Summer Ice Skating Heats Up

If you have noticed more activity than usual in and around Sun Valley’s two skating rinks this week, it’s for good reason. Starting Thursday, more than 200 aspiring figure skaters at all levels and from all over the country, will compete in the annual Sun Valley Summer Championships.

This four-day competition heats up the ice with participants donning elaborate costumes and performing their best programs in front of large audiences and a panel of judges.

More than 200 aspiring figure skaters are coming to town to compete in the Sun Valley Summer Championships

More than 200 aspiring figure skaters are coming to town to compete in the Sun Valley Summer Championships

From the youngest novices to those competing at very high levels, everyone is here to do his or her best. Clubs this year represent Colorado, Washington, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, California, Nevada, Florida and Minnesota. In all, more than 35 clubs are sending skaters to Sun Valley’s storied ice.

Judges return year after year to the Sun Valley Summer Championships, as well. Nineteen judges, technical officials and accountants return this year from locales including California, Washington, Oregon, Ohio, Wyoming, New Mexico, New York, Colorado and Utah. Many say it is among their favorite competitions of the year and something they always look forward to.

Many skaters and officials bring their families with them to Sun Valley to enjoy a vacation before or after the big event. Skaters can be seen in and around the Village and town riding bikes, horseback riding, swimming, shopping, hiking, snacking on an ice cream cone and enjoying everything that makes this area so special. Talk in the locker room is of whitewater rafting or camping trips scheduled once competition has concluded.

Yes, they are skating to win, but the competition is also about friendship, having fun and enjoying Sun Valley

Yes, they are skating to win, but the competition is also about friendship, having fun and enjoying Sun Valley

This summer is extra special as the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club celebrates its 75th anniversary making it one of the longest running clubs in the nation. For decades, skaters have journeyed to Sun Valley to train in the clean mountain air and at altitude. In the past, there were even dormitories located on Resort property to house all the athletes. The tradition continues with groups of skaters training in Sun Valley throughout the summer with their own coaches and with the pros at the Sun Valley Summer Skating School. Coaches offer daily clinics and group and private lessons in all the fundamentals of skating – from edge control, to spirals, jumps, spins and showmanship.

Showcase numbers performed outside on Sunday, are often a highlight of the competition

Showcase numbers performed outside on Sunday, are often a highlight of the competition

The public is invited to enjoy any of the events. Thursday through Saturday, competitors will skate in the indoor rink (a great place to cool off on a hot summer’s day). Sunday, the action moves to the outdoor rink for the popular showcase events. Here, skaters are allowed to use props and perform very entertaining programs that are always crowd pleasers. Tickets are not needed for any of the events. On Sunday, our favorite thing to do is to enjoy lunch on the deck at Gretchen’s Restaurant in the Lodge and then find shade in the bleachers to watch an afternoon of action.

Sun Valley On Ice is an intimate venue to see skating's stars shine beneath the stars every Saturday night

Sun Valley On Ice is an intimate venue to see skating's stars shine beneath the stars every Saturday night

The weekend isn’t just for amateurs, though. Sun Valley On Ice reclaims the rink on Saturday night offering some inspiration and entertainment to all the skaters who are in town and anyone else who loves a good show. The July 26 roster features two-time United Stated Gold Medalist and 2011 Skate America champion Alissa Czisny, 2013 and 2012 World Junior Silver Medalist Josh Farris and Sun Valley’s talented soloists, ice dancers, pairs and core skaters. Tickets are available at sunvalley.com.

And the action doesn’t conclude with the final performance on Sunday afternoon. On July 28 and 29, a ProSkaters’ Live Audition and Performance Camp invites skaters back for more. This is a great opportunity for athletes who are at least 16 years old to get a taste of the professional world of skating. Free auditions will be held on July 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. on the outdoor rink. On July 29, workshops will be held beginning at 4 p.m. with off-ice movement. Following a dinner break, current show skaters will share their experiences about life under the spotlight after which the workshop will continue in the indoor rink. The seminar and workshop are $25 for ProSkaters members and $95 for nonmembers. Please click on www.proskaters.org for more information.

Whether you are a competitor, a recreational skater or would like a few lessons, there is no cooler place in the summer than Sun Valley ice

Whether you are a competitor, a recreational skater or would like a few lessons, there is no cooler place in the summer than Sun Valley ice

Whether you can do a swizzle on the ice, or prefer to order a Rum Swizzle from the Duchin Room and enjoy other’s efforts, be sure to stop at the Sun Valley skating rinks this weekend. It promises to be an action-packed few days.

–RES

Shopping, Sales and Sunshine

Ah… the unofficial beginning of the magical summer season in Sun Valley is upon us. Temperatures are soaring, skies are blue and it’s time to enjoy a three-day weekend.

