Ode to Sun Valley

For the Marziello family of New Jersey, Sun Valley holds a special place. Lisabeth Marziello started bringing her four children to the Resort for the magical holiday season when they were tiny and has returned for the past 15 years for the lively week of December 26 through New Years’. Her parents, Bill and Harriet Harris, have been Sun Valley loyalists for 25 years.

The Marziello family at Baldy from left: Samantha, Joseph, Sophia and Fiona. And, yes, that is Sylvester Stallone in the middle!

The Marziello family at Baldy from left: Samantha, Joseph, Sophia and Fiona. And, yes, that is Sylvester Stallone in the middle!

“The children have all learned to ski in Sun Valley, starting in the preschool program on Dollar, and moved with their favorite instructor, Basil, to Baldy,” Lisabeth explained. “They are now all black diamond skiers!”

The family also returns during the warm weather months to ice skate, horseback ride, bicycle and go whitewater rafting. In all, according to Lisabeth, the family that includes Joseph, 21, Samantha, 20, Fiona, 16, and Sophia, 14, spend about a month in Idaho each year.

When assigned an essay in English class this fall, 14-year-old Sophia, a freshman, composed an evocative piece detailing what she loves about winter in Sun Valley. This ode reminds that Sun Valley is a place that cultivates lifelong relationships, lifelong loyalty. The essay, which incidentally received an A grade, appears below.


Another reason to love Sun Valley, no matter your age: the gourmet hot cocoa bar at a la mode

Another reason to love Sun Valley, no matter your age: the gourmet hot cocoa bar at a la mode in the Village

Sun Valley by Sophia Marziello
In the wintertime, a blanket of shimmering snow covers the ground for as far as the eye can see. The sweet aroma of hot chocolate fills the air as you walk down the peaceful streets of Sun Valley,

The wind as cold as ice hits across your face, as you race down the slopes of Mt. Baldy; which is one of the greatest features of Sun Valley. In the small, but spirited, town of Sun Valley, Idaho, there are so many great things to do. From skiing, to sleigh rides, and drinking Sun Valley’s famous hot chocolate, everyone is guaranteed to have a great time. In Sun Valley, while the snow is falling, and the air is filled with the laughter and cheer of your family, it seems like a perfect Winter Wonderland.

Christmas lights light up the night, as you listen to the wonderful voices of carolers, and take in the majestic scenery of Sun Valley. Surrounded by trees, chirping birds, and the smell of smoke,
from nearby bon fires, there is no other place I would rather be. One of my favorite places in Sun Valley is the Sun Valley Lodge.

Surrounding the beautiful Lodge, are dozens of ice sculptures, made by local, creative, artists. From animals, to sleds, and the annual great Sun, these sculptures come in all different shapes and sizes.

From the moment I step off the plane, and feel the cool breeze of winter glide across my face, I know that I have finally arrived in Sun Valley, and I feel right at home. Sun Valley will always be close to my heart, because of the fond memories I made their, the majestic scenery, the peaceful walks with my family, the fun activities, and of course, their famous hot chocolate.

Come taste the hot chocolate that won Sophia's stamp of approval at a la mode

Come taste the hot chocolate that won Sophia's stamp of approval at a la mode

For a young lady, this loyalty can begin with something as simple, but as tasty, as the hot chocolate bar at a la mode in the Sun Valley Village. For the many families who have made Sun Valley a holiday tradition for 10, 20, even 40 years, the loyalty may have started with a special lunch at Roundhouse, a memorable day in the powder, cross country skiing next to Trail Creek … whatever it was, it kept them coming back.

We look forward to seeing the Marziello family back at the Sun Valley Lodge in December or warming up with a gourmet hot chocolate at a la mode. We are certain Sophia and her family will create new memories to last a lifetime during this holiday season.

