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 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 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).
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 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.
The Sun Valley Club, home to full service cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, dining and retail
All it took was one good snowfall Monday for the Nordic & Snowshoe Center at the luxurious Sun Valley Club to turn the welcome sign to “open.” And reports from the trails indicate some of the best early conditions in recent memory.
For those who aren’t aware of the importance of cross-country skiing to Sun Valley’s mountain culture and lifestyle, it is worth noting that we have been christened Nordic Town USA and the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation was recently designated as a U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site. Many around these parts take their Nordic pursuits very seriously because there is no better place to get outside and embrace winter.
The skiing is great at the Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center
But you need not be a world-class athlete or serious enthusiast to enjoy Sun Valley’s magical terrain. The Nordic & Snowshoe Center and Sun Valley Club offer something for everyone. For a low impact, no-instruction-needed way to take in the scenery, many guests and locals alike enjoy snowshoeing. All that is required are some decent, weatherproof boots, a few sensible layers, and sunscreen. For a twist on this activity, the Center offers weekly historic snowshoe hikes. Sun Valley’s rich story and landmarks, from the first chairlift, to the Hemingway Memorial, and everything in between, come alive during this entertaining and informative two-hour tour.
If you are interested in cross-country skiing, many opportunities exist to learn basic technique or to move to the next level on the 40 km of trails. Each day of the season at 10 a.m., the pros at the Nordic Center offer an introduction to classic skiing, a great way to get started. At 2 p.m. daily there is a class in the popular skate ski technique. Those interested should register at least a day ahead and each group has a two-person minimum. Private lessons are also available by appointment.
Nordic trails are groomed daily for optimal conditions
Instructor Steve Haims addressed the “intimidation” factor of the sport. “You don’t have to love cardio to love cross-country skiing,” he explained. “You can go your own speed and people can enjoy classic skiing from day one. Come in, rent your gear, chat with us about the different trails, take a lesson. Chances are, you will love the peace and beauty.”
And during your Sun Valley stay, it is absolutely possible to enjoy both alpine and cross-country skiing. In fact, according to Ivana Radlova, Nordic Director at Sun Valley, it is fun and beneficial to intersperse both. “If your legs are tired from skiing powder, it is a great day to do some classic or skate skiing,” she explained. “You will recover much more quickly than if you sit on the couch.”
The lovely restaurant at the Sun Valley Club
The Sun Valley Club is also for those who would like a day to simply relax. Serving one of the tastiest and most popular lunches in the Valley, and offering a full bar, the gorgeous Club invites all to eat, drink and enjoy the unmatched views. From the inviting fireplace in the lobby, to year-round virtual golf, to a shop that offers not only sports gear, but clothing and accessories of all kinds, a trip to the Sun Valley Club will please everyone in your group.
Call (208) 622-2250 for more information, or just drive a half-mile east of the Sun Valley Lodge to enjoy everything offered by this world-class facility.
Another day in paradise. Courtesy photo from my father, a truly enthusiastic cross-country skier
Let’s face it, if you are a Mountain Diva, you are a busy girl! It’s a festive time of year and the Holidays only raise the bar, thus lowering the amount of R&R for yourself.
And it doesn’t matter what keeps you busy: whether it’s the constant social circuit (a glass of champagne here…a bikini martini or a hot toddy there) or the steady schedule of family fun and kids activities that you are working to coordinate during this busy time (ice skating, ski lessons, tubing at Dollar). But if you feel like an air traffic controller that has just landed 18 jumbo jets on conflicting flight patterns (at night and in a snow storm), it’s time for a course in pampering yourself 101.
Read on, darling diva, as the following 10 quick fixes are geared towards helping you find your inner goddess once again.
1. Pamper Your Body
Every diva knows that the quickest way to complete bliss is through a relaxing and rejuvenating body treatment. Lucky for us, the Sun Valley Salon and Day Spa offers a wide array of options: everything from acupuncture and herbal body wraps to "hot stone therapy" and traditional massage. Just remember that there are hundreds of different techniques, so be sure to be specific on your needs (and aches or injuries) so that your treatment can be tailored to your specific needs–whether it’s a more relaxing in-room massage treatment (you don’t even have to get up and look presentable) or an invigorating sports massage or shiatsu treatment to help those quads recover from multiple days on Baldy. Can’t decide, call 208.622.2160 to get a recommendation on the perfect spa package (they can build in facials or salon services as well) or view the full brochure of spa services here.