In addition to the bustling Sun Valley Wellness Festival now underway at locations throughout the Resort, there is another way to spend a few hours this holiday weekend – shopping the amazing sales at the Sun Valley Village and River Run Plaza.

Panache, the upscale boutique in Sun Valley Village, is having a sidewalk sale that you, too, will give a thumbs up!

Panache, the upscale boutique in Sun Valley Village, is having a sidewalk sale that you, too, will give a thumbs up!

These sales are something locals look forward to every year, as our beautiful boutiques and specialty stores roll out the finest clothing, accessories, shoes and boots, athletic wear, ski wear, Sun Valley signature wear and even toys at deep discounts.

Sales officially began on Thursday and excited shoppers thronged to the Sun Valley Village to find top designer wear marked to sell at prices to make a deal hunters’ heart sing! At Panache, a sophisticated ladies’ boutique that carries top contemporary designers, the lunchtime crowd was thick at the table offering $50 jeans (only the best names), discounted cashmere, boots and racks and racks of gorgeous summer dresses, blouses, skirts and pants. Ladies were picking out large selections of beautiful pieces that they could wear that evening and into the weekend – no waiting for the snow to fall again this winter to enjoy this sale!

Brass Ranch at the base of River Run is discounting the finest ski fashions and its sister store in the Village has beautiful summer fashions on sale

Brass Ranch at the base of River Run is discounting the finest ski fashions and its sister store in the Village has beautiful summer fashions and accessories on sale

Across the walkway at Brass Ranch, lovely summer clothing for men and women was also on offer at incentivizing sale prices. Top name designer apparel, accessories and shoes are on sale and they also carry other summer necessities like sunglasses.

The River Run location of Brass Ranch is the place to be this weekend to think winter, as the best names in skiwear are deeply discounted. Now is the time to grab that ski parka you were eying all summer and a pair of pants to match! The prices cannot be beat right now and the selection is great. Just think how fantastic you will look on opening day next November.

From the fashion forward to the practical, Pete Lane's covers all your needs to get the most out of Sun Valley's endless summer days

From the fashion forward to the practical, Pete Lane's covers all your needs to get the most out of Sun Valley's endless summer days

Pete Lane’s, which carries fabulous and functional clothing and gear for all your Sun Valley activities, not only has soft goods on sale, but bike shoes, hiking shoes and lots of outdoor necessities. Be sure to stop by and stock up on anything you need before venturing out onto the trails.

The Sun Valley Signature Shop is also offering great deals over Memorial Day weekend on, you guessed it, Sun Valley signature items. If you are in town for the Wellness Festival or just to enjoy everything the early season has to offer, don’t forget to pick up a Sun Valley hoodie or gifts for friends and family who weren’t lucky enough to come with you.

All the sales people are cheerful and will help you find exactly what you’re looking for. And don’t forget that in addition to the sidewalk sales, all these top stores are filled inside with the latest trends and must-have items for the summer season.

Don't forget friends and family! The Sun Valley Signature Shop has great merchandise, on sale this weekend!

Don't forget friends and family. The Sun Valley Signature Shop has great merchandise, on sale this weekend!

In the interest of research, I brought home an eyelet white summer sundress (very on-trend right now!) and a great pair of shorts from the sales rack. Full disclosure: I also succumbed to a not-on-sale dress from Panache just because this seasons’ summer fashions are just too pretty to pass up!

Once you’ve shopped ‘til you’ve dropped, stop into the Konditorei or Gretchen’s for a re-energizing lunch or grab a sandwich or sweet treat to go from the Short Line Deli and a la mode. Who knows? You might be ready for round two of shopping!

Enjoy!

–RES

Music to savvy shoppers ears

Music to savvy shoppers ears

A Taste of Trail Creek (at a special price)

Welcome to Trail Creek Cabin in autumn -- fabulous food in a fabulous setting and now at a price that can't be beat

Welcome to Trail Creek Cabin in autumn -- fabulous food in a fabulous setting and now at a price that can't be beat

Ah, slack. The autumn shoulder season in Sun Valley brings many pleasures – gorgeous sunny days, bright fall foliage, and no less importantly … slack food specials. During the quieter months, most of our area’s mouthwatering eateries entice diners with appetizing meals at an appetizing price.

Sun Valley Resort is on the slack special program with historic Trail Creek Cabin offering a dinner special and both Gretchen’s and the Sun Valley Club inviting lunch patrons to enjoy the season with a price break.

Midweek, Trail Creek Cabin's charming and rustic interior was filled with happy diners

Midweek, Trail Creek Cabin's charming and rustic interior was filled with happy foodies

Wednesday night, finding myself with nothing in the refrigerator and too tired to cook anyway, I decided to take the short drive to Trail Creek Cabin for their two entrees for $30 promotion. On the menu through November 2? Hungarian Beef Goulash, Spicy Cajun Gumbo, Vegetarian Lasagna as well as the full regular Trail Creek menu featuring locally sourced, seasonally appropriate fare.

