New Year’s Cheer

No matter your age, it is important to give a nod to the year that was and ring in the new. And there’s no better place to do so than in Sun Valley! On Tuesday night, even the youngest merrymakers are invited to enjoy parties, designed especially for them, throughout the Resort.

It's time to celebrate!

It's time to celebrate!

Parents of the littlest revelers can luxuriate in some grownup time on New Year’s Eve knowing their children are having the time of their lives at a Bowling Night created just for them. From 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, children between the ages of 12 months and 7 years will enjoy arts and crafts, indoor and outdoor play, bowling at Sun Valley’s historic alley and game room and an age-appropriate movie. This is a safe, stimulating environment where the kids are the stars of the night. The price is $75 for the evening and dinner is available for an additional $8.50 per child. Reservations are required. For more information or to sign up please call 208.622.2135 or email recreation@sunvalley.com.

Bowling at Sun Valley's historic alley will be part of the fun for little revelers on New Year's Eve

Bowling at Sun Valley's historic alley will be part of the fun for little revelers on New Year's Eve

Bigger kids will flock to the Boiler Room in Sun Valley Village to enjoy a party of their own. This Rockin’ New Year’s Eve features the music of DJ Marlin – a wildly popular local entertainer. Children from 8 to 14 are invited to dance, enjoy video walls with kids’ freeride edits and music videos. A photo booth is sure to be a highlight of the night. Bald Mountain Pizza will provide lots of hot, delicious food, drinks and a treat for everyone. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the party continues until 10 p.m. Parents are welcome and availability is limited so be sure to call 208.622.2135 or email recreation@sunvalley.com so as not to miss out on a minute of fun. The all-inclusive price is $50 per child.

Children love to skate on Sun Valley's iconic outdoor rink

Children love to skate on Sun Valley's iconic outdoor rink

Sun Valley offers special Kids’ Night Out activities throughout the season, not only on New Year’s Eve. The schedule this week includes crafts like making Sun Valley Winter Wonderland backpacks and snowman canvas prints, and activities like ice skating on the famous outdoor rink and bowling. Contact the Sun Valley PlaySchool at 208.622.2288 for more information on all the fun as well as reservations.

For bigger kids, the party moves to the Boiler Room on New Year's Eve and features great music and a photo booth

For bigger kids, the party moves to the Boiler Room on New Year's Eve and features great music and a photo booth

And happy children make happy parents. When the kiddos are busy and entertained, be sure to make a reservation for a romantic meal or fun-filled evening at one of Sun Valley’s fabulous restaurants. Enjoy a cocktail at the Ram Lounge at the Inn or the Duchin Lounge at the Lodge and then tuck into locally-sourced, seasonal and delicious fare at the Ram, Gretchen’s, Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta, the Konditorei or Trail Creek Cabin. All are different, all are delicious! Stroll hand-in-hand through the Village Light Display, shop or window shop, delighting in the Resort’s whimsical holiday windows. It is truly a magical time of year in Sun Valley.

Popular DJ Marlin will keep the kids dancing and happy at a special party just for them

Popular DJ Marlin will keep the kids dancing and happy at a special party just for them

No matter how you and your family choose to spend New Year’s Eve, may it be filled with friends, loved ones, good memories and exciting plans. We hope to see you at the Sun Valley Resort to ring in 2014 – be it with champagne or sparkling apple cider.

Happy New Year!

–RES

Light up the Night

On Saturday night, following a countdown of 5-4-3-2-1, it was officially Christmas in Sun Valley! Hundreds of people in the holiday spirit flocked to the Village to enjoy the lighting of the Christmas tree and all the surrounding activities.

Sun Valley is magical at night, lit with millions of white lights

Sun Valley is magical at night, lit with millions of white lights. Saturday night hundreds strolled beneath them

Merrymakers were greeted by millions of white lights that festooned trees up and down the walkways, creating a magical glow amid light snow. Hot chocolate stations kept everyone warm and happy as they enjoyed all the night offered.

Among the highlights? Ice carving demonstrations that showed just how much work and skill – and how many power tools  – it takes to create one of the many oversize ice sculptures that will now remain throughout Sun Valley for the rest of the cold weather season. The noisy sounds of chainsaws mixed with the shouts of delighted children as blocks of ice transformed into Christmas trees, thrones and, of course, a big Sun Valley Sun. Many, curious about the properties of such huge ice blocks, hopped onto the seats wondering if they would stick. They didn’t, but it surely was a bit chilly!

It takes a chainsaw and some serious artistic skill to transform a huge block of ice into a festive holiday tree

It takes a chainsaw and some serious artistic skill to transform a huge block of ice into a festive holiday tree

Sun Valley’s famous and charming carolers also gathered at the event, serenading the crowd with many Christmas favorites. The group of young men and women, clad in old fashioned and traditional winter outfits (complete with hand muffs for the girls), put a smile on everyone’s face as they sang the evening away in multi-part harmony.

