Your Sun Valley Suns

Sun Valley is known worldwide for its incomparable alpine skiing and riding; as Nordic Town USA; as mountain bike single track Nirvana. But did you know it is also a hockey town?

Your Sun Valley Suns in action on home ice. The first puck drops December 20

Your Sun Valley Suns in action on home ice. The first puck drops December 20

People might be surprised to learn that Sun Valley’s home team, the Sun Valley Suns, brings collegiate talent, players from the minors and from all over the world to the Resort’s indoor rink for a season that runs from December to March. Hundreds of fans come out for home games on Friday and Saturday nights to watch the action against opponents from Boston, Utah, Wyoming, Michigan, New York and elsewhere.

The Suns home season begins when the puck drops on December 20. Games follow over the holidays on the 23rd, 27th and 28th at 7 p.m.  For the full Suns schedule, please click HERE. It’s an exciting, affordable way for the whole family to spend a Friday or Saturday night.

Big Suns sign up little Suns at a youth hockey camp this week

Big Suns sign in little Suns at a youth hockey camp this week

But the Suns aren’t only good at stick handling and putting the puck in the net, they are also amazingly community-minded for a group of young bucks. One example of their collective civic-mindedness was on display at the rink this week as the Suns hosted a pre-season camp for local Sun Valley Youth Hockey players, ages five to 13. For three days, players of all abilities got a jump on the start on their season during afternoons focused on drills, strategy and fun.

It's game on at the Sun Valley indoor rink as hockey season kicks off

It's game on at the Sun Valley indoor rink as hockey season kicks off

During camp, the young players get to spend time with some of the athletes they most respect, and for the Suns, camp is a great way to get to know the local kids. Suns forward Bryan O’Connell said in a recent interview, “It’s really important to connect with the young players in a town where there’s a lot of youth hockey. We really enjoy working with the kids and inspiring them.” Suns players work with the community in other ways, as well. At each home game, the not-for-profit Suns Foundation partners with a local charitable organization that benefits financially from that night’s door as well as merchandise sales. As many as 11 local organizations are supported by the Suns in this way every year.

Hockey is incredibly popular around here, with hundreds of children coming out to build skills and enjoy the fast-paced game. The littlest enthusiasts take their first laps on the ice under the trained eyes of Sun Valley Youth Hockey’s excellent coaches, most of whom play in the area’s very popular men’s, women’s and coed leagues, and progress to the high school level where local teams have had great success in Idaho and the Northwest in recent years.

Be sure to come out and cheer on the Suns for their 38th year. Bring on hockey season!

–RES

Your Sun Valley Suns bring great skill and showmanship to family-friendly, affordable games throughout the winter

Your Sun Valley Suns bring great skill and showmanship to family-friendly, affordable games throughout the winter

Summer, Your Way

Summer in Sun Valley is pretty darn spectacular. Get out there!

Summer in Sun Valley is pretty darn spectacular. Get out there!

The Memorial Day weekend is upon us and with it, the promise of endless sunny days filled with, well, whatever makes you happy. Sun Valley summers are rife with possibility, whether your tastes tend to climbing mountains, biking single track, swinging at tennis or golf balls, sunbathing, stargazing … the possibilities truly are endless.

For my family, summer is all about being outside. When, in late June, the sun rises at 6 a.m. and sets at 10 p.m., there is time to indulge in everything that makes the season so memorable.

