Martinis and Caviar and so much more

On Saturday night, 175 lucky ticket holders made the journey to historic Roundhouse Restaurant to enjoy the Sun Valley Harvest Festival’s popular Martini and Caviar party. A spectacular fall evening followed a glorious Indian summer day and as both the sun and the temperature began to dip, things heated up at Roundhouse.

Your chariot awaits, in this case a gondola to whisk you away to the iconic Roundhouse Restaurant on Bald Mountain

Your chariot awaits, in this case a gondola to whisk you away to the iconic Roundhouse Restaurant on Bald Mountain

With any event at Roundhouse, getting there is half the fun. Sure, big cities have Uber and taxi cabs, but in Sun Valley we have the Roundhouse Express Gondola that lifts off from the base of River Run. The enclosed glass car whisks you to Roundhouse in just a matter of minutes, but they are minutes that truly take you away from the every day.

Mixologist with the most, Ryan Sullivan, weaves his magic at 7,700 feet

Mixologist with the most, Ryan Sullivan, weaves his magic at 7,700 feet

Arriving two-thirds up Bald Mountain is magical, too, as the sun begins to soften. Perched at 7,700 feet above sea level and 1,900 feet above downtown Ketchum, Roundhouse served its first meal in 1939 and maintains a unique place in the realm of Sun Valley dining.

During the vibrant four-day Sun Valley Harvest Festival, this iconic restaurant was transformed as a showcase for the freshest, locally-sourced ingredients as imagined by Sun Valley Executive Chef and Director of Culinary Operations John Murcko and superb Mixologist Ryan Sullivan.

Sun Valley Executive Chef John Murcko and his amazing team prepare the freshest locally-sourced fare for patrons Saturday night

Sun Valley Executive Chef John Murcko and his amazing team prepared the freshest locally-sourced fare for patrons Saturday night

Ryan created four distinct martini drinks featuring local Square One Organic Vodka that uses water from the Snake River and American-grown rye. Tempting choices included hand-crafted drinks utilizing fresh watermelon, citrus and cucumber and blueberries. All refreshing, all incredibly fresh, all delicious. Ryan and his fellow Mixologists made each and every one in tiny batches.

Every space at Roundhouse has its own magic, but the deck was the place to be as the autumn sun began to set

Every space at Roundhouse has its own magic, but the deck was the place to be as the autumn sun began to set

Equally fresh, locally-sourced and delectable fare complemented these wonderful cocktails. Chef Murcko and his experienced team offered stations including fresh lamb carved paper thin with Chimichurri and other tasty accoutrements. Another popular option was Sun Valley’s famous Raclette. Served over toast and roasted potatoes, it was a perfect dish for a cool fall evening. The headline item of the night, caviar, was also in the spotlight. Featuring sturgeon caviar from Fish Breeders of Idaho, Inc., the delicacy was served many ways, from traditional, over Blinis and crème fraiche, to innovative, served over tuna tartar and garnished with peppers.

Partygoers sipped on handcrafted vodka cocktails featuring fresh blueberries and nibbled Raclette

Partygoers sipped on handcrafted vodka cocktails featuring fresh blueberries and nibbled Raclette

Every space in Roundhouse was utilized: from the rustic and charming main dining space, to the expansive wraparound deck providing an unbelievable sunset view, to Averell’s, the smaller dining room with panoramic views of Ketchum located steps from the main dining room.

The mix was a wonderful one of locals and visitors, all coming together to enjoy the best Sun Valley and Idaho have to offer. The entire Sun Valley Harvest Festival, that culminated in an elegant dinner at Trail Creek Cabin Sunday night, offered something for everyone and highlighted our thriving local food and wine culture.

Gray Ottley of Distilled Resources, Inc. sips a citrus cucumber creation crafted with his own Square One Organic Vodka

Gray Ottley of Distilled Resources, Inc. sips a citrus cucumber creation crafted with his own Square One Organic Vodka

Fall is fabulous in Sun Valley and one of the highlights of the season is the rich array of local fare to be savored during harvest season.

