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

I Can See Clearly Now

Blue skies and picture perfect weather welcomed diners to lunch at Roundhouse Restaurant Thursday

Blue skies and picture perfect weather welcomed diners to lunch at Roundhouse Restaurant Thursday

The weather Thursday was bluebird skies, scattered white fluffy clouds, bright sunshine and no smoke: the perfect day to kick off Labor Day weekend by hopping on the River Run gondola to ascend to a barbecue lunch with the best view in town.  Sailing over the single track mountain bike trails and ski runs, the ride on the gondola is beyond scenic. As you soar above the tree line, the majestic Pioneer Mountains provide a sublime vista to the east, while the cities of Ketchum and Sun Valley take form in miniature below.

But getting there is only half the fun when you decide to have lunch at the historic Roundhouse restaurant. Perched at 7,700-feet above Ketchum, Roundhouse says Sun Valley like nothing else. With its rustic interior, vast decks and unparalleled views, a meal there shouldn’t be missed.

The view is unbeatable from the Roundhouse deck -- and the barbecue lunch lives up to its surroundings

The view is unbeatable from the Roundhouse deck -- and the barbecue lunch lives up to its surroundings

Roundhouse just reopened for the rest of the summer season and will serve a tasty, varied barbecue menu through September 8. Choose from traditional beef burgers or veer into the more esoteric: buffalo burgers, chicken burgers, veggie burgers (my choice – delicious!), bratwursts and entrée salads. Sides include homemade coleslaw, potato salad, fruit salad or chips. Enjoy a beer, wine, cocktail or soft drink with your sophisticated picnic on the deck.

From Friday to Monday, the Lookout Restaurant atop Baldy will also offer its wildly popular taco bar at lunch to those enjoying a hike, bike ride or sightseeing trip on the mountain. Lift service to Lookout begins where the gondola lets off to get riders to the tip top of the hill.

A gondola ride up to the historic Roundhouse for lunch is a must-do Sun Valley activity

A gondola ride up to the historic Roundhouse for lunch is a must-do Sun Valley activity

Lunch with a view is just one of many must-do activities to put on your Labor Day weekend “to-do” list. One of the busiest holidays of the year in Sun Valley, there are parades to delight; antiques and art to browse and buy; cars to covet; pancakes of which to partake.

The annual multi-day celebration that is Wagon Days is jam-packed. Starting Friday, Arts, Crafts and Antiques Fairs can be found up and down the Valley. From 4 – 7 p.m. that day, cowboy poets, old-time fiddling, western music and more will delight at the Ore Museum in Ketchum with concerts from Matt Renner and the band Slow Children Playing to follow.  Also Friday night, local art galleries will open their doors and welcome lookers and buyers from 5 – 8 p.m.

The "Big Hitch," made up of six enormous ore wagons is a sight to behold and the grand finale of Saturday's parade

The "Big Hitch," made up of six enormous ore wagons, is a sight to behold as the grand finale of Saturday's parade

Saturday is the big show with many events leading up to Wagon Days‘ famous Big Hitch Parade. Starting at 8 a.m., bring the entire family to Ketchum for an old-fashioned, all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast with all proceeds benefiting local youth groups. The kids can work off that carb-fueled energy at a children’s carnival featuring mini train rides, astro jumps, a climbing wall, bungee run and more.

At 1 p.m. the Big Hitch Parade rolls down Sun Valley Road. This, the largest non-motorized parade in the Northwest, features museum quality buggies, carriages, carts, stagecoaches and wagons that illustrate and honor the tenacity of the area’s early settlers. Six gigantic Lewis Ore Wagons, the Big Hitch, pulled by a 20-mule jerkline, offer the eye popping grand finale. Music and festivity in Ketchum extend well into the night following the parade.

The Great Wagon Days Duck Race also follows at Rotary Park. A favorite of children of all ages, this event launches thousands of plastic ducks into to Big Wood River to ‘race,’ all while benefiting local non-profits.

Sun Valley's Silver Car Auction is eye candy for anyone who loves fabulous four-wheelers

Sun Valley's Silver Car Auction is eye candy for anyone who loves fabulous four-wheelers

In Sun Valley, on both Saturday and Sunday, be sure to come by the Silver Car Auction beginning at 9 a.m. 250 collector car owners and dealers display and auction off unique and beautiful cars until 8 p.m. There is eye candy for everyone from admirers of classic cars to sports cars and is a must-see for aficionados of every persuasion.

