Jump, Bounce and Soar

It’s obvious that the new Spider Jump in Sun Valley is big fun even before you see it. Shrieks of joy and “woo hoo” can be heard from quite a distance. When you do see the apparatus, located on the field next to the Recreation Center at the Sun Valley Village, the enthusiastic yelling makes sense.

On your marks, get set, jump!

On your marks, get set, jump!

The bungee spider jump consists of four large individual trampolines on which participants launch into the air wearing a harness that is attached to strong, springy bungee cords. A few big jumps in the middle of the trampolines and up you go, high above the Village. The next four minutes are yours to spend however you set fit. Back flips and front flips are a popular option as is just bouncing in the ether.

Front flip, back flips, big air -- it's all part of the Spider Jump experience

Front flip, back flips, big air -- it's all part of the Spider Jump experience

Last week I took three children, one nine-year-old and two thirteen-year-olds, over the Spider Jump to try it out. Immediately, they were greeted by the two boys who just finished their turn. “It’s awesome!” they advertised.

We were in line behind a family visiting from Washington, D.C. Their two boys, ages 12 and 14 were channeling their best freestyle tricks on the bungees, smiling from ear-to-ear.

Sign a release, step on the scale and off you go

Sign a release, step on the scale and off you go

After signing a release for each, the very helpful attendant Elilel weighed each child (important information in determining how many bungees to hook up to each jumper) and got them set up. The nine-year-old went first, happily stepping into the harness and connecting to the bounce lines.  With a thumb’s up, Elilel told him to start jumping and up he went, laughing all the way.

The girls were next and once they overcame a bit of self-consciousness that comes with the age, they were up in the air flipping and flying and laughing.

Show your stuff on the Spider

Show your stuff on the Spider

Nine dollars buys four minutes on the Spider Jump which may not sound like much, but this is a very active activity. Even my two competitive figure skaters and athletic fourth grader needed to rest during their turn (which means hanging in the air taking a few breaths). Jumpers use their arms, core and legs to keep the momentum going and to perform tricks. After four minutes, all three jumpers were breathing pretty hard.

The Spider Jump is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you weigh more than 30 pounds and less than 200 pounds, you’re in! Elilel said adults seem to like jumping nearly as much as the children. It is, however, not recommended for those with back or neck problems, heart problems, high blood pressure or other conditions that might limit robust activity. Another tip – loose t-shirts may fly up and longer pants and shorts look more comfortable than shorter ones because of the harness. Dress appropriately!

The Spider Jump is big fun in the shadow of the Lodge

The Spider Jump is big fun in the shadow of the Lodge

In between all the other wonderful ways to spend a Sun Valley Summer, from swimming and tennis, to golf and kids’ camps, hiking, biking and skating, make sure you try the Spider Jump. It is something new, it is really fun and it’s a kid magnet.

As Van Halen so eloquently sang, “might as well jump!” This is definitely true at the new four-armed, super springy, bungee-driven Spider in Sun Valley.

–RES

 

To Denver and Back

Last week, I traveled to Houston and home again, taking advantage of the brand-new nonstop United Express service connecting Sun Valley and the major hub of Denver. What a pleasure it was! We flew out on the morning flight that departs Sun Valley at 7:30 a.m., arriving in Denver at 9:11 a.m. Check-in and security were a breeze despite the fact that two other nonstop jets to great connecting cities (Delta to Salt Lake City and United Express to San Francisco) also go out in the morning.

Getting to Sun Valley via Denver on United is a great new option for travelers

Getting to Sun Valley via Denver on United is a great new option for travelers

The planes are large and fast and comfortable with the leg to Denver taking no time at all. The return to Sun Valley, that leaves Denver at 6:52 p.m. and arrives back at Friedman Memorial Airport at 8:40 p.m. is just as convenient. After you land, it’s a quick 20-minute ride to the Sun Valley area. After a good night’s sleep, our vast playground awaits!

The trip south offered easy connections, good flight schedules and competitive rates. My friend who has traveled to Houston a lot and tried many different connections, said this is by far the easiest and most convenient. I imagine that is true for other flights that can connect through Denver from all over the country and the world.

The new nonstop jet service is comfortable, convenient and quick

The new nonstop jet service is comfortable, convenient and quick

Though I live here and this new flight offers me limitless connections to move around the country and the world, it also makes getting to Sun Valley easier than ever. I flew to Sun Valley for 25 years from the east coast before moving here and well remember the days before direct service from Denver. Let’s just say back in the proverbial day there were a lot of stops and serious time in rental cars!

With flights to Sun Valley now originating in Salt Lake City, Seattle (Alaska Air), San Francisco, Los Angeles (Alaska Air) and Denver, the number of ways to quickly and easily arrive in paradise have increased dramatically.