Greeted by not one but two roaring fires on the brisk, almost-full-moon-lit October night, our group of five was quickly seated at a spacious, comfortable table. In short order, a big basket filled with Trail Creek Cabin’s famous sweet scones and other breads was delivered. Two minutes later it was empty. Did I mention I brought all three of my children?

Surrounded by the flickering fire, rustic décor and tantalizing smells from the kitchen, my family’s mood improved almost immediately. Conversation flowed and the day’s happenings were compared as we perused the menu.

Healthy, light and local,the Idaho trout was an addition to the specials this week

Healthy, light and local,the Idaho trout was an addition to the specials this week

For me, the only problem with slack specials is that many of them, at many local restaurants, don’t appeal to me. I am a pretty particular eater and, I am told, difficult to dine with. But there was something for everyone on the Trail Creek special menu. I found myself struggling to choose between the lasagna, the gumbo and a third special that evening, Idaho trout with seasonal vegetables. In the end, I went with the hearty gumbo as well as a cup of butternut squash soup with white beans. My dining companion opted for the trout special and everyone at the table ordered the soup. My children couldn’t deviate from their Trail Creek favorite (and the most popular menu item) — a cowboy steak with onion rings and a loaded baked potato.

All the food arrived piping hot and plentiful. The soup was a creamy taste of the season. My gumbo offered just the right amount of kick and my friend’s trout was fresh, light and full of flavor. Of course, the kids loved their steak, too.

Two-for-one dessert made finishing our meal with something sweet a given

Two-for-one dessert made finishing our meal with something sweet a given

For dessert, I downloaded coupons offering two-for-one, so we had to take advantage of that, too. Soon, two tall, frosty root beer floats arrived at the table, as did two warm chocolate lava cakes. They disappeared as quickly as the scones.

That evening, Trail Creek was bustling because even when Sun Valley is quiet, it’s not that quiet. Romantic tables for two were interspersed with large party groups. Many diners wore their badges from the Jazz Festival that is in full swing at Sun Valley Resort.

Cozy and inviting, this is the perfect time to head to Trail Creek Cabin

Cozy and inviting, this is the perfect time to head to Trail Creek Cabin

Trail Creek Cabin is a special place. Just a few miles up the road from the Sun Valley Lodge, the historic building is cozy and inviting, harkening back to simpler times and feeling very much away from it all. Now, with the aspens glowing gold, the evening air cool and invigorating and dinner very affordable, it is the perfect time to make the sojourn to the cabin.

Be sure to reserve your table and enjoy a memorable meal by November 2.

Bon appétit!

–RES

Our group was all smiles following a memorable meal

Our group was all smiles following a memorable meal

Clint Black and Much, Much More

The hills in Sun Valley are alive with late summer sounds of music. Even though the mad pace of high season has slowed down a bit, two amazing shows are coming to the Sun Valley Pavilion this week that should not be missed!

On Friday, high energy, country-based favorites, Reckless Kelly take to the stage at the Sun Valley Pavilion for a concert sure to get the audience on its feet. A limited number of tickets are still available by calling 208.622.2135 or by clicking HERE.

Then, on Thursday, September 12, the one and only Clint Black will perform an intimate, acoustic concert at the Pavilion, presenting a side of his vast talent that few get to see. Here, this award winning singer-songwriter will perform with only four other musicians, while in many venues, Black plays for audiences of thousands. In Sun Valley, you will see him up close and personal. The concert, sponsored by the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, promises to be a memorable one. Black is known for a classic, traditional country style. His debut album, Killin’ Time, produced four straight number one singles and the hits just kept coming. He will perform at 7 p.m.

The Sun Valley Pavilion is the perfect place to enjoy Clint Black's intimate, acoustic show

The Sun Valley Pavilion is the perfect place to enjoy Clint Black's intimate, acoustic show

Before ducking into the Pavilion to enjoy a pre-show glass of wine and conversation with friends new and old, be sure to spend some time in the Sun Valley Village getting the most of the late summer offerings. Sales at Village specialty shops are unbeatable in September. Both the elegant Brass Ranch and sporty Pete Lane’s are offering sportswear and ski wear at as much as 75 percent off. Logo apparel, holiday décor, gifts and wine and picnic essentials are discounted right now at the Sun Valley Signature Shop. The fashion forward ladies’ boutique, Panache, is also enticing shoppers with end-of-season prices. At Pete Lane’s, gear is also priced to sell with bikes, demos and rentals and bike apparel available. There are still weeks and weeks of fabulous weather ahead so if you have been considering buying a new bike, now is the time.

