Mother’s Day Made Easy

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

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

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

Crisp linens and peace & quiet await

Crisp linens and peace & quiet await

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brunch is a family affair in the elegant Lodge Dining Room

Brunch is a family affair in the elegant Lodge Dining Room

For room reservations, call 888-978-3475.

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

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

–RES

Slack’s back… Let’s eat!

Half a Sun Valley Club "Club Sandwich" and a cup of soup for $8? It's what makes slack worthwhile!

Slack: characterized by slowness, sluggishness, or lack of energy <a slack pace>

As a longtime local, I have to admit that spring slack is my absolute favorite season. It’s not that I can’t embrace the electric vibe of excitement winter brings with it, or that I don’t adore the infectious energy of summer, it’s just that slack is when the locals get their town back.

In the months of April and May, you will see those fabled “gone fishin’ till summer” signs in Wood River Valley shop windows, and dogs do actually lie undisturbed on Main Street. But one of the best aspects of this monumental slowdown are the locals’ specials. Restaurants all over town (well, at least the ones that stay open) offer amazing deals as a way of saying thank you to their most loyal clientele – and to get some bums on those seats before they get too dusty.

Of course the resort gets in on the action too, ramping up some of its regular year-round specials, as well as bringing out some choice ones just for the “shoulder season.” Here’s a quick roundup of some of my favorite spring specials in Sun Valley.

While the high-powered-career woman is not a type often found in Ketchum, hard-working small-business woman is. If you‘re one of those, why not treat yourself to that lunch out with girlfriends you’ve been promising yourself all winter but just couldn’t find the time for? The time is now, round up the ladies, head to Gretchens and enjoy half-price entrees and, most importantly, half-price wine, any Tuesday or Thursday in May.

Pacific Ahi Tuna grilled medium rare, served with pineapple chutney, lime aioli and organic greens on a brioche bun is the perfect accompaniment to lunch with the ladies.

For the families who need something to do with the little ones now that Dollar Mountain has said farewell for the season, pop in on Bald Mountain Pizza for some cheap, nutritious entertainment. Let the tykes build their own unlimited-topping pizza for just $5 (daily 5-9 p.m., now through June 6). Plus, get free tickets to a movie at Sun Valley Opera House following the carb overload.

Pile your pie high with Bald Mountain Pizza's unlimited toppings for $5 deal.

Whether you’re a golf enthusiast, golf widow/er, or just enjoy a spectacular view, make sure to stop by Sun Valley Club, arguably the resort’s hottest lunch spot, and chow down on the spring dining special of a cup of soup and 1/2 a sandwich for a just eight bucks. (runs from Monday through June 9, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.).

Skiers, when the mountain closes this Sunday, channel the resort’s famed Austrian ski instructors and drown your sorrows at the newly remodeled Konditeroi. This Austrian gathering place has gone back to its Eastern European roots and is offering German beer and a house-made brat for $12.99 through June 7, a bargain for such a scrumptious taste of Sun Valley history.

Catch up on more delectable offerings from the resort’s 17 restaurants here, and follow Sun Valley Resort Dining on Facebook to make sure you don’t miss out this season.

Happy trails!

Jennifer Tuohy

Email restaurantreservations@sunvalley.com for details on any Sun Valley restaurant.

Race, Skim and Slide Into Easter Weekend

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

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

Easter weekend is quickly approaching and it is worth taking a moment to mark your calendar so as not to miss any of the exciting activities in Sun Valley. From the slopes, to restaurants, to lawns strewn with brightly colored eggs, there is something for everyone!

On the mountains, as the season winds down, Ketchum is in a party mood. Dollar Dayz takes place starting on Saturday, celebrating another great season on that hill.  Closing day on Dollar is Sunday, March 31, and to celebrate, come out for a CandyGrind Rail Jam on the amazing Terrain Park and the hilarious annual Cold Bowl Pond Skim.

Come out on Sunday for the Cold Bowl Pond Skim

Sunday's Cold Bowl Pond Skim is always a highlight of the season

The Rail Jam takes place on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Rail Yard. Entry is free with registration at Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge ticket window. The 4th annual Pond Skim splashes off at 10 a.m. on Sunday, with registration beginning at 9 a.m. Costumes are strongly encouraged. If you have never seen the pond skim, it features a huge “pool” of cold water, dug into the base of Dollar that skiers and snowboarders attempt to skim over, landing safely at the other side. Some make it, some don’t, but no matter what, it’s a raucous good time.