More great news on the travel front was announced Monday as the Fly Sun Valley Alliance confirmed that the great nonstop service we are so enjoying this summer, will again be offered during ski season. When the snow flies, flights from Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Salt Lake and Seattle will begin in December and run through March for the 2014-15 snow season, getting you from home to Sun Valley’s storied slopes more easily than ever.

You'll be here ...

You'll be here ...

... and here before you know it!

... and here before you know it!

Alaska Airlines will connect Seattle and Sun Valley and Los Angeles and Sun Valley from December 18 to March 29. United Express will provide service between San Francisco and Sun Valley from December 18 to March 29 as well, and Denver to Sun Valley daily from December 18 to January 5 then Saturdays from January 10 to February 7 and Wednesdays and Saturdays from February 11 to March 28. Delta flies to Sun Valley every day year round from Salt Lake City with three flights daily during peak winter periods and two flights daily otherwise. Start thinking snow!

“We worked closely with the airlines and our partners to add the right mix of seat capacity and schedules to match the variable demand periods, with strong capacity during the holidays, February and March, and a bit less in January and April,” said Carol Waller, Director of Fly Sun Valley Alliance. “There will also be a significantly expanded marketing program to ensure we have a successful winter season and fill all these flights coming into Sun Valley.”

Flights are available for booking at www.alaskaair.com, www.united.com, and www.delta.com. A complete flight schedule is available at www.flysunvalleyalliance.com.

Welcome to Sun Valley! Prepare to have some fun

Welcome to Sun Valley! Prepare to have some fun

No matter if you’re coming from Houston or anywhere else that flies to Denver (or San Francisco or Los Angeles or Seattle or Salt Lake City for that matter), make the connection and book Sun Valley as your final destination. You’ll be really happy you did!

–RES

Fishing is for Kids

Children and fishing -- an iconic image of summer made even better in Sun Valley's pristine trout streams

Children and fishing -- an iconic image of summer made even better in Sun Valley's pristine trout streams (photo Brett Wilson)

There is an undeniable attraction between children and fishing. The iconic image of little ones poised on a dock dangling a worm-baited line into the water defines the joys of a childhood summer. Replace the dock with a pristine rushing river, place the children at the edge of an eddy, replace the worm with a fly and you have Sun Valley at its finest and the beginning of a love affair with a sport that lasts a lifetime.

To get the kids started with the right wader forward, Silver Creek Outfitters offers special instruction to make the adventure as fun as it is skill building. Fly fishing camps for children ages 8 to 12 are offered Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and can be arranged on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well with a minimum of three participants. You bring the child, Silver Creek provides a guide, equipment, snacks and a day he or she won’t forget.

Stop into Silver Creek and get out into the river!

Stop into Silver Creek and get out into the river!

First stop is checking in at Silver Creek HQ, located at 500 North Main Street in Ketchum to gear up. Though everything they need is provided, everything they want may not be. This could include baseball caps, logo t-shirts or all sorts of fun things like binoculars and polarized sunglasses that cut the glare of the water and help you see into the river. And don’t forget the sunscreen. Then there are the flies. Again, while provided, chances are getting your camper away from the cases and cases of colorful tied feathers, thread and fur could take a while.

Once they look the part, it’s off to the river they go. My son and his best friend set off last week with kid-friendly guide Brett Wilson who whisked them away and off to their adventure in record time. Five hours later we met back up at the shop. The boys were smiling and laughing, slightly wet and full of fish tales. On their secret stretch of river, they both landed two rainbow trout and hooked into a few more. They were thrilled and considered themselves quite the fishermen, talking with ease about which flies they used and how proficiently they cast.

Boys and fish equal one huge smile (photo Brett Wilson)

Boys and fish equal one huge smile (photo Brett Wilson)

With children, though, fishing is only peripherally about catching fish. Silver Creek teaches young anglers to be hands-on and embrace the entire experience from turning over rocks to search for bugs, to sitting on the banks to enjoy a snack, to kicking up the grass and watching the hoppers fly. Fishing is an experience and all the different parts are what add up to a memorable day and get the children invested in the process of fishing.

Catching fish is only part of the fun but it is undeniably a big part!

Catching fish is only part of the fun but it is undeniably a big part! (photo Brett Wilson)

Camp runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and more details may be found HERE.

In my family, learning to fly fish is not an option. At about age eight, everyone is put into waders and put into the river and taught the joys of this lifetime sport. However, as with all activities that require learning new skills, sometimes it is best for the parents to leave the instruction up to the pros. Thank you, Brett, for getting the boy so excited about fishing and wanting to come back immediately and frequently!

Flies, glorious flies!

Flies, glorious flies!

If you are over the age of 12 but would like some basic instruction or a refresher, you, are also in luck. Silver Creek offers what they call “Fly Fishing 101,” a one-day introduction to the sport that covers the basics: casting, knot-tying, equipment selection, fly selection and trout food. Ready to move to the water? Graduate to “Fly Fishing 201” that offers three hours of practical instruction on the river.  Free casting clinics are also held in front of the Sun Valley Lodge Tuesday through Saturday evenings from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. A member of the guiding team will teach casting technique. Equipment is provided or you may bring your own.