We raise a glass to the Sun Valley Harvest Festival for their emphasis on real, local, fresh and carefully prepared food and drink. Cheers!

–RES

A great time was had by all, at the Martini and Caviar party and at all Sun Valley Harvest Festival events

A great time was had by all at the Martini and Caviar party and at all Sun Valley Harvest Festival events

 

Foodie Heaven

Autumn is synonymous with bounty and the time of harvest, so what better time to celebrate the best in locally sourced, absolutely fresh and positively delicious food. The Sun Valley Harvest Festival returns for the fifth year from September 18 to 21 and you won’t want to miss a course!

The Sun Valley Festival is a collage of taste experiences you won't want to miss (photo visitsunvalley.com)

The Sun Valley Festival is a collage of taste experiences you won’t want to miss (photo visitsunvalley.com)

Billed by organizers as “a culinary celebration … the epitome of epicurean indulgence, an oenophile’s dream, and an outdoor enthusiast’s Mecca,” the festival appeals to all palates. With a focus on seasonal, regional sustainable foods, it promises to be a fun-filled weekend featuring new events this year. These include highly anticipated Foodie Adventures, two new wine tastings at beautiful local venues, a Speakeasy-themed after-party in downtown Ketchum, as well as the first Hailey event, Swine, Wine & Dine.

Kick off the festival with friends in a casual atmosphere at the Taste of Ketchum on September 18

Kick off the festival with friends in a casual atmosphere at the Taste of Ketchum on September 18 (photo Sun Valley Harvest Festival)

Other highlights include the very popular Taste of Ketchum. On Thursday evening, September 18, the festival kicks off with copious amounts of delicious food, served in a relaxed, sociable setting. The fun begins at Ketchum Town Square at 5 p.m. when you are invited to take a leisurely stroll through the heart of Ketchum stopping to sample regional fare and paired libations from participating eateries. The evening winds down at 7 p.m. at Memory Park with dessert and sparkling wine. Cheers!

Sun Valley Executive Chef and Culinary Director John Murcko will weave his magic at both the Martini and Caviar Party at Roundhouse at at the grand finale party at Trail Creek Cabin

Sun Valley Executive Chef and Culinary Director John Murcko will weave his magic at both the Martini and Caviar Party at Roundhouse at at the grand finale party at Trail Creek Cabin

Also on the agenda is the new and highly anticipated Taste of Sun Valley. Travel back in time to the rustic and historic Trail Creek Cabin where Sun Valley Resort’s own Culinary Director and Executive Chef John Murcko will create an evening you will never forget. On Sunday afternoon the 21st, soak in the beautiful fall day as the aspen trees surrounding Trail Creek Cabin begin to glow gold while sampling locally sourced foods and wines from Buried Cane, Cadaretta and Clayhouse Vineyards. Murcko, a James Beard Finalist, will work with other fine chefs from the Resort to ensure the grand finale to the Sun Valley Harvest Festival is simply amazing.

For more information about Chef Murcko please click here.

There is no place more beautiful in autumn than the historic Trail Creek Cabin. The Sun Valley Harvest Festival caps off an amazing weekend with a party here on September 21

There is no place more beautiful in autumn than the historic Trail Creek Cabin. The Sun Valley Harvest Festival caps off an amazing weekend with a party here on September 21

Feeling adventurous? Then be sure to check out the new Foodie Adventures offerings at the festival. On Saturday, September 20, tickets to two eating adventures are still available: one to Galena Lodge for bike adventure and one to Nighthawk Farm in Bellevue. At Galena, you will work up an appetite by enjoying a bike ride with some of the area’s top athletes and at Nighthawk Farm, all food served will come from the farm. Both events feature food prepared by top chefs paired with sublime wines.

