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!

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!

 

 

Along the Banks of Trail Creek

As our server Shauna approached the table to take a drink order with her signature smile, the business of the day began to evaporate into the tumbling water of Trail Creek as it raced just feet from where we sat. The wide wooden deck, perched inches away from the burbling stream, was set with umbrellaed tables and offered a full bar, complete with comfortable bar stools and festooned with twinkling lights.

The deck at beautiful Trail Creek Cabin awaits to make your dining dreams come true!

The deck at beautiful Trail Creek Cabin awaits to make your dining dreams come true!

Welcome to summer at Trail Creek Cabin, Sun Valley’s historic restaurant located 1.5 miles east of the Sun Valley Lodge. This romantic hideaway in the Idaho hills was originally built in 1937 as a hunting lodge and now offers a first-class dining experience featuring a menu filled with the freshest, most local, most seasonal choices available.

There is no better place this summer to enjoy a hand-crafted cocktail (pictured is the Hawaiian Cosmopolitan) and delicious, locally-sourced food.

There is no better place this summer to enjoy a hand-crafted cocktail (pictured is the Hawaiian Cosmopolitan) and delicious, locally-sourced food.

This summer, creekside dining is a must-do. Though the restaurant normally offers al fresco dining on the lawn adjacent to the restaurant, there is something really special about descending the steps onto the deck. The slight mineral smell of the creek and the sounds it makes as it bounces over rocks and around bends ensure a one-of-a-kind experience.

Through June 21, the menu at Trail Creek Cabin includes a nightly “deck” special, that for $15.95, is a can’t-miss. This week, the special included a grilled New York Steak with crushed red potatoes and seasonal vegetables accompanied by a glass of red wine and ending with homemade cinnamon ice cream.

The daily 'deck special' hit the spot.

The daily 'deck special' hit the spot.

The rest of the menu this summer, under the direction of Chef Wendy Little, is full of delicious details and fan favorites. Small plates include House Smoked Rainbow Trout with potato and watercress salad, a Charcuterie Plate and Ground Elk-Buffalo Sliders. A complement of salads provide a light interlude and rely on locally grown, in-season ingredients. Large plates range from Grilled Eggplant for the vegetarian to a Bone-In Cowboy Rib Eye for those who crave a taste of the wide-open range. Of course, wonderful fish dishes like Cedar Planked Alaskan King Salmon and Potato Wrapped Idaho Sturgeon with sublime sides are also available.

Trail Creek Cabin is also known for it’s hand-crafted cocktails and extensive wine list. Bartender Richard carefully prepares Basil Lemondrops using fresh basil that is still growing behind the bar. Another favorite is a Huckleberry Mojito, full of the flavor of fresh local huckleberries. My favorite is the Hawaiian Cosmopolitan made with fresh pineapple. It’s a trip to the beach without ever having to leave the beautiful Idaho mountains.

My chicken was juicy and flavorful, perfect for a summer's evening.

My chicken was juicy and flavorful, perfect for a summer's evening.

Save room for dessert as Trail Creek Cabin’s enormous “Mile High” Mud Pie is something you have to taste to believe. They also serve local ice creams, a wonderful chocolate lava cake and specialties featuring in-season berries and fruit.

For dinner one night recently, our party of four enjoyed a relaxing dinner on the deck and ordered a wide selection from the menu. I sampled the night’s Market Salad that was comprised of the freshest local asparagus, crumbled egg, a bit of breadcrumb and hazelnuts. It was accompanied by a wild mushroom strudel and was absolutely perfect. Our large plates ranged from the Bone-In Cowboy Rib Eye (with the best buttermilk onion rings ever), the deck special, Brick Red Organic Rotisserie Chicken and the Slow Cooked Heritage Pork Ribs. Delicious!

Bring your friends and enjoy a memorable meal along the banks of Trail Creek.

Bring your friends and enjoy a memorable meal along the banks of Trail Creek.