Be sure to stop by the Sun Valley Lodge Tuesday through Saturday evenings to learn, practice or refresh your casting skills at free clinics

Be sure to stop by the Sun Valley Lodge Tuesday through Saturday evenings to learn, practice or refresh your casting skills at free clinics

Also coming up at Silver Creek Outfitters is a Tenkara Clinic called “Simple Fly Fishing” with Patagonia Founder Yvon Chouinard on Thursday, July 17. All the proceeds benefit Idaho Rivers United. The Fly Fishing Film Festival is also right around the corner and will be held on July 25 at the Sun Valley Opera HouseFly Fishing Fair. For full information on all classes and programs, please click HERE.

Fly fishing is one of the Sun Valley area’s finest resources and no trip is complete without getting into one of the region’s many crystal clear, trophy trout streams. Book a trip or class today for you and your children. Chances are, you’ll be hooked.

–RES

Fishing is a lifetime sport and a great family activity. Give it a try! (photo Brett Wilson)

Fishing is a lifetime sport and a great family activity. Give it a try! (photo Brett Wilson)


Reggae and Rock (and bluegrass and country)

Though many associate Sun Valley with classical music (thank you Sun Valley Summer Symphony), the best in rock ‘n’ roll and country music (thank you Sun ValleyResort, the Sun Valley Center for the Artsand others), Sun Valley also has some strong reggae roots.

It's nearly time to enjoy some reggae (and jazz and bluegrass and alternative country) in the mountains

It's nearly time to enjoy some reggae (and jazz and bluegrass and alternative country) in the mountains

These roots, and what has sprung from them, will be on display on July 10 starting at 4 p.m. when Reggae in the Mountainsreturns for the seventh year, bringing some fabulous music and a laid-back summer vibe. Reggae in the Mountains has presented two shows each year since its inception, one in the winter and one in the summer, attracting thousands of loyal fans.

Don Carlos is reggae royalty and he will play Sun Valley on July 10

Don Carlos is reggae royalty and he will play Sun Valley on July 10

This week’s concert features international superstar Don Carlos and the Dub Vision Band. Don Carlos is reggae royalty and the opportunity to see him in such an intimate venue is one that shouldn’t be missed. In addition to the legendary front man, the horn section of the Dub Vision Band will blow you away. While according to concert organizer, head of Mountain Niceness and overall really nice guy Danny Walton, “Don Carlos doesn’t need an opening act, but we wanted to bring in great local talent to create a whole afternoon and night of music,” he said. Lighting up the night with be Matt Cifrese, a popular alternative country artist (think Johnny Cash to the Clash), the amazing jazz-inspired Paul Tillotson Trio and the Sheep Bridge Jumpers, a local eight-piece bluegrass band.

Past concerts, like this one in the winter, have drawn large, enthusiastic crowds (photo visitsunvalley.com)

Past concerts, like this one in the winter, have drawn large, enthusiastic crowds (photo visitsunvalley.com)

The event is casual and family friendly. Food and drink will be available for purchase from local vendors. “We expect a huge turnout,” Walton said. “The first concert we did with Don Carols was during the winter. It was negative 10 degrees but 2,000 people came out to hear him play. Don Carlos is the warmest, most positive guy and the cold didn’t seem to bother him at all.” Note: This week’s weather promises to be a bit more welcoming! Walton attributes the continued success of Reggae in the Mountains to the top quality entertainment it provides as well as wallet-friendly ticket prices. “It’s incredible bang for your buck,” Walton said, “and since it’s on a Thursday night this year, you have the whole weekend to get out there and enjoy everything this amazing area has to offer. Reggae in the Mountains runs from 4 – 10 p.m. right in the heart of Ketchum in the Town Square (next to the Visitors’ Centerat Sun Valley Road and East Avenue). You can’t miss it.

The Paul Tillotson trio is a crowd pleaser and made up of consummate jazz musicians

The Paul Tillotson Trio is a crowd-pleaser and made up of consummate jazz musicians

Pre-sale tickets are available for $20 until July 10 and $25 at the gate day of show. Kids under 12 are free. Special packages are available that include a VIP sponsor tent, parking, a no host bar, food, servers, swag and shade, according to organizers. These “Very Irie People” tickets are $100 each. Tickets are available at Atkinsons’ markets in Ketchum and Hailey, Lululemon, Zenergy at Thunder Springs and Johnny G’s Subshack in Ketchum. If available, you may also buy them the night of the concert. “Skip the long lines and buy early, though,” suggested Walton. More great music is right around the corner, too, when on July 13, the one-and-only Los Lobos plays the Sun Valley Pavilion and on July 27, Josh Ritter & The Royal City Bandrock River Run. There is truly something for everyone.

