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Both Ketchum and nearby Sun Valley are located in Wood River Valley, a region which is home to the Sun Valley Ski Resort, the Sawtooth National Forest, and the river from which it gets its name, Big Wood River. Originally named Leadville, Ketchum was founded in 1880 and grew around the lead and silver mining operations located there. Named after David Ketchum, a famous local fur trapper and guide, the city of Ketchum has held onto the wild west spirit David Ketchum embodied. Once a prosperous mining town, Ketchum shifted its economy to sheep ranching and shipping once its mining operations subsided in the 1890s because of the decline in the price of silver. Sun Valley isn't just for the rich and famous. It is consistently ranked in the top 10 ski resorts in the West by SKI Magazine. Despite its popularity, there are never lift lines because of the resorts' high capacity lifts. In total, Sun Valley is home to 33 mountains summits and peaks. It's central peak is Bald Mountain, which has a base elevation of 5,750 feet and a summit elevation of 9,150 feet. Also popular is Dollar Mountain, which is considered by skiers to be one of the best mountains in the world on which to learn the sport. Perfect winter weather conditions plus the world's largest automated snowmaking system give Sun Valley a long ski season, and its mild summer temperatures create the opportunity for outdoor fun for the family all year long.
Aside from the abundant outdoor winter and summer activities available thanks to the Big Wood River, the Sawtooth and Charles National Forests and the Sun Valley ski resort. Ketchum and the Sun Valley region are full of activities for the whole family. A rich history and thriving art scene provide a multitude of cultural diversions.
It may not seem like the kind of place where epicures would feel right at home, but Sun Valley has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to culinary trends and innovation. Using local ingredients and sustainable practices was the norm in dining here for years, and the proprietors of the more than 100 restaurants in the area utilize the area's agricultural resources to create menus suited to every taste.
Of course, there's a Starbucks. Aren't they everywhere these days? The big chains get some competition, though. There are some outstanding independent coffee shops and bakeries, each with something you won't find anywhere else.
Many of Ketchum's watering holes have been around for decades. This is because they are run by the friendliest people who are truly excited to see you when you walk through the door and who strive to make your visit with them memorable. Many restaurants have a daily happy hour throughout the week.
Naturally, with some of the best fishing and skiing all around you, there are several sporting goods stores. Tucked away in between these are specialty and boutique shops that even Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills would love to have. During the summer, check out the local farmer's market to get a real taste of the local farms and crafts.
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