The Sun Valley's famous carolers' renditions of holiday songs put a smile on everyone's faces

The Sun Valley's famous carolers' renditions of holiday songs put a smile on everyone's faces

Santa made an appearance and invited dozens and dozens of children to whisper last-minute wishes in his ear.

The highlight of the event, though, was probably the lighting of Sun Valley’s beautiful, living Christmas tree, located just outside the doors to the Sun Valley Inn. Sun Valley General Manager Tim Silva welcomed the group, abuzz with anticipation, and then counted down until the switch was thrown and the tree came alive with color. You could almost hear the collective intake of breath before the applause began.

5-4-3-2-1! The Sun Valley Christmas tree is alight for the season

5-4-3-2-1! The Sun Valley Christmas tree is alight for the season

The merriment continued well into the night with the Duchin Lounge at the Lodge hosting a Christmas sweater party and Village restaurants preparing festive and delicious meals to suit every taste and every budget. Santa Claus greeted families at a special breakfast in the Lodge Dining Room Saturday and Sunday morning and excitement was in the air.

Be sure not to miss Sunday night’s sixth Annual Classical Christmas Concert at The Sun Valley Opera House  Tickets are available at the Sun Valley Recreation Center for $20, or for purchase at the door. For more information please call 208.622.2135 or email recreation@sunvalley.com. Doors open at 6:30 and the music begins at 7 p.m.

The mountains skied really well this weekend, too, inviting snow sports enthusiasts to enjoy the run up to Christmas Day under bright blue Idaho skies, surrounded by some of the most jaw dropping vistas in the Lower 48. Reports from up top were generally comprised of “woo hoo!”

Welcome to Sun Valley where Christmas is exactly the way it is supposed to be!

Welcome to Sun Valley where Christmas is exactly the way it is supposed to be!

It’s truly beginning to look a lot like Christmas and we are all glad that you are here to share the holidays in true Sun Valley style!

–RES

The Jolly Holiday Season Begins

Santa listened earnestly to many children's wishes during the Winter Wonderland Festival

Santa listened earnestly to many children's wishes during the Winter Wonderland Festival

Things were jolly, indeed, this weekend in Sun Valley. Families flocked to the Village to enjoy the second annual Winter Wonderland Festival. Children raced around with scavenger hunt cards looking for clues, boarded a colorful train for a ride, carefully (or not) decorated gingerbread cookies with gobs of frosting and whispered in Santa’s ear.

Train rides around the Sun Valley Village were popular among the younger set

Train rides around the Sun Valley Village were popular among the younger set

Members of the Wood River High School choir serenaded the group gathered outside the Boiler Room and Sun Valley provided delicious food and warm drinks to keep the merriment going. By all accounts, it was a lovely, festive way to spend the afternoon.

Peter and Chloe enjoyed gingerbread man decorating in the Boiler Room

Peter and Chloe enjoyed gingerbread man decorating in the Boiler Room

Then, on Sunday, the elegant Lodge Dining Room opened for its bountiful champagne brunch. Newly configured this year, the Brunch offered its signature abundance of fresh, delicious food to suit everyone’s palate at numerous stations. From bowls of crab legs and shrimp, to made-to-order omelets and crepes; from Eggs Benedict to salads and fruit, it was hard to maintain discipline at this all-you-can-eat occasion! And that doesn’t even begin to cover the dessert table and the flowing champagne! Live guitar music offered a soothing soundtrack beneath lively conversations. This special meal will be offered on Sundays all season long and is something everyone who visits Sun Valley should experience.

Dessert, glorious dessert!

At champagne brunch, it's dessert, glorious dessert!

A crepe station is always popular at brunch

The crepe station is always a popular option

On the mountains, Baldy and Dollar hosted happy skiers and boarders all weekend long. Dollar is now open daily for the season, providing top-to-bottom runs as well as many fun and challenging terrain features. On Baldy, runs on Seattle Ridge also opened on Saturday. Skiing and boarding are now available on all over the vast mountain, offering great possibilities for a full day on the snow. Roundhouse Restaurant, Seattle Ridge Lodge, Warm Springs Lodge, River Run Lodge and Lookout are all providing tasty treats of all varieties to keep your energy high for just one more run.

Baldy's Seattle Ridge is open for the season!

Baldy's Seattle Ridge is open for the season!

But the fun is only beginning. A special breakfast with Santa takes place on December 21 and 22 at the Lodge Dining Room. Also on the 21st, be sure to come to the Sun Valley Village at 5 p.m. for the Tree Lighting Ceremony outside the Inn. Carolers, Santa and ice carving demonstrations will ring in the season.

There is nothing like Christmas Eve in Sun Valley with the Nutcracker on Ice, Torchlight Parade and fireworks

There is nothing like Christmas Eve in Sun Valley with the Nutcracker on Ice, Torchlight Parade and fireworks

On December 22, be sure not to miss the sixth annual Classic Christmas Concert at the Sun Valley Opera House. The tradition is enriched this year with several popular local acts including the Sun Valley Hallelujah Chorus and special guest Joe Fos. Carolers and dancers from the Footlight Dance Centre will also perform. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are available for $20 at the Sun Valley Recreation Center or online.

