World-class Wellness

Sun Valley is the perfect place to focus on mind, body and soul

Sun Valley is the perfect place to focus on mind, body and soul

For years, I considered my lengthy summer sojourns to Sun Valley an opportunity to regroup: to think, to get fit and healthy and to change up my normal routine for the better. In other words, I always thought of my time here as ‘Spa Sun Valley.’ While many of my friends paid exorbitant prices at wellness retreats so that they could work out, eat well and get a little synthesis for the soul, I did everything they were doing and more, in my normal day-to-day activities. From mineral hot springs, to breathtaking hikes, from spa treatments to fresh, healthy food, Sun Valley’s clean air, sunshine and gorgeous scenery provided the ultimate reboot, addressing mind, body and soul.

And that was without the benefit of attending the annual Sun Valley Wellness Festival. This event, chosen by Travel to Wellness as one of the Top 12 wellness vacations in the world, returns to the Resort from May 23 – 27. It is my version of ‘Spa Sun Valley’ taken up a few notches! Whether you are traveling 10, 100 or 1000 miles to attend Wellness Festival events, you are sure to experience an eye opening and habit-altering reboot.

Hiking in the area provides a fresh vantage point

Hiking in the area provides a fresh vantage point

“Sun Valley has always been a destination for health and wellness,” said Nick Maricich, Sun Valley Wellness Chairman. “Since Sun Valley’s opening in 1937, people have come from all over the world for healing experiences in this pristine alpine environment. Whether it is skiing, fishing, hiking, golfing, bike riding or simply watching the sun rise over the Pioneer Mountains, being in Sun Valley encourages an openness to new ideas, a re-centering and re-framing of priorities. It is the Sun Valley Wellness Institute’s mission to build on these experiences and to help Sun Valley get the recognition it deserves as one of the top destinations in the world for all aspects of health and wellness.”

Energy guru Amory Lovins is a featured speaker at the Wellness Festival

Energy guru Amory Lovins is a featured speaker at the Wellness Festival

The Memorial weekend Wellness Festival is the epicenter for this goal. For the mind, the Festival brings some of the most prominent speakers from many fields to the Sun Valley Inn. This year, one of the predominant questions asked by organizers is: What does energy have to do with wellness? The answer? Everything! Keynote speakers on this topic are global energy leaders Amory Lovins and James Woolsey. Their talk, to be held at the Sun Valley Inn Continental Room on Saturday, May 25, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., focuses on energy present and energy future. According to Festival organizers, “energy underpins our planet’s health and our personal health, from enabling alleviation of suffering from poverty, to providing clean air, to helping to ensure our national security. Energy is perhaps our greatest challenge, but also our greatest opportunity.”

During a break from Wellness Festival activities, the bike path awaits

During a break from Wellness Festival activities, the bike path awaits

Another part of the complete wellness picture, focusing on health and the body, is the Hands-On-Hall. Free to the public, everyone is encouraged to stop by the Inn for massage, healing touch, energy work, Tarot card readings and Henna body art that is particularly popular with the younger set (children are welcome).

To address the spirit, 16 workshops will be offered throughout the weekend focusing on topics as diverse as ‘Attuning to the Unseen World,’ ‘New Beginnings,’ ‘The Four Pillars of Health’ and ‘An Introduction to the Human Design System.’ These workshops are intimate and guaranteed to engage participants on a truly meaningful level. Please click here for tickets for all lectures and workshops and further information.

Trailheads to wonderful hikes lie just across Sun Valley Road from the Lodge, and spread north, south, east and west. Bikes are for rent at Pete Lane’s, located in the Village, and a bike path is readily accessible. Between lectures, workshops and inspiration at the Festival, take time to breathe the mountain air and let the Sun Valley sun work its magic. Take a break beside the scenic swan pond and let everything you have heard and seen sink in. Chat with friends in the Lobby Lounge. Grab a healthy bite at one of the Resort’s many restaurants.

