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

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 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.


Come in from the cold

Baby, it’s cold outside. Even the most stalwart and hearty skiers among us have eyed the mountain these past few days with some trepidation. When temps on the Valley floor are in double-digit minuses and we are in the midst of a cold snap (that will thankfully end by week’s end), indoor activities look pretty inviting.

Shopping is a great way to spend your time off the slopes

Shopping at Brass Ranch is an option in the Lift Ticket Exchange Program

If you are on vacation in Sun Valley right now, and took advantage of a multi-day pass (good thinking – best bang for your buck), you may hesitate when considering taking a day off from mountain, no matter the weather.

To the rescue? Sun Valley’s Lift Ticket Exchange Program that allows you to exchange your ticket if you change your mind. If you wish to take a break from the slopes and hold a multi-day (three or more days) ticket, you may exchange one day for other appealing activities.

Have you had your eye on a new ski parka or accessory at either the Brass Ranch or Pete Lane’s in the Sun Valley Village? Perhaps now is the perfect time to buy a new, cozy layering piece. Maybe there is a beautiful Sun Valley memento calling your name at the Sun Valley Signature Gift Shop. With this exchange program, you can receive $40 off your purchase at any of these fine stores.

Or does nothing sound better than a massage after a few days of aggressive shredding? With this program, you can close the door on the outside world and enjoy a relaxing and regenerative half-hour massage at the Sun Valley Salon & Day Spa located in the Lodge. For this, plan as far ahead as you can and make a reservation. It is a popular option.

Chef Adam Findlay offers a tasting menu in the Lift Ticket Exchange Program

Chef Findlay's food at the LDR is a perfect indulgence

Or take the whole day off and focus on dinner. Your exchanged lift ticket gets you a seat at the table for Chef Adam Findlay’s Four Course Tasting menu at the elegant Lodge Dining Room. Chef Findlay’s finely crafted and imaginative offerings rely heavily on locally-sourced, seasonal fare and everything he prepares is divinely delicious. This option, available every evening of the winter season except Sundays, and between February 16 – 24, will be a treat for your taste buds. (Alcohol and gratuity are not included).

The exchange programs invites you to try cross country for a day at the beautiful Sun Valley Club

Go ahead! Try cross-country skiing for a day at the lovely Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center

If you are not concerned with the cold and would like to try a different outdoor activity, your lift ticket may also be exchanged for a turn on the ice at Sun Valley’s storied outdoor rink (rentals included), combined with $20 off of lunch at Gretchen’s Restaurant in the Lodge. If working a different set of muscles appeals to you, then try a day of classic or skate cross-country skiing at the luxurious Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center. A trail pass and complete equipment rental is included. And for the truly adventurous among us, your unused lift ticket will also provide $40 off the day rate for a trip with Sun Valley Heli-Skiing. The snow in the backcountry is among the best it’s been in years. This choice may be booked by calling 208.622.3108.

Don't worry, great skiing will still be there after your day away

Don't worry, great skiing will still be there when you return to the hill

The great news is that the snow on Baldy and Dollar is also superlative and worth braving the cold for. If you layer up and head to the hill weather-ready, the skiing is really, really good. The other good news is you’d like a day off, you can enjoy something else great Sun Valley has to offer, guilt-free.

The Lift Ticket Exchange Program is available from now until March 31 with some blackout dates. Please take your lift ticket to the Sun Valley Village Recreation Center or to the ticket window at the River Run Day Lodge prior to participating in other activities.

Call 208.622.2135 or 208.622.6136 for more information and take a break! You deserve it.


Just plain fun at the playschool


Smaranda drives the Playschool attendees from activity to activity in this cute red wagon. If you see them, wave!

As any mother will know, family-vacations tailored to the under 5s are few and far between. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve tried to sign up Little Sun (4) for some sort of activity only to discover he was born a couple years too late.

While by definition a family-vacation involves lots of family-time, as many mothers will agree it’s also essential to get some time away from the little tykes.