Everything leads up to Christmas Eve festivities, including the popular Nutcracker on Ice at the outdoor rink, followed by Sun Valley’s traditional torchlight parade and fireworks.

Please join us to celebrate the happiest of holidays!

–RES

Meal with a View

Roundhouse Restaurant, nestled beneath Rock Garden run (or just off Roundhouse Lane if you prefer a gentler entry) about two-thirds of the way up Bald Mountain, is one of the gems that makes Sun Valley, Sun Valley. Rustic, charming and traditional, but with a modern flair, this one-of-a-kind restaurant features roaring fires, a cozy atmosphere and drop-dead views of Ketchum, the Pioneer Mountains and beyond.

Roundhouse welcomes you to lunch beginning December 12

Roundhouse welcomes you to lunch beginning December 12

Roundhouse will open for the season on December 12, serving lunch seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m (starting December 19th). There is also still space available for a special dinner on Christmas Day. Reservations are required for dinner and are accepted for lunch. Expect starched white linens and crystal at both seatings to compliment a delicious menu that relies on locally-sourced, seasonal fare. But no worries, this is still a ski lodge. Parkas and ski boots are de rigueur at lunchtime and the atmosphere is an only-in-Sun Valley mix of upscale and casual.

Charming and cozy -- a meal at Roundhouse is sure to be memorable

Charming and cozy -- a meal at Roundhouse is sure to be memorable

For the ultimate in après ski, be sure to visit Averell’s Bar on the lower level of Roundhouse. Featuring huge picture windows overlooking Roundhouse Slope and downtown Ketchum, there is no more beautiful way to end a day on the snow. But Averell’s is more than a glass of wine or a hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps. Every day, revelers are invited to enjoy Roundhouse’s famous fondue, accompanied with baguettes, red potatoes and granny smith apples. Additional “add-ons” are available for dunking in the sublime fondue, including spicy sausage, grilled steak, shrimp, wild mushrooms and roasted winter vegetables. Handmade Bavarian pretzels served with spicy mustard, cheddar spread, honey mustard, mesquite chipotle barbecue, olive cream cheese and jalapeno beer cheese are the perfect reward for completing all that vertical on skis or a board. The menu is designed for sharing, so bring your friends and indulge! The gondola will whisk you – and your gear — back to River Run after après ski ends.

Your chariot awaits to or from Roundhouse

Your chariot awaits to or from Roundhouse

Evening meals are served both in the main dining room and Averell’s. Be sure to come a bit earlier than your reservation to enjoy a cocktail at the inviting upstairs bar. And for dinner at Roundhouse, getting there is often half the fun! A ride on the Roundhouse gondola on a winter’s evening can mean a bright moonlit night, or an intimate cocoon of snow on the gondola’s windows. Be sure to wear warm boots, gloves, a hat and coat as the gondola isn’t heated during the approximately 15-minute ride. It is perfectly acceptable to change into party shoes once you reach Roundhouse, too!

Dinner at Roundhouse in winter is peaceful, magical, festive and delicious

Dinner at Roundhouse in winter is peaceful, magical, festive and delicious

Still need a reason to stop by? This season, Roundhouse is hand-crafting signature cocktails, as well as offering an extensive wine list and many boutique brews. New cocktails, appropriately named after ski runs, include: the Graduate (Woodford Reserve Bourbon, bing cherries, diced apples, cinnamon, orange bitters, simple syrup), the International (Hendrick’s Gin, Fever-Free Mediterranean Tonic) or the Sunny Side Organic Lemondrop (Organic Square One Vodka, organic lemon juice, organic agave nectar, organic sugar). Also special for the holidays is a Huckleberry-Pomegranate Cosmo (Pama Pomegranate Liqueur, Patron Citronage, huckleberry puree, organic Agave nectar). Cheers!

For dinner reservations, please call 208-622-2012 or book online through Open Table.

A meal, or drink, just tastes better at 7,700 feet, whether you are wearing your ski boots or high heels. There is no better way to toast the season than from a cozy table at Roundhouse!

–RES

Start your own holiday tradition at Roundhouse this season!

Start your own holiday tradition at Roundhouse this season!

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

‘Tis the season to get out that red pen and mark your calendar so as not to miss any of the wonderful events that will make holidays in Sun Valley the merriest yet! From twinkling lights, to fabulous food; from fun for the family to sensational shopping – it’s all right here.

It's beginning to look a lot like the holidays in Sun Valley

It's beginning to look a lot like the holidays in Sun Valley

Here are some highlights for your December plans:

Our season kicks off in earnest on December 14 with a Winter Wonderland Stroll in the Sun Valley Village. This special afternoon includes photos with Santa at the Boiler Room deck from 1 to 3 p.m., a gingerbread man decorating workshop at 2 p.m., delicious food cart offerings including cider, hot cocoa, beignets and treats, craft demonstrations and a scavenger hunt and Window Stroll prizes. Stop into a la mode for gourmet hot chocolate or the Konditorei for a savory lunch or treat. It is a celebration for all ages.