The Resort's two outdoor hot pools are a great way to naturally relieve stress

The Resort's two outdoor hot pools are a great way to naturally relieve stress

To enjoy the full benefit of a wellness retreat, book a room at the Lodge or Inn at a special rate of $120 a night (please call 1-800-786-8259 for details and reservations). As a guest of the Resort, enjoy ‘Spa Sun Valley’ at its finest – soak in the relaxing outdoor hot pools, book a fortifying body treatment at the Salon and Spa, indulge in healthy food and wonderfully comfortable beds. All the Festival offers will be moments away.

You don’t need to go far for a world-class wellness experience. It is all right here.

–RES

Go ahead, you're worth it

Go ahead, you're worth it

I Want to Ride My Bicycle

Bike paths are your road to adventure up and down the Wood River Valley

Bike paths are your road to adventure up and down the Wood River Valley

While Sun Valley is rightfully famous worldwide for its winter recreation, the Wood River Valley is also biking Nirvana. From the 32 miles of converted Rails-to-Trails that stretch from the south valley way past Ketchum, to the hundreds of miles of continuous singletrack, to endless scenic road bike rides and downhill on Baldy, everyone here, from fat tire to skinny tire enthusiasts, loves to bike.

This passion for peddling was in evidence last weekend when temperatures soared into the 80s, trees flashed fresh greenery and everyone was out enjoying spring. Up and down the bike path that hugs the tranquil Big Wood River, bicycle riders were out in force. Seen on one small stretch of rolling, paved path between the mid-Valley and Sun Valley: tandem bikes, toddler trailers, training wheels, skinny wheels, matching Lycra and Cruisers.

Your bike awaits at Pete Lane's in Sun Valley

Your bike awaits at Pete Lane's in Sun Valley

In-town mountain bike trails are quickly drying out, offering great early season riding. And mountain biking is almost an obsession around here. The area has been dubbed ‘Mountain Bike Heaven’ for good reason. To celebrate everything our mountain town has to offer, the Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival rolls in for the third year from June 29 to July 7. This comprehensive event features everything from Enduro downhill courses to bike demos; from Pump Park parties to the Ketchum Criterium and, of course, the USA Cycling Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships. There is an event for every ability and age group.

Local legend, mountain bike endurance athlete Rebecca Rusch, is also hosting an event this summer. The sixth stop of the 2013 Gold Rusch Tour will feature Rebecca’s Private Idaho, a gravel Gran Fondo style event to be held August 31 to September 1. This promises to be a lung-busting, Wild West ride covering 100 miles.

One young enthusiast shows how it's done in Ketchum's Pump Park

One young enthusiast shows how it's done in Ketchum's Pump Park

For a different perspective from behind the handlebars, both Hailey and Ketchum have free Pump Tracks open to the public. These popular amenities let riders work on biking skills (from absolute beginner to advanced) and have a great time utilizing features on the dirt track like rollers and berms to ride with or without pedaling by pumping for momentum on track contours.

Storied Bald Mountain converts from ski Mecca to biking (and hiking) Mecca in the summer months. Shaded and wooded trails wend up the mountain, often through fields of wildflowers. Needless to say, the views are spectacular. Downhill is also wildly popular. Many choose to let the lifts carry them, and their bikes, to the summit before enjoying an adrenalin-saturated ride to the base. No matter if you’re going up, or coming down, be sure to take some time at 9,150 feet to soak up the 360-degree vista. It will make your heart race, too.

Trails on Baldy often go through fields of wildflowers

Trails on Baldy often wend through fields of wildflowers

When you’re ready to get going, be sure to stop by both locations of the retailer Pete Lane’s to gear up for a great ride. The Village outpost is already fully stocked with bikes of every size and purpose, available to rent. With more than 300 bikes from which to choose, as well as helmets, clothing and hydration systems, you will be equipped and on your way to a local trail in no time. At the end of June, Pete Lane’s at the base of River Run will open, offering full suspension and downhill bikes, eradicating all excuses not to give biking Baldy a try.

