Bike paths are your road to adventure up and down the Wood River Valley
While Sun Valley is rightfully famous worldwide for its winter recreation, the Wood River Valley is also biking Nirvana. From the 32 miles of converted Rails-to-Trails that stretch from the south valley way past Ketchum, to the hundreds of miles of continuous singletrack, to endless scenic road bike rides and downhill on Baldy, everyone here, from fat tire to skinny tire enthusiasts, loves to bike.
This passion for peddling was in evidence last weekend when temperatures soared into the 80s, trees flashed fresh greenery and everyone was out enjoying spring. Up and down the bike path that hugs the tranquil Big Wood River, bicycle riders were out in force. Seen on one small stretch of rolling, paved path between the mid-Valley and Sun Valley: tandem bikes, toddler trailers, training wheels, skinny wheels, matching Lycra and Cruisers.
Your bike awaits at Pete Lane's in Sun Valley
In-town mountain bike trails are quickly drying out, offering great early season riding. And mountain biking is almost an obsession around here. The area has been dubbed ‘Mountain Bike Heaven’ for good reason. To celebrate everything our mountain town has to offer, the Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival rolls in for the third year from June 29 to July 7. This comprehensive event features everything from Enduro downhill courses to bike demos; from Pump Park parties to the Ketchum Criterium and, of course, the USA Cycling Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships. There is an event for every ability and age group.
Local legend, mountain bike endurance athlete Rebecca Rusch, is also hosting an event this summer. The sixth stop of the 2013 Gold Rusch Tour will feature Rebecca’s Private Idaho, a gravel Gran Fondo style event to be held August 31 to September 1. This promises to be a lung-busting, Wild West ride covering 100 miles.
One young enthusiast shows how it's done in Ketchum's Pump Park
For a different perspective from behind the handlebars, both Hailey and Ketchum have free Pump Tracks open to the public. These popular amenities let riders work on biking skills (from absolute beginner to advanced) and have a great time utilizing features on the dirt track like rollers and berms to ride with or without pedaling by pumping for momentum on track contours.
Storied Bald Mountain converts from ski Mecca to biking (and hiking) Mecca in the summer months. Shaded and wooded trails wend up the mountain, often through fields of wildflowers. Needless to say, the views are spectacular. Downhill is also wildly popular. Many choose to let the lifts carry them, and their bikes, to the summit before enjoying an adrenalin-saturated ride to the base. No matter if you’re going up, or coming down, be sure to take some time at 9,150 feet to soak up the 360-degree vista. It will make your heart race, too.
Trails on Baldy often wend through fields of wildflowers
When you’re ready to get going, be sure to stop by both locations of the retailer Pete Lane’s to gear up for a great ride. The Village outpost is already fully stocked with bikes of every size and purpose, available to rent. With more than 300 bikes from which to choose, as well as helmets, clothing and hydration systems, you will be equipped and on your way to a local trail in no time. At the end of June, Pete Lane’s at the base of River Run will open, offering full suspension and downhill bikes, eradicating all excuses not to give biking Baldy a try.
The Wood River Valley is a two-wheeling kind of town. It’s not a Sun Valley summer (or spring or fall for that matter) without seeing our spectacular scenery from a bike saddle.
Idyllic doesn't begin to describe peddling around, Sun Valley style
Color and pattern prevail for spring at the Brass Ranch
Bright color, bold stripes, prints big and small, diminutive handbags, patterned scarves galore – spring has sprung in Sun Valley’s fashionable boutiques. Both Brass Ranch and Panache in the Village are harbingers of the season, fully stocked and ready to help guests and locals alike transition their mountain style to suit the warm, sunny, and very busy, months ahead. It’s time to start thinking about how you want to look at the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, concerts, the Wine Auction, picnics, parties and all the other places to see and be seen.
From classic to trendy, Brass Ranch has something for every taste
Even a cursory glance around the Resort location of the Brass Ranch, purveyor of that special alchemy between classic and trendy that translates into Sun Valley chic, leaves no doubt what this season’s trends trend toward. From feminine floral blouses, to leather biker style jackets, to bright dresses perfect for a summer cocktail party on a wide expanse of Sun Valley lawn or a glass of wine on the Inn patio, Brass Ranch will help you mix and match, coordinate and punctuate.