2. Drench Your Skin
No time for a full massage or spa package, book a Petite Facial and enjoy 30 minutes of quiet time that includes a thorough cleanse and exfoliation, along with a moisturizing mask to rehydrate and refresh the complexion. You’ll look as good as new in no time! Of course, feel free to splurge with the Spa Prestige Ogenage Facial (for 80 minutes of heaven and a totally renewed, revitalized, and dare we say reconstructed complexion that works days after the facial). You can also enhance any of the standard facials–like the Aqualift Anti-Wrinkle Facial or Ultra Moisturizing Facial or the Classic–with a marine eye-lift or specialty concentrate treatment. Call 208.622.2160 to book your facial.
Poolside cocktail service at the Lodge pool
3. A Soak in the Lodge Pool
What could possibly be better than a following up your massage or facial (or full spa package) with a relaxing soak in the Sun Valley Lodge pool …? We can answer with complete confidence: Nothing can compete. There is simply no better way to finish off your massage than with a glass of champagne or a bartender’s margarita delivered poolside while you lounge in an outdoor pool that is heated to a soothing 100-102° (make sure you drink your water first so that all that pampering from your massage doesn’t go to waste). Come to think of it, this is the perfect way to end any aprs ski day, no matter where you have been (on the slopes of Baldy, exploring the backcountry with Sun Valley Heli Ski or wandering the Nordic trail system).
The bench seat extends around the entire perimeter and watching your drinks arrive via poolside cocktail service through the steam is a rare luxury. And don’t forget the Inn Pool, which offers breathtaking views of Baldy.
4. Pamper Your Toes
Short on time, book a manicure / pedicure and treat your hands and feet. The Sun Valley Salon and Day Spa even offers a reflexology add-on (30 minutes) to help add to the experience. Looking for a little extra sparkle, zip down to Chic Nail Boutique in Hailey for the Glitter Toes, a treatment that melds real glitter to any color for that added holiday glam.
5. Indulge in Sunday Brunch
Plan a decadent Sunday brunch at the elegant Lodge Dining Room on the second floor of the Sun Valley Lodge and indulge in what many consider to be the Northwest’s finest Sunday Brunch. A lavish display of breakfast specialties including omelet and crepe stations, seafood, an array of gourmet salads and a symphony of desserts await, along with the accompaniment of pianist Leana Leach. Open every Sunday for Brunch from 10 am to 2 pm. Sorry, no reservations for the Sunday Brunch.
6. Lunchat Your Leisure
Lunch at the Roundhouse
Enjoy a leisurely lunch at the Sun Valley Club, surrounded by huge glass walls overlooking the Nordic trails meandering along Trail Creek Golf Course. The sliders are to-die for and the lunch menu has something for everybody. Looking for something a little more quaint, then don’t miss a European breakfast or indulgent lunch at Cristina’s Restaurant (of Cristina’s Cookbook series fame). This quaint little cottage in Ketchum beckons with old-world charm and offers a menu of delicious treats that changes daily.
And for that WOW factor, a gondola ride up the mountain for a full table lunch service at the Roundhouse can not be beat–just don’t miss drinks or fondue at Averell’s before you sit down (and enjoy the incredible views of town and the surrounding Pioneer Mountains)! Plan ahead (and get there early) as parties are seated on a first-come, first served basis; although large parties of 8 or more may make reservations by calling 208.622.2800.
More than 15 shops beckon in the Sun Valley Village
Over 15 unique shops offer everything from technical sportswear and footwear to the latest in designer styles, fine gifts, jewelry and home dcor. Designer lines include the latest from TSE, Juicy, Diane von Furstenberge, Velvet, Juicy, Kjus, Bogner, Toni Sailer, Ralph Lauren, Moncler, Arc’teryx, Lole, Nils, Patagonia, Burton and more. There is even a toy store for unique toys and gifts and Silver Creek Outfitters….so you can get something for everybody on your list.