The Wood River Valley is a two-wheeling kind of town. It’s not a Sun Valley summer (or spring or fall for that matter) without seeing our spectacular scenery from a bike saddle.

–RES

Idyllic doesn't begin to describe peddling around, Sun Valley style

Idyllic doesn't begin to describe peddling around, Sun Valley style

Eat Well, Do Good at the Idaho Foodie Event of the Year

Cheers! You are about to enjoy an evening you will never forget! (Photos courtesy of Guy Hand)

Cheers! You are about to enjoy an unforgettable evening! (Photos courtesy of Guy Hand)

Let’s face it. We have all attended many memorable fundraising events that served less than memorable food. When the purpose is to paddle up for worthwhile causes, dinner often plays second string to a starting lineup of socializing and shopping auction items.

On May 21, however, food will be the focal point at Edible Idaho’s Trail Creek Dinner Benefit for the Hunger Coalition – an opportunity to do good and eat really, really well. Foodies rejoice!

Sun Valley's own Chef Murcko is known for sourcing the finest in local flavors and ingredients

Sun Valley's own award-winning Chef Murcko is known for sourcing the finest in local flavors and ingredients

According to Claudia Sanchez Mahedy, publisher of the magazine Edible Idaho South (a sponsor of the event with Sun Valley Resort, Hotel McCall and The Hunger Coalition), the concept is tantalizingly simple. Two Idaho James Beard Foundation semi-finalists, Chef John Murcko, Director of Culinary Operations for the Sun Valley Resort, and Chef Gary Kucy of Rupert’s Restaurant at Hotel McCall, will weave their edible alchemy throughout the evening, astounding and delighting guests. The chefs’ gastronomic genius will tantalize the taste buds, all while benefiting the Hailey-based Hunger Coalition.

Both Chef Murcko and Chef Kucy are famous for sourcing as much local food as possible for use in their restaurants and purveyors for this event include: 44 North Vodka, Cinder Wines, Huston Vineyards, Telaya Wine Co, Homestead Natural Meats, Ballard Cheese, Blue Sage Farm and Southwind Potatoes.

Chef Gary Kucy will weave together tantalizing tastes for this memorable meal

Chef Gary Kucy will weave together tantalizing tastes for this memorable meal

Be among the 50 lucky people to enjoy this never-to-be-duplicated evening. Start the night at the Sun Valley Inn before boarding picturesque horse drawn wagons that will whisk you to the historic Trail Creek Cabin. There, star mixologists will greet you with specialty cocktails sourcing only the freshest and tastiest ingredients. Guests will then be seated in the rustic but sophisticated and romantic space to then enjoy a six-course meal paired with exemplary wines. Winemakers and farmers who have generously donated their products will be in attendance to answer questions.

Tickets are $200 per person and all proceeds support The Hunger Coalition of Blaine County, an organization celebrating its 10-year anniversary.

If you need extra incentive, a sneak peek at the Chef’s Tasting Menu planned for this glorious gastronomical gathering features the following (and much, much more): an amuse course including stuffed spring morel with sweet pea emulsion as well as dill & peppercorn gravlox, pickled trumpets, warm horseradish potato and chives. A sunchoke chowder with morels and green garlic takes the soup course from humdrum to oh my! Subsequent plates will include flavors as varied as a sturgeon osso bucco with bacon, Brussels leaves, fiddleheads, lemon and tomato; oxtail shepherd’s pie with goat chop, smoked ramps and potato; and an elk mix grill with roast Idaho elk striploin, grilled elk sausage, roasted garlic-sage potato puree and huckleberry-red onion marmalade. Is your mouth watering yet?

A ride on a horse drawn wagon to the historic Trail Creek sets the tone for this special night

A ride on a horse drawn wagon to the historic Trail Creek sets the tone for this special night

Be sure to get your tickets early, as this event is sure to sell out. Then prepare to enjoy the finest fare in Idaho! Tickets and more information are available on the Edible Idaho South website.