Pop into a la mode and warm up with a special holiday hot chocolate

Pop into a la mode and warm up with a special holiday hot chocolate

The Sun Valley tree will sparkle to life on December 21 in front of the Inn. This annual tradition officially begins at 5 p.m. Shortly thereafter, the storied Sun Valley Carolers will entertain with their wonderful multi-part harmony renditions of Christmas classics and Sun Valley General Manager, Tim Silva, will then count down and light the tree. The remainder of the evening includes caroling, Santa arriving by sleigh at the Inn, ice carving demonstrations, food and warm drinks and a vintage Christmas sweater party for the grown ups at the Duchin Room beginning at 6 p.m.

On December 22, music takes center stage when the 6th annual Classic Christmas Concert comes to the Opera House at 7 p.m. The Sun Valley Hallelujah Chorus will bring its signature blend of gospel and traditional music and will be joined by a live trio and the Sun Valley Carolers.

The Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade and fireworks are among Sun Valley's most treasured holiday traditions

The Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade and fireworks are among Sun Valley's most treasured holiday traditions

The culmination of all the pre-Christmas festivity leads to Christmas Eve, Sun Valley style. Don’t miss the tradition of the Christmas Eve Nutcracker on Ice and Torch Light Parade. At 4 p.m. on the 24th, complimentary hot cocoa and cookies are served on the Lodge patio. The Carolers welcome what is always a huge audience to the show at 5:30 p.m., with the special Nutcracker production, featuring professional and local young skaters, gliding into action at 5:40 p.m. Following the show around 6 p.m., look past the rink to Dollar Mountain where members of the Sun Valley SnowSports instructors and special guests will ski down the slopes holding lit torches – creating a mesmerizing serpentine of light into the dark night. Fireworks follow and if that isn’t enough, Santa is scheduled to arrive for a special appearance.

 

The torchlight parade is truly magical (photo courtesy Charlie Webster)

The torchlight parade is truly magical (photo courtesy Charlie Webster)

Shopping at the Sun Valley Village specialty shops, as well as at the base of River Run, will inspire you to polish off those Christmas lists. Quality defines the merchandise available at Brass Ranch, Panache, Pete Lane’s, Silver Creek Outfitters, the Toy Store, Towne & Parke Jewelers and the Sun Valley Signature Shops, and no matter if your tastes run from classical to whimsical, there is truly something for everyone.

The tastes, smells and flavors of holiday meals also help define the season. Sun Valley’s signature restaurants will be serving fare that invites you to linger, to continue the conversation, to order just one more course or another glass of fine wine.

Tell Santa how good you've been this year at a special breakfast in the Lodge Dining Room

Tell Santa how good you've been this year at a special breakfast in the Lodge Dining Room

Special to the season is the reopening of the elegant Lodge Dining Room for a Champagne Brunch every Sunday, December 15 through March 30. On December 21 and 22, be sure to come to the bountiful breakfast for a special chance to see Santa Claus before he begins his around-the-world journey. Please call Restaurant Reservations 208-622-2800 to reserve a seat with Santa.

Historic Roundhouse perched two-thirds up Bald Mountain opens for the season for lunch daily on December 12 and for dinner during the season on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. A meal there is truly magical! Reservations for dinner are accepted at 208-622-2012.

The Sun Valley sleigh ride to Trail Creek Cabin is a must-do holiday activity

The Sun Valley sleigh ride to Trail Creek Cabin is a must-do holiday activity

No trip to Sun Valley is complete without a sleigh ride under the stars to historic Trail Creek Cabin for a warm, inviting and plentiful meal before a roaring fire. Book your sleigh ride and dinner reservations through the Recreation Center at 208-622-2135.

Check back to this blog for updates and more information on all the flavorful, fun options for holiday food as well as all the holiday hoopla.

Holidays in Sun Valley are exactly what they are supposed to be – genuine, memorable, colorful, filled with traditional. Be sure not to miss a minute!

–RES

Travel and Leisure agrees — Sun Valley is for Families

Anyone who has come to Sun Valley with their family knows that there is no better place, no matter your age, to enjoy a memorable, unique experience. The readers of Travel and Leisure agree. In the magazine’s just released 18th annual “World’s Best Awards 2013” results, discerning readers were polled and asked to cast their vote for the best of the best hotels, destinations, and companies that define the very finest in travel.

Year-round, Sun Valley is for families

Year-round, Sun Valley is for families

In the category of top Family Hotels, Sun Valley Resort was voted #38 out of the top 50. With our year-round recreational opportunities, three pools, eight restaurants, caring childcare, extensive kids’ programs, and family-friendly atmosphere, Sun Valley was among very few mountain resorts to receive the recognition.