Both events feature music, food and beverages. The weather promises to cooperate with weekend highs predicted in the mid 50s under a springtime Idaho sun.

Local snowboard star Chase Josey shows off Slopestyle similar to what will be on display on Saturday's Rail Jam on Dollar

Local snowboard star Chase Josey shows off Slopestyle similar to what will be on display on Saturday's Rail Jam on Dollar (photo courtesy of the Josey family)

Baldy will be festive this weekend, too.  Young ski racers will participate in the annual Hobson Memorial Race on Warm Springs on Friday at 10 a.m. Again, in true Ketchum style, costumes are encouraged. The Hawaiian Nationals, a side-by-side dual slalom race for telemark skiers and snowboarders, takes place on Warm Springs on Saturday at noon. For this, costumes are de rigueur.  The final Ski Club race of the season goes off Sunday, again on Warm Springs, at 10 a.m. It will be a dual parallel giant slalom that is age handicapped. All are welcome.

Easter will be celebrated in Sun Valley at the Lodge Dining Room with a bountiful brunch served from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Leanna Leach will tickle the ivories and food and festivity will be plentiful. The cost is $36 for adults and $21 for children 12 and under. Bonnets are optional.

And what is Easter without an Easter Egg Hunt?  Thankfully, you won’t need to find out. On Friday, all children ages 10 and under are invited to search for oodles of eggs at Sun Valley Inn Pond, starting promptly at 4:30 p.m. Bring your baskets and stop by the Village Toy Store at 3:30 for face painting. Retailers are offering a special egg hunt for parents, too.

March, in Sun Valley, is definitely not going out like a lamb!

–RES

A lavish Easter Brunch awaits at the Lodge Dining Room

A lavish Easter Brunch awaits at the Lodge Dining Room

There were Moonbeams in the Snow…

Cuddle up in the sleigh, gitty up Nellie Gray, and away we go!

Cuddle up in the sleigh, gitty up Nellie Gray, and away we go!

On Friday night, I found myself in the pages of a storybook. The fairytale featured five sweet children, a favorite aunt, a cowboy, a horse drawn sleigh and a roaring fire. The main character of this meticulously illustrated tome was the fullest, most luminous moon imaginable. Gliding across the snow at 9 p.m. on the way to Trail Creek Cabin, it cast long shadows of tree branches against a white stage and shone so brightly we could clearly see the pattern of the woolen blankets, the tree knots on the wooden benches, the fabric of everyone’s caps.

As Jess gave our two draft horses an appropriate nudge, the regular world of the brightly lit Sun Valley Inn and Village blurred behind as we trotted into a land of white. Across the unrecognizable golf course we flew, down a steep embankment and to the side of rippling Trail Creek. Here, the book does not offer any dialogue of consequence. Laughter, hushed conversation and whispers were carried into the frozen night air and dissipated among the canopy of stars. Surrounded by a sky so clear and cold it felt like it could crack, chatter was secondary to simply feeling the sleigh move over the frozen ground.

The storybook Trail Creek Cabin welcomes you

Welcome to Trail Creek Cabin

Lights in the distance began to coalesce as we hurried toward the historic Trail Creek Cabin. Discarding the warm blankets and hopping off the back of the sled, we turned the page as we entered the cheerful, warm, log building and found our table beside a huge, roaring fire. Fragrant coconut curry soup awaited our arrival, as did the scones for which the restaurant is famous. Hats, scarves and gloves were peeled off as the fire quickly warmed us. With the return of the heat and light, dialogue flared with renewed energy.

Dinner at the cozy cabin

Warming our toes and indulging our inner foodies at the cozy cabin

Plates of flavorful salmon and steak and prime rib emerged from the kitchen, feeding ravenous late-night appetites. An accordion player serenaded our group, ending with a rousing rendition of “It Happened in Sun Valley.” Love was in the air, as a wedding reception (brought to the cabin by sleigh) celebrated in the attached yurt and at the adjacent table, a man dropped to one knee, proposing marriage to his blushing bride-to-be. She said yes and showed her stunner-of-a-ring to the room amid cheers and applause.

We sang that favorite Glenn Miller tune from 1941 as we bundled up and made our way back into the night. It was still relevant more than 70 years later. Feel free to hum along…

“Howdy folks, let’s go for a ride. Get your favorite one to sit by your side.