The one-and-only Los Lobos will rock the Sun Valley Pavilion on July 13

The one-and-only Los Lobos will rock the Sun Valley Pavilion on July 13

It has been a busy summer already and tickets to all events are selling quickly. Don’t count on availability the night of the show and don’t be disappointed. There truly is nothing like world-class acts beneath Sun Valley’s stars. The hills are alive with the sound of music and you won’t want to miss a minute. –RES

The Fourth is Looking Fab

The big Fourth of July holiday is just around the corner, and no one does it better than Sun Valley. Now is the time to make sure you’ve secured tickets to all the concerts, shows and events that will make celebrating the nation’s independence unforgettable.

At Sun Valley itself, the Fourth will be feted with the first Sun Valley On Ice of the season on Friday, July 4. This star-studded event beneath the stars features the one-and-only Gracie Gold. Gold, the 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist and 2014 National Champion, is figure skating’s golden girl. Known for her beauty, grace, athleticism and lyricism, Gold will take your breath away. It’s rare to get this close to a star of Gracie’s caliber, so be sure to get your bleacher, Sun Room, or fabulous dinner buffet seats today. Also lighting up the ice on the Fourth will be Jason Brown, the 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist and 2014 US Silver Medalist, as well as Nathan Chen, 2014 Junior World Bronze Medalist and 2014 US Junior Gold Medalist. The fabulous core skaters and featured skaters of Sun Valley will keep the action – and beat — going strong. We’ve heard a rumor that there is a strong disco influence in this show and it is sure to be quite a night.

Sun Valley On Ice kicks off a star-studded season of Saturday night shows on July 4 with headliner Gracie Gold.

Following the show, Sun Valley will set off a dazzling fireworks display, lighting up Dollar mountain and beyond.

Tickets are still available but are going fast. To make sure you don’t miss a moment of this spectacular show, click HERE or please call 208.622.2135. To make the most of the weekend, book a special hotel package, as well. Stay at the Sun Valley Resort July 4 and enjoy two tickets to Sun Valley On Ice and buffet for only $209 per person, double occupancy. Bleacher seating is also available for two plus one night’s lodging for $158 per person, double occupancy. Ask about children’s tickets, too. For reservations, please call (866) 893-4452.

Close your eyes -- you'll swear it's John, Paul, Ringo and George

Close your eyes -- you'll swear it's John, Paul, Ringo and George

The fun continues in Sun Valley on July 5 when the Fab Four play the beautiful Pavilion. At 8 p.m., this first-class Beatles’ Tribute band weaves their precise attention to detail and uncanny, note-for-note live renditions of Beatles’ songs into the fabric of the weekend. This incredible stage show includes three costume changes representing every era of the Beatles ever-evolving career and live performances of classics like “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Yesterday,” “A Day In The Life,” “Twist And Shout,” “Here Comes The Sun” and “Hey Jude.”

A concert at the glorious Sun Valley Pavilion is one you will never forget

A concert at the glorious Sun Valley Pavilion is one you will never forget

The holiday weekend kicks off with music of another sort – the upbeat, “dare you not to dance” sounds of Michael Franti & Spearhead, performing an evening concert at River Run on July 2 at 6 p.m. A part of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts Summer Concert Series, Franti is a Valley favorite and puts on an amazing show that also features SOJA, Brett Dennen and Trevor Hall. Tickets are still available for $40 for members, $50 for nonmembers. Early entry (entry 15 minutes prior to general admission) costs $85 for members, $95 for nonmembers plus a $1 per ticket Reverb charity donation. A special VIP Party pack is available. Please click HERE to buy tickets and for more information.

Please note, picnics will be allowed at River Run, as usual, but due to liability concerns, Sun Valley Company will no longer allow outside alcohol at concerts. Bring ID if you’d like to purchase alcohol on site. Bags and IDs will be checked by Sun Valley Security.

Last time Michael Franti & Spearhead played River Run, an amazing time was had by all. Don't miss it!

Last time Michael Franti & Spearhead played River Run, an amazing time was had by all. Don't miss it!

Fun with Franti begins earlier in the day, though, when the Soulshine Tour Yoga Experience hits the idyllic Trail Creek Cabin picnic grounds. Starting at 11 a.m., live music, DJs, yoga and fans all take part in what organizers call “one ridiculously awesome jam.” The morning begins with a very special mass acoustic music and yoga practice, featuring Michael Franti and friends playing live and a class led by Allie Purdy. The yoga is appropriate for all levels, ages, shapes and sizes. The yoga event will last a roughly 90 minutes, followed by an hour-long traditional yoga class taught by Allie Purdy with Michael Franti performing a couple acoustic songs on either end of the class and physically participating with fans. Doors will open at 10:30 a.m. for this event. Please bring yoga mats and water, but leave your dog at home. The event is rain or shine and is non-refundable. Tickets are $20, $10 if purchased with a ticket to the Soulshine Tour Concert (plus tax). For more information on The Soulshine Tour Yoga Experience, please visit: soulshine.com.

