The Jolly Holiday Season Begins

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peter and Chloe enjoyed gingerbread man decorating in the Boiler Room

Peter and Chloe enjoyed gingerbread man decorating in the Boiler Room

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

Dessert, glorious dessert!

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

A crepe station is always popular at brunch

The crepe station is always a popular option

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

Baldy's Seattle Ridge is open for the season!

Baldy's Seattle Ridge is open for the season!

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

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

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

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

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

Please join us to celebrate the happiest of holidays!

–RES

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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

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

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

Here are some highlights for your December plans:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–RES

Sun Valley Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony

A free gathering in front of the Inn with complimentary refreshments, Sun Valley Carolers directed by Derek Furch, tree   lighting and Santa arrives in his sleigh.  Photos with Santa and ice carving demonstrations.

Tree Lighting Ceremony – Sun Valley Inn
–5:00 PM Food & Beverage Starts
–5:30PM: SV Carolers sing from Inn Lobby Lounge Deck
–5:55PM: Welcome and thank you speeches from the Inn Lobby Lounge Deck
–6:00PM: Tree Lighting Countdown. Christmas Tree and surrounding trees light up.
–6:03PM: SV Carolers 
–6:05PM: Santa’s Sleigh comes up the ramp to the Inn Lobby Lounge Deck
–6:15PM: Ice carving demonstrations

Sun Valley History: The Reindeer of Sun Valley

 

The Sun Valley reindeer forage for food by Trail Creek in 1937.

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen … but do you recall? Streamer, Liner, Clipper, Saint and Nick? Probably not. Their’s was a short and unhappy life in Sun Valley, as the resort’s first and only reindeer herd.

It was 1937, and in anticipation of Sun Valley’s second ever Christmas, marketing genius Steve Hannagan, the man who gave Sun Valley its name, convinced resort owner Averell Harriman that a herd of reindeer was an essential ingredient for a picture perfect Sun Valley Christmas. Hannagan tasked Andres Bango, a Laplandar whose father had brought the first reindeer from Siberia to Alaska in 1898, to round up 13 of the beasts from the tundras of Teller, Alaska and escort them by boat, plane and train to the heart of Idaho. Newspaper reports from the day indicate that Harriman and Hannagan had hopes this group may be the nucleus of a permanent stand of reindeer in the Sawtooths.

Once arrived in Sun Valley, the beasts were fitted with special harnesses and sleighs for ferrying guests from the railroad to the resort and, most importantly, to pull Santa’s sleigh. However, while every comfort was afforded the reindeer – including a special barn built just for them – Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Streamer, Liner, Clipper, Saint and Nick had a difficult transition to life in Idaho. Reindeer are the only domesticated deer in the world (in the wild they are known as caribou), and in general they are  easy to domesticate, being naturally docile with a trusting disposition. But the 13 reindeer that ended up in Sun Valley were not so cooperative. They did not take kindly to being required to abandon their usual diet of tundra moss in favor of the more readily available alfalfa and by all accounts arrived from Alaska on the verge of starvation. A train load of moss was quickly dispatched from their homeland, but before it arrived the creatures had made the switch to alfalfa, refusing to return to their native diet.

By this point, the baker’s dozen were a nervous and ill-tempered bunch and when Bango hitched them up to a sleigh he couldn’t control them. To keep them running away or attacking passengers he had to hold their antlers until the sleigh was loaded and then release them and leap into the driver’s seat. According to his biographer Rudy Abramson, Harriman witnessed the creatures’ cantankerous nature first hand during the 1937 lighting of the Christmas tree. Santa Claus was delivered to the Lodge on his sleigh, but as soon as he stepped down, the reindeer charged at the jolly red man. The sight of a terrified Santa being pursued by angry reindeer in front of all his high-profile guests was enough for Harriman, and the reindeer were banished from Sun Valley.

Sun Valley's reindeer herd was replaced by this less aggressive breed.

But what became of the Sun Valley reindeer? While there is no record of exactly what happened to them, today caribou do exist in Idaho, although they are one of the most critically endangered mammals in the country. The last herd of Woodland Caribou in America lives in Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho, eastern Washington and southern British Columbia and numbers just 34. It’s nice to think that maybe, just maybe, Streamer, Liner, Clipper, Saint and Nick led their brethren to the cooler, wetter climes of northern Idaho, where they lived out their lives as wild caribou. Perhaps, 75 years on, their descendants are still roaming that land.

Happy Holidays!

Jennifer Tuohy

A Midwinter Night’s Dream

The performers perfected the show during a rehearsal

A rehearsal on Thursday allowed the performers to perfect the show

On this, the shortest, darkest day of the year — the Winter Solstice — rich sounds of traditional Christmas carols and holiday favorites will enliven the long night. This evening’s fifth annual Classical Christmas Concert will showcase stirring melodies and soaring voices, transporting audience members into a peaceful reverie and setting the tone for the coming weeks of celebration.