Buyer Rebecca Fundy said that everyone is going to look great this spring, no matter his or her fashion preferences. “We love the clothes this season,” she enthused, quickly collecting signature looks to make her point. “We have bright denim, colored stripes, black and white with leather accents. A gentle acid wash is back, the open knit tops are beautiful. It’s a good year if you’re 15 or 75.”
Price points are also mix and match right now. “You could wear the simplest outfit and pair it and upgrade it with a fabulous Missoni scarf or another accessory incorporating color, pattern and other trends,” Rebecca explained.
Designer Missoni accessories can upgrade the simplest ensemble
At Brass Ranch, the Sun Valley aesthetic is all under one roof. “We are really one-stop shopping,” Rebecca said. “We carry a carefully edited selection of shoes, handbags, swimsuits, even cosmetics in addition to the beautiful seasonal sportswear from top designers. And our men’s department showcases how men in Sun Valley prefer to dress — traditional with a twist. The same punches of color and pattern are prevalent in menswear this spring.”
Prints pretty as a picture at Panache
Across the walkway, Panache’s two boutiques are also full of color, flair and texture. Owner Kathy Crosson said the spring collections have arrived and today is the day to incorporate the latest looks into your wardrobe. “Right now, the selection of sizes and styles is at its best,” she said. “People forget that by July, we are getting fall in, so now is the time to shop to make sure you don’t miss out.”
At Panache, pattern and color are also at the fashion forefront. “In addition, we are seeing a lot of lace and eyelet and yellow is huge,” Kathy said. “The season is filled with very pretty, feminine looks in shapes that are both comfortable and flattering to many women.”
Many Sun Valley staples are also on display on Panache. Summer weight cashmere, perfect for chilly nights, is a must-have. Luxe accessories including handbags, shoes, scarves and jewelry complete the look.
Beautiful, bold spring dresses at Panache are perfect for the busy summer ahead
Pete Lane’s, just a few steps away, is also stocked for spring and summer with the best names in active wear. Whether you are on the trail, or toasting the day that was, Pete Lane’s casual, stylish and functional selection, will truly make you look like a local and get you through days that begin when the sun rises at 6 a.m. and sets at 10 p.m. Layer up and get out into the mountains the rivers. Adventures await! The expansive shop also has an extensive selection of menswear and everything a child might need to make a splash in Sun Valley. Accessories, footwear and gear galore also make this a one-stop shopping destination for the entire family.
For yoga, a hike, a bike ride, a coffee date ... Pete Lane's does Sun Valley casual just right
Though temperatures this week haven’t exactly cooperated, spring is in the air and it’s time to celebrate with what is a very pretty season in fashion, indeed.
Men can find everything they need to enjoy the mountain lifestyle at Pete Lane's
Everything is going perfectly. You have arrived in Sun Valley and are looking forward to a holiday week of amazing skiing or snowboarding. You checked into the Resort, unpacked your ski clothes and plan to be at the mountain bright and early to take advantage of bluebird skies, bright sunshine and terrific conditions. Now, all you need is some gear.
Step one: fill out the necessary online forms at Pete Lane's
To help ensure you get onto the mountain as quickly as possible, here is a primer for renting equipment at the base of River Run. If you follow these basic steps, perfect turns and pristine slopes will be yours in record time.
Rentals and demos on the River Run side of Baldy are available at Pete Lane’s on the plaza. Pete Lane’s is in the same building as the Brass Ranch, toward the back (very convenient if shopping for beautiful ski clothes is also on the agenda).
At Pete Lane’s, locate one of the computer terminals against the back wall and go ahead and fill out the requested information.
The friendly and well-trained staff is here to help
Next, walk a few steps across the room to where Demo skis are displayed. There, friendly staff members will help you decide what kind of package you require, discuss different equipment options, current snow conditions and your ability level in order to get you on exactly the right set-up. Pete Lane’s offers a wide range of equipment, perfect for a true beginner or expert shredder; appropriate for a day on Sun Valley’s fabled groomed runs or a dip into the powder. At this counter, you may also buy lift tickets.
The always-critical boot fitting comes next. Again, the experts at Pete Lane’s will make sure you get a boot that is sized correctly and that is comfortable, because, as we all know, there is nothing sure to sour a day on the mountain more quickly than aching feet.