Martinis and Caviar with a killer view has the makings of a truly memorable night (photo visitsunvalley.com)

Martinis and Caviar with a killer view has the makings of a truly memorable night (photo visitsunvalley.com)

Another very special way to savor and sip in Sun Valley is by signing up for the Martini and Caviar party at the Roundhouse Restaurant that is perched two-thirds of the way up Bald Mountain. On Saturday evening September 20, starting at 6 p.m., get whisked up the River Run side of the mountain on the gondola and start the memorable evening off with a scenic ride. You will be greeted at the base of the Roundhouse with a glass of Michelle Sparkling Wine. Again, Sun Valley Executive Chef John Murcko is in charge of the night and is sure to impress with his artfully crafted fare featuring sturgeon caviar and Idaho caviar. Popular mixologist Ryan Sullivan will craft cocktails featuring Idaho’s Square One organic vodkas to complement the food. This is one fun party that continues until 9 p.m. and magical and iconic setting at 7,700 feet above sea level simply can’t be beat!

Come, gather, eat and drink. The Sun Valley Harvest Festival is almost here. Get your tickets today! (photo Sun Valley Harvest Festival)

Come, gather, eat and drink. The Sun Valley Harvest Festival is almost here. Get your tickets today! (photo Sun Valley Harvest Festival)

There’s so much more to this weekend. For a full listing of events and to buy tickets, please click HERE.

The Sun Valley Harvest Festival was voted one of the top food festivals in America by Fodor’s. Come see why for yourself. Whether you prefer jeans and boots at a picnic or a cocktail dress on the deck at Roundhouse, you will find the perfect way to enjoy a glorious fall day or evening in Sun Valley.

–RES

Roundhouse Reunion

Step right up! It's a quick few minutes from buying a lift ticket to hopping on the Roundhouse Gondola

Step right up! It’s a quick few minutes from buying a lift ticket to hopping on the Roundhouse Gondola

This week, we had a small family reunion of sorts with my two aunts visiting to Sun Valley for some summertime fun. One is a frequent visitor, but the other had not been to the area for nearly 20 years. Wanting to offer something new and fresh to my Aunt Nancy who is here quite a bit and something quintessentially Sun Valley for my Aunt Marilyn, plus something fun for us locals – my mother and children – one activity seemed just perfect: a ride on the Roundhouse Gondola and lunch at historic Roundhouse Restaurant.

When considering lunch at Roundhouse, getting there is half the fun

When considering lunch at Roundhouse, getting there is half the fun

Perfect for every age, fitness level and first-time or repeat visitor, the ride on the gondola is breathtaking and easily navigable. Our group of seven convened at the River Run Lodge and quickly purchased lift tickets from the friendly attendant. There are special prices available for seniors and children, so be sure to remember to inquire if anyone in your party is young or just young at heart. As we settled onto the gondola and the ground began to fall away beneath the car, I knew this was a great call. The out-of-town aunts looked back and forth, taking in the full view over Ketchum and across the Pioneer Mountains. We chatted about biking and hiking trails as well as ski runs as the entire panorama looking east came into focus.

The attendants at the gondola are very friendly and here to help

The attendants at the gondola are very friendly and there to help

Roundhouse did not disappoint, either. Open for lunch during the busy summer months, the historic one-of-a-kind restaurant perched at 7000 feet above sea level serves either on the expansive deck, or with white cloth decked tables indoors. We chose to eat indoors and ordered from a simple menu of soups, salads, sandwiches and burgers. Though tastes varied, everyone found something to please the palate and our choices included the salmon salad with fingerling potatoes, tomatoes, hardboiled egg, cucumber, Roquefort and rice wine vinaigrette; the 7000’ burger with olive remoulade, a brioche bun and jarlsberg; the salmon burger with red onion and sun dried tomato vinaigrette and the Austrian chicken salad sandwich served on an herb croissant with celery, onion, apples and tarragon aioli. Kids can choose from either a Roundhouse burger or Mac and Cheese. All meals come with a choice of homemade potato salad, homemade coleslaw, green salad or some pretty great chips. Soft drinks, wine and a full bar were available.