While in Sun Valley, be sure to stop into the Konditorei or Gretchen’s for a delicious breakfast or lunch, or grab gourmet sandwiches to go at the Short Line Deli followed by a special ice cream treat at a la mode. Village restaurants will be serving dinner over the weekend, too – the perfect way to unwind and enjoy the best in local flavors and handcrafted recipes after a very busy day.

And then there is the final Sun Valley on Ice show of the year starring Johnny Weir, rodeos, more live music, a hoedown, western dance – not to mention golf, biking, hiking, tennis, horseback riding, the Gun Club, fly fishing, swimming …! There is so much to do, it’s a good thing it’s a long weekend.

The Great Wagon Days Duck Race is a spectacle and fun for children of all ages!

The Great Wagon Days Duck Race is a spectacle and fun for children of all ages!

We can’t wait to see everyone out in Sun Valley and Ketchum enjoying glorious weather (the forecast looks great), a fantastic array of events and fun for everyone. We are all so grateful that Wagon Days is on and better than ever and can’t wait to share this spectacular weekend, as well as our own very special, very active version of normal, with our guests. It’s going to be a great Labor Day weekend!

To borrow shamelessly from the incomparable Johnny Nash, Jimmy Nash and others, “It’s gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day…”

–RES

Come Out, Thank a Firefighter and Celebrate

The valiant efforts of 1,500 firefighters saved our beautiful Valley. Come say thank you Sunday night at River Run

The valiant efforts of 1,500 firefighters saved our beautiful Valley. Come say thank you Sunday night at River Run

With the monstrous Beaver Creek Fire now 70 percent contained and clear, sunny skies prevailing over Sun Valley, it is time to show our appreciation for the firefighters who protected our Valley and the way of life we so value.

Just a week ago, the outcome of this fire was very uncertain as crews worked around-the-clock from Hailey to north of Ketchum (photo Great Basin NationalIncident Management Team #1)

Just a week ago, the outcome of this fire was very uncertain as crews worked around-the-clock to contain it from Hailey to north of Ketchum (photo Great Basin National Incident Management Team #1)

Sun Valley Resort is throwing a picnic on the River Run lawn this Sunday, August 25, to do just that. Everyone is invited to bring a blanket or chairs down to the mountain beginning at 6 p.m. for an evening of celebration and entertainment featuring the popular bands Old Death Whisper and Up A Creek.

There will be a complete western barbecue with chicken and ribs, beer, refreshments and ice cream available for purchase. You are also welcome to bring a picnic.

The brave men and women who walked into the flames of the Beaver Creek Fire have earned a standing ovation from all of us. Come down Sunday night to honor them, reconnect with friends and neighbors and take in the beauty of everything that was saved. Many firefighters are expected to be in attendance so you can express your appreciation personally.

Please check back to the blog for updates on this event.

–RES

Two of Ketchum Fire Department's finest work Wednesday to ensure the danger has passed

Two of Ketchum Fire Department's finest work Wednedsay to ensure the danger has passed

Breaking Bread with Brian Boitano

Brian Boitano has a long history of headlining Sun Valley On Ice - now he returns to share his other passion, cooking

Brian Boitano has a long history of headlining Sun Valley On Ice - now he returns to share his other passion, cooking (photo courtesy Craig Heath)

Olympic figure skating legend Brian Boitano just looks like someone you want to have as a friend; someone with whom you want to share dinner, a cocktail and stories. Now is your chance! Brian is coming to Sun Valley to host a special cooking class and party on September 1 and you are invited.

Cooking you might say? Brian Boitano? Yes! As the 1988 Olympic champion, the 1986 and 1988 World Champion, and the 1985-1988 U.S. National Champion in figure skating, he is one of the most exalted skaters of our time. After turning professional following his 1988 season, Brian continued and continues to skate, entertaining countless fans in shows and television specials each year. He has headlined Sun Valley On Ice many times and is a local favorite. But he also found a second career about which he is equally passionate – cooking.