And the Fourth wouldn’t be the Fourth without the Hailey Fourth of July Parade. This true community event features an old west shootout gang portrayal and fun-filled, family-friendly parade that runs down Main Street in Hailey from noon until approximately 1:30 p.m. This year’s theme is “Wood River Valley Inspires.” The Grand Marshal will be Dick Fosbury noted for his “Fosbury Flop” and for sharing his love and enthusiasm for sports, especially track and field, around the world.

Hailey's family-friendly Fourth of July parade is non-stop fun

Hailey's family-friendly Fourth of July parade is non-stop fun

Also in Hailey, enjoy the Rodeo over the long weekend. The Sawtooth Rangers Fourth of July Rodeo runs starts July 2 with “Family Nite” (kids ten and under are free). Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show usually lasts until about 10 p.m. Tickets are available at all Atkinsons’ Markets and at the Hailey Chamber of Commerce in the Welcome Center located at 781 S. Main Street. All Tickets are General Admission and sell out fast so get there early! This is the 66th annual “Days of the Old West Rodeo.” It runs through July 4.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, Ride Sun Valley events continue through July 5. On the Fourth, the Hailey Criterium races around downtown Hailey following the parade. On July 5, some of the best mountain bikers around compete in the U.S. Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships on Baldy.

All the action is back on Baldy on July 5 for the US Marathon National Mountain Bike Championship, part of Ride Sun Valley

All the action is back on Baldy on July 5 for the US Marathon National Mountain Bike Championship, part of Ride Sun Valley

Oh yes, and the gondola and Christmas Lift on Bald Mountain open to bike traffic on July 1.

Phew!

Get out there and enjoy a real, small-town, western Fourth of July with a lot of pretty impressive bells, whistles, and yes, fireworks. Have a safe, fun weekend!

–RES

Big Fun for the Little Ones

There's no better place to play than the Sun Valley Adventure Camp

There's no better place to play than the Sun Valley Adventure Camp

On any given weekday morning, laughter and activity prevail on the lawn between the Opera House and Brass Ranch at the Sun Valley Village. This is the gathering spot for the Sun Valley Adventure Camp, a hub of energy and enthusiasm.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. the children of guests of the Resort, visitors and locals alike enjoy all that a Sun Valley summer has to offer. Children from 6 – 12 years old undertake activities including wagon rides, hiking, river and stream exploration, orienteering, ice skating, horseback riding, tennis, golf, arts and crafts and swimming.

It's all about the kids at Sun Valley Adventure Camp

It's all about the kids at Sun Valley Adventure Camp

Under the indefatigable leadership of camp director Shannon Price, the camp boasts low counselor to camper ratios ensuring each child gets a lot of attention.

“We have children visiting Sun Valley who may never have hiked before in camp with local children for whom being outside is a way of life and know that both can have an amazing, memorable, safe and fun day, thanks to our terrific staff and well conceived programs,” Shannon said. “The kids come in with great, adventurous attitudes and have made good friends by the end of the week.”

The Sun Valley Adventure Camp utilizes all the Resort’s many ‘playgrounds’, from the Sawtooth Putting Course located outside the Sun Valley Club, to the Horsemen’s Center; from the tennis courts to the Olympic pool.

Hiking and exploring is all part of the fun for campers

Hiking and exploring is all part of the fun for campers

From the smiles on the camper’s faces on Friday when I took my son to camp, it looks like Shannon and her team are doing everything right this summer. The day’s activities included a hayride and picnic out Trail Creek, hiking, swimming and a little down time with some arts and crafts. Everyone came home happy, slightly damp from a passing rain shower and tired. Camp was given two thumbs up.

Space is very limited for the Sun Valley Adventure Camp and reservations are strongly suggested. The cost is $95 per day and $375 per week. A lunch of a sandwich, fruit and a cookie may be purchased for an additional $10 a day or children may bring a sack lunch. Campers who spend a full week at Adventure Camp go home with a photo memento capturing all the fun they had.

A wagon ride to Trail Creek cabin and a picnic is fun whether you live here or are visiting

A wagon ride to Trail Creek Cabin and a picnic is fun whether you live here or are visiting

Shannon said she is currently taking reservations through the end of the summer and interest has been extremely high. Secure your child’s spot today by phoning (208) 622-2133.

Younger children, aged three months to five years also have a wonderful chance to get the most from the Sun Valley experience at the Sun Valley Playschool Summer Camp. Every day of the week, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the camp’s friendly, trained and dedicated staff take little ones on nature walks, gondola rides, picnics and wagon rides, depending on their age. Also on the schedule are tennis, golf, ice skating and lessons and theme weeks including gardening, the world of insects, animal habitats and the solar system. Full days are $95, the week costs $375 and lunch can be added for $10 a day. Half days (9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.) are also available for $65 per day. Please call (208) 622-2288 for more information and for reservations.