To make a special night even more special, book a round-trip carriage ride to Trail Creek Cabin from the Resort. This approximately half-hour journey includes beautiful scenery and the chance to take life at a slighter slower pace. For details on this memorable option and to ask about the Mountain Romance package, please call 208.622.2387.

Reservations for dinner are available by calling 208.622.2097 and dinner is served Tuesday through Saturday 5:30 to 9:00 p.m.

Dinner on the deck beside Trail Creek – it really feels, and tastes, like summer!

–RES

The Taste of Summer

Summer has arrived in Sun Valley (yay!) and with it, the beginning of a delicious, fresh season of food.

Right now, there’s no better place to enjoy the tastes of summer than Sun Valley Club Restaurant, especially with the addition of ten new dishes to their already extensive lunch menu.

The terrace at the Sun Valley Club is a pretty spectacular spot to enjoy lunch and the food is just as good as the view!

The terrace at the Sun Valley Club is a pretty spectacular spot to enjoy lunch and the food is just as good as the view!

Grab a comfortable seat on the patio. Sip a swamp water or glass of fine wine and enjoy the sweeping vistas across the Trail Creek Golf Course and up to Dollar and Bald Mountains and beyond. It’s like being at country club except you don’t have to pay dues.

While you relax, Chef Erik Olson and his professional team in the kitchen will prepare for you the tastiest, freshest lunch that emphasizes farm-to-table and local ingredients.

The new cold poached salmon salad is a refreshing and delicious choice for summer

The new cold poached salmon salad is a refreshing and delicious choice for summer

Twice this week, my friends and family have enjoyed lunch at the Sun Valley Club. Our first visit was to celebrate the last day of school and our party of five enjoyed salads including the Club’s famous Crab Louis and a filling and tasty southwest chicken salad, as well as the slider trio, the green chile chicken melt and a falafel lettuce wrap. Everything got a thumbs up.

On the second visit, we decided to change up our tried-and-true favorites to explore the new menu options. But what to choose? Perhaps the shaved prime rib sandwich with havarti, crispy fried onion, grated horseradish and whole grain mustard sauce on ciabatta? The grilled chicken flatbread is also an appealing option with chicken, sorrel pesto, tomato, feta, red onion, arugula, pine nut and parmesan. Something lighter perhaps? An in-season caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, basil pesto, white balsamic, arugula and shaved parmesan sounds like an early summer winner.

The fish tacos, new to the Sun Valley Club's menu, were a hit with our group

The fish tacos, new to the Sun Valley Club's menu, were a hit with our group

I finally settled on the cold poached salmon salad as it was a sunny, hot day just made for a light dish. It didn’t disappoint. The beautifully presented plate offered a generous serving of poached salmon with a delicate cucumber mint salsa over mixed greens, dotted with avocado and mango. It tasted as great as it looked.

My dining partners both opted for the Rocky Point fish tacos and sung the praises of the cod filets in white corn tortillas with cabbage, baja sauce, pico de gallo, avocado, fresh cilantro and lime.

It was a shame we all had to go back to work as the Sawtooth Putting Course and driving range beckoned nearby. All the Sun Valley golf courses are fully open and it surely looked like everyone was enjoying their time on the beautiful fairways.

In other Sun Valley restaurant news, the Ram Restaurant in the Sun Valley Village reopens for the summer on June 6 and is a wonderful place to enjoy al fresco dining on the patio with a view of the swan pond. More often than not, live music also accompanies a fine meal at the Ram. This summer, along with steakhouse favorites, this wonderful restaurant (my personal favorite) will serve lighter options like halibut cheeks and Divers scallops. Don’t worry, fondue is still on the menu!

Beginning June 21, bike, hike or take the gondola up to Roundhouse on Bald Mountain to enjoy lunch with a breathtaking view

Beginning June 21, bike, hike or take the gondola up to Roundhouse on Bald Mountain to enjoy lunch with a breathtaking view

At the Konditorei, patio dining is in full swing and the restaurant is now serving locally roasted Lizzy’s Fresh Coffee, all Fair Trade and organic. Three styles – Boulder Blend, Sawtooth Single and Pioneer Decaf are the perfect accompaniment to one of their hand-crafted European style pastries.