Cuddle up in a sleigh, gitty up, Nellie Gray, and away we go!

While you listen to the sleigh bells ring, you’re yodeling to your baby.

You’ll feel nice and warm, no matter how cold it may be….”

We cuddled up beneath the blankets, feeling nice and warm no matter how cold it may have been. With the moon striking midnight above, we turned the last page of this tale and set off in the direction of picture-perfect Bald Mountain, enjoying an experience that could only happen in Sun Valley.

–RES

A storybook-perfect Sun Valley sleigh

A storybook-perfect Sun Valley sleigh

Goodnight, moon

Goodnight, moon

 

 

 

Konditor-yay!

Chef John Murcko and Sun Valley General Manager are all smiles

John Murcko,Director of Culinary Operations, and Tim Silva, Sun Valley General Manager, could not be more pleased with the new Konditorei

The completely reinvented Konditorei Restaurant in the Sun Valley Village will open Saturday, December 22, and all the amazing culinary and creative talents behind the project are in a merry mood. As I happened by the bustling scene Thursday morning, I had to pop in to preview the progress.

Simply put, the new Konditorei is stunning, cozy, charming. From the open pastry kitchen, laden with sweet delights of every imaginable variety, to the comfortable couches surrounding the fire, the Konditorei promises to be the new hot spot at which to gather, eat and relax.

Here is a sneak peek at the great, and delicious, things to come!

–RES

Baking is an around-the-clock pursuit in anticipation of the opening

Baking is an around-the-clock pursuit in anticipation of the opening

Have a seat, relax by the fire

Take a seat, relax and warm up by the fire

Details like the hand-painted ceiling add charm

Hand-painted flowers on the ceiling show an amazing attention to detail

Banquettes provide a cozy spot

Banquettes provide a cozy spot to enjoy the new breakfast and lunch menus or a sweet treat

Some of the baked treats at the Konditorei

"Konditorei" is German for amazing pastries and the new restaurant lives up to its name

Meet the BEAST

Charlie Kucher, groomer extraordinaire

Meet Charlie Kucher: groomer and tour guide extraordinaire

I must admit, “pulling up” in front of Roundhouse Restaurant in the world’s biggest snow cat, “the BEAST,” is as close to feeling like a rock star as this forty-something mother of three has gotten in a long, long time. When we parked near the stairs leading up to the famed restaurant, the door swung open and I stepped, drenched in spotlights and dusted with a light flurry of snow, onto the mammoth treads. I paused for a moment taking it all in: the brightly lit restaurant festooned for the holidays, Ketchum’s lights twinkling far below, the massive and alien-looking snow cat beneath my feet. I extended my hand, reaching for that of the gracious gondola greeter and, I hope, leapt gracefully to the ground. What a ride.

The modern day grooming caravan heads up River Run

This modern day caravan heads up River Run

The experience began hours earlier, before evening fell like a blanket over Baldy. At 4 p.m., I reported to the daily groomer’s meeting as one of the first lucky people this season to get a ride on the fabled BEAST. You, too, can partake of the story you are about to read by entering your name for weekly raffle drawings that allow guests to watch the country’s best grooming team at work, all from the driver’s vantage point.

At the meeting, I began to understand why our mountain has a reputation for the best grooming anywhere. The swing shift, on duty from 4 p.m. to midnight, is comprised of seasoned pros who work the seven cats. The graveyard shift takes over from midnight to 8 a.m., ensuring the best snow surface possible for the 9 a.m. open. The group, all men, spoke in a dialect with which I am not familiar, discussing feathering, tilling, pushing and winching.  Foremost on the mind of Grooming Manager Kerry O’Brien, however, was the huge winter storm expected to hit Ketchum Monday.

Looking the BEAST in the eye

I look the BEAST in the eye

The light decorative flurries falling Saturday afternoon may have been a portent of great things to come, but for me, they set just the right mood for my adventure. I met Charlie Kucher, a grooming supervisor and my driver/confidante for the evening, right before I met the Prinoth BEAST. I liked both right away. As Charlie advised me to (not so gracefully) hoist myself into the BEAST’s cabin, I was immediately impressed. That cat is huge. Weighing in at a few mature elephants, and featuring a back tiller that is four-feet wider than traditional cats, this 520- horsepower, half-a-million dollar machine is a sight to behold. Once Charlie switched her on and maneuvered out of the oversized garagery at the bottom of River Run, the BEAST began to climb the mountain like it was taking a leisurely stroll.  No gasping for breath here.