As the winter season begins in earnest, it is readily apparent that Sun Valley is the premiere cold weather destination for families. With the Sun Valley Snow Sports School gearing up for the best season ever, specially trained instructors who love working with children will offer little shredders the best experience possible on the slopes. Based from the gorgeous Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge and River Run on Bald Mountain, full-day ski lessons are available for children ages 4 – 12 and snowboarding for ages 6 – 12. Lessons include four hours of on-snow instruction and a healthy hot lunch the kids will actually eat!

Happiness is children on Sun Valley's snowy slopes

Happiness is children on Sun Valley's snowy slopes

The epic Terrain Park at Dollar is another reason Sun Valley is family-central. With the only  22-foot Superpipe in the northwest and constantly growing and evolving jumps and park features, it is really one huge white playground. Sun Valley’s Adventure Trails on Baldy are also a family favorite. These trails that cut into glades on all sides of the mountain, provide narrow, banking, rolling runs that are wildly popular with the younger set. All are designed to meet up with traditional runs, so adults who choose not to follow their kids in, are always within earshot of the “woo hoo” cheers coming from the trees.

Snowshoeing and cross country skiing also make Sun Valley the best choice for families. Five-year-olds can snowshoe with their 75-year-old grandmothers on beautiful trails that highlight some of the area’s most scenic vistas. Cross country skiing is something the entire family can do, as well, and the finest instruction and gear rental are available at the lovely Sun Valley Club.

Go ahead and play on the Terrain Park

Go ahead and play on the Terrain Park

Two year-round outdoor heated pools await at the Sun Valley Lodge and Inn and are a great way to wind down and warm up after a day on the snow. If the family needs a quiet afternoon, the Sun Valley Bowling Alley and Game Room provides the best in old-school entertainment and the iconic outdoor ice rink awaits just beyond the Lodge’s back patio. The Opera House runs first-run movies, too. Try a family-friendly dinner at Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta before taking in a film.

Bowl, eat, take in a movie -- you can only spend seven hours a day on slopes!

Bowl, eat, take in a movie -- you can only spend seven hours a day on slopes!

That doesn’t even begin to cover cozying up for a gourmet hot chocolate at a la mode in the Sun Valley Village, riding a horse drawn sleigh to a very special dinner at Trail Creek Cabin, or Sunday brunch with Santa Claus at the elegant Lodge Dining Room. The possibilities truly are endless.

With the first visit to Sun Valley, every member of the family, whether their “children” are toddlers or adults, will agree with the readers of Travel and Leisure that the Resort is a pretty special place for families. Start a tradition that lasts generations by bringing your clan to Sun Valley this winter. You will quickly understand what all the accolades are about!

–RES

Sun Valley is magical for families, especially at the holidays. Here, children enjoy brunch with Santa at the Lodge Dining Room

Sun Valley is magical for families, especially at the holidays. Here, children enjoy brunch with Santa at the Lodge Dining Room

Ode to Sun Valley

For the Marziello family of New Jersey, Sun Valley holds a special place. Lisabeth Marziello started bringing her four children to the Resort for the magical holiday season when they were tiny and has returned for the past 15 years for the lively week of December 26 through New Years’. Her parents, Bill and Harriet Harris, have been Sun Valley loyalists for 25 years.

The Marziello family at Baldy from left: Samantha, Joseph, Sophia and Fiona. And, yes, that is Sylvester Stallone in the middle!

The Marziello family at Baldy from left: Samantha, Joseph, Sophia and Fiona. And, yes, that is Sylvester Stallone in the middle!

“The children have all learned to ski in Sun Valley, starting in the preschool program on Dollar, and moved with their favorite instructor, Basil, to Baldy,” Lisabeth explained. “They are now all black diamond skiers!”

The family also returns during the warm weather months to ice skate, horseback ride, bicycle and go whitewater rafting. In all, according to Lisabeth, the family that includes Joseph, 21, Samantha, 20, Fiona, 16, and Sophia, 14, spend about a month in Idaho each year.

When assigned an essay in English class this fall, 14-year-old Sophia, a freshman, composed an evocative piece detailing what she loves about winter in Sun Valley. This ode reminds that Sun Valley is a place that cultivates lifelong relationships, lifelong loyalty. The essay, which incidentally received an A grade, appears below.

 

Another reason to love Sun Valley, no matter your age: the gourmet hot cocoa bar at a la mode

Another reason to love Sun Valley, no matter your age: the gourmet hot cocoa bar at a la mode in the Village

Sun Valley by Sophia Marziello
In the wintertime, a blanket of shimmering snow covers the ground for as far as the eye can see. The sweet aroma of hot chocolate fills the air as you walk down the peaceful streets of Sun Valley,
Idaho.

The wind as cold as ice hits across your face, as you race down the slopes of Mt. Baldy; which is one of the greatest features of Sun Valley. In the small, but spirited, town of Sun Valley, Idaho, there are so many great things to do. From skiing, to sleigh rides, and drinking Sun Valley’s famous hot chocolate, everyone is guaranteed to have a great time. In Sun Valley, while the snow is falling, and the air is filled with the laughter and cheer of your family, it seems like a perfect Winter Wonderland.