Step 3: Making sure the boot fits
Last stop is the back room where your skis or snowboard await. Boots on your feet, skis and poles or snowboard in hand, the lift and gondola beckon, right outside the door.
And don’t forget, if you rent equipment from Pete Lane’s or if you are a Resort guest, there is complimentary ski storage at the base of River Run. Drop your equipment off before heading in to the River Run Lodge from an après ski beer and entertainment. It will be waiting for you the next morning.
Almost there. Grab your skis or your board and you're out the door!
Equipment rental is also available at Dollar Mountain and at the base of Warm Springs. The process is the same: computer first, forms next, boots, skis or snowboards and off you go. Don’t hesitate to ask a staff member if you have any questions – they are all knowledgeable and helpful.
Have a fantastic Presidents’ Day holiday or ski week and be sure to let us know how you liked the gear!
Come shop with us and we’ll see that The Advocates receive 10% of your purchase. The benefit lasts all day at Panache, Signatures, Brass Ranch and Pete Lane’s in our own Sun Valley Village. Also, look for the Giving Trees. Childrens’ names will be available for gifting.
Mr. & Mrs. Sun join Elissa on last week's Wheels & Wine Tour.
On my first trip back to London after moving out to Idaho, I took my husband on a bus tour. How silly, I thought to myself, being a tourist in my own hometown. But that tour showed me a side of my city I had never seen before. It opened my eyes to just what an exceptional place I had grown up in. In a similar fashion, the Wheels & Wine Tour on offer at Sun Valley is a real eye-opener. Just as the bus tour was for my husband, this bike tour is a great orientation for any new visitor to Sun Valley, but it is also a perfect peek into the history and wide-variety of activities on offer here at the resort for anyone with an interest. So, whether you’re a longtime local, a Sun Valley sophomore or a first-time flyer, the Wheels & Wine Tour is a great pit-stop during your time in Sun Valley.
Don't worry, the wine comes after the bike ride!
Last Thursday, Mr. Sun and I ditched the little ones to head out on the tour and get a taste of Sun Valley history, as well as a decent look at a few bottles of Northwest wines (this was in fact the motivating factor for our outing, and an ideal carrot to dangle in front of any reluctant party.)
First off, a disclaimer, this is not a strenuous bike ride, no headers down Baldy here, it is all flat, gentle riding around the resort and along some of the paved bike path to take in the outer-lying reaches of Sun Valley.
The tour began in front of Pete Lane’s Mountain Sports in the Sun Valley Village with an introduction from Mark Blaubach, who was to be our guide. Mark developed the tour, which is in its second season. An impressive figure, Mark was clearly built for serious bike riding, so it’s a little comical to see him puttering gently around the resort on a town bike stocked with wine bottles and a checkered picnic basket.
Mark and his wife, Faye, who also works at Pete Lanes, found Sun Valley a few years ago, after they had quit their high-powered executive jobs and sold everything to travel around the country in an RV. They happened upon the Wood River Valley and quickly figured out a way to stay here all summer long.
Mark Blaubach gives a great tour on wheels.
Once assembled, our little group – Mr. Sun and myself, plus the delightful Elissa from California – then proceeded to the first stop on the tour, The Sun Valley Lodge.
I won’t go into all the history and anecdotes Mark shares on the hour-and-a-half trip, you’ll have to get out and experience it for yourself. Being something of a connoisseur of Sun Valley’s history (I’ve written a few articles on it, including this one on the building of the resort and this one on Count Felix Shaffgotsch, who discovered Sun Valley), I was familiar with most of his stories, but the revelation that the famous Sun Valley Lodge swans share their home with The Pioneer Piranhas was news to me. Apparently, the pond is chock full of what Mark describes as “the most obese rainbow trout in the world,” courtesy of their high-carb diet, which consists of copious amounts of leftover bread from The Konditorei Cafe. Mark demonstrated how they will eat straight out of your hand (the fish that is – don’t try this with the swans!). Lots of fun for the little ones.
Mr. Sun enjoying the leisurely wheels part of the tour
The tour also takes in the Opera House, Inn, ice rink, pavilion, White Clouds trails, club house, Trail Creek Cabin, gun club, Hemingway memorial, the world’s first chairlift and of course, Bald Mountain. At each stop Mark offers up tidbits of history as well as highlighting the different activities at the resort, a handy thing as, honestly, despite living here for 9 years I only discovered the Olympic pool and tennis courts this summer!