And the Roundhouse opens its doors to the most scenic lunch in the Lower 48 on June 21, to coincide with the start of gondola service up Bald Mountain. This is the perfect reward for a hike up the hill or just a great way to spend some time with family and friends surrounded by breathtaking scenery.

It promises to be a succulent summer in Sun Valley!

–RES

Whether you dine inside or on the patio, the Sun Valley Club is a great place to celebrate

Whether you dine inside or on the patio, the Sun Valley Club is a great place to celebrate

Queen for a Day

Mother’s Day is coming up fast and now is the time to make plans to honor the special mother in your life. For the woman who does so much for so many, Mother’s Day, this Sunday, May 11, is the perfect opportunity to show her just how much she is appreciated.

Mother's Day + Sun Valley = unforgettable

Mother's Day + Sun Valley = unforgettable

Sun Valley is the perfect place to treat your mother, wife, sister or daughter to an unforgettable Mother’s Day celebration.

A wonderful meal with the family is de rigueur for this holiday and there is no better place to indulge than at brunch at the elegant Sun Valley Club. Come celebrate at this elaborate meal that includes specialty items like Sun Valley Club Eggs Benedict (poached egg, duck confit, bread pudding, cherry gastrique and hollandaise) and much more. Invite mom to enjoy a mimosa or Bloody Mary and to sit back and relax. There is absolutely no rush. Brunch begins at 9 a.m. and reservations are not necessary. For more details please call 208-622-2919.

On Sunday, the Sun Valley Club will offer the perfect combination for Mother's Day -- a bountiful brunch and beautiful views

On Sunday, the Sun Valley Club will offer the perfect combination for Mother's Day -- a bountiful brunch and beautiful views

Stumped for the perfect gift for mom? Look no further than the Sun Valley Village. Whether she would love a beautiful scarf, handbag or spring dress, Panache and the Brass Ranch have you covered. Spring fashion is bright and beautiful and the selection right now is great. New gear for all mom’s fitness and outdoor needs are stocked and ready at Pete Lane’s and for another kind of hard goods, don’t miss the gorgeous jewelry at Towne & Parke Jewelers. Imagine how thrilled she will be to receive a beautiful necklace or bracelet from her family. Even the simple (and sweet) things will be greatly appreciated. The gift of fine chocolate from the Chocolate Foundry is sure to be a hit.

A handmade card is also always cherished. However, if you really want to impress, tuck in a gift card to the Sun Valley Salon & Spa for a pampering manicure and pedicure, massage, spa treatment or even a new hairstyle. The Sun Valley Salon & Spa has relocated to the Sun Valley Village while the exciting Lodge renovation is underway. Give mom a mini-vacation without having to go far. Please call 208-622-2160 for an appointment or more information.

If you really want to impress mom, give her a gift certificate for some pampering at the Sun Valley Salon & Spa

If you really want to impress mom, give her a gift certificate for some pampering at the Sun Valley Salon & Spa

As an added bonus, the family-friendly Sawtooth Putting Course, located outside the Sun Valley Club, opens for the season Friday, May 9. It will be free through Mother’s Day so go out and putt away!

Following brunch, spend some quality family time at the Sawtooth Putting Course.

Following brunch, spend some quality family time at the Sawtooth Putting Course.

Mother’s Day has a long history in the United States, and many nations set aside a similar holiday to honor mothers. The American version of Mother’s Day is said to have been created by Anna Jarvis in 1908. In 1914, it became an official U.S. holiday. Though some decry the commercialization of the holiday, it is a good reminder to appreciate the mothers in your life and all they do.

As a mother of three school-aged children, I do have one more suggestion: there is no better gift, prior to a fabulous, indulgent brunch, than being allowed to sleep in.