Christmas lights light up the night, as you listen to the wonderful voices of carolers, and take in the majestic scenery of Sun Valley. Surrounded by trees, chirping birds, and the smell of smoke,
from nearby bon fires, there is no other place I would rather be. One of my favorite places in Sun Valley is the Sun Valley Lodge.

Surrounding the beautiful Lodge, are dozens of ice sculptures, made by local, creative, artists. From animals, to sleds, and the annual great Sun, these sculptures come in all different shapes and sizes.

From the moment I step off the plane, and feel the cool breeze of winter glide across my face, I know that I have finally arrived in Sun Valley, and I feel right at home. Sun Valley will always be close to my heart, because of the fond memories I made their, the majestic scenery, the peaceful walks with my family, the fun activities, and of course, their famous hot chocolate.

Come taste the hot chocolate that won Sophia's stamp of approval at a la mode

Come taste the hot chocolate that won Sophia's stamp of approval at a la mode

For a young lady, this loyalty can begin with something as simple, but as tasty, as the hot chocolate bar at a la mode in the Sun Valley Village. For the many families who have made Sun Valley a holiday tradition for 10, 20, even 40 years, the loyalty may have started with a special lunch at Roundhouse, a memorable day in the powder, cross country skiing next to Trail Creek … whatever it was, it kept them coming back.

We look forward to seeing the Marziello family back at the Sun Valley Lodge in December or warming up with a gourmet hot chocolate at a la mode. We are certain Sophia and her family will create new memories to last a lifetime during this holiday season.

The holidays in Sun Valley truly are magical -- from giant ice sculptures to horse drawn sleighs

The holidays in Sun Valley truly are magical -- from giant ice sculptures to horse drawn sleighs

After all, holidays in Sun Valley spring straight from a well-worn, best-loved children’s storybook. It looks like winter is supposed to look with snow blanketing tall mountains and dusting the branches of fir trees. It smells like it’s supposed to smell with the ubiquitous, welcoming, warm scent of wood burning fires. It feels like it’s supposed to feel with cold temperatures biting cheeks and noses, but the warm sun mitigating the sting. It sounds like it’s supposed to sound, whether that sound is jingle bells on a passing horse-drawn sleigh, carolers circulating during the holiday season, or the bell at Warm Springs Lodge pinging to announce that freshly baked cookies are hot out of the oven.

Come visit us this winter and your family will be the main characters in this wonderful, time-proven tale. Like the Marziello family, chances are you will be back again and again and again.

–RES

A Taste of Trail Creek (at a special price)

Welcome to Trail Creek Cabin in autumn -- fabulous food in a fabulous setting and now at a price that can't be beat

Welcome to Trail Creek Cabin in autumn -- fabulous food in a fabulous setting and now at a price that can't be beat

Ah, slack. The autumn shoulder season in Sun Valley brings many pleasures – gorgeous sunny days, bright fall foliage, and no less importantly … slack food specials. During the quieter months, most of our area’s mouthwatering eateries entice diners with appetizing meals at an appetizing price.

Sun Valley Resort is on the slack special program with historic Trail Creek Cabin offering a dinner special and both Gretchen’s and the Sun Valley Club inviting lunch patrons to enjoy the season with a price break.

Midweek, Trail Creek Cabin's charming and rustic interior was filled with happy diners

Midweek, Trail Creek Cabin's charming and rustic interior was filled with happy foodies

Wednesday night, finding myself with nothing in the refrigerator and too tired to cook anyway, I decided to take the short drive to Trail Creek Cabin for their two entrees for $30 promotion. On the menu through November 2? Hungarian Beef Goulash, Spicy Cajun Gumbo, Vegetarian Lasagna as well as the full regular Trail Creek menu featuring locally sourced, seasonally appropriate fare.

Greeted by not one but two roaring fires on the brisk, almost-full-moon-lit October night, our group of five was quickly seated at a spacious, comfortable table. In short order, a big basket filled with Trail Creek Cabin’s famous sweet scones and other breads was delivered. Two minutes later it was empty. Did I mention I brought all three of my children?

Surrounded by the flickering fire, rustic décor and tantalizing smells from the kitchen, my family’s mood improved almost immediately. Conversation flowed and the day’s happenings were compared as we perused the menu.

Healthy, light and local,the Idaho trout was an addition to the specials this week

Healthy, light and local,the Idaho trout was an addition to the specials this week

For me, the only problem with slack specials is that many of them, at many local restaurants, don’t appeal to me. I am a pretty particular eater and, I am told, difficult to dine with. But there was something for everyone on the Trail Creek special menu. I found myself struggling to choose between the lasagna, the gumbo and a third special that evening, Idaho trout with seasonal vegetables. In the end, I went with the hearty gumbo as well as a cup of butternut squash soup with white beans. My dining companion opted for the trout special and everyone at the table ordered the soup. My children couldn’t deviate from their Trail Creek favorite (and the most popular menu item) — a cowboy steak with onion rings and a loaded baked potato.