Pop into the Sun Valley Signature Shop to pick up a warm top for cool September nights

Pop into the Sun Valley Signature Shop to pick up a warm top for cool September nights

Be sure to also plan to enjoy a pre-concert dinner at one of the Sun Valley’s acclaimed restaurants. In Idaho, gardens are right now at their peak and menus are filled with and embarrassment of fresh vegetables and local delights. Just steps from the Pavilion, take a seat on the decks of the Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta or Gretchen’s and soak up the early evening sun. Just up the road, Trail Creek Cabin provides a unique venue that is rustic yet sophisticated and very special. The signature Konditorei Restaurant will also be serving dinner until 9 p.m. beginning September 8.

Dinner on the deck of Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta is casual and delicious

Dinner on the deck of Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta is casual and delicious

Sun Valley Resort is offering special room rates the night of Clint Black’s performance. Shop, savor and soak up the sounds of this country music superstar before retiring to the Inn or the Lodge. Order a nightcap at the Duchin Room or the Ram Lounge before turning in for a restful night. No driving, no worries, just relaxation. The package includes one night’s lodging and two show tickets for $129 per person double occupancy. Call 800-786-8259 for reservations or click HERE for more information.

Early fall is in full swing in Sun Valley! Enjoy!

–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.

Recipe from the Resort: Gretchen’s Ribeye Steak

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Chef Derek Gallegos shows off his restaurant's house specialty.

Valley taste-makers will be familiar with Chef Derek Gallegos’ work, initially as the chef/owner at The Sun Valley Brewing Company and more recently at Three Ten Main restaurant in Hailey. Today, he is at the helm of Sun Valley Lodge staple Gretchen’s. Named after Sun Valley’s own Gretchen Fraser, the family restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the year.

For a taste of Gretchen’s goodness at home however, I talked with Chef Gallegos to get you a step-by-step guide to the perfect ribeye, one of the restaurant’s newest specialties.

Video not displaying properly? Click here.

Ribeye Steak with Gorgonzola Butter & Zinfandel Syrup, served with Idaho Mashed Potatoes and Asparagus

Gorgonzola Butter
Ingredients
1/4 lb. gorgonzola cheese room temperature, 1/4 lb. unsalted butter room temperature, 1 yellow onion, finely diced and caramelized in 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 dashes tabasco, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
Directions
Process all ingredients in food processor until smooth. Place on plastic wrap or parchment and roll into log shape, Place on cookie sheet and chill in fridge until firm.

Garlic Confit
Ingredients
1 lb. garlic cloves, peeled, 2 cups extra virgin olive oil, good quality, but not your best. Or just enough to cover the cloves.
Directions
Put garlic in small thick-bottomed sauce pan and cover with oil. Bring to boil, turn down to simmer and cook until garlic is soft and just beginning to brown, about 15-20 minutes. Stir every few minutes while cooking. Cool in oil. Will keep refrigerated for 1 month.

Mashed Potatoes
Ingredients
4 medium Idaho russet potatoes, about 3 lbs., 1/4 lb butter, 1/2 cup heavy cream
Directions
Cook peeled and cubed potatoes in water on low boil until easily pierced with fork, drain and save cooking water. In same pot lightly crush potatoes, add melted butter and warm cream, whisk potatoes until smooth, add some cooking water to potatoes if too stiff, add salt and white pepper to taste.

Zinfandel Syrup
Ingredients
1 bottle inexpensive, fruity zinfandel, 1 cup inexpensive balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce, 1/2 cup meat glacé (heavily reduced beef/veal stock), optional
Directions
Reduce all ingredients in thick bottomed sautee pan over medium heat to about 1/2 cup or until syrupy. Let cool.

Steak Salt
Ingredients
1 tablespoon sichuan peppercorns, 1 tablespoon rose peppercorns, 1 tablespoon allspice berries, 1/2 cup black peppercorns
Directions
Grind all above ingredients in spice/coffee grinder then mix with 1 lb. kosher salt and 1 oz. brown sugar. Put in jar with tight-fitting lid. Use on steaks, chops, ribs and fish throughout summer.

Don’t want to cook? Head to Gretchens and let Chef Gallegos and his crew cook this for you to perfection.

Happy Trails!

Mrs. Sun

Call 208.622.2800 or email restaurantreservations@sunvalley.com

Ladies Day Lunch Special At Gretchen’s

Ladies Day Lunch Special at Gretchen’s in the Sun Valley Lodge

  • Half-price Entrees & Wine
  • Tuesdays & Thursdays from 11:30am – 3pm
  • Offered 10/20 – 11/22

*Gretchen’s Restaurant will re-locate to the Ram Restaurant at the Sun Valley Inn between 10/18 and 11/2

Reservations:  208-622-2144