Happy Mother’s Day to my sweet, indispensable mother, Patricia, and to all you other moms out there!

–RES

Swing into Spring

Spring is in the air and it’s time to grab your golf bag and hit the links! The early season is underway with Sun Valley’s scenic, challenging courses now awaiting your tee. On Friday, golfers made for the greens taking their first swings of the year under sunny spring skies on the back nine of the Trail Creek Course, as well as on the chipping green and putting green. The back nine on the Elkhorn course, which is semi-private, also opened Friday.

Find out why Golf Digest called Sun Valley "one of the top 75 resort courses in North America." The season has begun!

Find out why Golf Digest called Sun Valley "one of the top 75 resort courses in North America." The season has begun!

Exciting things are underway on the fairways under the leadership of new Director of Golf Operations Tyler Jones who plans to make this the best season yet on Sun Valley’s courses. He brings with him more than 15 years of experience managing successful golf operations in California and Washington. Most recently, he was General Manager at the Olympia Country & Golf Club in Olympia, Washington. He has also acted as General Manager for the prestigious Palouse Ridge Golf Club in Pullman, Washington, and brings to the job experience as interim CEO for the Northern California Golf Association, the largest regional golf association in the U.S.

Meet Tyler Jones, Sun Valley's new Director of Golf Operations

Meet Tyler Jones, Sun Valley's new Director of Golf Operations

But Tyler loves Sun Valley. As a child, he spent many seasons in Sun Valley with his grandparents and learned to ski on Dollar Mountain when he was six years old. As a hospitality graduate from Washington State, he first worked in the Resort’s Food & Beverage division starting in 1992. But golf called to him and from 1994 to 1996, he worked as First Assistant Professional under the legendary Rick Hickman who only recently retired. Tyler said he is absolutely delighted to be back. He and his family are excited to relocate to the valley and Tyler has a lot of great ideas to make one of Sun Valley’s best recreational options, even better.

“Sun Valley has been a very special place for my family for over 50 years and we are thrilled to be joining the Sun Valley team. I am very much looking forward to the opportunity of carrying on the tradition of offering the highest levels of hospitality and world class amenities that Sun Valley Resort is known for,” Tyler said. “The season is starting on a great note. Conditions are very encouraging, the greens are in good condition and golfers are excited.”

On the White Clouds course, golf is played at the top of the world

On the White Clouds course, golf is played at the top of the world

This PGA professional has assumed responsibility for full operation of Sun Valley’s 45 holes of golf: the 18-hold Trail Creek Golf Course, the 9-hole White Clouds Golf Course and the 18-hole Elkhorn Golf Course. The Trail Creek Championship Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., boasts 6,968 yards, surrounded by jaw dropping views. The White Clouds Course provides a perfect complement with 3,600 yards available for play and 360-degree views of the entire Wood River Valley. Golfing at Elkhorn provides 7,214 yards of beautiful undulating greens, more than 100 sand traps and bunkers.

After a day on the links, the Sun Valley Club provides a gracious gathering place for golfers as well as the public, offering a full-service restaurant, bar, locker rooms, club storage, club rental and a well-stocked pro shop. There is no better place to enjoy an afternoon libation and snack than on the restaurant’s terrace.

The Sawtooth Putting Course provides fun for the entire family

The Sawtooth Putting Course provides fun for the entire family

Both group and private lessons are available by calling 208-622-2251 and don’t forget the popular Sawtooth Putting Course and virtual golf facility. Both can enhance your game or just provide a few hours of fun.  

For extra incentive, book the Early Birdie Resort special from Friday, April 18 through June 8, 2014.This special deal offers one night’s lodging and one round of golf (including cart) for only $124 per person, double occupancy. Please call 800-786-8259 for reservations. And don’t forget to ski and tee through Bald Mountain’s closing day, Sunday, April 20.

Be sure to stop at the Pro Shop at the Sun Valley Club to stock up on the latest golf fashions and gear. Then head across the hall to enjoy a wonderful meal or post-game cocktail.

