Fresh off the Sunrise expansion, Sun Valleys’ growth will continue in the coming years. BoiseDev sat down with Pete Sonntag, the new VP and General Manager of Sun Valley to discuss the famous mountain and its future ambitions. Pete has extensive leadership experience at a long range of resorts: Whistler Blackcomb, Vail, Heavenly, Beaver Creek, Keystone, and Copper Mountain. His main focus in the next couple of years will be working with the community to expand the amount of affordable housing in the area and countering employee shortages from the last two seasons through the J-1 and H2-B visas.
After completing their initial list of future plans on their websites, they are assessing a new set of priorities for capital expenditures. One of their considerations is adding a gondola to connect Bald Mountain/River Run Plaza with the Sun Valley Village/Dollar Mountain. Currently, the only way to get to the two peaks is via car or bus. Pete Sonntag said though that while this is something that they want to do, it is not an imminent priority. So while this isn’t a near-term possibility, it’s something to keep an eye on. Another topic discussed was further enhancements to the Sun Valley Village, but the details provided by Pete on future additions were vague. Considerations made in the past included a new four-star hotel and a new promenade. Peter Sonntag said their new future plans will be announced in the near future.
Another interesting topic was the long-rumored sale of Sun Valley and Snowbasin, its sister mountain, to a more ski resort-oriented company. There have been rumors that Vail Resorts would buy the two resorts due to their inclusion on the Epic Pass. Pete Sonntag said the following about the question that he asked Carol Holding of Sinclair Oil (Sun Valleys parent company) when he interviewed for the position:
“When I was interviewing for this job, I asked Carol Holding specifically. And I can tell you the answer was emphatic: ‘we are not selling the company. This is what we love to do, this is who we are.’ And that was the answer I was looking for and a big reason I came here. And I believe that.”
With these affirmations, along with the transition of Sun Valley and Snowbasin from Epic to Ikon for the 22-23 season, it looks like the Idaho ski resort will remain outside of the major mountain resort conglomerates for years to come.