By Olivia Terry
In this image from the Union Pacific Photo Collection, an Alaskan Husky enjoys a moment of rest on a dog sled in a snowy setting in front of Sun Valley’s Opera House. The dog’s stoic pose only hints at the glamorous life of Sun Valley’s sled dogs of days gone by.
In the early days of the Lodge, guests could cozy up under furs and take a dog sled tour through the golf course or a longer, fifteen mile trip through the Wood River Valley.
When Claudette Colbert visited Sun Valley to film I Met Him in Paris in 1937, she and her mother were photographed with Sandy Brooks, the resort’s dog musher, for publicity.
But the dogs of the Sun Valley Kennels lived equally glitzy lives as the celebrities they pulled behind them. Sun Valley Kennels raised and trained dogs to form three complete teams of Alaskan and Siberian Huskies. An article appearing in the January 1952 edition of The Valley Sun shares that the three teams were led by Spike, Yukon, and Jack. They were frequently flown all across the country, appearing in films like Road To Utopia (1946) and Woman of the North Country (1952) in Los Angeles. The dogs also flew to New York City to appear in front of a live studio audience on the Ken Murray Television Show.
The dogs were trained rigorously to be able to individually pull seventy-five pounds and were fed two-to-three pounds of meat daily. Teams of nine or eleven dogs were formed, depending on the freshness of snow. Guests could count on the dogs to be extremely disciplined, but equally personable and friendly, adding to the magic of the Sun Valley Winter-Wonderland.