Be sure to stop at the Pro Shop at the Sun Valley Club to stock up on the latest golf fashions and gear. Then head across the hall to enjoy a wonderful meal or post-game cocktail.

Golf Digest called Sun Valley “One of the top 75 resort golf courses in North America.” Come find out why.

Fore!

–RES

Hop to! Easter’s on its way!

Spring is in the air and Easter is just around the corner. Now is the time to make sure you don’t miss a moment of the festive holiday celebrations in Sun Valley.

Come to the Sun Valley Village on April 18 for an egg hunt and a visit with a very special VIB (very important bunny)

Come to the Sun Valley Village on April 18 for an egg hunt and a visit with a very special VIB (very important bunny)

On Friday, April 18, come and enjoy a sweet tradition at the Sun Valley Village.  At 4:30 p.m., everyone  age 10 and under is invited to search for eggs in a huge Easter egg hunt. Children are divided into age groups and asked to bring their own baskets as they scramble around the grounds in front of the Sun Valley Inn, collecting eggs.

Simultaneously, the Village location of the Toy Store will host face painting and children big and small can enjoy ice cream specials at the charming a la mode or satisfy a sweet tooth at the wonderfully nostalgic candy shop, the Chocolate Foundry. It will be a sweet beginning to a memorable holiday weekend.

If you're ten and under, the lawn outside the Sun Valley Inn is the place to be for a madcap Easter egg hunt

If you're ten and under, the lawn outside the Sun Valley Inn is the place to be for a madcap Easter egg hunt

Festivities continue on Easter Sunday, April 20, with a lavish Easter brunch. The Inn’s Limelight Room will brim with fresh, tasty and traditional delights, sure to please any age and any palate. Brunch will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please call 208.622.2135 for more information.

April 20 also marks closing day for the snow season on Bald Mountain. Before or after enjoying a bountiful brunch, be sure to get in your last turns of the year. The weather has been beautiful and the corn snow terrific. The final day of the season is traditionally also a chance for locals and visitors alike to dress up, turn their faces to the sun and appreciate the season that was.

Here, last tracks matter as much as first tracks!

Face painting is a great part of the Easter weekend fun

Face painting is a great part of the Easter weekend fun

Specials at the Resort add extra incentive to enjoy everything on offer. Lodging is available for the night of April 19, including Sunday brunch, for $93 per person, double occupancy. Please phone 800.786.8259 for more details. Tie on that Easter bonnet or clip on your ski helmet and get out and enjoy the weekend.

Happy Easter, happy spring and happy end of the season! Next up? Golf! Stay tuned to this blog for the exciting early season details.

–RES

Take a break from decorating eggs to enjoy them specially prepared for you at the lavish Easter brunch in the Limelight Room

Take a break from decorating eggs to enjoy them specially prepared for you at the lavish Easter brunch in the Limelight Room

Spring Renewal

Wonderful changes are underway at the storied Sun Valley Lodge

Wonderful changes are underway at the storied Sun Valley Lodge

As March wound down, one chapter of Sun Valley’s storied history came to a close, while another one began to be written. On Saturday night, March 29, the elegant Lodge Dining Room hosted its final dinner, while on Sunday the 30th, hundreds gathered in the iconic room, the “grand dame” of the Sun Valley Resort, to feast on one final Sunday brunch. On April 1, the beautiful, tiered space with its rounded walls and floor-to-ceiling picture windows, began its transition as a central part of a spectacular new renovation that began earlier this week.

Among the revelers at Saturday night's party at the Lodge Dining Room were Mike and Carole Sampson and their guests Dr. David and Patti Puz. Mike, a local real estate agent, said, "Carole and I have been doing Christmas dinner at the LDR since the Holdings bought Sun Valley.  I was a ski instructor and she owned an interior design business. It Happened in Sun Valley!"