Control central

Control central

Seated comfortably in the space-age cockpit, Charlie worked the levers and buttons that raise the blade (the plow-looking grill in the front that cuts the snow), and the tiller in the back (that processes the surface and leaves nice lines of corduroy), like the conductor of a large orchestra. We traversed the mountain on the aptly named cat tracks until we reached the top of Warm Springs. There, we (not really we, Charlie) dipped the blade of the Beast over the edge of the trail and off we went, pointing straight down Warm Springs, as the lights below began to flicker on.

Driving down Warm Springs

Driving down Warm Springs

As we chatted about family, Charlie’s past life (commercial fisherman, chef), his passion for skiing and why he loves his job (teamwork among all the mountain operations departments), tempus fugit. Up and down Warm Springs we journeyed, from I-80 to the Lodge where Charlie showed off some pretty sweet u-turns. I knew on Sunday I would be proud to ski the run I watched Charlie so meticulously and lovingly groom.

Then it was off to Roundhouse – a vintage jewel tucked into snowy folds of fabric at 7,700 feet above sea level. I intended to hop on the gondola and return to my non rock-star life, but Roundhouse beckoned. Saturday was the first night dinner was being served and the restaurant was full and festive. Not needing much convincing, I grabbed a seat at the new rustic wooden bar and soon had the distinction of being the first guest to be served dinner there. The food, the bartenders Mike and Matt, and the ambiance were the perfect nightcap to an amazing afternoon.

Mike and Matt will welcome you to the Roundhouse's new bar

Mike and Matt, the welcoming committee at Roundhouse's new bar

To enter the raffle so you, too, can have this once-in-a-lifetime experience, you need only fill out a free entry form on Ipads available at the Sun Valley Recreation Center in the Village or at the River Run Ticket Office. One winner will be chosen to ride every Friday and Saturday night throughout the season and dinner at Roundhouse may be combined with the ride, space permitting (and with L’Addition the guest’s responsibility). Winners are announced a day prior and must be 18 years old. Please call 622-2135 for more information.

– RES

The answer? Hot Cocoa: 16 ways

An artist's rendering of the completed Konditorei

An artist's rendering of the completed, reinvented Konditorei

The question? What is perhaps the most compelling reason to visit the newly reinvented Konditorei Restaurant, Short Line Deli and A La Mode cocoa/ice cream parlor in Sun Valley Village next week? Sixteen varieties of hot chocolate, for starters.

But there are many other reasons not to miss the grand re-opening of the Konditorei. General Manager John Gaspa, taking a short break from preparations, explained all the new opportunities for gastronomical joy in the Village. His excitement and commitment to the project was infectious.

“We are adding beautiful, fresh, locally-sourced food to a classic institution in Sun Valley,” he explained. “We are paying tribute to the Resort’s European heritage, with a nod to the Alps, while offering some of the best food in the Valley.”

John Gaspa shows off the space that will next week be A La Mode

John Gaspa shows off the space that will next week be A La Mode

The Konditorei anchors what is sure to be a culinary crossroads in its stunning new space, the result of a massive facelit and reconstruction that has been underway all fall. An iconic new clock tower will be a focal point of the exterior and the interior’s inviting space will focus on a roaring fireplace. Menu items pay homage to Sun Valley’s European roots offering gourmet Belgian waffles, croque monsieur, crepes, bratwurst and spatzle. But there are also vegetarian options, salads and many delicious sides and smaller plates. Of course, there will also be pastries, hand-crafted in the European tradition (hence the name, “Konditorei” – German for a pâtisserie and confectionery shop). Pastries, many menu items and hand-crafted coffees will also be available to grab and go. The Konditorei will have a “soft” open on December 20 and 21 and will serve lunch only. Breakfast and lunch will be served beginning on December 22.

Next door, the new Short Line Deli will offer fresh sandwiches made with the best ingredients (including the “Earl Holding” – layered with house-made hot corned beef, coleslaw and Swiss cheese) and will also open on the 22nd. The prepared food at the Deli will be a great choice for an active Sun Valley day or even a quick workday lunch. John said come Symphony season this summer, gourmet baskets will be the envy of the picnic grounds.

