LIFT LINE: On-Mountain Lodges & Après Ski Options

Guest blogger Alec Barfield.

Why leave the mountain after skiing? Sun Valley has all kinds of aprs options, from the Warm Springs base to Lookout at the top of Baldy. Take an inside peek into these local drinking holes.

 

At Lookout Lodge. Getting ready to bomb to the bottom!!

 LOOKOUT LODGE (9 am – 3:30 pm):

With its low beams, leather booths and etched glass, Lookout Restaurant is truly a throwback. Unlike the more Tyrolean Roundhouse or the stately River Run base lodge, Lookout has a neighborly vibe, establishing it as the "other" classic spot for regulars to lunch or aprs on the mountain. Need a quiet corner to nurse a tall boy and rest those legs? Or maybe the powder is fresh and speed the priority? Either way Lookout has you covered: food and beer are served quickly and there are rarely crowds. Located at the top of Baldy, it is Sun Valley’s peaceful aprs-ski perch.

Crowd: Anyone looking to avoid the rush of other lodges. Regulars include ski patrol, lifties and locals in the know. Lovers of elegant washrooms: Lookout will meet your marble standards.

 

Specials: Beer pairing is simple: order anything to pair with the unbeatable fish tacos. The purest aprs meal, however, is the Kobe beef slider (think sake-infused beef).

Noteworthy: Come mid-March, Lookout sets up an outdoor grill, complete with sunshine and beer coolers. Remember that peaceful December pilsner in the corner? Last year’s crowds grew into the hundreds…. Let’s aprs, bro!

 

RIVER RUN BASE LODGE  (8 am – 6 pm)

Ahhhh, it’s the last ski run of the day–you are schusshing down Baldy with the beautiful River Run Lodge in sight. You can almost hear the wine corks popping and beer bottles clanking. River Run Lodge has a happening aprs vibe with live music offered on most weekends and holidays and a fabulous outdoor fire pit sitting area to meet new friends or catch up with old chums.

Crowd: Happy people of all ages, from locals to visitors, who just went skiing or boarding at America’s original destination resort!

Specials: Sipping tall boys of Pabst Blue Ribbon at the base of Baldy is one of life’s finer moments for some SVM staffers and fans.

Specials: The aprs scene is a classic mix of local and visitors (season lockers are upstairs) and many a special event has been staged at the River Run Lodge. Don’t miss the the afternoon spring scene or fire pit outside beside the gondola.

Noteworthy: Home to the original chairlift on Baldy and, as old-timers will tell you, to a single chairlift until the 1960s, River Run is now serviced by an 1,800-passengers-per-hour gondola which was the largest Doppelmayr project in North America when built in 2009.

 

SEATTLE RIDGE LODGE  (9:30 am – 2:30 pm)

A quintessential mountain retreat, the Seattle Ridge lodge is massive, impeccably detailed and downright warm. What’s incredible about Seattle Ridge is that it has no secrets: sunshine and gourmet meals play on repeat. The fireplaces are always roaring, heating nearby boots and gloves, and the views only change with the seasons. Enjoy early aprs with friends (the lodge closes at 2:30) while gazing out on Hailey, Bellevue, the Pioneer Mountains and the surrounding lower valleys.

Crowd: Skiers, boarders and occasionally that guy who mono-skis. Literally the whole family. According to many, Seattle Ridge is "the place to be seen." If there’s a celebrity on the mountain, he or she will likely stop by this Sun Valley landmark for lunch at some point.

Specials:  Do yourself a huge favor and try the mouth-watering prime rib. Don’t forget the pitcher of beer!

Noteworthy: Behind the beautiful log construction of Seattle Ridge were teams of helicopters that flew up and down the mountain delivering giant timber.

 

The SVM Staff enjoying apres at Averell's

AVERELL’S BAR – ROUNDHOUSE  (11 am – 4 pm, last call 4:30 pm):

Quite possibly the quintessential spot for aprs skiing in Sun Valley, Averell’s Bar is located halfway up Bald Mountain on the lower level of the historic Roundhouse Lodge. The octagonal building is filled with loving reminders of Sun Valley’s glory days and Averell’s (named after Sun Valley’s founder, Averell Harriman) hosts the Valley’s most majestic views of the Wood River Valley and Pioneer Mountains. Originally opened in 1940 along with Baldy’s first chairlift, Averell’s reopened in 2010 and not many people even knew the room existed after it had spent nearly a decade as a storage locker wasting those breathtaking views.