It turns out there’s something pretty special in Sun Valley Resort that helps out with both these things: The Sun Valley Playschool. I know, sticking the kids in daycare while I go off to have fun in the sun is not going to win me any “mother of the year” awards, but this is not just a run-of-the-mill daycare. This is a bona-fide summer camp for ages 3 months to 5 years. On the day I took Little Sun and Baby Sun (18 months) along to try it out, I was so jealous of all the fun they had that I actually tagged along with them for most of it.

Smaranda, the playschool manager, welcomed us with open arms, quickly settling us down to some arts and crafts time in the newly remodeled building, just behind the Sun Valley Post Office. Little Sun was very proud of the paper sword Smaranda helped him create, while Baby Sun and I spent a good 10 minutes playing chase-the-baby-with-the-marker-before-she-destroys-the-brand-new-walls (not a highly recommended activity).

When all the day’s participants were assembled we were given our schedule: ice-skating lessons at 10am, tennis lessons at 11:30am, lunch and nap time, followed by swimming at the Olympic pool from 2:30pm. And this was just a Tuesday. On Monday throw in a gondola ride and a picnic on top of the mountain, Wednesday it’s horses and paddle boating, Thursday golf and hiking is on the menu, and Friday take a Hay Ride out for a BBQ at Trail Creek Cabin.

While Little Sun is a budding Andy Murray, ice-skating has not featured in his skill-set so far, but he was game – positively bursting with excitement as Smaranda and her crew buckled the class into the specially modified golf-cart/wagon playschool-mobile and whisked them off to the rink.

Here’s a sampling of his newly-learned skills on ice and some styling on the tennis court from his day with the playschool:

After a morning of lessons and a well-earned nap, it was out to the Olympic swimming pool, where a newly-installed splash park provides the perfect entertainment for those not quite ready for the Olympics.

Baby Sun inspects the Splash Pool

As I buckled Little Sun and Baby Sun into their car seats at the end of the day, the heavy eyelids and broad smiles on both their faces was testament to the fun they’d had. Next time Mr. Sun and I decide a hard days mountain biking is needed, we won’t have to feel guilty about taking the tots to playschool – as they’ll probably be having more fun than we are.

Happy Trails!

Mrs. Sun

Smaranda and her crew look forward to welcoming kids for a summer of fun in Sun Valley

The PlaySchool is open 7 days a week during the summer, 9am to 4pm. Call 208.622.2288. A full day of activities, including lunch, is $95. Or drop in for 2 hours ($38) or 4 hours ($73). A Young Summer Camp is on offer for ages 6 and older. Details are here. Both camps are open to the public.

Lift Line: Full Moon Nights

What to do when the moon lights up SunValley

By Mike McKenna

Each month, a full moon reigns over the sky, lighting up Sun Valley in a whole new way. To make the most of out these bright nights–including the nearly as bright waxing and waning days surrounding the full moon–here’s a rundown of some fun stuff to do in Sun Valley when the moonlight is aglow.


Full Moon Nordic & Moonlight Dinner 

Departing from the Sun Valley Club & Nordic Center and offering spectacular views of Sun Valley and the surrounding mountains, these cross country ski tours and moonlight dinners beginning at 6 pm. For more information about the skiing or the dinners, please call 208.622.2135.


Full Moon Dinners Galena Lodge

Take a moonlit ride up to Galena Lodge nor of Ketchum for a fabulous and unforgettable five-course meal. The dinners do not include any group excursions on the snow, but visitors are welcome to go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing under the moonlight before or after dinner. Reservations are required, so give them a call (208.726.4010) to assure your seat and hear the menu for the month.


Sleigh Rides

For a magical and memorable moonlit dinner for the whole family, take a horse-drawn sleigh ride to Trail Creek Cabin. Sleigh rides begin December 17, and run three times a night, Tuesdays through Saturdays, throughout the season. Bundle up, grab a hot toddy from the bar at the Inn and enjoy the ride. Due to the wild popularity of the sleigh ride dinners, reservations are required. PLease call 208.622.2135.