Boitano creates all of his own recipes and will share some of them with the lucky guests at his August 22 event

Boitano creates all of his own recipes and will offer tips and techniques to prepare them at home with the fortunate guests at his August 22 event

A self taught chef, Brian took his love of food and entertaining and parlayed it into a popular television program on both the Food Network and Cooking Network. In What Would Brian Boitano Make? the eponymous star of the series shares recipes, techniques and tips for entertaining with viewers, all with his signature style. From his television work came a cookbook by the same name, a collection of his best recipes that will help you look like a gold medalist in your own kitchen.

On September 1, 100 lucky people will gather at the spectacular home of Kim Selby in Ketchum to learn from Brian as he gives a cooking lesson and offers tips a la his popular television show.

The Valley Sun caught up with Boitano to discuss the upcoming event.

TVS: You have a long-standing connection to Sun Valley. Are you looking forward to returning next week?
BB: Sun Valley is near and dear to my heart and I always love to come back. Not only do I have wonderful memories of all the shows I’ve performed in, but I have good friends here.

TVS: But this time, you’re trading in your skate blades for knife blades. Tell us what people who attend the function on the 22nd might expect.
BB: Well, you can expect great food and drinks that you will be able to replicate at home. You can also expect to learn these recipes in one of the most beautiful kitchens in the Northwest. Kim’s house is gorgeous and is fully stocked with everything you need to make an unforgettable meal. She even has a pizza oven that we’re going to use.

TVS: Is this event for the seasoned cook or for anyone who is interested?
BB: My philosophy on cooking is that everyone can do it. You just need a plan. My cookbook, from which I will be choosing recipes for that event, lets you make delicious food in very few steps. It’s for everyone from the novice to the experienced chef.

TVS: You created all the recipes in your cookbook yourself, correct?
BB: Yes, they are all mine! Usually I follow something that interests me when beginning a new dish. I may not have used much allspice in cooking and would like to try it, so I think about what allspice would be good with. Rice? For sure! Let’s try rice. Then I lay out how I’m going to make a new dish. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t but if it doesn’t I can dissect what went wrong and learn from it. The dishes in my cookbook have gone through a lot of changes to get to where they are!

During all my travels for skating, I have been able to indulge my interest in food from many cultures and many different flavors. I also give a nod to my Italian heritage. It all comes through in my recipes.

TVS: Any ideas about what you plan to cook and teach the guests to cook?
BB: One of the things I’m making is southwestern sopapillas – a recipe in the cookbook that people just love and I love. Where sopapillas are usually sweet, mine are savory. They are little dough balls that puff up when you fry them. Then I poke a hole in them and stuff them with salsa and bean dip. They are absolutely delicious, easy to make and certain to impress dinner guests! I am also planning on a white wine sangria with fresh mint in it and pizza because when you have a pizza oven in the house, you have to use it!

TVS: Any plans to take to the ice while you are in town?
BB: I actually do plan to skate a little bit in Sun Valley to get in shape for my upcoming season. There are a lot of people at the rink I really appreciate working with and it’s a beautiful place to skate. I have two NBC shows coming up in the fall so I am ready to train for them.

TVS: This dinner benefits the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club. Do you have a special connection to the organization?
BB: Skating in Sun Valley is very special and I always want to support and encourage young people in the sport. When I was an up-and-coming skater I competed in the Club’s annual Summer Championships and I am happy to help this excellent program.

Boitano has a long history in Sun Valley. Here he enjoys time off with fellow skater and choreographer Gia Guddat

Boitano has a long history in Sun Valley. Here he enjoys time off with fellow skater and choreographer Gia Guddat (photo courtesy Craig Heath)

Tickets to this once-in-a-lifetime chance to break bread with Brian Boitano are available at www.sunvalleyfsc.com, by calling 208.622.8020 or at the Club office located behind the skate house. Very limited VIP tickets are available for $200 ($375 per couple) and include a private cocktail hour with Brian Boitano. Tickets to the cooking demonstration, that include signature cocktails and hors d’oeuvres are available for $100 ($175 per couple). Guests will also receive a signed cookbook. All proceeds benefit the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club, dedicated to skating excellence and making this lifelong sport available to children in the Wood River Valley.

I have my ticket and look forward to this amazing night! See you there.

–RES

PLEASE NOTE: DUE TO RECENT FIRES, THIS EVENT WAS RESCHEDULED FOR SEPTEMBER 1. TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE!

