October 31, 2019

Ketchum

There were a lot of peaks over the past year.1 But the highest peak, metaphorically and physically, was Bald Mountain in Ketchum.

Last year, as Elizabeth was traveling through Asia and New Zealand, I decided this was my chance to spend a winter in a ski town.

I found an apartment listed in the local classified ads, Elizabeth found a job at a beautiful little new restaurant called Cookbook owned and operated by the kindest couple, Burke and Vita. And we had a parade of guest coming out to visit us.

I loved the record snow Ketchum received. I loved going to pick up Elizabeth late at night from Cookbook and eating pizza and drinking beer with Burke. I loved when we hiked up Baldy early in the morning. I loved waking up to snow on the ground, drinking hot coffee, and reading and programming and sitting in quiet.

The Sawtooth National Park has the cleanest air in the lower 48 states. There’s no rush hour, factories, or cities for hours in any direction, away from all the horns and trash and emails of the city life.

Ernest Hemingway shot himself in Ketchum. He finished For Whom The Bell Tolls in the Sun Valley Lodge, and later finished A Moveable Feast there as well. I read A Moveable Feast this spring. He tells of traveling to the Austrian backcountry to ski, before the rich people invaded the resorts there.

I couldn’t help but be drawn to, and relate to, the end-of-season ski run Hemingway describes.

Finally towards spring there was the great glacier run, smooth and straight, forever straight if our legs could hold it, our ankles locked, we running so low, leaning into the speed, dropping forever and forever in the silent hiss of the crisp powder. It was better than any flying or anything else, and we built the ability to do it and to have it with the long climbs carrying the heavy rucksacks. We could not buy the trip up nor take a ticket to the top. It was the end we worked for all winter, and all the winter built to make it passible.”

This passage has forever converted me into a Hemingway fan.

Covered Sam, covered in snow.

Report The snow report preceding the best day of my life.


  1. Internally means I am halfway bracing for a disproportionate amount of troughs.


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