All the food arrived piping hot and plentiful. The soup was a creamy taste of the season. My gumbo offered just the right amount of kick and my friend’s trout was fresh, light and full of flavor. Of course, the kids loved their steak, too.

Two-for-one dessert made finishing our meal with something sweet a given

Two-for-one dessert made finishing our meal with something sweet a given

For dessert, I downloaded coupons offering two-for-one, so we had to take advantage of that, too. Soon, two tall, frosty root beer floats arrived at the table, as did two warm chocolate lava cakes. They disappeared as quickly as the scones.

That evening, Trail Creek was bustling because even when Sun Valley is quiet, it’s not that quiet. Romantic tables for two were interspersed with large party groups. Many diners wore their badges from the Jazz Festival that is in full swing at Sun Valley Resort.

Cozy and inviting, this is the perfect time to head to Trail Creek Cabin

Cozy and inviting, this is the perfect time to head to Trail Creek Cabin

Trail Creek Cabin is a special place. Just a few miles up the road from the Sun Valley Lodge, the historic building is cozy and inviting, harkening back to simpler times and feeling very much away from it all. Now, with the aspens glowing gold, the evening air cool and invigorating and dinner very affordable, it is the perfect time to make the sojourn to the cabin.

Be sure to reserve your table and enjoy a memorable meal by November 2.

Bon appétit!

–RES

Our group was all smiles following a memorable meal

Our group was all smiles following a memorable meal

The Sheep are Coming!

The sheep are making their way toward Ketchum for a weekend that's all about them

The sheep are making their way to town for a weekend that's all about them

It is officially October in Sun Valley, and that can mean only one thing: the sheep are coming! The countdown has begun to the 17th Trailing of the Sheep Festival that kicks off October 10. This wild and woolly weekend has been called one of the Top Ten Festivals in the world by MSN Travel, one of the Top 200 U.S. Festivals by Amazing Festivals and one of the Top 100 Festivals in North America by the ABA. Around here, we just call it a beautiful fall weekend that provides a wonderful glimpse into our region’s rich history. And the parade of sheep down Main Street in Ketchum is pretty entertaining, too.

It is believed that John Hailey first brought sheep into the Wood River Valley in the 1860s. They soon became a source of fiber and food for early settlers. As the mining industry became less important in the region’s economy, the role of sheep increased. For decades, the sheep population in the state of Idaho greatly outnumbered the human population!

All eyes are on the region's rich history during this festival

All eyes are on the region's rich history during this festival

The Trailing of the Sheep Festival celebrates this heritage in a very colorful, flavorful, hands-on way. The four-day event kicks off on Thursday, October 10, and continues through the Trailing of the Sheep parade that runs down Main Street at noon on Sunday, October 13. In between, events up and down the valley entertain and educate.

One of the Festival highlights (among many) focuses on food. If you are a lover of lamb, you truly don’t want to miss opportunities to taste and savor this delicacy in countless incarnations. All week, even before the official kick-off of the Trailing of the Sheep Festival, foodies can enjoy a lamb dine-around in Ketchum. Local chefs are offering all kinds of lamb specials — from a modern take on the traditional herb crusted rack of lamb with red wine and rosemary sauce at B. Restaurant in Ketchum, to lamb sliders with Lava Lake lamb on Big Wood bread buns at the Cellar Pub, to slow roasted lamb tacos at Despos. Many of your local favorite eateries are offering new takes on lamb so be sure to reserve a different table each night of the week.

Lots of tasty lamb treats are available to sample at the Folklife Fair

Lots of tasty lamb treats are available to sample at the Folklife Fair

Sun Valley’s historic Trail Creek Cabin is on the sheep celebration, too. The talented chef Wendy Little is sure to have an innovative take on incorporating lamb into her fall menu. Please call 208.622.2800 for more information.

Other eating (and drinking) opportunities are abundant, as well. Cooking classes featuring lamb and a course in pairing wines with lamb are scheduled for October 10. A barbecue on Irving’s Hill and Main Street Market in Ketchum will be available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Demonstrations show that not every process need be automated

Demonstrations show that not every process need be automated

My family’s favorite event of the weekend is the Folklife Fair that takes place in Hailey on Saturday, October 12. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Roberta McKercher Park, enjoy the spectacle of Boise Highlanders’ bagpipers, drummer and dancers; Peruvian dancers and musicians; Oinkari Basque Dancers; Polish Highlanders and dozens of exhibitions featuring sheep shearing, wool spinning and sheep herding, as well as countless booths showcasing fiber art, face painting, crafts, and, of course, lots of lamb-inspired food.

The colorful Trailing of the Sheep parade caps off a fabulous weekend on Sunday, Oct. 13

The colorful Trailing of the Sheep parade caps off a fabulous weekend on Sunday, Oct. 13

Then there’s the parade that you have to see to believe. Hundreds of sheep racing and jumping down Main Street preceded by wonderful musicians and dancers is a sight you won’t see anywhere else.

