Sitting inside the grand palace that is the elegant Sun Valley Lodge, you can look across bathers in an outdoor heated circular pool - the first ever built by a ski resort - to towering Old Baldy, a majestic mountain laced with wide ski trails down its 3,400-foot vertical, one of the biggest in the nation .

Or you can glance in the other direction and see the huge ice skating rink where, in 1941, Sonja Henie, queen of the ice, starred in an unforgettable film classic, Sun Valley Serenade. The movie is still shown nightly in the Sun Valley Village theater, along with major current films.

Opened in 1936, the first destination ski resort in the nation, Sun Valley has never lost its preeminence as a winter playground.

Mighty ghosts stride through the halls of the Lodge. James Stewart and Marilyn Monroe. Clark Gable and Norma Shearer. Gary Cooper and Claudette Colbert. Joan Bennett and David O. Selznick. These are only a few of the personalities you’ll see staring at you from photographs of the yesterdays they were skiing Sun Valley.

Ernest Hemingway finished one of his greatest novels, For Whom the Bell Tolls, in room 206 at the Lodge. He bought a home in Sun Valley and his children were bom and raised there. A small memorial was erected to him after he took his own life nearby. You pass it in a grove of trees on a cross-country trail.

Though memories haunt Sun Valley, it’s not an aging beauty of yesterday but an outstanding resort that still captivates the celebrities. Brooke Shields and Clint Eastwood and Janet Leigh and Arnold Schwarzenegger are among the many luminaries who maintain hideaway homes there today.

Sun Valley gave the skiers of the world a magnificent gift of the day it opened: the chairlift. It was invented here.

Today there are 13 lifts, including 7 high-speed quads. The Challenger quad whisks skiers up a 3,1000-foot vertical in only 10 min-

utes. A computerized state-of-the-art snowmaking system assures skiers of fun on 80 percent of the slopes by mid-November.

Sun Valley is actually four areas.

One is the original showplace Lodge - now the centerpiece of Sun Valley Village, with stores, art shops, restaurants, and the gracious Sun Valley Inn.

Another, almost across the street, is the old mining and cowboy town of Ketchum, where you’ll find the hottest nightspots and gourmet restaurants, including Hemingway’s favorite, the Pioneer Saloon. Ranchers still buy horseshoes and machinery parts next door to boutiques where visitors shop for glistening skis and elegant apres-ski boots.

Condominiums and private homes are scattered between Ketchum and Warm Springs, at the base of Old Baldy.

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