The holidays in Sun Valley truly are magical -- from giant ice sculptures to horse drawn sleighs

The holidays in Sun Valley truly are magical -- from giant ice sculptures to horse drawn sleighs

After all, holidays in Sun Valley spring straight from a well-worn, best-loved children’s storybook. It looks like winter is supposed to look with snow blanketing tall mountains and dusting the branches of fir trees. It smells like it’s supposed to smell with the ubiquitous, welcoming, warm scent of wood burning fires. It feels like it’s supposed to feel with cold temperatures biting cheeks and noses, but the warm sun mitigating the sting. It sounds like it’s supposed to sound, whether that sound is jingle bells on a passing horse-drawn sleigh, carolers circulating during the holiday season, or the bell at Warm Springs Lodge pinging to announce that freshly baked cookies are hot out of the oven.

Come visit us this winter and your family will be the main characters in this wonderful, time-proven tale. Like the Marziello family, chances are you will be back again and again and again.


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.


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

An Afternoon in the (Bowling) Lanes

A row of colorful bowling ballsIf you are a parent who has ever stared down the long tunnel of unstructured hours on a rainy day when your kids are home, then this is for you! It is also for parents who may have spent a busy day skiing or sledding; fishing or hiking or biking, and want an easy family activity to wind down. What could this amazing solution be?  Why, bowling of course!

Many people do not know that in the lower level of the storied Sun Valley Lodge, there is a Bowling and Game room. This full-service facility rents shoes and lanes and features a small arcade that kids just love. In fact, children’s birthday parties at the bowling alley are a locals’ favorite.

A vintage 1957 Sun Valley pinball machine

This vintage pinball machine from 1957 is one of the hidden treasures at Sun Valley's Bowling and Game Room. It isn't available to play, but it sure looks great!

On a rainy, chilly transition-weather kind of day this week (that just so happened to be the day there was no school due to parent-teacher conferences), I took my two favorite second graders to the bowling alley to blow off some steam.  With me loudly whispering, “Walk! Walk!” we quickly made our way down one of the Lodge’s plush hallways, surrounded on both sides by wonderful black and white photos documenting the Resort’s rich history and celebrity clientele. Then, with the Salon and Spa just ahead (what a perfect day it would be for a massage and a facial, but no!), we veer down the stairs to the Bowling and Game Room.

Jeremy, whose patience makes bowling with kids a pleasure

Jeremy, whose patience makes bowling with children a pleasure

The boys, who are repeat customers, make a beeline for the counter, or a beeline of sorts that includes a quick lap to see what video games are new. Finally, Jeremy helps me lace fidgety feet into bowling shoes and get the boys to our lane: lucky number six. They laugh so hard they can’t breathe as they try to hoist heavier balls in search of one that is the perfect weight. Without even needing to be asked, Jeremy throws up the bumpers, ensuring a successful and enjoyable bowling experience. Endless gutter balls really aren’t fun. Before it is my turn to throw a strike (ha!), I return to Jeremy once again.  If I can’t have a massage, I can at least have a beer.

The Bowling Alley and Game Room isn’t just for kids, though. I went on one memorable date there that was book-ended by drinks in the Duchin Room and dinner at the Ram Restaurant, and my friends and I gather in the brightly lit space a few times a year to enjoy a variation on dinner and a drink or dinner and a movie. Something about hurling a ball down a polished lane while wearing what are perhaps the ugliest shoes ever invented, encourages camaraderie, laughter and a chance to just relax. No bowling skills required.

When we re-emerge into the dusk and drizzle after a few games, I decide to treat the boys to the perfect ending to the afternoon. We stroll through the Sun Valley Village to the Chocolate Foundry, a confectioner that looks and smells exactly like you hope it would.  The old fashion store creates handmade treats certain to please everyone in your group.  After much debate, my group decides on truffles and fudge, smiling from ear-to-ear.

Delicious selections at the Chocolate Foundry

The Chocolate Foundry feeds every child's sugar fantasy

Whether you are a local or a guest at the Resort, be sure to spend some time at the Bowling and Game Room.  It will remind you that sometimes the simplest things are the most satisfying, and sometimes a rainy day is a gift.


The boys roll a great round at the Sun Valley Bowling and Game Room

The boys roll a strike -- or close enough

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