For many, measures of Christmas music strike (pardon the pun) a chord deep within. The first bars of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, the opening notes of carols that have been sung for hundreds of years, a chord from modern favorites, bring a flood of memories and emotions. For instance, for me, Away in a Manger, places me right back beside my grandmother’s upright piano in upstate New York. Her home is decorated with traditional, colorful handmade Norwegian tablecloths and flickering candles. Fresh cookies cool on the rack. Despite the frigid weather, all is merry and bright, secure and safe.

This evening at the Sun Valley Opera House, John Mauldin’s evocative tenor will surely stir your own memories. His sister, Leslie Mauldin’s soaring soprano, will take your breath away. The talents of the Hatvani Chamber Ensemble and of pianist and baritone Jed Moss will weave together bits of memory, feeling and meaning to create an unforgettable evening of live music. Add the festive and popular Sun Valley Carolers and I dare you not to lose yourself to the mood.

It takes a crew a full day to assemble the winter wonderland on the Opera House stage

It takes a full day to assemble the winter wonderland on the Opera House stage

The stage in the Opera House has been transformed for the night and mirrors the winter wonderland outside, bringing evergreens, white lights and everything but the snow, indoors. As the two violins, cello and piano play the first strains of music, close your eyes and let the holidays begin in earnest. But don’t get too lost in the moment – a very special guest is expected to take the stage along with the featured performers.

The sun will set today at 4:32 p.m. Before the doors to the concert open at 7 p.m., enjoy the brisk winter evening in the Sun Valley Village. Bundle up and take a walk through the Village Light Festival, where thousands of twinkling lights mimic the stars overhead. The Holiday Window Stroll leads through whimsical depictions of holidays around the world, Norway included. Visit the Gingerbread Village, a 20-by-30-foot scale replica of Sun Valley’s charm. Enjoy a drink or a bite at a Village restaurant or bar. Then make your way to the historic Opera House, take your seat, and surround yourself with the sounds of the season.

Tenor John Mauldin rehearses a favorite carol

Tenor John Mauldin rehearses a favorite carol

Historically, in the northern hemisphere, the Winter Solstice has been a time of celebration and gathering. In different cultures throughout the ages, Yule logs have been burned to light the long, dark night. Neighbors gathered and feasted. This pivot point from which days will again grow longer and warmer has always been a time of renewal, ritual and reflection.

What better way to spend this night than by enjoying your favorite music, performed by consummate professionals and wonderful entertainers? Settle in and enjoy this midwinter night’s dream.

Tickets are now on sale at the Sun Valley Recreation Center, by phone at 208-622-2135 or 888-622-2108, or at the door based on availability. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

– RES

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

 

 

4th Annual Christmas Concert Dec. 23 at the Sun Valley Opera House

Sun Valley Presents the 4th Annual Classical Christmas concert. This year’s concert will see the return of soprano Celena Shafer, along with Sun Valley’s Director of Entertainment and tenor, John Mauldin and his sister Leslie Mauldin, a soprano. For the first time, long-time friend Jed Moss will lend his incredible piano and baritone skills to the Opera House Stage.  Good friends since high school, Leslie and Jed have performed together for years.  A consummate classical pianist, Jed has performed internationally and has been active in the recording studio for many years.  But Jed is also extremely versatile and has always loved a good adventure.  While keeping up with his classical performing, Jed also toured with the Broadway production of Phantom of the Opera and in 1995 accepted an offer to tour with Air Supply and, after traveling the world with them for 14 years, realized he needed more time to commit to his true passion, classical music.  Now he is busier than he’s ever been performing, accompanying, teaching and lecturing.  Of a recent performance, the Salt Lake Tribune noted that “The common thread…was the virtuosity of pianist Jed Moss.  No matter the high quality of the sung and strung performances, it was Moss who commanded the audience’s admiration.”

- Jeff Manookian, THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE  Also returning will be the Hatvani Chamber Ensemble, and, of course, Christmas in Sun Valley wouldn’t be Christmas without the Sun Valley Carolers.  Once again, the audience can count on hearing some of their favorite Christmas tunes mixed with some they may have never hear from the classical to the traditional to the new!  Don’t miss it!!

Doors open at 7:00pm and the show starts at 7:30pm
Tickets are $35 for Adults.
Tickets on sale online or  at the Sun Valley Recreation Center: (208) 622-2135

 

 

 

The Finer Things of Skiing

It’s the New Year. The holiday storm is over. It is again possible to find a parking place in town and get dinner at a local restaurant. There’s not a 20-person line-up in the express lane at Atkinson’s and you can actually get your skis tuned in a timely manner. The slopes are at a pleasurable, near-empty capacity. And now it is snowing. But after a few weeks of parties, visitors, family, dinners, shopping, barhopping, and skiing paired with working harder than you do the rest of the year, as most locals do during the Christmas season, you are sick. Flakes are falling outside your window and your voice can barely be heard through the telephone when your ski buddy calls at 8:45 am to see if you are in the lift line yet.