 

The fundraiser benefits the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club and encourages children to pursue this lifelong sport

The fundraiser benefits the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club and encourages children to pursue this lifelong sport

Recipe from the Resort: Konditorei Key Lime Pie

Chef McCarthy's Key Lime Pie is the perfect summer dessert

Chef McCarthy's Key Lime Pie is the perfect summer dessert

Sun Valley’s long established Austrian heritage is nowhere more apparent than the newly reinvented Konditorei Café in the Sun Valley Village. Step inside, take in the endless expanse of the pastry case and step across the Atlantic to a culture where afternoon tea and cake are a daily ritual. As someone whose early childhood was spent in Germany and who delighted in sidewalk cafes filled with handmade delicious treats, the sight of Black Forest Cake, Linzer Cookies and all the new confections imagined by the Konditorei’s Head Pasty Chef Chris McCarthy, bring back a flood of fond memories.

Chef McCarthy understands the appeal of what he does, not only on a gastronomic level, but on a visual and emotional one as well. This Wood River Valley native attended culinary school in Arizona where he learned both to cook and bake. There, he found his true calling was in flour and sugar, pastry cream and buttercream. Before making his circuitous route back to his hometown and to the Konditorei upon its grand reopening last December, Chef McCarthy prepared pastries in prestigious kitchens from Sea Island, Georgia, to a Ritz Carlton in Florida.

Pastry Chef Chris McCarthy shows off one of his daily creations

Pastry Chef Chris McCarthy shows off one of his daily creations

As part of the Valley Sun Recipe from the Resort series, the chef shares with our readers the steps to create his fresh, flavorful Key Lime Pie with Creme Anglaise. Now, if you’re like me and intimidated by pastry prep, don’t worry.  Chef McCarthy promises this recipe is easily replicable at home.

Konditorei Key Lime Pie

Ingredients for the crust:

#2 graham crackers – buy crumbs in a bag or crush in a food processor until they are the consistency of granulated sugar

19.2 ounces melted butter

9.6 ounces sugar

3.2 ounce all purpose flour

Method

Combine until uniform in texture and form crust in small pie tins

Ingredients for the Crème Anglaise

2 quarts cream

1 pound sugar divided into two half pounds

1 vanilla bean — cut in half and scrape out the beans (this gives it the little dots in the sauce)

1 egg yolk

Method for the Crème Anglaise

Combine cream, half the sugar and vanilla bean in a saucepan and bring to a boil

Whisk together yolk and second half of the sugar

Temper in yolks with sugar (translation for people like me who don’t know how to do this: pour a ladle of hot cream into the yolk sugar mixture. This tempers the yolks so when you add them to the cream they don’t instantly curdle)

Combine all ingredients in cream pot and cook until the mixture coats the back of a spoon in a thin, even layer

Strain over an ice bath through a fine mesh china cap to remove any lumps that my have occurred during the cooking process and to prevent the egg from scrambling

Ingredients for Key Lime Pie Filling:

2 lb. 3 ounces sweetened condensed milk

8 ounces key lime juice

8 ounces egg yolks

Zest from 2 limes

Method:

Combine all ingredients together and mix until homogenous

Spoon key lime filling into graham cracker crust

Bake for about five minuites until outside is set then chill until ready to serve

Top with a dollop of Crème Anglaise

This makes about 12 – 15 small tarts

This dessert will certainly be met with a lot of ooh’s and ah’s at your next dinner party, but if you prefer to simply relax on the Konditorei patio and sip a cappuccino, Chef McCarthy and his six pastry wizards will present you with Key Lime Pie or any of the other daily offerings without all that clean up. My family’s favorite? The cream puff swans. Not only are they delectable, they represent the signature Sun Valley swans that glide gracefully around the picturesque Lodge pond.

The pastry case at the Konditorei changes every day

The pastry case at the Konditorei changes every day

The team in the Konditorei pastry kitchen also create hundreds of custom cakes (call ahead to order) and even spectacular wedding cakes. Chef McCarthy said he truly enjoys making one-of-a-kind cakes for one-of-a-kind occasions.