After much consideration and heated debate around the dining room table, here is a list of the top five activities that define our Sun Valley summers. It would have been easy to name 50, but the winners are:

When you reach Pioneer Cabin, this is your reward

When you reach Pioneer Cabin, this is your reward

Hiking
My favorite way to enjoy the wilderness and scenic beauty of the Wood River Valley, the Sawtooth Mountains and beyond (and beyond and beyond) is on foot. Whether I have a two-hour window in my schedule or the luxury of a full day to get out into the woods, the possibilities for eye- (and lung!) popping hikes are as limitless as the amazingly well maintained, beautiful trail system that originates in our backyard. In-town hikes like Adams Gulch, Proctor Mountain and Chocolate Gulch offer diverse topography and challenge. A short drive from town gets you into the White Clouds, the Smoky Mountains, the Pioneers and the Boulders. Tucked among these mountain peaks are some of the most spectacular high altitude lakes you will ever see, and even during “high season,” many of these trails are surprisingly lightly traveled. My all-time favorite in the Smoky Mountains is the Norton Lake/Big Lost loop — spectacular and easily manageable in a half-day. Given a full day, the Sawtooths are my destination of choice, with trailheads in the Stanley area about an hour’s drive north of Ketchum. One of the destinations in that region isn’t called Shangri-La for nothing! Oh! And hiking up Baldy to Roundhouse for lunch and a gondola ride down is pretty terrific, too! And cresting the final ridge up to Pioneer Cabin is probably one of the most beautiful payoffs, beauty-wise, in the world. This list goes on and on!

People travel from all over the world to fly fish Sun Valley. Try it and you'll see why

People travel from all over the world to fly fish Sun Valley. Try it and you'll see why

Fly Fishing
As the band the Talking Heads sang in the 80s, “Take me to the river, drop me in the water,” and for our family, this is gospel, as long as we get to bring our fly rods. Sun Valley is surrounded on every side by some of the most pristine, productive trout water in North America. Steps from town, the Big Wood River fishes fantastically throughout the summer, tempting novices to get hooked and offering more sophisticated fishing to experienced anglers. For children, Penny Lake is fishing heaven and a great introduction to the lifetime sport. Over Trail Creek pass, Copper Basin and the Big Lost River beckon with some of the most spectacular scenery in the state and south of Bellevue, Silver Creek draws fly fishing aficionados from around the world with its notoriously selective natives that challenge and delight.

Skating on the outdoor rink isn't just child's play, but it certainly is fun

Skating on the outdoor rink isn't just child's play, but it certainly is fun

Skating Away
With two figure skaters in the family, much of our summer is spent at the Sun Valley ice rinks. But skating isn’t only for those working on their Double Salchow! Taking a few turns around the iconic outdoor rink that hugs the Lodge’s terrace is a fabulous way to spend an afternoon. In fact, it is the coolest place to be on hot summer days. Skate rentals, attire to make you look like a gold medalist and admission to general sessions are all available at the historic skate house, as is the opportunity to sign up for a few lessons with one of the rink’s highly accomplished pros. Then on Saturday nights, beginning in July, the stars of the skating world shine under Idaho’s canopy of stars in Sun Valley’s world famous ice shows. We love to enjoy the bountiful dinner buffet before the show or wrap up in a blanket on the bleachers to see, up close and personal, the finest athletes in the world. This year’s lineup includes luminaries like Evan Lysacek, Ryan Bradley and Ashley Wagner. This may be your last chance to glimpse future Olympic champions as they finalize preparations for Games in Sochi.

Dining al fresco
Dining outside is one of the great pleasures of life, especially when you live in a climate where it is only possible for a short window of time. Whenever eating out is on the calendar, we chose to go al fresco. At the Resort, dinner on the Ram terrace is our absolute favorite, both for the food and the terrific view of activity in the Village. The swan pond, surrounded by soft green grass, couldn’t be more picturesque if an artist painted it. Other terrific outdoor dining at the Resort includes the terrace at Gretchen’s restaurant overlooking the ice rink, light fare and drinks on the Duchin Room terrace and of course, my other favorite, outdoor dining at the historic Trail Creek Cabin. A short drive from Sun Valley takes you a world away to enjoy outstanding food as Trail Creek burbles nearby and the surrounding mountains look, at sunset, as if they are draped in velvet. Other al fresco dining opportunities also abound in Ketchum and Hailey when decks and patios are the place to see and be seen all summer long, whether you’re enjoying a burger or a gourmet four-course dinner.