My chicken salad croissant and homemade coleslaw were full of flavor

My chicken salad croissant and homemade coleslaw were full of flavor

The salmon burger, made with fresh king salmon, was a favorite in our group

The salmon burger, made with fresh king salmon, was a favorite in our group

Our meal was leisurely and filled with laughter and stories and really good food. The view wasn’t too bad, either! The ride down the gondola was another eye popper and when we reached River Run Plaza it was certain we had enjoyed a true Sun Valley experience. Whether you have enjoyed a stay in Sun Valley countless times or have just arrived, a ride on the gondola shouldn’t be missed. Also remember, that there is no better reward for a hike or bike ride up to Roundhouse or the top of Baldy than lunch at Roundhouse and a ride back down.

Lunch is rustic, yet elegant, at Roundhouse. Deck seating is also available

Lunch is rustic, yet elegant, at Roundhouse. Deck seating is also available

Roundhouse will be open through for the rest of the summer season from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Seating is first come, first served. Don’t miss the view and the experience. It is something to remember. After all, Roundhouse has been doing it right since 1939! –RES

Roundhouse was the perfect lunch spot for a family reunion

Roundhouse was the perfect lunch spot for a family reunion

It’s (officially) Summer on Bald Mountain

Baldy is showing off its summer splendor with amazing views and fields of wildflowers

Baldy is showing off its summer splendor with amazing views and fields of wildflowers

What better way to celebrate the longest day of the year and the official start to summer than by gaining some of the perspective that comes only with being on top of a big mountain!

On Saturday, the Gondola and Christmas Lift on Bald Mountain kicked into gear, providing uphill and downhill access for foot traffic of all varieties to the tip top of the mountain. And the trails were buzzing. Hikers and sightseers alike climbed up and rode down, rode up and hiked down, or just enjoyed the round-trip ride to and from the River Run side of the mountain.

Step one: let the helpful folks at River Run get you a lift pass and recommend some appropriate adventures for your group

Step one: let the helpful folks at River Run get you a lift pass and recommend some appropriate adventures for your group

Step two: check in and hop on a comfortable Gondola car

Step two: check in and hop on a comfortable Gondola car and enjoy the ride!

The historic Roundhouse Restaurant located at the top of the Gondola and about two-thirds up the mountain welcomed everyone to lunch with the best views around. The deck and rustic interior of the one-of-a-kind eatery is open daily, serving soups, salads, sandwiches and a children’s menu. Some highlights include the ‘7000’ Burger, an Austrian Chicken Salad sandwich, a fabulously fresh Mediterranean Chop Salad and locally-sourced Gazpacho. There is no better reward for a vigorous hike, or no better way to celebrate the beginning of a memorable vacation, than by dining at Roundhouse. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with beer and wine available daily. For a special cocktail hour, a full bar is offered on weekends (Friday to Sunday). Seating is first come, first served.

On July 1, Baldy opens to mountain bikers, again providing lift service both up and down the mountain depending on the rider’s proclivities. Special cars on the Gondola and on the Christmas Lift can accommodate bikes and many trails, appropriate to most levels, wend around the mountain. The first flow trail is set to open on July 1, offering a whole new biking experience on Baldy.

Enjoy lunch with an incredible view at the historic Roundhouse Restaurant

Enjoy lunch with an incredible view at the historic Roundhouse Restaurant

And if a trip up Baldy whets your appetite for snowy trails, today is the day to buy your winter Sun Valley passes. On sale now, a variety of passes are offered at the best prices of the season. Check out all the different possibilities HERE.