Crowd: Frequented by movie stars, housewives, Olympians, regular Joes, tourists and the un-or underemployed, Averell’s will surely leave an imprint as it offers a stroll down memory lane.

Specials: The cheese fondue for two (or more) is tough to top and they offer a solid beer and wine selection. SVM staff is known for making major editorial decisions while enjoying beer and fondue at Averell’s.

Noteworthy: Averell’s announces last call to ski down by ringing the bell at 4:30 pm. The last gondola back down departs at 4:45 pm. Dinner at 7,700 feet is a special event (open Thursday-Sunday from 6 – 9 pm), reservations required, call 208.622.2800.

 

WARM SPRINGS LODGE  (8 am – 4 pm):

The bar is small, but the view is huge. The drinks are cute ("Hot Apple Pie"), but they pack a punch. The lodge at Warm Springs does big and little things, and it does them all well. The lodge itself is magnificent, the perfect place to end a long day on the mountain. The famous cookie bell, almost unseen, nonetheless rings loudly enough to produce an even noisier scuttling of tiny boots to the kitchen. Find a seat facing the vaulted windows, grab a pint of the Stone IPA, and wait for the youngsters to return with Sun Valley’s greatest aprs snack.

Crowd: Residents of the Edelweiss and groups of all sizes parked at Warm Springs. Weary parents. A few years ago I also spotted Tim Allen on the patio.

Specials: The creative and very seasonal "Warm Ups" menu features drinks such as the "B-52" (coffee liqueur, Irish cream and orange cognac) and the "Nutty Irishman" (hazelnut liqueur, Irish cream and vanilla flavored vodka). Small cups of bar pretzels are on the house.

Noteworthy:  The aprs crowd at Warm Springs follows the sun, meaning the scene heats up, literally and figuratively, after the holidays. By President’s Weekend, Warm Springs definitely secures the end-of-day "scene." Weather permitting, bands will play regularly outside. Nothing goes better with chocolate chip cookies than live music.

 

>> Check the Sun Valley website all season for more information on events/specials at Lookout, Seattle Ridge, Warm Springs and the mountain’s other lodges!

Sun Valley Opens Thanksgiving Day

Sun Valley’s 76th Winter Season opens Thursday, November 24, offering skiing and riding top to bottom on both sides of Baldy. The Quarter Dollar high-speed quad and the Accelerator moving carpet also will be open on Dollar Mountain.

On Baldy, four high-speed quads will be in operation – #1, River Run, #5 Lookout Express, #3 Christmas, #10, Challenger and the Kinderspielplatz moving carpet. Lift service will allow access to the following runs – Upper College, Flying Squirrel, Lower Picabo, Lower Warm Springs, Roundhouse Lane, Roundhouse Slope, Lower Canyon, Mid and Lower River Run.

Both mountains will provide a terrain park experience starting the season with four medium park rails on Baldy’s Lower River Run and a progression park with nine rails on Dollar.

Full restaurant and bar service will be available at River Run Day Lodge and Warm Springs Day Lodge with Lookout Restaurant open for drinks and snacks through the weekend.
Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge also will provide full service through the weekend and then close until December 10 when Dollar Mountain operations will re-open for the season.

Brass Ranch, Pete Lane’s and Pete Lane’s new Boot Shop will be open 8-5 pm daily with Dollar Mountain’s Pete Lane’s open from 8-5 pm for the weekend. Custom boot fitters will be available to dial in your boots, an early season hot wax special will be offered and the kid’s season lease package will be available for purchase at Dollar and River Run.

Sun Valley’s Village Shops will observe Black Friday with special deals and extended hours Friday, November 25.

For updated Mountain Reports, please call 800-635-4150 or visit www.sunvalley.com.

More lifts and terrain will open as conditions permit.

The Monument Plant is out on Bald Mountain.

