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Centuries ago, the Ute Indians retreated to this canyon to escape the summer heat and hunt the abundant game. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the Stewarts, a family of Scottish immigrants, had settled the canyon. While the first generations were mostly surveyors and sheepherders, the next generation saw excitement and opportunity in the snow-laden slopes beneath Mount Timpanogos.
In the fifties, the Stewarts opened Timphaven, a local ski resort which boasted a chair lift, a rope tow, and a burger joint named Ki-Te-Kai, Maori for "Come and get it!" (One of the Stewarts had served as a Mormon missionary to the islands.)
In 1969, Robert Redford bought Timphaven and much of the surrounding land from the Stewart family, and Sundance was born. Rejecting advice from New York investors to fill the canyon with an explosion of lucrative hotels and condominiums, Redford saw his newly acquired land as an ideal locale for environmental conservation and artistic experimentation.
This place in the mountains,
amid nature's casualness toward death and birth,
is the perfect host for the inspiration of ideas:
harsh at times, life threatening in its winters of destruction, but
tender in attention to the details of every petal of every wildflower
resurrected in the spring.
Nature and creativity obey the same laws,
to the same end: life.
- Robert Redford
As with most experiments, there were a few early setbacks. A dinner/movie night was abandoned when waiters repeatedly collided in the darkness. A mountain man rendezvous never saw past the first year because the deafening roar of the musket and cannon competition sent both wild and domestic animals scrambling for the Wyoming border.
Years of experimentation and refinement have ultimately resulted in what we now call Sundance. The Sundance Institute, the spectacular skiing, the stunning natural scenery, and the tasteful excellence of the accommodations combine to make Sundance dynamically unique. Sundance’s ability to blend process and place that puts it in uncharted waters on a steady course of its own.
People here come from all walks of life, but one belief is shared: our community should represent who we are and what we believe. Sundance is an arts community, a recreational community, a community of people who appreciate the beauty of nature and feel the responsibility to preserve it. We want to help you find those elements of the Sundance experience which will most meet your needs and your dreams. As you'll see, Sundance has many shapes, many moods, and many possibilities. Somewhere in our community awaits an experience which belongs to you and we are committed to helping you find it.