Last, but certainly not least, is A la Mode. This fantasy cocoa parlor in winter/ice cream parlor in summer (though all items will be available year-round) will appeal to the inner child in everyone. The cocoa menu is a dream. Specialties include the Peppermint Patty (milk chocolate cocoa, white chocolate whipped cream, crushed peppermint with a peppermint stick); the Cinnamon Swirl (dark chocolate cocoa, cinnamon whipped cream, cinnamon stick); and the truly decadent Banana Split (milk chocolate cocoa, strawberry and banana whipped cream, candied pineapple, marshmallow). There’s Huckleberry, Orange Dreamsicle, Rocky Road, Sea Salt Caramel – cocoa at its most imaginative. There are also sundaes, shakes, root beer floats and other tasty treats.

The Konditorei will be the perfect place to eat while exploring the Village's Winter Wonderland

The Konditorei will be the perfect place to eat when exploring the Village's Winter Wonderland

John thinks big and plans to “bring life to the Sun Valley downtown Village.” He explained, “It’s going to be a highly interactive project. A La Mode will offer candy and hot cocoa making classes. If there is a new fabulous children’s book, a must-read, we will bring the author to Sun Valley. Music will be a vital part of the project.  Over the holidays, we will be serenaded by carolers, entertained by one of the world’s best Zither players. Come fall, expect a beer garden on the patio, wine tasting – the possibilities are endless.”

John’s overriding theme for the restaurants is quality, quality, quality. All Sun Valley culinary properties are moving toward a reliance on locally-sourced food, a close relationship with Idaho growers, food crafted from the very highest caliber ingredients. The emphasis is on healthy, fresh and packed with flavor.

Stay tuned for a review of the Konditorei next week and make sure to put a visit to the Village, and a stop at the Konditorei, Deli or A La Mode, on your holiday calendar.

–RES

Workers are busy putting the finishing touches on the complex

Workers were busy putting the finishing touches on the restaurants on Friday

Construction was well underway in October

Construction was well underway in October

All Dressed Up with Someplace to Go

Idaho Potato Pillows with American caviar avait at the LDR

Idaho Potato Pillows with American caviar tempt at the LDR

The Lodge Dining Room (or LDR to those in the know) holds a special place in my heart. For years and years, one of my family’s foremost holiday traditions was dinner at the Lodge Dining Room every December 23. Through the decades, our ever-growing clan (boyfriends and girlfriends, then husbands and wives, then one … two, finally seven grandchildren) dressed in our holiday finest and journeyed to the Lodge for a wonderful meal, live music and a serenade from Sun Valley’s storied carolers. When the LDR closed for dinner a few years ago, my mother was visibly upset – one of our most treasured traditions was no more.

Her smile has returned because the LDR is again open for dinner and we managed to reserve a table for eight on the 23rd. With the return of the tradition, though, come some exciting changes. In fact, at last night’s grand re-opening of the history-rich restaurant, while I obviously knew I was seated in the room where I had dined many times, I found myself doing a quick reality check – the food was so sophisticated, so new. Was I still in Sun Valley?

But I am getting ahead of myself.

The doors to the Lodge Dining Room are open once again

The doors to the Lodge Dining Room are open once again

For weeks, I have been hearing about a fantastic new chef who is transforming Sun Valley into a foodie Mecca. Who is this shining knight? His name is John Murcko, a man credited for single-handedly elevating cuisine in Utah from pedestrian to gourmet. With an emphasis on quality, creativity and professionalism, Chef Murcko’s vision and execution is transforming food in every Sun Valley venue; from the mountain day lodges to the elegant LDR.

A dish you don't see every day in Idaho -- Lobster Thermidor

A dish you don't see every day in Idaho -- Lobster Thermidor

But I am getting ahead of myself.

The LDR is the fine dining jewel in Sun Valley’s culinary crown and anticipation was palpable last night as the doors opened. Would the food live up to the hype? Would Chef Murcko usher in a new era of Sun Valley dining? The short answer is yes. When my best friend and I were comfortably seated next to the picture windows, an amuse bouche arrived at our table. The combination of perfectly cooked scallop and crunchy accoutrements was a leading indicator that things really have changed for the better.

