gourlay, Jim Slanetz and Annie Corrock.


Sun Valley Resort will host the U.S. Masters four-event--slalom, giant slalom, super-G and super combined--national championships March 15-20, and the fifth Nordic SuperTour Finals will be at Lake Creek March 21-26.

The upcoming spring months are one of the peak seasons for backcountry rescues, according to Ketchum Fire Chief Mike Elle. The Ketchum and Sun Valley fire departments get the first call for backcountry rescues in the northern part of Blaine County and rely on specialized equipment purchased by the Ketchum/Sun Valley Volunteer Firefighters Association. 

Good ridership on the "Night Owl," the experimental late-night bus service from Dec. 26 until Feb. 2, provided valuable information for possibly implementing permanent late service during peak winter and summer seasons.


"Mountain Rides learned that there is demand for evening service here, just as there is in most resort towns," Kim MacPherson, support specialist with Mountain Rides said. "Overall ridership for evening service is strong, especially for the Blue 2 route that has existed for many years and has a solid following." The Blue Route serves the Warm Springs area of Ketchum, Elkhorn and central Ketchum and Sun Valley.


Buses carried an average of 13 riders per hour, accounting for about 10 percent of the total ridership on the Blue Route, between 9:30 p.m. and 3 a.m. Service was particularly popular on weekends and on "Dollar Nights," when one of the downtown bars offers draft beers for $1.


"The bus service really helped business because people knew they could stay downtown later and take the bus home," said Kristin Derrig, a member of the Mountain Rides board and co-owner of The Cellar Pub. "It used to be that bartenders or servers would offer to call a cab, and there weren't any available. I saw servers promoting the use of the bus and giving bus schedules to people.


"It also helped alleviate the parking shortage and people worrying about their cars being towed when there was snow. Best of all, it helped eliminate drunk driving. I think it was very successful for a first time, and it will only get better as more people become aware of it. We already have people asking when it will start again."


The city of Ketchum contributed $12,575 and the city of Sun Valley, $2,000 toward the free service. Riders also were asked for donations, and contributed $425.


Justin Ramm, Damon Vergel, Ron Domke
Three Ketchum street division employees, Justin Ramm, Ron Domke and Damon Vergel, are now "Road Scholars." They have completed classes on safety, management, communication and advanced technology in the transportation field through the Idaho Road Scholar & Road Master Program administered by the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council. The qualification process includes some experience and training before employees are enrolled in the program, which begins on day one of employment. Classes must be passed with a minimum grade of 80 percent to become certified and begin the next program; Road Master. Certificates will be presented at the City Council meeting on Monday, March 16. The certification helps with crew retention, gives the city extra points on grant applications and gives the city staff an opportunity to network with other agencies.


Street Superintendent Brian Christiansen and Street Operations Supervisor Reed Schuler both hold Road Scholar and Road Master certificates.
KIC Helps Startups Attract $1 Million 

By Jon Duval, executive director, Ketchum Community Development Corporation


After just one year of operation, the Ketchum Innovation Center, in conjunction with Sun Valley Economic Development, has helped local startups attract investments of approximately $1 million and compiled a pool of more than 40 mentors willing to help new businesses.


KIC has exceeded all expectations that the Ketchum Community Development Corporation set out when it began this economic development program.


Located in a 5,000-square-foot building at 100 Lindsey Circle in Ketchum, KIC is home for start-up businesses and the hub of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Wood River Valley. In addition to providing space for companies to grow into sustainable businesses with high-quality jobs, the KIC hosts programs of broad interest to the local business community.


A unique contribution has been the creation of the Sun Valley Band of Angels & Mentors, which consists of experienced business mentors and accredited investors. There are currently more than 50 entrepreneurs registered in this free program, and the mentors have spent hundreds of hours as coaches.


There have been two "Pitch Nights," with more to come, in which companies looking for capital investment had the opportunity to get in front of potential investors. These are the events that helped two startups raise approximately $1 million. 


KIC also has hosted several workshops, including instruction on public relations, business development, intellectual property and computer programming. In addition, KIC assisted the city in obtaining a $15,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to purchase a 3D printer and computer-aided design software for use by product developers and designers for rapid prototyping. Its use is free to any member of the community.


Any entrepreneurs or potential mentors interested in becoming involved with the KIC should contact Jon Duval at or 727-2117.  


Big Wood Ski to Host BAH

This month's Business After Hours will be at Big Wood Ski, 110 Bell St., on Wednesday, March 25, from 5-6 p.m. There will be a free raffle for a $1,500 ad package donated by Neuhoff Communications, owner of KMVT/KSVT in Twin Falls. The winner must be present.