“The Monument Plant is a tall, narrow, cone-shaped plant with flowers clustered around the upper part of its stem. The plants live for many years, blooms only once and then dies. Flowering is unpredictable, but seems related to moisture,” according to Idaho Mountain Wildflowers – Earle. Some think it is on a seven year cycle.  This year, the monument plant seems to be everywhere. We are seeing it in the middle of the upper runs, such as Holiday, Exhibition and Olympic.  If you look out the window as you are riding up the Gondola, you can see this plant as you ride over Exhibition. Because of the cold temperatures in the spring, The mountain is still green and the mountain flowers are in bloom. This is a perfect time to go for a Gondola ride, lunch at the Roundhouse and a nature hike!

USA Cycling Nationals – July 15

 

USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships are in Sun Valley!

The USA Cycling Mountain Bike Cross-Country National Championships racing continues through Sunday. Come down to River Run to watch the races, have a beer and check out the Expo! Racing starts Saturday at 7:30 a.m. and Sunday at 8:00 a.m. 

 

The Roundhouse Connector Trail is Open!

The Roundhouse Connector is now open! This hiking only trail boasts beautiful views and oportunities for wildlife encounters. It connects the Bald Mountain Trail to the Roundhouse Restaurant and Gondola, with a 14 minute hike over 0.7 miles of Bald Mountain. Definitely worth the visit! (This trail is a hiking only trail, no bikes please.)

Bald Mountain Summer Season Is Underway!

The Bald Mountain Summer 2011 Season is underway. The Roundhouse Gondola and Christmas Lift operate daily at 9:00 am with the last roundtrip leaving at 4:00 pm, and the last trip down from the top leaving at 4:30pm. The Roundhouse Restaurant is open for lunch at 11:00am.

Trails are open, the views spectacular and the weather is gorgeous! Come on up and join us!

Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers at River Run August 3

Who knew that the hilarious Steve Martin, famous for movies like “The Jerk, and “Cheaper by the Dozen” and “Father of the Bride” was also a Banjo virtuoso. I’m told he can really tear it up on a stage, with great classic folk stuff and plenty of rockin’ country to get you up on your feet. Martin has toured all over the country with his Bluegrass band, and promises to give us a show to remember on the stage at the river Run Plaza next Tuesday evening, August 3.

Come on out, bring the kids, and enjoy another perfect sunset on the grounds along the Wood River. Sun Valley will have snacks and a bar set up over by Pete Lanes again in case  the kids get hungry or you would like a cold drink.  

The Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile will open at 7pm. Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, will perform at about 8:30. That’s a little late, so be sure to have sweatshirts for the kids and a jacket to stay warm out there. Tickets will be $45 for adults, with a discount for SV Center for the Arts members. It should be a great show, and we’ll all be there, too. Tickets available only through the Sun Valley Center for the Arts.

See you there

Dave Mason to perform at River Run Wednesday, July21

Yep, that’s right, the world famous rock and roll artist Dave Mason will be performing at River Run tomorrow night!  The music starts at 5:00pm with Kole Moulton and the Lonely Road, and the Disciples of Rock followed by Dave Mason at 7:00pm.  It should be a great show, one that you don’t want to miss.  If you haven’t been to a concert at River Run, this is a perfect chance to come out and see one. Tickets are only $20 for adults, and $5 for kids under 12, available at all Sun Valley ticket outlets.

Sun Valley Resort will offer BBQ items on site, and there will be a no-host bar set up near Pete Lane’s Bike Shop on River Run Plaza.

To add to the fun all the local first responder agencies will be in the River Run parking lot all afternoon showing off their cool gear and new equipment. We’ll see the Blaine County Search and Rescue with their rescue dogs and all the local fire departments.  The USFS Helitac helicopter will be there, as well as the Life Flight helicopter from St. Lukes Hospital.  These are the folks that make it possible for us all to enjoy the mountain life we enjoy in the beautiful Wood River Valley.  This is your chance to meet all these fine community servants and get to know them and find out what they do for us. Have you ever seen a helicopter up close?
See you there.

Hottest Days of the Year This Weekend

 

Yep, we think it’s here…Summer, that is…The weather man says to expect temps in the 90′s today and for the weekend.  That makes this the perfect time to get on up to the fresh air at the Roundhouse for lunch or a glass of wine. They’re open daily from 11 to 3:30 for the BBQ on the deck. And the Gondola will run from 9:00 until the last ride down at 4:30.

We’ve learned that it’s the coolest place in town for those hot afternoons here in the valley.

Come on up and see us