The number one rule at Sun Valley this year? Don’t talk about Sun Valley.
The always-secret Allen & Co. Conference has gotten even more secretive in recent years, and that doesn’t make it any easier for first-time reporters (like yours truly).
Journalists aren’t allowed into the morning conference panels, and that probably means we don’t get to go on Wednesday’s raft ride, either. Press gets kicked out of the Sun Valley Lodge’s Duchin Bar at 5 pm sharp every day, and employees are under strict instructions not to talk about guests.
So where does one catch a Rupert Murdoch or Sheryl Sandberg? Here are my fave spots from day one:
1. Outdoor ice rink
The Sun Valley Lodge may boast the only outdoor summer ice rink in the country, according to an employee. Whether or not that’s true, it’s certainly a great place to grab a drink with execs who have arrived early to the confab.
2. Outside the Lodge itself
Murdoch, Sandberg and Universal chief Ron Meyer wander in and out of the lodge leisurely, and with little security. Many of the guests even stop for a chat with reporters.
3. Main mall
Outside of the inn and lodge are a number of paths and and a bike rental shop where moguls roam freely. Bain Capital’s Steve Pagliuca biked around earlier in the day, while Meyer chatted away on a cell phone as he hurried out of the lodge.
Depending on the time of day, the Sun Valley lodge is a great place to catch an exec on the way to dinner or the bar. If you get stopped by security, just pretend to be lost looking for the bathroom.
According to the locals, Cristina’s restaurant in Ketchum attracts a number of conference attendees, include host Herb Allen himself. Guests like to duck out for a late lunch, or enjoy the restaurant’s deck. Cristina’s also caters lunch and dinner at Sun Valley Lodge during the cofab.