Following the obligatory snapshot in front of (a smoke-obscured) Baldy Mountain, which Mark dutifully posted to Pete Lanes’ Facebook page, we headed in to the Lodge’s Duchin Room to meet Paul Johnson, the resort’s assistant beverage director. Here we were greeted with a generous tasting of five Northwest wines from the resort’s cellars, accompanied by detailed tasting notes courtesy of the very knowledgable Paul.
Details: The tour is $29, including bike rental, and wine tasting. Head over the Pete Lanes’ Facebook page for pictures of previous tour groups. Wheels and Wine runs every Thursday at 4 p.m., throughout the summer, ending Labor Day. If you fancy something a little more low-key, the resort also offers a free hour-long, guided hike, leaving from Pete Lane’s every Friday at 10 a.m. This covers similar topics, such as local history and activities and places to go during your stay. Call 208.622.2279 or email email@example.com for more details.
If we are really honest with ourselves…we have to admit that for many Mountain Diva’s form comes before function. You know the drill and you’ve seen them on the hill (perhaps even secretly admiring them from afar). It’s the perfectly pulled together Diva with the color-coordinated outfit and somehow matching accessories. The fact that she has the latest in ski technology and can shred the mountain like a pro just adds to the awe factor.
But, when it comes to helmets, every Diva (especially mountain mamas) knows the mantra: SAFETY FIRST.
Why safety first? Well, we need to set a good example for our kids, as well as our sisters and peers. And since we are often the ones purchasing helmets for our kids, it is even more important that we know the essentials–and the DOs and DON’Ts of proper helmet fitting.
The good news is that helmet design has come a long way since the classic Bell downhill ski helmets first hit the slopes. They are now lightweight, aerodynamic and well padded (some even have extra soft ear flap choices). They also come in lots of shapes and sizes (to fit every head shape) and are offered in a dazzling array of colors, designs and finishes (Mountain Divas rejoice…you can still feel like you are choosing form over function, even if it is safety first)!!
To help you make the right choice, hear are a few tips on getting the perfect fit, followed by a quick rundown on some of the more popular helmets you’ll see on the slopes this winter:
Getting The Right Fit
1. Measure Your Head. Ski helmets are generally sized based upon your head circumference (usually measured in centimeters). Even the ones that use a Small, Medium, Large scale are based on head circumference, so measure your head and compare to the manufacturer’s size chart. Measure one inch above the eyebrows all the way around. Measure kids’ head circumference in the same manner. (Jump to the end of this blog for a conversion chart of centimeters to inches.)
2. Try On Several Brands. Be sure you try BEFORE you buy. Remember that ski and boarder helmets, just like heads, come in lots of different shapes and sizes, and there is one that will be the best fit for your head. The wrong shape will feel too tight (and may even pinch or have “hot spots” in certain areas) or will be too loose at the top or on the sides. Keep trying. Just like Godilocks, there will be one that will fit “just right.”
3. Check the Fit. This is really important for fitting kids helmets. A helmet should fit securely, but not so tight you have pain. “The helmet should feel snug around the crown and shouldn’t move around too much,” says Greg Bearce, supervisor at Pete Lane’s Warm Springs. If it feels like a good fit, try the following test: gently hold the helmet in place and try to turn your head from side to side, then up and down. The helmet should feel snug and should have very little room for movement (less than an inch), and should not obscure your vision.
4. Bring Your Goggles. Be sure to bring your goggles to make sure they fit your helmet. Otherwise, you may find yourself at the top of the mountain on a powder day without proper visibility, because your goggles are too big or too small to fit your helmet.
5. Ski Helmets for Children. Whatever you do, don’t buy a helmet that is too big or it will be useless. This is especially important when buying for kids or trying to recycle helmets for younger siblings. Resist the temptation to buy a helmet for a child to “grow into” because the fit will be wrong and the helmet won’t be able do its job of absorbing the impact and preventing concussions.