Jennifer L. Smith, director of parks and recreation
The city is considering building a fire station outside the downtown core to accommodate future population growth for the next 100 years, as well as possible consolidation of fire services with other communities. The building would provide firefighter housing and training facilities. In addition, Ketchum is updating its existing space study for a new City Hall with council chambers designed to be suitable for community use as well.

City Council to Discuss Energy

The city council will discuss its energy goals and appointments of new members to the Ketchum Energy Advisory Committee, at its regular meeting Monday, March 16, at 5:30 p.m. A new planning and zoning commissioner will be appointed also.


Friedman Airport Plans Temporary Closure

Friedman Memorial Airport will be closed April 26 through May 20 for construction on a taxiway.


Follow Boulder-White Clouds Progress

Want to keep up with what's happening in Washington, D.C., on the proposed Boulder-White Clouds National Monument? Follow the progress of the bills, H.R. 1138 and S. 583 at Rep. Mike Simpson shares his views regarding SNRA+ and mountain biking here


Seeking Donations for Summer Events

The city is seeking donations for free summer music programs, including the Sunday evening Jazz in the Park and Ketch'em Alive at Forest Service Park. For additional information, contact Director of Parks & Recreation Jennifer Smith at or 726-7820.    


Road-Bridge Levy Postponed

Blaine County Commissioners have decided to postpone the proposed May ballot measure on a road, street and bridge levy. The levy will be discussed after hearing the outcome of the Idaho Legislature's efforts to raise money for road maintenance.


What You Should Know About Municipal Bonds

Why should you care about the difference between a general obligation bond and a revenue bond? First, in Idaho, cities and other government agencies cannot borrow money without a bond issue. A general obligation bond means that the city must do whatever is necessary, including raising taxes, to repay the bond. Repayment of revenue bonds is guaranteed only by revenues from specific purposes, such as payments for water and sewer services. You'll be hearing more about this in the coming months as Ketchum looks at revenue bonds to replace aging portions of the water system. Voters must approve all bonds. 


'Snow Drought' Plagues Idaho

This year has brought a "snow drought" to much of Idaho, with a larger percentage of precipitation falling as rain rather than snow. While precipitation in the majority of Idaho is at 70 to 100 percent of median, the U.S. Department of Agriculture warns that continued dry weather "could mean a different story" by April 1.


Take 2nd School District Survey

What should the Blaine County School District accomplish by 2020? All residents are invited to take the district's second survey by Sunday, March 15 to help refine goals. Information from a recent presentation on demographics and academic data is here.


Do You Qualify for Property Tax Reduction?

Applications for property tax reductions are due at the Blaine County Assessor's office by April 15. You may be eligible if your income is less than $29,100 after deducting certain medical expenses, and you are over 65, a widow or widower of any age, recognized as disabled by certain government agencies, a former prisoner of war or hostage, or a motherless or fatherless child under 18. For more information, call the assessor's office at 788-5535.


Artist Education on Public Art Set for March 17

The Ketchum Arts Commission will join Wood River Valley Studio Tour and the Sun Valley Center for the Arts in co-sponsoring a program on public art. Boise's Public Art Manager Karen Bubb will provide information for artists and citizens interested in art in public places. The program will be held at The Community Library on Tuesday, March 17, from 5:30-7 p.m.


Sen. Crapo Holds Bellevue Town Meeting

Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo will meet with Idahoans to discuss the federal debt and government overreach and answer questions from the community. The town meeting will be held at Bellevue City Hall, 115 East Pine St., on Saturday, March 14 at 4:30 p.m.  


Idaho Division of Building Safety Jeff Egan Joins Ketchum Team

Ketchum welcomes Jeff Egan to the planning and building department. On behalf of the Idaho Division of Building Safety and with the increase in construction activity, Egan will focus his efforts on ensuring compliance with the city's new codes and will organize the records and inspection activities. Egan is a licensed architect with eight years of professional experience in the Wood River Valley and extensive experience in both private and public sectors. He is a graduate of the University of Idaho.  


Weed Control and Prevention Workshop Apr. 9

The Environmental Resource Center, Wood River Land Trust and Blaine County Noxious Weed Department are conducting a free workshop on Thursday, April 9, from 9-11:30 a.m. at the Community Campus in Hailey. Read the press release and click here for brochure. 


City Council 
Attend the next City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 16. City Council meetings are held on the first and third Mondays of each month in Ketchum City Hall. Click here to see the agenda and staff reports or scan the QR code.

Planning and Zoning Commission 
Planning and Zoning Commission meetings are held on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. The next P&Z meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 23 in Ketchum City Hall. Click here for agendas and staff reports or scan the QR code.

Public Comment 
If you cannot attend the Council or P&Z meetings and have an opinion, please submit your comments via email to Your input and engagement is encouraged. All comments will be reviewed. 
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