I am, by all accounts, a picky eater who favors fish, vegetables and lighter fare. Often, in a mountain town, I struggle with menus filled with wild game, red meat and lots of starch. This menu, however, delighted me. At first glance (with the help of a candle – the hostess did say they plan to print the menus in a darker ink that is easier to read) I saw numerous items I wanted to try, not just one or two appealing choices. For starters, I had a hard time deciding among the Forest Mushroom Tart, the Idaho Potato Pillows, the Diver Scallops and the Tomato and Sunchoke Bisque. My inner picky eater rejoiced! Each of the four salads also looked tantalizing and entrée choices included everything from Ricotta and Butternut Agnalotti to Classic Osso Bucco, Braised Rabbit and Butter Poached King Crab. The menu offers something for everyone.

The Black Cod was full of flavor and beautifully presented

The Black Cod was full of flavor and beautifully presented on Sun Valley signature china

After much consideration, I opted for the Idaho Potato Pillows with caviar, crème fraiche and chives and a Black Cod with artichoke barigoule, smoked tomato, red wine reduction and petite herbs. My friend decided on the Seared Foie Gras with toasted brioche, Idaho huckleberries and bittersweet chocolate and the Lobster Thermidor. From these selections, you can probably tell that the menu emphasizes many local, seasonal and very fresh ingredients. The choices we made were flavorful, inventive, beautifully plated and well portioned. Evidently, Chef Murcko’s reputation is well deserved and kudos to LDR Chef Adam Findlay for preparing our memorable meal.

And the truth is, everything tastes even just a little better in the beautiful LDR. The elegant two-tiered space, twinkling with crystal chandeliers, polished brass, rich fabrics, crisp white linens and sparkling silver features a repeating pattern of circles. Half moon banquettes line the back walls, scalloped railings delineate the boundary of the upper “tier” and marble steps lead into the lower portion of the room, marked by the curving exterior walls. All this rounding draws your attention and eye inward, making the room very intimate. For the holidays, the Sun Valley elves have outdone themselves, turning the LDR into an elaborately wrapped present. Oversized ornaments provide a sparkling overhead canopy; trees and holiday lights twinkle with thousands of tiny white lights; a stunning tree wrapped in what looks like crystal casts soft light onto surrounding tables.

The halls are decked for the holidays

The halls are decked for the holidays

From the smiles, laughs and exclamations of pleasure emanating from around us in the full dining room last night, it seems that everyone is excited that the LDR is once again open for dinner — just in time for the holidays. Don’t miss this memorable culinary opportunity. For reservations, call 208.622.2019 or book on online by clicking here.

–RES

Renown ski patrolman Whiz McNeal enjoys opening night with his wife, Beverly

Renown ski patrolman Whiz McNeal and his lovely wife, Beverly, enjoy opening night

 

 

My 24-hour vacation

You have arrived at the Lodge!

You have arrived!

I live, year-round, approximately five miles from the Sun Valley Lodge. While I am at the Resort almost every day, dropping my kids off at skating lessons or hockey; enjoying a meal; shopping or picking up my mail, this weekend I decided to treat myself to a night at the Lodge — the full guest experience — because, well, it is a terrible waste to live next door to a world-class resort and not check in once in a while. Enjoying turn down service is good for the soul.

It is amazing how, in those five short miles, my mind quickly turned from the never-ending “to do” list to a manicure, a glass of wine and a seat by the fire.  By the time I parked and walked to the Lodge’s front door, overnight bag in hand, I already felt like a guest.  The always handsome and polite doormen swung open the doors in tandem, welcoming me to Sun Valley. I made my grand entrance into the warm lobby that twinkled with lights and home felt like a continent away.

Checking in at the Lodge

Be our guest

The pleasant women at the reception desk also welcomed me with open arms (though they probably wondered why I was so giddy at 3 p.m.) and gave me the keys to the kingdom – room 165.  I have stayed at the Lodge a few times, but so far, room 165 is my very favorite.  A corner King room, three large windows flood the space with light and look out over the Sun Valley Ice Rink, Bald Mountain and the Pavilion. A room with a view, indeed! But luxuriating in 165 would have to wait until later.  My poor neglected fingers and toes demanded immediate attention.

I scooted down the hallway, surrounded on all sides by fabulous black and white photos chronicling the Resort’s storied story, and turned into the newly redesigned Salon and Spa. Soft lights, a spice colored carpet and gleaming surfaces greeted me, as did my nail technician, Christie.  Christie is newly arrived in Sun Valley and her broad smile and sweet laugh made me forget to be embarrassed by my “mountain feet.”  As I soaked in the hot rose-colored water and chatted with Christie, vacation-mode took over. An hour later, my feet were reborn. Christie provided the best pedicure I have had since I moved from New York City a dozen years ago. And that is no exaggeration and no small, um, feat. An equally transformative manicure followed.  No question, I will be back for some pre-holiday pampering in a few weeks’ time.