The goal of camp is to get smiles like these

The goal of camp is smiles like these

Every Saturday from July 5 to September 7, the Playschool also offers Kids’ Night Out from 6 – 10 p.m. Children can come to Playschool in their pajamas and enjoy a fun night while mom and dad do, too. This is offered by reservation only and costs $50 per child. Dinner is an additional $10.

Sun Valley summers are one-of-a-kind no matter your age. Take advantage of these wonderful programs that let the little ones get the most of these endless summer days.

–RES

There is something new every day. Come check it out!

There is something new every day. Come check it out!

The Dirt is Going to Fly

Mountain biking is a big part of what makes Sun Valley so amazing. Come get your ride on this week.

Mountain biking is a big part of what makes Sun Valley so amazing. Come get your ride on this week.

If you see more smiling, dirt-spattered people in town than usual this week, it’s for good reason. Ride Sun Valley returns to local trails beginning June 26 and dips, plummets and races its way the grand finale event on July 5. This festival celebrates singletrack and all pursuits on two wheels. It is an ode to one of the activities that makes the area so amazing and is the perfect start to the holiday weekend.

Ride Sun Valley is back and with it, a celebration of mountain bike culture

Ride Sun Valley is back and with it, a celebration of mountain bike culture.

Though many rides and races cater to accomplished, competitive mountain bike athletes, there is definitely something for everyone during Ride Sun Valley. Amateurs, enthusiasts and spectators alike are all part of the action.

Riders who may not qualify for the US Marathon Mountain Bike Nationals (most mere mortals!), scheduled for July 5, have many other options for getting involved. One great way is by riding some trails with local experts. Free, guided rides on fantastic singletrack are being offered throughout the weekend all around the area. Organizers of Ride Sun Valley call it one of the best ways to get your stoke on!

Rides leave from the Sun Valley/Ketchum Visitors Center, located at the corner of Sun Valley Road and East Avenue (adjacent to Town Square) at 8:30 a.m. on June 28 and 29. The format is first-come, first-ride and participants should bring food, water and spare/repair equipment. Space is limited so try not to be on Ketchum time! The rides are appropriate for visitors and locals alike and will be led by people who know all the best singletrack secrets.

Experienced mountain bikers will take to Baldy during Ride Sun Valley for some daring runs.

Experienced mountain bikers will take to Baldy during Ride Sun Valley for some daring runs.

Shuttle rides and bike transportation are provided to remote trail head start locations on both days.

The first ride is at Fox Creek which boasts not only great singletrack, but some of the most gorgeous wildflowers in the area. The ride lasts two hours and encompasses four miles of bike path and six miles of singletrack, climbing 700 feet. The technical level is moderate and difficulty is medium.

Expect something like this on the free, guided bike rides. It is this beautiful. (photo Tal Roberts)

Expect something like this on the free, guided bike rides. It is this beautiful. (photo Tal Roberts)

A longer ride also goes out that day and lasts 4 – 5 hours covering 21 miles (mostly singletrack) and a 2100-foot elevation gain. This gorgeous ride takes you to Fox Peak and ends up back at the Expo.

Sunday also offers two rides, one out Corral Creek and one on Red Warrior to Greenhorn Gulch. The first is a one-and-a-half-hour ride that covers four miles of bike path and six miles of singletrack. It is rated easy on the technical scale and climbs 340 feet.

The second ride lasts about three hours and stretches over 11 miles of glorious singletrack. Elevation gain is 1500 feet and shuttles take you to and from Ketchum.

No bike? No problem. Stop into Pete Lane's in the Sun Valley Village. The selection of rentals is great.

No bike? No problem. Stop into Pete Lane's in the Sun Valley Village. The selection of rentals is great.

For a full schedule of events (and it’s long!), please click HERE.

Mountain biking is one of the most wonderful things about Sun Valley. Be sure to get out there on the trails yourself and cheer on the pros bringing their talents and enthusiasm to our hills.

It’s bike season!

–RES

It’s (officially) Summer on Bald Mountain

Baldy is showing off its summer splendor with amazing views and fields of wildflowers

Baldy is showing off its summer splendor with amazing views and fields of wildflowers

What better way to celebrate the longest day of the year and the official start to summer than by gaining some of the perspective that comes only with being on top of a big mountain!

On Saturday, the Gondola and Christmas Lift on Bald Mountain kicked into gear, providing uphill and downhill access for foot traffic of all varieties to the tip top of the mountain. And the trails were buzzing. Hikers and sightseers alike climbed up and rode down, rode up and hiked down, or just enjoyed the round-trip ride to and from the River Run side of the mountain.

