After nearly 30 years of operations, Sun Valley’s infrastructure was wearing out. Rather than invest the estimated $6 million needed to rehabilitate it, Union Pacific decided to sell the nation’s first destination ski resort to Bill Janns, a southern California developer who happened to be the consultant who came up with the $6 million estimate. Janns paid UP $3 million.
Above is Union Pacific’s last booklet advertising Sun Valley before the sale, while below is Janns’ first booklet after the sale. Union Pacific’s booklet (which put the “front cover” on the back) relied heavily on the color purple.
The booklets were accompanied by brochures giving prices for accommodations, lift tickets, ski lessons, and other activities. Union Pacific’s rate schedule showed that a small room with a private bath cost about 23 percent more in the Sun Valley Lodge than in the Challenger Inn.
The Janns’ initial booklet also put the front cover on the back, but didn’t rely so heavily on purple, making it a lot more readable.
Janns’ initial rates were virtually identical to those of the Union Pacific, which was probably necessary since UP had already advertised those rates for the 1964-65 winter season. Janns kept the resort until 1977, then sold it to Earl Holding, the owner of Little America hotels in Wyoming and Utah, for about $12 million. Today, the Holding family still owns the resort, which is estimated to be worth around $300 million.