Well, we thought we would ease your pain with our list of a few of the "Finer Things of Skiing". Seemingly little things that those who don’t ski or snowboard don’t understand putting up with, things that make skiing seem difficult but things that once we make a wide, sweeping turn on a freshly groomed run or take the first couple powder turns of the season, are completely forgotten. Things that don’t matter in the life of a skier or snowboarder, but make the stay-at-home-because-you-are-sick-and-miss-the-new-snow you feel just a little better about being at home.

1. Core shots from toy truck-sized rocks in the base of your brand new skis.
2. Losing toenails from too many days in your boots.
3. The excruciatingly painful pleasure of taking your boots off at the end of the day.
4. Figuring out just how to carry all your stuff.
5. Inevitably losing some of your gear.
6. Frostbite on your face from a cold, windy day and then having to cover it up for weeks after.
7. Digging your pass out from under your jacket on the coldest of days.
8. Flat light on Warm Springs at 10 am.
9. The walk from the River Run parking lot always seeming so much longer and more difficult at the end of the day.
10. Never being able to actually take a good solo run because inevitably you run into someone you know on the chair or in the lift line.

What do you think? What little things comfort you when you can’t make it up the mountain?
(And don’t worry, by tomorrow we’ll all forget about these trivial things and be right up there with you.)

Check out our pics of some these “Finer Things of Skiing” that really aren’t that bad….

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Christmas Blackout 2009!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas in Sun Valley is a time full of parties,shopping, ice shows, fireworks, dinners, dancing, drinking, sleeping, opening presents during a leisurely breakfast and then skiing. Unfortunately for 17,000 people in Southern Idaho, Christmas in Sun Valley this year was a little different….

A blackout caused by a break in a power line somewhere in the desert around Picabo, possibly the result of an overload (read: too many Christmas lights!), commenced at 10:30 pm on Christmas Eve. A cold, cold night with temperatures dropping ensued and the power was not restored until around 2:00 pm Christmas Day and the lifts on Baldy never even got rolling. (read: no Christmas skiing!) But we think, just maybe, this was a blessing in disguise.

Dinners were finished by candlelight. Restaurant staffs merrily gathered in darkened booths drinking wine, and ringing in Christmas together. The Pioneer was hopping late into Christmas Eve as their generators proudly ran. Mistletoe above doorsteps was a little more romantic. Presents couldn’t be opened at the crack of dawn and anxious kids were forced to allow their parents a few more hours of sleep. Coffee was made on stovetops with a french press. No one was watching tv. No one was on their computer. There was no rush to get up on the mountain, or anywhere else for that matter. Transistor radios played Christmas tunes from stations in Twin Falls. There was a little extra cuddling overnight. Baldy saw quite a bit more uphill traffic as skiers and boarders enjoyed the bluebird day by hiking up. There were more walks taken and more people nordic skiing. Time seemed to slow down and everyone huddled together.

We may not have gone skiing on Christmas but this year, we all may be a little more grateful for what we do have in our lives; the ease, the convience, all we have been blessed with, and the ones we love with whom we can share it all.

The Reopening of Whiskey Jacques and the Countdown to Christmas Continues!

Christmas is only a week away and things around town are definitely starting to pick up. The mountain is busier. Drinks at the Duchin Room and at Averell’s Bar are flowing in a traditional holiday style. Dollar’s new terrain park and tubing park are opening this Saturday. The SuperPipe on Lower Warm Springs is set to open Saturday as well. Snow guns are running all over the mountain in hopes to open more terrain as soon as possible. Christmas trees are decorated, candles are lit, and everyone is preparing to eat at least one piece of Grandma’s fruitcake.

But in downtown Ketchum there is another event locals and tourists have been hotly anticipating… the reopening of the legendary Whiskey Jacques. After a fire raised the building over a year ago construction crews have been working hard on the bar’s rebuild and everyone in town, of any age and any dancing ability, has been chomping at the bit to get their favorite bar back. A staple in the Sun Valley nightlife for over 25 years, Whiskey’s is a classic wild western saloon right on Main Street in the classic ski town of Ketchum. Whiskey Jacques is reopening with a bang this Friday, December 18. They will be showcasing local band, The Bobo’s, on Friday and more live music will continue throughout the winter with acts like the Gourds, Mickey and the Motorcars, and New Year’s Eve guests, Marmalade Hill.

Other things happening this week around town, new bar and restaurant, Sego, is opening on Washington Street (928-7878 for reservations), at Dollar’s new terrain park on Friday morning some of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation’s Freestyle and Snowboard teams will be testing the new features, and the nexStage and Laughing Stock Theatres are presenting "A Christmas Carol" on Friday and Saturday nights (726-4857 for more info). Also happening is Sun Valley’s Christmas Tree Lighting Festival will take place in the Sun Valley Village on Saturday at 5:00 with performances by the Sun Valley Carolers and live music and drinks at the Boiler Room to follow.

So whether you are tearing it up on the slopes, strapping on your dancing shoes, or helping the community get ready for the Holidays, we’ll see you around town as the countdown to Christmas continues.