 Snowshoeing, Cross Country Skiing, Sledding, Ice Skating and Snowmobiling

If scheduling a full moon outing ahead of time is too much work, don’t be afraid to find a moonlit adventure of your own. There are plenty of reasons why USA Today named Sun Valley one of the Top 10 ski resorts in the world for non-alpine skiers.

 The Wood River Trail System offers 30 miles of free, groomed trails for snowshoeing or cross country skiing. Snowmobiliers can ride the 500 miles of groomed trails north of Ketchum, or head over Galena Summit to ride some of the 170 miles of trails in the Smiley Creek/Stanley area, or head a little southeast to the 200 miles of trails near Fairfield.

You could skate on the same surface Olympian champions like Sasha Cohen and Brian Boitano do at Sun Valley Lodge’s ice rink. Rentals are available and skating is open until 8 p.m. nightly. There are also "natural" rinks at Atkinson Park in Ketchum or Roberta McKercher Park in Hailey.


Tubing at Dollar Mountain

Rubber meets the snow in three 600-ft. lanes at Dollar Mountain’s Snow Tubing Park. Fun for the whole family, the tubing park is open daily. For more details, check here

Or, you could simply find a well-lit spot just outside your own neighborhood to go snowshoeing or sledding. If you do go on a trip of your own, please make sure you take all the proper safety precautions and always be sure to let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be returning.



Silver & Gold Ice Show Wednesday Dec. 21

Sun Valley’s Silver & Gold Ice Show!

5pm, Sun Valley Outdoor Ice Rink

Featuring Silver and Gold medalists Evan Lysacek, Sasha Cohen, Nathan Chen, Kim Navarro & Brent Bommentre, and Irina Grigorian. Ice show is followed by fireworks.

Tickets available at the Sun Valley Recreation Center at 208.622.2135

Meet & Greet Autograph party after the show!

Battle Of The Blades

Save Saturday, September 10, for the newest event to hit the ice in Sun Valley:  Battle of the Blades:  Ice…It’s Hard.

Nine local celebrities, nine pros, paired together in a skate to the finish.  Tyia Wilson rocks the rink and all proceeds benefit local non-profits.  You and three judges decide the winner.

visit for more information

Sun Valley Ice Shows feature top Olympic athletes this summer

Ice Show group photo
Join the excitement of our world famous Sun Valley Summer Ice Shows every Saturday night at dusk July 2, 2011 through Labor Day weekend. This summer, our ice shows will feature a showcase cast of Olympic and world-class figure skating athletes!

Enjoy the gourmet dinner buffet on the outdoor Lodge Terrace before the show or view all the action from the bleacher seating up close to the ice. All shows start at dusk.

2011 Summer Ice Show tickets will go on sale Monday, May 2 at the Sun Valley Recreation Center (208) 622-2135 or online at:

July 2 Mirai Nagasu
2011 US Bronze Medalist, US Gold Medalist

July 9 Evan Lysacek
2010 Olympic Gold Medalist, World Champion, 2 X US Gold Medalist

July 16 Evan Lysacek
2010 Olympic Gold Medalist, World Champion, 2 X US Gold Medalist

July 23- TBA

July 30 – TBA

August 6 Sasha Cohen
Olympic Silver Medalist, 2X World Silver Medalist, 2X US Silver Medalist

August 12 Meryl Davis & Charlie White
2011 US Gold Medalists, 2010 Olympic Silver Medalists, 2010 World Silver Medalists

August 20 – Ryan Bradley
2011 US Gold Medalist, US Silver Medalist

August 27 Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto
Olympic Silver Medalists, 5X US Gold Medalists

September 3 Sasha Cohen
Olympic Silver Medalist, 2X World Silver Medalist, 2X US Silver Medalist

For tickets and information call the Sun Valley Recreation Center at: (208) 622-2135.
Cast of skaters is subject to change. All shows are sanctioned by United States Figure Skating.