For a more cultural experience, visit one of the amazing art galleries in town (the Sun Valley Gallery Association sponsors monthly gallery walk nights), featuring nationally and internationally recognized artists showing as part of a sophisticated and thriving arts scene–there is even the U.S. premiere of the Papunya Tula aboriginal artists from Australia this February at Harvey Art Projects in Ketchum.
8. Escape into the Solitude of Nature
Nordic and snowshoe trails offer beauty and solitude
Want to just get away from it all and enjoy the peace and quiet of a high alpine landscape beneath a blanket of freshly fallen snow? Head north out Trail Creek to the Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center, which is located in the glass-walled and river rock Sun Valley Club, nestled along the sprawling Trail Creek Golf Course. With over 40 km of trails groomed daily for skate and classic skiing, the trail system offers gently sloping terrain with challenging hills that offer incredible vistas without leaving you gasping for air. For a round up of other local snowshoe trails, from easy to insane, check out Sun Valley Magazine’s "Walking in a Winter Wonderland." Cap your afternoon adventure off with a hot toddy in the Sun Valley Club.
9. Dinner and a Movie
Treat yourself to a movie at the historic Opera House. Built in 1937 and located in the heart of Sun Valley Village, the Opera House is a charming 340-seat theatre that features the newest releases, along with regular showings of the classic "Sun Valley Serenade" (every afternoon at 4:30 and admittance is always free).Sun Valley restaurant guests can also enjoy a FREE movie after dining at the following Sun Valley restaurants: Bald Mountain Pizza, Trail Creek Cabin, The Ram and Gretchen’s. Movie passes will be available to each diner for a movie on the same evening. Please ask your server for more information. Ketchum’s Magic Lantern Cinema also offers current films nightly and matinees most days.
Comedy and live music are all part of the winter calendar
10. Ladies Night Out
Looking for a little more excitement. Start with some aprs ski fun by checking out Sun Valley’s Calendar of Events to see who is playing at the base lodges–both River Run and Warm Springs. There is often entertainment in the Sun Valley Village as well, with details on times and performers online–the Duchin Lounge has the best live jazz in town and the Boiler Room offers a comedy series and special appearances, along with the farewell season of Forever Plaid this year! There is also live music most nights somewhere in town and Whiskey Jacques has a full calendar with a great lineup and most shows with only a $5 to $12 cover.
Just remember that if you stay out too late…you may have to begin at the top of the list with #1 and start all over again.
Come and enjoy our wonderful trails in a different light… by moonlight. On Saturday, March 19 the Sun Valley Nordic Center hours will be extended until 9pm with guided Nordic and Snowshoe tours beginning at 8pm. Charge is $15 per person for the tour. Please call the Sun Valley Nordic Center for more information and to reserve a spot with the guided tour. (208) 622-2250
The Sun Valley Club restaurant will be open for dinner from 6-9pm on the same nights. For dinner reservations please call (208) 622-2800.
Diamondback’s Revenge Nordic Race. Challenge yourself on one of the most spectacular ski courses at the Sun Valley Nordic Center. Great prizes for the winners. Start training now!
Sunday, February 20 – $15 Adult Entry Fee
-10am start for Men & Women – 9K Course: White Clouds + Diamondback + White Clouds
-Noon start for Juniors & younger – 6K Course: Diamondback Loop only $10 entry fee
-Age 11 and under – 1.5K Course: Whiteclouds Loop only $5 entry fee
For details and to pre-register please visit or call the Sun Valley Nordic Center (208) 622-2250.
Bring your Valentine or find a new one at the Sun Valley Nordic Center on Sunday, February 13.
Race starts at 11am. Entry Fee is $10.
Races including 6x1km, partners alternate relay and must kiss to tag off!
Pink & Red costumes welcome.
Great fun for everyone, kids race category as well.
For more details call the Nordic Center (208) 622-2250.
Every first Monday of a month (1/3, 2/7, 3/7, 4/4), Ladies Ski Free (pay no trail fee)! This is a great opportunity to try Nordic Skiing or Snowshoeing and introduce a girlfriend or two to this great sport. Great times and great exercise guaranteed!
Equipment rentals and Skate or Classic Ski instruction available (but are not free).