Among the revelers at Saturday night's party at the Lodge Dining Room were Mike and Carole Sampson and their guests Dr. David and Patti Puz. Mike, a local real estate agent, said, "Carole and I have been doing Christmas dinner at the LDR since the Holdings bought Sun Valley. I was a ski instructor and she owned an interior design business. It Happened in Sun Valley!"

The Lodge Dining Room will morph into a portion of a glorious new spa, salon and fitness center, part of a large renovation project announced last month by the Sun Valley Resort aimed at continuing to make the Sun Valley experience an unforgettable one for guests. The new 20,000 square foot facility will offer resort guests and the local community all the pampering they could ever wish for in an atmosphere designed to interact harmoniously with the area’s spectacular surroundings. Fifteen private treatment rooms for individuals and couples, steam and sauna facilities, large plush locker rooms, relaxation lounges, a yoga studio and large fitness facility filled with the latest and best aerobic and strength training equipment will add tremendously to the full Sun Valley experience. The views of Baldy should be pretty spectacular, too. And for you Lodge pool fans (like me), no worries. The wonderful, warm, round pool will remain in an improved form that includes a spacious deck and new food and beverage service.

The spa addition is just part of enhancements planned for the Lodge that was originally constructed in 1936 as America’s first destination ski resort. In addition to the spa, the project’s plans include creating guest suites with fireplaces and expanded bathrooms. Visitors will also be greeted in a lobby with enhanced space for gathering and comparing notes – whether they are about the best run of the day or the largest trout netted. Exciting restaurant plans are also in the works.

The iconic and wonderful year-round Lodge pool will receive some improvements during this project

The iconic and wonderful year-round Lodge pool will receive some improvements during this project

The Sun Valley Lodge, however, will still be the Sun Valley Lodge with its unique and welcoming character that generations of visitors have enjoyed. According to the Resort, “With these improvements, the utmost care will be taken to maintain the character and essence of this magnificent historic building that was originally designed by Stanley Underwood in 1935.  For nearly 80 years the Sun Valley Lodge has been recognized as an icon of architecture, hospitality, comfort and entertainment.  As the pictures in its hallways display, it has been a place where movie stars, dignitaries and other celebrities come together with kids, families, locals and visitors of all walks of life throughout the world to enjoy the beauty and recreation that Sun Valley has to offer.”

“There are few more enduring icons of quality and hospitality in the world than the Sun Valley Lodge.” said Carol Holding, resort owner for the last 37 years with her late husband Earl. “Our family has loved Sun Valley for over three decades.  We have always tried to make it better while maintaining the personal and intimate feeling that makes it so special.  We want to keep the wonderful feeling of the Lodge while at the same time providing the modern comforts and conveniences that our guests expect, fitting the Lodge for the next 75 years of fun in the sun.”

The view from above on April 3

The view from above on April 3

For Resort guests, the changes should be largely seamless. According to Dick Andersen, Director of Hotels, starting April 1, this first phase of the much anticipated remodel will not interrupt “business as usual.” Everything at the Lodge will be in full operation through April 6 with the exception of the current Salon that will reopen April 3 in a new, temporary location at the former Signatures and Gift Shop in the Sun Valley Village.  Signatures and Gifts can be found adjacent to Pete Lane’s in the Village during the renovation. The Business Center has also temporarily relocated to the Village and the Lodge concierge is happy to also assist guests with business needs and services like printing boarding passes.

Beginning April 7, the Lodge pool will close but the Inn pool will remain open daily 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

At this time, the Spa will join the Beauty Salon in the Village and the Fitness Center will move down the hallway toward the public bathrooms in the Lodge.

Stop by the Sun Valley Salon and Day Spa, now located in the Village, for the best pampering around

Stop by the Sun Valley Salon and Day Spa, now located in the Village, for the best pampering around

Sun Valley has retained the Boston design firm of Frank Nicholson Inc and local architects Ruscitto, Latham, Blanton to oversee the project.  Having worked together for over two decades for the Holdings in Sun Valley, this design team is very familiar with the needs and character of the resort.  Their prior projects include: River Run Lodge 1994, the Sun Valley Inn and Ballroom expansion 2003, Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge 2004, the Sun Valley Lodge improvements in 1996 & 2004 and the Sun Valley Pavilion 2008. 