Be sure to visit the Konditorei for a taste of the old country (they serve breakfast and lunch, as well) with a modern, healthy, farm fresh twist. Maybe cake and coffee will become an afternoon tradition in Idaho, too.  One can always hope!

Enjoy!

–RES

One of the custom cakes created by the Konditorei team

One of the custom cakes created by the Konditorei team

It is Symphony Season

Smile! It's Sun Valley Summer Symphony Season

Smile! It's Sun Valley Summer Symphony Season

Listen carefully and you will hear the telltale signs of the season – the slight creak of wicker picnic baskets settling with gourmet treats and a fine bottle of wine; the hiss of steam as hot iron meets linen; the sticky sound of rosin on a violin bow. If you haven’t already guessed, the season is Symphony Season, that glorious time of the year that began to unfurl its many delights Sunday night at the Sun Valley Pavilion.

The Sun Valley Summer Symphony brings together the finest musicians anywhere and invites patrons, free of charge, to find a seat under the Pavilion sail or on the vast lawn for a dose of cultural enjoyment that lasts the whole year through. This is the largest privately funded free symphony in America and 2013 marks its 29th magical summer in the Wood River Valley.

The magic happens beneath the Sun Valley Pavilion sail and also on the expansive lawn

The magic happens beneath the Sun Valley Pavilion sail and also on the expansive lawn

Sunday’s concert, held on what was arguably the most beautiful night of the summer to date, was a part of the Edgar M. Bronfman In Focus Series that precedes the regular concert season. Featuring members of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony including Maestro Alasdair Neale as Host and Conductor, Teddy Abrams as Host and Conductor, Nicholas Phan, Tenor and Gretchen Van Hoesen, Harp, the series, themed “The Sacred and the Profane: Spirituality Across the Globe and the Ages,” commenced with a performance of Ives’ The Unanswered Question. The In Focus Series continues July 29, July 31 and August 2 at 6 p.m.

Setting the stage for the inaugural evening and the weeks to come was Maestro Alasdair Neale who has led the Sun Valley Summer Symphony since 1995. Under his magic baton, the orchestra has grown to more than 100 players that present free concerts to more than 50,000 people annually. Maestro Neale’s orchestra includes distinguished and accomplished musicians from throughout North America including the San Francisco Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, the Houston Symphony, the Toronto Symphony and the St. Louis Symphony.

Maestro Alasdair Neale shares his knowledge and passion with the In Focus audience Sunday night

Maestro Alasdair Neale shares his knowledge and passion with the In Focus audience Sunday night

Throughout the years, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony has attracted internationally acclaimed guest artists and ensembles including Itzhak Perlman, Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Brian Stokes Mitchell, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Jon Kimura Parker, Bernadette Peters, Frederica von Stade, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Yuja Wang and many others.  This year, the world-famous violinist Midori will appear as a guest artist on August 4.  Other musicians, dancers, conductors and narrators will also grace the Pavilion stage this season in the role of guest artist.

In keeping with its mission, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony offers a variety of education programs for music students of all ages including the School of Music, now in its 14th year, and the Summer Music Workshops, in its 16th year. Upbeat With Alasdair talks given throughout the year and Concert Preview talks given during the symphony season help to educate music lovers of all ages.

Music from the best classical musicians in the world, blue skies and gourmet picnics -- it doesn't get much better than this

Music from the best classical musicians in the world, blue skies and gourmet picnics -- it doesn't get much better than this

The Orchestra festival begins on Sunday, August 4, at 6:30 p.m. and features Midori on the violin. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis inside the Pavilion. For those on the lawn, a 14 x 25-foot LED screen shows all Orchestra festival concerts from August 4 – August 20. Low back chairs and picnics are welcome on the lawn. New this year, there will be a kids’ music tent at every evening orchestra concert. For all the protocol of concert going, please click HERE.

If you are in Sun Valley during August, be sure to include the Summer Symphony in your schedule. Call ahead to the Short Line Deli in the Sun Valley Village and have them create a gourmet picnic for you, including wine if you so desire. Then find a spot on the lawn, close your eyes and prepare to be transported. There is something about live classical music in the mountains that you simply can’t replicate — a wonderful one-of-a-kind way to enjoy the best of Sun Valley.

–RES

It's free, it's fantastic. See you at the Symphony!

It's free, it's fantastic. See you at the Symphony!