Sun Valley Resort was recognized with two major awards at the National Ski Areas Association awards conference, held virtually during the Colorado-based organization’s annual convention June 7-11.
Resort President Tim Silva received the Lifetime Achievement Award—the association’s highest honor, presented to leaders and visionaries in the ski industry who have exhibited a lifetime commitment to it. Sun Valley Resort also won the Best Overall Safety Program award for its comprehensive messaging campaign that built an attitude of safety on the mountain and surrounding community during the 2020-21 ski season.
Silva—identifying himself as “someone with mountains in his blood”—fell in love with skiing as a child growing up in California and later chose to pursue a career in the industry. He started in mountain operations at Sun Valley in the early 1970s and then moved to Northstar, in California, where he helped elevate the resort’s status. Silva eventually returned to Sun Valley in 2009 to take over as general manager. He invested capital into new lifts and oversaw renovations of the Sun Valley Lodge and Sun Valley Inn as well as terrain expansion on Bald Mountain.
One of the first goals Silva established as general manager was to reach the top of SKI magazine’s annual reader survey, the resort stated in a news release. After Sun Valley fell just shy of the top spot for years, the resort claimed the No. 1 slot in 2020.
“SKI magazine was the culmination of a goal the senior team set in 2009,” Silva said. “It is particularly gratifying to see the pride on the faces of the senior team. These are the same folks who have worked so hard to create an exceptional guest service culture. I couldn’t be happier for the recognition of their efforts.”
Silva served on the NSAA board of directors for 13 years and played a role in the creation and evolution of safety standards for aerial passenger tramways. After 12 years as general manager of Sun Valley, he remains president but has stepped down from day-to-day operations to help with resort and mountain planning.
“It is an honor to be recognized,” he said. “I have been fortunate to work in this business for many years, but even more fortunate to work with the dedicated leadership team here at Sun Valley. I am also honored to have worked with the Holding family, whose vision and commitment has made Sun Valley’s success possible.”
The family of Carol Holding and her late husband, Earl, owns the resort.
Sun Valley has been recognized by the NSAA six times in the safety category, winning Best Overall Safety Program in 2015, before being recognized again with the top safety award this year. The resort is “continually pushing to be better—reducing their injury rate to its lowest yet, reaching skiers and nonskiers alike, and establishing one of the most comprehensive and polished safety messaging campaigns in the industry,” the organization stated.
During the NSAA 2021 National Safety Month of January, Sun Valley Resort developed a Safety Week program that encompassed three pillars to educate and involve both the guests and the community in mountain safety. The three initiatives—Know the Zone, #PartnerUp and Mountain Safety is Our Business—utilized video, on-site messaging and guest interaction to achieve safety goals.
“In Sun Valley, we take mountain safety very seriously, as adhering to the Skier’s Responsibility Code demonstrates a respect for fellow skiers and riders and leads to a more enjoyable experience for everyone,” Mountain Director Peter Stearns said. “We had a true champion in Bryant Dunn, from Ski Patrol, who led the initiative both behind the scenes and on the mountain.”