Posted 06/05/09

Graham Watanabe: Sun Valley, Idaho

Graham Watanabe: Sun Valley, Idaho

Since 2000, Sun Valley, Idaho native Graham Watanabe has been a pioneering member of the United States Alpine Snowboarding Team. Graham’s initial interest was in racing, but when the announcement was made that Snowboard Cross would become an official Olympic event, he made the enterprising switch. That gamble has most certainly paid off; Graham was “the first American male ever to win a FIS SBX (Snowboard Cross) World Cup” and became a member of the premiere Snowboard Cross U.S. Olympic team in 2006. In 2008-09, Graham had yet another successful season and even won two World Cup championships, set his sights on the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, and beyond!

Catch up with Graham Watanabe at his Official Site or on Twitter.

The Concierge Questionnaire: Graham Watanabe,  Professional and Olympic Snowboarder

What is your favorite word to describe Sun Valley? Home.

What word best reflects the people of Sun Valley? Family.

What is the most creative, spiritual or emotional place in Sun Valley? We're based around Bald Mountain (Baldy) and many people live in Sun Valley because of that. While it may not be conscious, I think many people are creative in utilizing Baldy as a place of solace, and are therefore spiritually and/or emotionally connected to it.

Bald Mountain or Baldy is the primary mountain of Sun Valley Ski Resort and has over 2050 acres of skiing terrain.

Please visit Sun Valley Resort for a Bald Mountain map.

What is your favorite outdoor activity in Sun Valley? Because there are endless outdoor possibilities, I can't choose only one. In the summer, I would probably go with mountain biking. In the winter, hopefully it's obvious... snowboarding!

What is your favorite indoor activity in Sun Valley? On those rare days when I can't find something to do outside, I love to find a rock climbing gym to make sure I'm ready for the next opportunity to take it outside!

Wood River YMCA-Climbing Wall:
101 Saddle Road, Ketchum
Hours: Monday 4pm-9pm, Tuesday 11am-1pm, Wednesday 11am-1pm and 4pm-9pm, Thursday 11am-1pm and 5pm-8pm, Friday 4pm-8pm and Saturday-Sunday 12pm-6pm

What is your favorite sound or noise in Sun Valley? It's not necessarily just in Sun Valley, but my love for this sound, or lack thereof, was developed there. I love the absolute silence of being in a blizzard. Assuming there's little to no wind, the insulating qualities of the snow create a perfect stillness. Zen.

What is your favorite smell or taste in Sun Valley? Strangely enough, I like the more rugged of smells. They say smell triggers memories most vividly. I love the smell of fresh mowed grass, whatever's in the air after a recent rain, and... pastures. Although I wouldn't buy a manure scented air freshener, whenever I smell that smell, I'm reminded of the open spaces around which I grew up. What can I say? I smile inside when I smell horse poo....

What drink best reflects Sun Valley? Besides water because of the active nature of the community, I'd have to say beer. Specifically, PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon). I don't know about the fancy-fourth-home-owners, but I've seen many a brew in the hands of the local.

What song or type of music best reflects Sun Valley? I'd say any type of small venue, high energy, live music. That's us to a T. We're not a big place, but we've got plenty of personality!

The Roosevelt Grille:
280 North Main Street, Ketchum
Please visit The Roosevelt Grille for music schedule.

Wicked Spud: 305 North Main Street, Hailey
Please visit for music schedule at Wicked Spud and other great valley music spots!

If Heaven were Sun Valley, what would God say to a visitor when they arrive at the Pearly Gates? "Welcome to your new home! You may not have expected to find yourself here, but here you'll stay." And that's a good thing.

Graham Watanabe: Sun Valley, Idaho • Sun Valley, Idaho • Phone: ***

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