Full renovation of the Lodge begins in September and both projects are expected to be completed by June of 2015. According to Tim Silva, Sun Valley’s General Manager, “We anticipate completing both projects by June of next year.  We are pleased that during construction the Sun Valley Inn, cottages and condominiums as well as restaurants, retail shops and entertainment venues will be fully operational to accommodate Sun Valley’s guests.”

It is an exciting time in Sun Valley as everyone looks toward the future and toward offering the finest year-round experience for our guests. I, for one, can’t wait for the new spa. Even though I was always a loyal fan of the Lodge Dining Room, this will be a wonderful reinvention of a wonderful space: one that will be enjoyed for generations to come.

Stay tuned to this blog for updates on the renovations and exciting developments at the Sun Valley Resort.

–RES

Hot Jazz in Cold Midwinter

After an active winter’s day on the slopes, there is no better way to unwind than to the sounds of live jazz music. Add in the comfortable and inviting environs of the Duchin Lounge at the Sun Valley Lodge, a handcrafted cocktail or glass of fine wine and some of the best bar food around, and you have the recipe for a perfect night.

Come on in for some hot jazz at the Duchin Lounge

Come on in for some hot jazz at the Duchin Lounge

Throughout the winter, the Duchin Room comes alive almost nightly with a variety of jazz artists performing in a variety of styles. Sunday evening, an enthusiastic crowd found a seat, settled in and let the dynamic and transformative piano music of the incomparable Alan Pennay, accompanied by an amazing bass guitar, wash over them. Pennay played to the attentive, appreciative group from 6 to 9 p.m. Pennay first came to Sun Valley in 1972 from Australia, to ski and play piano. His standards with a twist have earned him a loyal following.

Alan Pennay's standards with twist have earned him a loyal following

Alan Pennay's standards with twist have earned him a loyal following

After a busy weekend, I joined the crowd, settling in to my favorite seat at the Duchin Lounge. The high leather banquettes in the back are a great place to find some privacy and peace to enjoy the music. Our wonderful server, Virginia, served up tasty treats – Kobe beef sliders and homemade hummus and pita. At the bar, Bobby mixed tasty cocktails with a smile. The room was filled with both locals enjoying the last gasp of the weekend before returning to work and visitors taking advantage of yet another great facet of a Sun Valley vacation.

Live music continues this week with crowd favorite Paul Tillotson and his trio performing on the 28th and 29th from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. followed by the one-and-only Joe Fos Trio playing until closing. Please check HERE for a full schedule of entertainment at the Sun Valley Resort.

Let bartender Bobby create a special cocktail for you, or perhaps just pour a fine glass of wine

Let bartender Bobby create a special cocktail for you, or perhaps just pour a fine glass of wine

The Ram Bar at the Sun Valley Inn also offers live music to accompany your evening. On January 30, enjoy the sounds of Brooks Hartell from 5 – 8 p.m.

There is no better cure for the midwinter blues than some red-hot jazz. Spend a few hours at the historic, cozy and comfortable Duchin Lounge and let yourself be transported by the live music. It’s like a little mini-vacation within a vacation or just the regular workweek.

Who needs a sit-down dinner when you can enjoy delicious sliders while listening to fantastic jazz?

Who needs a sit-down dinner when you can enjoy delicious sliders while listening to fantastic jazz?

For more great live music, be sure to spend some quality après ski hours at the Warm Springs and River Run lodges. Until 5 or 5:30 p.m. on weekend afternoons, extend the day by kicking back with friends, a beer and some great tunes.

Enjoy!

