Mountain News 

Air service to Sun Valley improved

P>By Allen Best

HAILEY, Idaho — Air service into the Ketchum-Sun Valley market is expanding. The resort had daily flights from Seattle, Oakland, and Los Angeles, as well as shuttles from Salt Lake City.

But a second daily flight from Seattle is possible, and six-days-per-week flights from Boise have just been announced. Discussions are continuing about a flight from Denver, which would make Sun Valley/Ketchum easier to get to for people east of the Rocky Mountains.

While the Sun Valley Resort had to post revenue guarantees during the past two years to induce the flights from California, Horizon Air this year only asked for an aggressive publicity campaign. To that end, Sun Valley and the local chamber are distributing 100,000 postcards, while the resort is spending $50,000 on newspaper advertising.

Ski company spokesman Jack Sibbach says eventually Sun Valley/Ketchum will have to undertake a more major program of minimum revenue guarantees, such as has been done in Jackson Hole, Vail, Steamboat Springs, as well as Telluride, Crested Butte and others. This is particularly true if a new, larger airport is built that is located 30 miles from the resort. Current flights go to Hailey, only 12 miles down-valley from the resort complex.

Interest in retirement homes grows

KETCHUM, Idaho — There’s plenty of cocktail-hour conversation in Ketchum, Sun Valley and other communities in the Wood River Valley about the need for a retirement and assisted-living facility. But is there enough money to make it work?

Answering that question is the goal of a group called the Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation, which is talking with a Texas-based developer of extended-care living facilities called Greystone Communities Inc. Greystone’s chairman, Mike Lanahan, was in Sun Valley and Ketchum recently to meet with politicians, health care workers, fund-raisers and real-estate brokers to discuss the possibility.

The Greenwood Company, a San Francisco-based fund-raising consultant, says there is "tremendous financial support" in the Wood River Valley. American Baptist Homes, which despite its name, is a non-religious organization, could manage the extended care facilities.

By next year, the Wood River Valley is projected to have 94 people as potential customers of such retirement and assisted-care living. Similar to the Eagle Valley, where Vail is located, where there is similar talk about the need for assisted-care living, the market is not strictly locals, but parents of locals. About 50 per cent of customers would be non-locals.

Meanwhile, in the Eagle Valley, a consultant recently reported a "reasonable demand" for 17 to 22 assisted living units and 30-45 skilled nursing facility beds within the next few years. The county expects to see the number of people aged 55 and older to double in the next four years. The consultant, Elizabeth Borden, of Boulder-based Highland Group, warned against overbuilding. Still, current plans envision an $8 million facility.

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