Christie, my great nail technician

Let the pampering begin

Next stop?  The famous outdoor Sun Valley pool. This mammoth, steaming circle of water is really a soaking tub of epic proportions. It was raining steadily that evening, the cold mountain drops mingling with the very hot water. A group of locals, all staying at the Resort for the Firefighters’ Ball, chatted with hockey players in town for a tournament, everyone submerged and sipping drinks, seated on the bench that rims the entire inside wall of the pool.

Sun Valley's famous year-round outdoor pool

The famous year-round outdoor pool

Later, the group reconvened at the Lodge’s Duchin Room, securing a cluster of high tables in the back and enjoying a light dinner. Then, onto the Ball at the Limelight Room for a great night of dancing and back to my very cozy room by the stroke of midnight. Eggs Benedict at Gretchen’s the next morning was the perfect ending to the stay.

Part of the joy, part of the fun, of living in a resort town, is the resort itself.  Many locals enjoy a “staycation” in Sun Valley.  One friend and his wife recently celebrated their 10-year anniversary with a night at the Lodge. Another gathers a group of friends for her birthday each year and checks into one of the spacious cottages for a getaway without the getaway.

Life in a small town like Sun Valley can get surprisingly busy and stressful, just like anywhere else.  But with one of the most beautiful resorts in the world in our backyard, why not play “guest” once a in a while? When I awoke to a spectacular view of Baldy, covered in snow and gleaming in the sun, I appreciated Sun Valley anew and returned home truly grateful for where I live.

–RES

Room with a view

Room with a view

My home away from home

My home away from home, room 165

Sun Valley’s Room of Requirement

The Limelight Room is located in the historic Sun Valley Inn

Welcome to the Inn and the Limelight Room

The Limelight Room at the Sun Valley Inn has a great deal in common with the Room of Requirement at Hogwarts Castle (for all you Harry Potter fans out there): it can be transformed into virtually anything you need. Hosting a conference? Easy. Staging a benefit gala for 200? Got it covered. Need a space to feature a special speaker? Done. This room can provide a perfect setting for just about any occasion.

This weekend, the Limelight Room assumed one of its myriad personalities: that of a beautiful venue for and evening of dinner and dancing — all for a great cause. On Saturday night, it was the backdrop for the always-popular Fall Game Dinner sponsored by the non-profit Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation.

The Game Dinner is only one of many parties that take place each year in the Limelight Room.

Set up was in full swing for the SVSEF Game Dinner Saturday afternoon

Set up was in full swing in the Limelight Room Saturday afternoon

With its beautiful crystal chandeliers and rich color palate, the room provides a canvas that can be painted countless ways.  I have been to events at the Limelight Room where the space is divided into two intimate areas – one for cocktails and one for dinner. I have enjoyed a mock casino night there, when it is jammed with “blackjack” and “poker” tables. I have listened to great speakers in that room (David Sedaris being my favorite) when rows of gold chairs faced the podium. Other events, like the upcoming Firefighters’ Ball, another local favorite, don’t require much more than a few bars, some cocktail tables and great music to morph the space into a nightclub. Each summer, the Limelight Room becomes HQ for the world’s media moguls. Within those four walls, deals are made that make history.

An auctioneer works the crowd at the Game Dinner

The auctioneer encourages the crowd at the Game Dinner

On Thanksgiving Day, the Limelight Room will once again be transformed, this time into a lavish holiday all-you-can-eat buffet.  Families and friends will gather to enjoy a home cooked meal with all the fixings that they did not have to spend days preparing.  It is worth checking out the terrific room packages and early season ski specials available for Thanksgiving.  Imagine taking a few opening day runs on Baldy or Dollar, eating until you can’t move and simply walking down the hall to your room for a much-needed nap and perhaps some football on television. Pretty great.

Chances are, if you visit Sun Valley or live here, some occasion will bring you to the Limelight Room.  It is quintessential Sun Valley and a place where memories are made.

 

 

A snowy Bald Mountain seen from the Inn Terrace

The view from the Inn's terrace is pretty tempting indeed