–RES

Bonus picture of Sunday night's unbelievable sunset over Baldy

Bonus picture of Sunday night's unbelievable sunset over Baldy

Dine by the Light of the Silvery Moon

There is something wonderful about the combination of moonlight and fresh snow and that is exactly what dinner patrons enjoyed Saturday night at the year’s first Sun Valley Clubhouse Moonlight Dinner. The day’s heavy snowfall dissipated by evening, allowing the light of a big winter moon to intermittently fall on the silent snow.

The Sun Valley Club, located just east of the Lodge, is HQ for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, fabulous lunches, and three times this season, a very special moonlight dinner

The Sun Valley Club, located just east of the Lodge, is HQ for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, fabulous lunches, and three times this season, a moonlight dinner

The lovely spacious dining room at the Clubhouse hosted parties both large and small for a festive meal. The chef offered an a la carte menu with something for every palate. Appetizers included hot southwest chicken tortilla soup, a generous prawn cocktail with house made cocktail sauce, duck flatbread, an apple walnut salad and a bibb wedge salad. Entrees consisted of three choices: chicken roulade, grilled Atlantic salmon and prime rib of beef. Dessert was a choice of chocolate and white mousse cake or my all-time favorite, Bananas Foster.

Our group of seven reserved this special dinner to celebrate my son’s ninth birthday. The big, comfortable table, welcoming atmosphere and varied menu was the perfect choice for a special occasion. Conversation was animated and laughter constant as we tucked into our meals and enjoyed watching the snow fall lightly outside the big picture windows. The birthday boy enjoyed a man-sized portion of prime rib and the rest of the group, for the most part, followed suit, enjoying the flavorful carved-to-order meat accompanied by roasted garlic mashed potatoes, baby carrots and asparagus. The prawn cocktails were also a popular and well-received choice. For dessert, my son blew out the candle on his mousse cake and enjoyed every bite.

The moonlight dinner at the Sun Valley Club was a perfect place to celebrate a special birthday

The moonlight dinner at the Sun Valley Club was a perfect place to celebrate a special birthday

If you missed the fun last weekend, don’t fret. There will be two additional Moonlight Dinners this season, the first on Valentine’s Day, Friday, February 14 and the second on Saturday, March 15. Please call the Sun Valley Clubhouse directly at 208-622-2919 to make your reservations. Plan a little extra time before or after dinner, too, to take advantage of a snowshoe or a gentle cross country ski around the Nordic Center’s amazing trails. Under the light of the moon, there is nothing more serene.

The Ring and Foster families also celebrated a birthday Saturday under the light of the moon

The Ring and Foster families also celebrated a birthday Saturday beneath the light of the moon

Chances are you will be spending more and more time at the Nordic Center and Sun Valley Club as the Resort opened cross country skiing trails originating from the Club on Monday. Recent storms allowed for the opening of 5 kilometers of trails including Practice Loop and Leif’s Loop. Until there is additional snow, there will not be groomed classic tracks, but classic skiers are invited to enjoy the skate skiing trails. Glenn’s Loop is also open for snowshoeing and all trails are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lessons are available and all the gear cross country enthusiasts need is available to rent on premise. For more information, please call the Sun Valley Nordic Center at 208-622-2250.

It's beginning to look a lot like cross country skiing season in Nordic Town USA with the opening of 5km of trails in Sun Valley

It's beginning to look a lot like cross country skiing season in Nordic Town USA with the opening of 5km of trails in Sun Valley

With the Boulder Mountain Tour and the Sun Valley Nordic Festival coming soon, many people’s thoughts are turning to serious cross country fun. In Sun Valley, festivities celebrating the Nordic lifestyle begin January 24 and run through February 2.

The weekend’s snowfall put everyone in a great mood and the season is truly underway. Whether you favor fat or skinny skis, play hard on the mountain or on the trail and then be sure to stop by the Sun Valley Club to enjoy a hearty, delicious and nutritious lunch. And be sure to book a special night for that special person on Valentine’s Day. It will surely be a night to remember.

–RES