Step one: let the helpful folks at River Run get you a lift pass and recommend some appropriate adventures for your group

Step one: let the helpful folks at River Run get you a lift pass and recommend some appropriate adventures for your group

Step two: check in and hop on a comfortable Gondola car

Step two: check in and hop on a comfortable Gondola car and enjoy the ride!

The historic Roundhouse Restaurant located at the top of the Gondola and about two-thirds up the mountain welcomed everyone to lunch with the best views around. The deck and rustic interior of the one-of-a-kind eatery is open daily, serving soups, salads, sandwiches and a children’s menu. Some highlights include the ‘7000’ Burger, an Austrian Chicken Salad sandwich, a fabulously fresh Mediterranean Chop Salad and locally-sourced Gazpacho. There is no better reward for a vigorous hike, or no better way to celebrate the beginning of a memorable vacation, than by dining at Roundhouse. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with beer and wine available daily. For a special cocktail hour, a full bar is offered on weekends (Friday to Sunday). Seating is first come, first served.

On July 1, Baldy opens to mountain bikers, again providing lift service both up and down the mountain depending on the rider’s proclivities. Special cars on the Gondola and on the Christmas Lift can accommodate bikes and many trails, appropriate to most levels, wend around the mountain. The first flow trail is set to open on July 1, offering a whole new biking experience on Baldy.

Enjoy lunch with an incredible view at the historic Roundhouse Restaurant

Enjoy lunch with an incredible view at the historic Roundhouse Restaurant

And if a trip up Baldy whets your appetite for snowy trails, today is the day to buy your winter Sun Valley passes. On sale now, a variety of passes are offered at the best prices of the season. Check out all the different possibilities HERE.

If being on the mountain is turning your thoughts to winter, now is the right time to buy your winter pass

If being on the mountain is turning your thoughts to winter, now is the right time to buy your winter pass

Seeing the Wood River Valley from atop Baldy is something everyone visiting Sun Valley must do. The 360-degree panorama is truly jaw dropping and right now, the wildflowers are adding fields of color and fragrance to the experience. Beautiful!

Summer trails on Baldy offer limitless fun. Get out there and get after it!

–RES

Hiking on Baldy is fun for the whole family. Bring water, wear good shoes and dress in layers!

Hiking on Baldy is fun for the whole family. Bring water, wear good shoes and dress in layers!

Putt-ing Away the Afternoon

Dateline: Sun Valley, Idaho. Saturday afternoon, 4 p.m.
Challenge: Kids ‘bored’. Hours until dinner.
Solution: Putting!

If you ever find yourself in a situation like the one above or something similar (you want a fresh idea for a date, the in-laws are visiting and no one is hiking-ready, or even if you just really want to practice your putting to improve your short game) make your way to the Sawtooth Putting Course at the Sun Valley Club.

The Sawtooth Putting Course is fun for the whole family.

The Sawtooth Putting Course is fun for the whole family.

Located just beyond the terrace of this wonderful Lodge are a full 18 putting holes that provide surprisingly pretty views of the Trail Creek Golf Course, burbling Trail Creek, Baldy and Dollar Mountain and beyond.

We took to the green with three complete golfing novices, one seasoned player and quite a bit of resistance (“we don’t like golf!”). After Tate fixed us in the Golf Pro Shop with putters, balls and the all-important score card (no golfing shoes or attire required), we made our way to the first hole.

The putting course is scenic and good for all ages.

The putting course is scenic and good for all ages.

The Sawtooth Putting Course consists of par three holes with varying elevations, curvature and difficulty. (I am definitely one of the novice golfers listed above, so if the nomenclature isn’t correct, please forgive me!). On the first hole, we all did pretty poorly, with everyone but the golfer among us taking about six strokes to find the hole if we found it at all. But even with those first putts, the mood of the group began to shift.

Soon, no one was ‘bored.’ As we progressed through the course, everyone was laughing and cheering each other on. When one of us made the occasional good shot, it was cause for celebration. My daughter ran ‘color commentary’ in the background as we each stepped up to the tee. All in all, it was great fun.

My form may be terrible (with a score to match!) but we had a great afternoon in Sun Valley.

My form may be terrible (with a score to match!) but we had a great afternoon in Sun Valley.

An hour spent on the Sawtooth Putting Course is an affordable, accessible and truly enjoyable way to enjoy time with family or friends. The full service bar at the Sun Valley Club is available if a libation is needed to improve your game or if the kids are thirsty and want a lemonade. The atmosphere on the course is light and I’d put pressure to perform at about a rating of zero.

Our group that Saturday consisted of two adults, a nine-year-old and a 13-year-old, which were great ages for the game. There is certainly no reason younger children can’t putt the afternoon away, though, as the holes are short, the flags easy to spot and even when you take a terrible shot (which we did many times), you can totally get it back together.

The lovely, full-service Sun Valley Club is just steps away in case you need a beverage to improve your game!

The lovely, full-service Sun Valley Club is just steps away in case you need a beverage to improve your game!