The terrace at the Ram is a wonderful place to enjoy a meal under the sun or stars

The terrace at the Ram is a wonderful place to enjoy a meal under the sun or stars

Leisurely bike rides
Nearly every night of the warm weather months, my children and I hop on our bikes, hop onto the Rails-to-Trails bike path that runs right by our home and pedal the evening away. This paved path is appropriate for everyone as it gently leads past Hailey to the south and well past Ketchum to the north. The route often runs next to the Big Wood River and offers more than 32-miles of pedaling possibility. My advice? Don’t rush. This is a great opportunity to simply enjoy the surroundings and the company.

Family bike rides are a terrific end to a busy day (and no worries, my daughter only took off her helmet for the photo!)

Family bike rides are a terrific end to a busy day (and no worries, my daughter only took off her helmet for the photo!)

Summer possibilities are so varied, whether you are visiting for two weeks or have lived here for 20 years, there will always be new hikes to try, new mountain bike trails to explore, another stretch of river to fish or to whitewater raft, campsites you haven’t visited, a new stretch of beach at a mountain lake at which to picnic, a swimming hole to jump into, another opportunity to work on your handicap. Phew!

No matter what you like to do, though, the critical thing is to just get outside, be with friends and family and remember what summer is supposed to be about. Unplug, enjoy, unwind, explore. It’s summer in Sun Valley.

–RES

Everything that makes summer wonderful is at the end of this rainbow in Sun Valley

Everything that makes summer wonderful is at the end of this rainbow in Sun Valley

Echoes of St. Andrews in Sun Valley

 

Since arriving in Sun Valley almost nine years ago, I’ve discovered one of my favorite sights is that of deep dark clouds rolling into the valley on a quest to obscure our normally brilliant blue skies. The drama they bring as they cuddle up to the mountain tops is breathtaking, as are the storms that generally follow. And really, one does get somewhat bored of 330 days of pure, unadulterated sun.

One Sunday in June, as such a storm threatened, Mr. Sun and I trussed up Little Sun (4) and Baby Sun (1) in their finest golfing gear and headed to Sun Valley for a round at the Sawtooths Putting Course. For those not in the loop, according to Forbes magazine Sun Valley happens to have the finest golf offerings of all the North American ski resorts. Larry Olmsted spelled it all out in his article last week, Hollywood’s A-List Ski Resort Is Now A Top Golf Resort.

Little Sun: Champion of the putt-putt course

While 45 holes is a dream to many, the 18 of the putting course was far more our style for a first family golfing day. On the advice of Dominick Conti at the Golf Shop we kitted the children out in collared shirts (“so they will feel part of the golfing experience”) and hit the greens.

As the clouds gathered, threatening but not yet ready to give up their cargo, the scenery was stunning, more than making up for my complete lack of interest in golf. The tykes however, were in heaven. And as most parents discover sooner rather than later, anything that makes your offspring happy makes you happy. (Apart from SpongeBob SquarePants—if I could get my hands on that darn pineapple under the sea…).

Baby Sun gets ready for a run at the balls

After a spring in Florida with his grandpa, Little Sun has ample golfing experience. Tucking his scoring pencil behind his ear (a trick the trusty Dominick had showed him), he strode up to the first of the 18 holes and knocked it out in 3 strokes. Well, as he pointed out grumpily, that would have been the case if Baby Sun’s incurable delight at seeing a little white ball shoot across the grass hadn’t been followed by the irresistible urge to chase it. We eventually curbed this desire by putting a ball in each of her pudgy hands.

Modeled on the famous Himalayas Putting Course at the historic home of golf, St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland, the Sawtooths is a lot of fun for serious golfers but it is absolutely perfect for a family day out. Offering downhill, sidehill and uphill putts as you weave around the 52,000 square foot course, we all felt like “proper” golfers—without actually getting in the way of the proper golfers.

It's time to get into the club!