– RES

Mother’s Day Made Easy

The Sun Valley Lodge -- an oasis for Mother's Day

The Sun Valley Lodge -- an oasis for Mother's Day

Mother’s Day is a holiday for which most children and spouses truly want to create a relaxing, special day for the mom in their lives. But good intentions don’t always lead to great results. It can be a day of high expectations and occasionally high stress for those left in charge of plans. Let’s face it — sometimes it is hard to know exactly what to do for the person who does so much.

Crisp linens and peace & quiet await

Crisp linens and peace & quiet await

Sun Valley to the rescue! The Resort is offering a special package especially tailored to what moms want. If relaxation, pampering and a memorable experience are what you’re after, your search is over. There isn’t a mom out there (this mom of three included — hint) who wouldn’t love a getaway to, or even a staycation, in Sun Valley.

First, Mom will check in to a luxury room in the Inn or Lodge (where someone else will make the beds) for a special rate of $225 on Saturday night, May 11. But that pays for much more than a fantastically comfortable bed and the finest linens; it also includes Sunday Brunch for two at the elegant Lodge Dining Room. This famous brunch offers dozens of dishes to tantalize a mother’s taste buds.  She can indulge at as many stations as she desires and treat herself to dessert without having to think even for a moment about dishes. Settled in beneath crystal chandeliers with white linens, silver and sparkling stemware, she will feel as important as she is.

Relax and get pampered at the Sun Valley Salon & Spaaah..

Relax and get pampered at the Sun Valley Salon & Spaaah....

But wait, there’s more! For the ultimate in mom downtime, she will also receive a one-hour massage at the Sun Valley Salon & Spa. Her cares will float away beneath strong hands, a pampering and attentive atmosphere, far removed from her regular responsibilities. If you really want to wow mom, add a luxurious manicure and pedicure or facial to her stay. And be sure to make time to soak in one of the hot outdoor pools. Order her a cocktail to sip on the deck and she will really feel like she is off-duty!

Keep the love going by adding Friday or Sunday night to the package for just $100 a night (prices do not include taxes or resort fees).

If an overnight is not in the cards, be sure to at least enjoy brunch on Sunday. Service begins for this highly popular meal at 9 a.m. and runs through 2 p.m. No reservations are necessary and the feast runs $36 for adults and $21 for children 12 and under.

Brunch is a family affair in the elegant Lodge Dining Room

Brunch is a family affair in the elegant Lodge Dining Room

For room reservations, call 888-978-3475.

Mother’s Day is a holiday with history that stretches back to ancient Greek and Roman times. It is a wonderful way to honor and show your appreciation for the woman in your life who makes a difference daily in the life of a family.

Book today! She deserves it! And it will certainly go over better than that gadget from the hardware store or that small appliance you think she just might like, but she probably won’t …

–RES

EDIBLE IDAHO’S TRAIL CREEK BENEFIT DINNER FOR THE HUNGER COALITION

Join 2012 James Beard nominee, chef John Murcko, Culinary Director of the Sun Valley Resort and 2013 James Beard nominee, chef Gary Kucy of Rupert’s of Hotel McCall, as they prepare an extraordinary six course meal using local ingredients and paired with exemplary wines.

Guests will meet at the legendary Sun Valley Inn, be taken to the famed Trail Creek Cabin by horse drawn carriage, and will have the opportunity to meet the chefs and chat with the winemakers and farmers who have generously donated their goods for the benefit of The Hunger Coalition. Order your tickets for this wonderful evening here.

 

 

Chutzpah, Chance Encounters and a Universe in Alignment bring Proof of Heaven Author to Sun Valley

Dr. Eben Alexander will captivate the audience at the Sun Valley Wellness Festival

Dr. Eben Alexander will captivate the audience at the Sun Valley Wellness Festival as this year's keynote speaker on May 24

Dr. Eben Alexander, author of the New York Times’ No. 1 bestseller Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife, will give the keynote address at this year’s Wellness Festival, to be held in Sun Valley from May 23 – 27. But booking this red-hot author, seeker and physician, who describes in his book a near death experience and a blossoming of faith, was anything but straightforward.

