Johnny chats with fans after arriving in Sun Valley just hours before he was scheduled to perform, thanks to a truly outstanding series of travel snafus. Exclusive photo © David Ingogly.
Our Sun Valley coverage continues merrily meandering along its completely non-chronological path with today’s picspam covering Johnny’s arrival in Sun Valley some 24 hours later than expected.
As is often mentioned, one of the things that makes Sun Valley such an amazing fan experience is the chance to watch Johnny rehearse early in the afternoon on show day. But because of his travel woes, rehearsal came and went that Saturday—and no Johnny.
Disappointed fans were kindly invited to watch the preshow warmup later that evening (which turned out to be a lovely alternative).
And then, just as we were all preparing to disperse somewhat disconsolately and go find something to do until warmup time, word rippled around the outdoor rink: Johnny would finally be arriving at the Sun Valley-area airport in about two hours.
“I think we should go greet him!” someone suggested.
Ooooo could we…?
This is not a thing that is done very often in the US. While international fans nearly always welcome Johnny upon his arrival in Japan, Russia, China, and anywhere else he travels, US fans rarely have this opportunity due to security concerns. But in tiny Sun Valley—a very safe and secure locale tailored to accommodating celebrities—perhaps an exception could be made…
A flurry of communications ensued, and eventually the answer came: yes, it would be OK to greet Johnny this time.
Cars were organized, directions to the airport reviewed, and then part of the group raced off to a flower shop in Ketchum to create a bouquet big enough to say YAY JOHNNY YOU’RE HERE WE LOVE YOU AND WE ARE SO SORRY YOUR TRAVEL DAY SUCKED BALLS.
Flowers in hand, we all reconvened at the airport with about 15 minutes to spare, and milled around in the arrival area until suddenly we saw a plane taxiing toward the terminal.
And then a few minutes later: there he was.
And you would never know by the photos that follow that he was utterly exhausted, having spent 12 hours the day before just to get from LA to Salt Lake City by way of Grand Junction, CO; then found himself stranded in SLC and ended up tweeting from a random SLC hotel at around 1:30 am; and then hauled himself back out to the SLC airport early that morning to try yet again to get to Sun Valley in time to actually perform, worn out and without a single moment to even set foot on the ice for a week.
With all that going on, he was warm, funny, and absolutely radiant.
And so once again Sun Valley proved to be an awesome fan experience, though in an unexpectedly wonderful way. Thank you, Johnny, for all your kindness to us, and for these amazing photos.
We begin with flowers ready and waiting at the airport…
…as are fans, watching for him to come through the single door into the arrival area.
And he’s here at last!…
…and all smiles as he sees fans assembled to greet him.
The amazing Debi Guerricaechevarria, a Sun Valley Resort staff member who will go the extra mile and beyond to make sure guests are happy and comfortable, was unanimously chosen to present the flowers to Johnny.
With fans Gary Podschun, Wanda Gelsebach (in awesome “Team Japanese Chin” T-shirt), and Katrina O’Leary.
Admiring his flowers for a moment.
Hugs for everyone! Beginning with Binky. Not shown is the horrific moment immmediately following when one of my bracelets entangled itself in Johnny’s scarf and actually punctured a small hole in it. Quite possibly my most cringeworthy fan moment of the last five years. He was, of course, incredibly gracious about it, and maybe even a little amused. (Maybe. Maybe not. In either case, let us never speak of it again.)
A hug for my lovely friend Chris Krafft, whom I first met last year in Sun Valley…
…and for fellow Chicagoan Julie Findon.
Johnny chats with Gary, Jen Warfield (in red), Julie, Katrina…
…and Anastasia Pryanikova (in grey).
Other people have begun to notice: “Hey, that’s Johnny Weir!”
But he kindly remains focused on conversing with our group.
Anastasia’s daughter Lexi comes running for her Johnny hug!
Johnny explains part of his Travel Day From Hell: while onboard one of several planes…
…which was refueling….
…the fuel truck pulled away without actually disconnecting the hose…
…thus actually cracking the plane. (WHAT.)
So everyone had to disembark, of course, and then it all went downhill from there.
Time for family portraits! With Gary…
…and Anastasia and Lexi.
He stays to chat for a few more minutes…
…but soon he has to say goodbye…
…and once again he’s a blur of motion as he hustles off to his waiting car and driver. And hopefully a nap.
The spectacular performances Johnny gave that evening: Carmen…
Relive the magic of Johnny as Kai in The Snow King through Elena Vasileva’s gorgeous photos! Her work is featured in a new article on the photography website RosPhoto.com, with a gallery of 40+ incredible pics. A beautiful icy oasis after the Sun Valley heat!
REMINDER: GO SEE JOHNNY SKATE! American fans have a cornucopia of opportunities to see Johnny perform this fall! He’s starring in An Evening With Champions again September 18 and 19 . . .
. . . and he’s also headlining Nancy Kerrigan’s Halloween on Ice throughout October. Both shows offer VIP tickets that include a post-show meet-n-greet where you can get photos/autographs. Don’t miss out!
Exclusive photos © David Ingogly.