After an hour of decent physical exertion, lots of laughs and just one tantrum, we headed for the luxury of the patio seating outside the splendid Sun Valley Club. Here Big Sun and I enjoyed a much-needed frosty beverage while the tykes wolfed down some toasty grilled cheese sandwiches. Pure perfection.

Here are some quick clips of the Sun family in action

Little Sun shows his golfing prowess

Baby Sun hits her first golf ball

Happy trails!

Mrs. Sun

Sawtooth Putting Course Details: Adults $5, Children $3 Phone: 208.622.2251, Email: golf@sunvalley.com

Shred: Fun for the Whole Family—Sun Valley-style

Top 10 local activities for families

By Mike McKenna

Sun Valley isn’t considered a world-class ski resort just because the skiing and boarding is so good. The real reason Sun Valley has long been considered one of the best ski resorts on the planet is because the resort, and it’s surrounding community, offers so much else to do.

With Spring Break in full swing and Sun Valley teeming with families, here’s a rundown of the Top 10 Fun Things for Families to do in Sun Valley during the winter.

1) Go Tubing!

Snow tubing is quickly growing in popularity nationwide, and spending a mere hour on Sun Valley’s Tubing Hill at Dollar Mountain will show you why. It’s fun and easy to do for anyone ages from 4 to 84. To read more about it, check out, Snow Tubing Sun Valley.

2) Give Cross Country Skiing a Shot!

If you’ve never tried cross country, or Nordic, skiing it’s a lot easier and much more fun than you think. Officially known as "Nordic Town USA," there’s no better place to pick up the sport than here. There are all kinds of Learn to Ski classes and rental package option available at the Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center located in the Sun Valley Club or  or at Galena Lodge , 23 miles to the north of Ketchum.

3) Go Bowling!

The Sun Valley Bowling and Game Room at Sun Valley Lodge is a step back in time and fun for the whole family.  Open daily from 4 to 10 pm, heck here  for more details.

4) Take Ski Lesson!

Whether you’ve been skiing for decades or have never hit the slopes before, the world renowned ski school at Baldy and Dollar Mountains can help you have more fun on the slopes. And having the kids spend a day or two in lessons not only increases their confidence and fun factor levels, it gives parents a chance to make some runs on their own. Check here for more info or here  for a fun story and tips about introducing kids to alpine sports.

5) Go Ice Skating!

Sun Valley has long been famous for its year-round ice shows. Spend some time skating on the same ice that hosted countless Olympians. For more info check here.

6) Catch a Movie!

Built in 1937, the Sun Valley Opera House offers first run movies and free daily showing of the classic film, "Sun Valley Serenade," at 4:30 pm. For a list of current films and show times check here. The Magic Lantern Cinema, at 100 East 2nd Avenue in Ketchum, also offers first run movies daily.

7) Go for a Swim!

The Sun Valley Resort offers three pools for swimming, including the infamous, heated Lodge Pool, which offers aprs ski cocktail service. The Wood River YMCA also has two large pools.

8) Hit a Museum!

The history of the Wood River Valley is as long and deep as powder day on Baldy. The Ketchum–Sun Valley Ski & Heritage Museum at 180 East 1st Street offers fascinating exhibits on everything from the local mining and sheepherding history to Ernest Hemingway’s time in Idaho to the story of America’s original ski resort. For more info on exhibits and schedules, check out http://ksvhs.com/. Or check out the Ore Wagon Museum at 200 10th Street in Ketchum.

9) Go Fly Fishing!

Despite the snowy conditions, March is actually one of the best months to fly fish on the Big Wood River–and not just because guided rates are cheaper in winter. The Big Wood is great river for first-time fly fishers and there are no better guides on the planet than at Silver Creek Outfitters , offering shops in both the Sun Valley Village or downtown Ketchum. To read more about it, check out Winter on the Big Wood.

10) Do Nothing!

Lounge around at a ski lodge or your hotel room or a local coffee shop or at one of the area’s world-class restaurants and enjoy the views and ambience of life in the heart of Idaho.