6. Don’t Wear a Beanie or Hat Under Your Helmet. “This is one of the biggest fashion misconceptions out there,” says Greg Bearce, supervisor at Pete Lanes Warm Springs. “A beanie is var far the worst thing you can wear under a helmet because it prevents the helmet from doing its job,” adds Bearce, “it just allows for too much movement, doesn’t let the helmet do what it was designed to do and can lead to the compression injuries that cause concussions.” Bearce notes that some of the really thin skull caps can work under helmets because they conform exactly to the head. But when in doubt, just avoid any thicker under layers–having the room to fit a hat or beanie probably means that the helmet is too big and is not a proper fit anyway.
Helmet Style, Accessories & Options
Now onto the more creative part of helmet buying. Once you have the proper fit, you can get down to the details of style, color and accessories. Remember that different age groups have different priorities when choosing helmets–some are attracted to aerodynamics or accessories (wireless audio system ear flaps or full cell phone and in-line components) while others (especially younger kids) are drawn to the more immediate visuals of cool colors, metallic finishes or unique designs. And if you can’t find the perfect combo, you can always consider decals or stickers to add a design of your own.
Smooth, flowing lines and elegant finishing details complement the Intrigue’s low profile Hybrid Shell construction. Combining AirEvac 2 ventilation and a soft, fleeced tricot lining beneath a refined collection of designs, the Intrigueis the ideal helmet for women of discriminating tastes. It also has the option for the Skullcandy Audio System (an added bonus for Divas who like to carry their tunes with them down the mountain). And it comes a wide range of fantastic colors, including Black Pearl, White Pearl, Shadow Green, Antique/Coral, Bronze Fallen, Petal Blue Briston, Shadow Purple Baroque, White Fallen.
Revolutionary new technology discreetly concealed behind a bevy of stylish accents, the all-new Voyage will take you on a trip you never thought possible. Using revolutionary Hybrid In-Mold technology to minimize mass and maximize ventilation, the Voyage offers up the ultimate in performance without sacrificing one ounce of style. This patented technology weighs in a little less (at 450 grams/16 ounces) than the Smith Intrigue and currently comes in White, Black, Ivory Bristol, Ultramarine Night Out, Frost Gray Stereo or Paris Pink Baroque.
Giro’s Seam is the perfect all mountain helmet. An improved Thermostat vent system, Giro’s Stack Vent, and a feather light weight will keep your temp under control, your goggles clear and your comfort level at an all time high. Finish it off with the best fit system ever made (with an adjustable wheel in the back to help dial in the perfect fit) for a snow helmet and you are ready for a full day on the mountain. Lots of Giro accessories (like stereo ear flaps and other adjustments) and a wide range of colors make this a popular and functional helmet for both kids AND adults. Available in Matte Brown, Matte White, Matte Pewter, Cyan Tiles, Matte Black, Matte Red, Black Towers, Matte Blue Sunset, Matte Grey Stripes.
POC Skull Comp – Bode or Julia
The ultimate race helmet, upgraded. The Skull Comp is now updated to version 2.0, adding a new unique safety feature. After finding that today’s race skiers repeatedly hit gates hard and risk to deform the liner, we shifted the core material to multi impact EPP. On top of the liner, we use a thin outer shell in combination with our patented Aramid membrane penetration barrier, APB. To optimize the energy absorption properties, pneumatic honeycomb pads made of polyurethane are inserted into the multi impact EPP liner. Great fit, performance and protection over and overagain!
There are two editions of the POC Skull Comp, one designed by Bode Miller and one by Julia Mancuso–both extraordinary athletes at the top of their sport. Bode Miller rides with his POC Skull Comp Pro Model helmet in green and white. There is also a Poc Skull Comp Pro – Julia that is blue and white in honor of pro racer Julia Mancuso. And, as if the extreme protection and functionality weren’t enough, the Julia edition Skull Comp comes with a kit of Swarowski Crystals to make your own Julia style tiara.
A pro race helmet with Wwarowski Crystals…Mountain Divas REJOICE!!
Finally, form plus function.
Giro Seam, Mtn Blue Sunset
Helmet Size Conversion Chart
Centimeters to Inches
52 cm = 20- inches
53 cm = 20-7/8 inches
54 cm = 21 inches
55 cm = 21 5/8 inches
56 cm = 22 inches
57 cm = 22 3/8 inches
58 cm = 22 inches
59 cm = 23 inches
60 cm = 23 5/8 inches