By Emily Slike
Sun Valley’s small town vibe mixed with world class ski resort amenities makes it a unique place in Idaho. It is a place to live for the lifestyle and not the jobs, and it is a place that is populated by many transplants, all with one thing in common—a love for the opportunities offered by the public lands surrounding the valley. This commonality was a part of my childhood where I spent summers trying new outdoor activities at camp, trying not to crash as I biked Baldy, our beloved ski mountain for the first time, and where I spent winters skiing and snowboarding with friends. It is a place where you grow up with the mountains at your back door. Wherever you look and wherever you are, there is some new trail to explore and find yourself connected to the land that surrounds you.
But this was not something that I fully appreciated until I left the valley. For my first five years out of high school, I moved to different cities of all shapes and sizes, always finding myself missing home and what it had to offer. Whenever I had the opportunity, I would travel home. While re-connecting with friends and family, I would also take any opportunity to go adventuring around the valley’s mountains, feeling the connectedness to the outdoors that I missed.
I know that I will likely not return to Sun Valley for an extended time again, but I know that whenever I need it, the valley will be there for me. My love of public lands stemmed from where I grew up, and I hope that by continuing to protect public lands more generations will be able to find the importance of preservation, adventure, and home.