As Sun Valley Wellness Festival board member Pirie Grossman describes it, the process of agreeing on the right keynote speaker for this year’s Festival was proving challenging. “During a board meeting months ago, there were lots of ideas going back and forth but nothing was catching,” Pirie explained. “I was traveling to the TEDx conference in Washington, D.C., shortly thereafter and then going on to New York, so I left with an open mind, promising to look see if anyone perfect came to my attention.

Alexander's account of a near death experience has dominated the bestseller lists

Alexander's account of a near death experience has dominated the bestseller lists

Right before departing, however, Pirie’s fellow board member Elisabeth Grabher reached out to someone everyone agreed would be perfect for the Festival: Oprah Winfrey. And, synchronicity being what it is, it was also an episode of Oprah’s show that first introduced Pirie to Dr. Eben Alexander. After she saw his interview on the program, she began to research his story. Alexander seemed like a huge draw for the Festival and Cheryl Welch Thomas, another board member, contacted his agent to see if he was available.

“We always believe you should throw things out into the universe and see what happens!” laughed Pirie.

In New York, shortly after a conversation with a friend about her desire to have Oprah speak at the Wellness Festival and her keen interest in Dr. Alexander, Pirie returned to her hotel. While waiting at the elevator, the doors opened and a security guard glanced around, talking into his sleeve. “He stepped aside and there behind him stood Oprah Winfrey, no more than two feet from me,” Pirie laughed. “She looked right at me and didn’t try to hurry away. She was warm and approachable – she was Oprah!”

The following conversation ensued.
Pirie: Hi!
Oprah: (pause, smile) You have something to say to me.
Pirie: I’m from Sun Valley…
Oprah: Oh! I love Sun Valley.
Pirie: I’m a board member at the Wellness Festival…
Oprah: I’ve heard about the Wellness Festival.
Pirie: I just sent you a letter asking if you would come speak!
(Pirie quickly reminds Oprah of the date of the event)
Oprah: I’m going to be in Africa then, but do you know who you should get?
Pirie: Who?
Oprah: Dr. Eben Alexander.
Pirie: (gasp!) It is so funny you said that! You were the first letter we sent, he was the second. I saw him on your show. He is amazing.
Oprah: He is amazing. Be sure to let him know I suggested him.

“And away she went,” Pirie explained. “All I could think was when things are supposed to happen, they happen. Isn’t the universe interesting?”

The Wellness Festival offers something for everyone

The Wellness Festival offers something for everyone to take care of mind, body and spirit

Immediately, Pirie phoned her fellow board members in Sun Valley with news of the interaction. Cheryl, who had previously received a polite ‘thank you, but no thank you, Dr. Alexander is booked for the foreseeable future’ response from his agent, heard the news and sent a follow-up email. This note detailed Pirie’s encounter with Oprah and boiled down to, ‘this is meant to be, you have to come.’ Two hours later his agent called Cheryl back and said yes.

Ever since, Eben and Pirie have corresponded by email. “We joke, ‘how about that Oprah story?’” Pirie laughed. “He told me when he read that second email he was laughing and crying at the same time. We just couldn’t get over, and still can’t, the chain of events that introduced him to us and allowed us to bring him to Sun Valley.”

Dr. Alexander will speak at the Limelight Room at the Sun Valley Inn on Friday, May 24, at 6 p.m. He is one of many prominent inspiring speakers scheduled for this year’s Wellness Festival. Please click HERE for tickets and full Wellness Festival information, including speakers, movement, the Hands on Hall and workshops and activities for both adults and children.

The Sun Valley Resort offers terrific lodging choices to allow participants to stay in the center of the action for the weekend. Be sure to call Resort Reservations at 800-786-8259 and ask for the special Sun Valley Wellness Festival rate. This is a wonderful way to enjoy the full Festival experience. And you just never know who you might meet and where it might lead, do you?

–RES

The Sun Valley Inn is HQ for the Wellness Festival. Come on in!

The Sun Valley Inn is HQ for the Wellness Festival. Come on in!