We made it to Sun Valley after about 30 hours. Seventy-five years ago this tiny Idaho village, nestled in the Saw Tooth mountains, was built into a built ski resort that would rival the luxury resorts of Europe and be almost as difficult for Americans to get to! From the beginning, Sun Valley attracted the American elite, and while a private airport not far from town makes it a bit easier to each these days, the place seems never to feel crowded - even at it's busiest.
So what strikes me about Sun Valley?
It's not just that it lives up to its name, with 80 percent sunny days during ski season.
It's not only the immaculately groomed, long runs and short lift lines on the slopes.
It's something on the faces of the many people who work in this resort town - its WRINKLES!
Work until you are well into your 70's ??? With pleasure, thanks- and a smile on my face! This seems to be the motto in this town. A large portion of the working population employed on the mountain and in the tourist jobs are on their second careers. We met retired plumbers, pilots and Ph.D's - all enjoying their later years in what they felt was the ultimate - enjoying the outdoors in an idyllic mountain resort town, being surrounded by a caring community of colleagues and locals, and meeting new people everyday from various places around the globe!
Studies rate Denmark as one of happiest places in the world. I guess they didn't include Sun Valley in the survey. Of course we were suspicious at first by the smiles, hospitality and open, friendly attitude. 'Typical American superficialness' or 'they just want a tip' we thought. However, after a couple of days, we understood it was neither of those. People were just genuinely happy. Those we met didn't just like living and working in Sun Valley - they loved it!
So, thats the answer - to keep happy, keep working! Seems easy in a place like Sun Valley. So how about Åre, Sälen and Funäsdalen? Why don't we see as many smiling, wrinkled faces at work??? Hmmm....Maybe it has something to do with the sun.