For a full schedule for the weekend, please click HERE.

Sun Valley Resort is offering special incentive to come, stay and enjoy all the weekend has to offer with room rates starting at $159 for single or double room. Mention Trailing of the Sheep Festival when you make your reservation.

Think sheep, think fall and I’ll see you at the Festival!

–RES

Fall is for Food

Locavores are counting the days to the start of the Sun Valley Harvest Festival 2013

It's almost here!

Foodies are counting down the days to the start of the popular, informative and full-of-fun Sun Valley Harvest Festival, coming to town next week. From September 19 to the 22nd, Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge, the streets of Ketchum and even Roundhouse Restaurant will pulsate with the smells of delicious locally-sourced cuisine, the spectacle of food prep demonstrations, the wisdom and insight of famous guest chefs and the sights of everything you need to improve dinner time at your own home. If you like food – and who doesn’t – this is a can’t-miss weekend.

One of the highlights of four full days of memorable events is sure to be the Martini & Caviar party on Saturday, September 21, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. This year, the event gets even better with a move up Bald Mountain to the historic and charming Roundhouse Restaurant. Perched at 7,700 feet above the valley floor, Roundhouse is probably one of the best party rooms in the Lower 48. And the Martinis and caviar are sure to be as spectacular as the surroundings when Sun Valley Executive Chef John Murcko creates his culinary magic in the thin air.

Inventive cocktails and caviar -- what could be better?

Inventive cocktails and caviar -- what could be better?

Festivities begin when you are greeted with a glass of Michelle sparkling wine and whisked up to Roundhouse on the gondola. The scenic ride sets the tone for what is to come. Once ensconced at Roundhouse, Murcko, a James Beard Award Semi-Finalist and food visionary, will get the party started in earnest. Carefully crafted hors d’oeuvres featuring local Idaho sturgeon caviar will delight the palate, especially when paired with artisanal cocktails fashioned from Square One Organic Spirits. Mixologist with the most, Ryan Sullivan, is sure to create flavors perfect for the occasion.

Back on the valley floor, Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge will also be a hub of activity all weekend long. Starting on Saturday, September 21, the lawns at the base of Dollar will be transformed into a Harvest Marketplace. Be sure to spend some quality time with hand-selected purveyors from around the Pacific Northwest and West Coast. Specialty food producers and local and regional farmers will be in attendance, and the latest and greatest in kitchen appliances and cookware will be on display.

When dining at Roundhouse, getting there is half the fun

When dining at Roundhouse, getting there is half the fun

Also at Dollar, catch Guest Chef Demonstrations under the big tent all day September 21, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Join acclaimed chefs including Rodrigo Bueno, Akasha Richmond, Tina Ruggiero, Tal Ronnen and Scot Jones and Malika Ameen who are in Sun Valley from all over the country as they demonstrate topics ranging from “Buy Local, Cook Global,” to “Sweet and Spicy: Unique Twists for Flavorful Baking.” After each cooking demonstration, you will enjoy a sample of the chef’s creation with a specially selected wine from one of the Festival’s featured wineries.

Finally, at this lovely venue on Sunday, be sure to get your tickets to the Grand Tasting. This benefit for the Sun Valley Culinary Institute might be the highlight of your year food-wise. Sample seasonal offerings from local chefs and specialty food makers. Wines, beer from the Sawtooth Brewery and spirits from Idaho’s own Distilled Resources will add to the merriment. The Grand Tasting will also feature 20-minute breakout sessions covering topics from coffee to tea; nut butters to chocolate.

What do you get when you add Sun Valley Executive Chef John Murcko and caviar? Epicurean magic, that's what!

What do you get when you add Sun Valley Executive Chef John Murcko and caviar? Epicurean magic, that's what!

But, wait, there is more! Much more! In and around Ketchum, the food and beverages will flow all weekend long. The Restaurant Walk is scheduled this year for Friday, September 20, starting at 5 p.m. in Ketchum Town Square. The Sawtooth Brewery will offer Oktoberfest, Idaho style, on Saturday, a 5B Boots, Beer, Bourbon and Barbecue party on Saturday evening at B. Restaurant keeps the sophisticated local vibe going, as does a River Guide Cooking Demonstration, on Sunday, at Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge.

Fresh, locally-sourced food, like that found at the Farmers' Market, is in the spotlight for the entire Festival weekend

Fresh, locally-sourced food, like that found at the Farmers' Market, is in the spotlight for the entire Festival weekend

Relevant, riveting panel discussions round out the agenda.

For the entire Harvest Festival schedule and for ticket information, please click HERE.

Students from the nearby Community School volunteer at last year's event

Students from the nearby Community School volunteer at last year's event

Now might be a good time to start eating just a little less every day to make sure you are hungry for the Sun Valley Harvest Festival. The food is not only plentiful, but divinely delicious. You won’t want to miss a bite!

– RES