I see many more afternoons at the Sawtooth Putting Course in my family’s future this summer. When you have an empty hour (which is hard in Sun Valley, but it does happen), or you are heading for a wonderful dinner at Trail Creek Cabin, the Ram, Gretchen’s, Bald Mountain Pizza or other Resort restaurants, it’s a great pre-dinner experience. Enjoying lunch at the Sun Valley Club and then going out for a round works, too.

According to my son, the whole experience would have been perfect if we had been allowed to take a golf cart as part of the package. Maybe we have a golfer in the family after all!

See you on the green!

–RES

Next time we have to hit the Trail Creek Course to satisfy the request for a golf cart!

Next time we have to hit the Trail Creek Course to satisfy the request for a golf cart!

Reinvent Father’s Day

Let’s face it. Typical Father’s Day gifts and activities can be, well, typical. My guess is that the gift of a standard necktie and stereotype of dad as grill chef on Father’s Day only became jokes because they are so common.

Well, in Sun Valley, Father’s Day, celebrated this year on Sunday, June 15, can be anything but average.  Add the many activities your dad will love, to all the gear he needs and throw in a new outfit or two to accompany said activity in style, and you’ll have a Father’s Day to remember.

Stop by Pete Lane's in the Sun Valley Village to demo a bike on Father's Day

Stop by Pete Lane's in the Sun Valley Village to demo a bike on Father's Day

Start Sunday with a stop at Pete Lane’s Mountain Sports in the Sun Valley Village. There will be free bike demos all day from Cervelo, Turner, Norco and Kona. Terrific mountain bike trails await just across the street in the White Clouds and road biking possibilities stretch in every direction.

Next stop? The Sun Valley Club for a wonderful, relaxing lunch at the restaurant. Whether he wants to tuck into a hearty meal following his biking adventure or wishes to keep it light for afternoon activities, there is something for everyone on the locally-sourced, super fresh menu.

A few hours on the Sawtooth Putting Course is fun for the entire family.

A few hours on the Sawtooth Putting Course is fun for the entire family.

Following lunch, dad may want to simply relax on the patio and take in the view, or if he is a golfer, there are numerous choices to consider. One is to take the whole family to the Sawtooth Putting Course for 18 holes of fun for every skill level and age. Playing the front or back nine at the storied Trail Creek or White Clouds courses would also make many men very happy.

Dad not a golfer or a biker? How about a scenic trail ride on horseback from the Horsemen’s Center. These gentle rides last up to an hour-and-a-half and offer never-ending vistas and views from atop Dollar Mountain. Then head down to the Konditorei at the Sun Valley Village for the finest coffee drinks, pastries, hearty breakfasts and fabulous lunches. This time of year, dining on the Konditorei deck cannot be beat.

Local trails are convenient and great for hiking or mountain biking.

Local trails are convenient and great for hiking or mountain biking.

Or how about a family hike up nearby Proctor Mountain with a picnic lunch up top? The Short Line Deli in the Sun Valley Village will prepare made-to-order sandwiches and offers chips, drinks, desserts and salads to round out the meal.

Maybe the best Father's Day for dad is some alone time with mom. Book a creekside table at Trail Creek Cabin to enjoy great food or a drink.

Maybe the best Father's Day for dad is some alone time with mom. Book a creekside table at Trail Creek Cabin to enjoy great food or a drink.

Maybe a romantic dinner is in order for the man in your life. Book a babysitter and make a reservation on the deck at Trail Creek Cabin or at the Ram patio in the Sun Valley Village. Both offer fine dining in a beautiful atmosphere. Please call restaurant reservations at 208.622.2391 to book your table.

Treat dad to the latest in mountain lifestyle fashion from Brass Ranch.

Treat dad to the latest in mountain lifestyle fashion from Brass Ranch.

As far as gifts go, every store will offer endless ideas. Pop into Pete Lane’s for the latest and greatest bike and hiking gear; the Pro Shop at the Sun Valley Club sells only the best names in golfing hardware as well as the latest styles for the game; Brass Ranch will help any man achieve the look of the mountain lifestyle. Before Father’s Day, take a few hours to shop the Village stores. Dad will be stunned by your thoughtfulness at finding the perfect gift.

There is really so much to do, perhaps you should make a weekend of it. That would allow for fly fishing, as well. There may not be a more relaxing activity for the man who does so much for so many than to wander hip deep into one of the area’s glorious rivers to unplug and unwind.

No matter how you celebrate Father’s Day, be sure to acknowledge the great fathers you know. They deserve a day to remember.

–RES

For my dad (pictured here with an amazing steelhead caught near Stanley this spring), nothing says Father's Day like time on the river. Happy Father's Day, Dad!

For my dad (pictured here with an amazing steelhead caught near Stanley this spring), nothing says Father's Day like time on the river. Happy Father's Day, Dad!