Hey Spike! finds ex-Summiteers in Sun Valley
With backgrounds in small, vibrant resort towns, former Summit County residents Scott and Susie Fortner are finding Idaho suits them well.
The couple started in Ketchum but now lives in Hailey, 10 miles from their workplaces in downtown Ketchum, a Sun Valley town of 2,753, located at 5,853 feet in elevation, where the median home price is $633,700.
The area is best known for the nation’s first ski destination resort, Sun Valley Lodge, founded in 1936, long attracting celebrities.
Scott is the executive director of Visit Sun Valley and Susie is the visual art education coordinator at The Sun Valley Center. Their lovely daughter, Madison, 15, attends Wood River High School and is interested in acting.
Scott, now 51, was born in Findley, Ohio, and earned a bachelor’s in marketing at West Virginia University. He came west to work at Breckenridge Ski Resort in 1990 in skier services and on the race crew.
In 1996 he moved over to Copper Mountain Resort in marketing, working with Kelley Davidson, Lucy Kay, Kim Dykstra, Al Goto and Kristen Kopplen.
Following that, Scott marketed Loveland Ski Area until 2000 and then moved to Durango’s Purgatory, working with Bob Kunkle, another Summit veteran. Then it was back to the Kingdom of Breckenridge, as a Breckenridge Tourism Office staffer.
Later on, the couple had looked at moving to Salida.
“We tried real hard to be in-town Salida, but just could not make it happen and then this Sun Valley opportunity came up,” he notes without any regret.
He’s been up in Idaho directing Sun Valley’s destination marketing organization for just over two years.
The attraction there for the Fortners: “The pace, all the things you love in a mountain town, but the pace is just chill,” says Scott.
Hey, Spike! and artist wife, Mary E. Staby, ran into Susie Fortner at the 50th annual Sun Valley Arts and Crafts Festival where she was on duty at part of The Sun Valley Center, which hosted the show for five decades.
With a strong economic tourism base of California, Oregon and Washington second-home owners, the show draws 130 juried artists. It’s held in Atkinson Park, adjacent to the Ernest Hemingway STEAM School. Art Daves, a local producer with Altitude Events Group, has assumed the show’s ownership role.
With Susie’s art education background, she fits right in to The Sun Valley Center action.
She has a bachelor’s in fine arts from Ohio University and a master’s from Lesley University, along with a certificate in administration from University of Denver.
Here, Susie taught art for 20 years at Upper Blue, Breckenridge, Frisco and Dillon Valley elementary schools.
Also at the show we met Ed and Lynn Funk of Boise, Idaho, friends of our artist neighbors Mary and Sam Medrano of Bend, Oregon.
Ed lived in Breckenridge and worked at the Summit County Journal, writing alongside Ed Quillen back in the ’70s. The Funks later lived in Pagosa Springs.
Another former Breckenridger, Scott Pietsch, who was a ski shop tech back in the mid-’90s, recalled skiing Lake Chutes off Imperial Bowl on Peak 8. He was at the show with clay-artist wife, Erin. They live in Boise.
Longtime Friscoite and stylist hat creator Diane Harty was at the Sun Valley show again.
We also chatted with Twin Falls, Idaho, resident Tom Ritter, an avid bicyclist and race veteran, who reported that co-founder of the Register’s Annual Bike Ride Across Iowa event, Don Kaul, passed away recently.
It was Don and fellow Des Moines Register staffer John Karras who started the ride back in 1973. John and wife Ann, who passed last November, were residents of Summit Cove before returning to Iowa.
Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed “Spike,” a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former hardrock miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years. Email your social info to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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