If being on the mountain is turning your thoughts to winter, now is the right time to buy your winter pass

If being on the mountain is turning your thoughts to winter, now is the right time to buy your winter pass

Seeing the Wood River Valley from atop Baldy is something everyone visiting Sun Valley must do. The 360-degree panorama is truly jaw dropping and right now, the wildflowers are adding fields of color and fragrance to the experience. Beautiful!

Summer trails on Baldy offer limitless fun. Get out there and get after it!

–RES

Hiking on Baldy is fun for the whole family. Bring water, wear good shoes and dress in layers!

Hiking on Baldy is fun for the whole family. Bring water, wear good shoes and dress in layers!

Summer on Baldy Awaits

Trails criss cross Bald Mountain in summer offering hikers and mountain bikers countless beautiful options for days filled with exercise and sunshine

Trails crisscross Bald Mountain in summer offering hikers and mountain bikers countless beautiful options for days filled with exercise and sunshine

In exactly one month, Bald Mountain will unveil itself in its full summer glory, opening nearly 28 miles of hiking and biking trails to endless possibilities for fun. Whether you prefer to ride a lift up and mountain bike or hike down, or if the reward for scaling 3,400 vertical feet is the scenic and peaceful ride down, your time on Sun Valley’s crown jewel is sure to be rewarding. Prefer to simply enjoy some fabulous views and gentle hiking atop Bald Mountain? Then bring the family and enjoy a round-trip lift ride. No matter your outdoor style, Baldy is the place to be on Idaho’s endless summer days when the lifts start running from River Run.

 

This summer, there is another way to play on Baldy – the new mountain biking flow trail. Nine new trails will eventually be constructed, offering nearly 20 miles of buttery fresh singletrack, and the first one opens July 1st. Flow trails are great fun according to enthusiasts, but are often located places hard to access by recreational riders. With lift access, those in Sun Valley will be available to bike riders of all ability levels.

 

New flow trails use the contour of the mountain and gravity to let mountain bikers get a smooth, easy downhill ride (photo Tal Roberts)

New flow trails use the contour of the mountain and gravity to let mountain bikers get a smooth, easy downhill ride. This one leads to the historic and charming Roundhouse Restaurant where you can grab lunch with a view this summer (photo Tal Roberts)

Flow trails are downhill trails that are cut to induce a smooth rhythm that has been compared to a “terrain-induced roller coaster experience,” according to the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). Features like banked turns, rolling terrain, jumps and consistent and predictable surfaces keep pedaling and braking to a minimum – gravity does most of the work. Mountain bikers carve back and forth on the trails, flowing down the mountain without maneuvering obstacles or abrupt corners or encountering pesky logs or rocks. It really is available to riders of all fitness levels and skills.

 

The first trail, recently dubbed “Saddle Up,” is a four-mile, green-rated flow trail (ratings are similar to those given to winter trails) and links the top of the mountain to Roundhouse Restaurant.

 

The team was hard at work this fall and spring started to create the new flow trails (photo Tal Roberts)

The team was hard at work this fall and spring started to create the new flow trails (photo Tal Roberts)

The new trails are user-specific and unidirectional, available only for downhill mountain bike traffic. In addition to the flow trails, two new hiking and uphill biking only trails will be part of this upgrade. The design maintains existing use patterns on the hill.

 

The flow trail architects are hard at work making sure you have the best summer ever on Baldy (photo Tal Roberts)

The flow trail architects are hard at work making sure you have the best summer ever on Baldy (photo Tal Roberts)

Sun Valley is already singletrack heaven and the addition of flow trails completes the picture of the area as the ultimate riding destination. The flow trails complement 450 miles of singletrack, two pump parks and limitless miles of road riding.

 

Full service bicycle rental (as well as all related gear rentals and sales) is available at the base of the mountain at Pete Lane’s at River Run. Great mountain fashions, active wear and gifts are also available at the adjacent Brass Ranch.

 

Hiking Baldy with the family is a terrific activity. Just remember real hiking shoes, plenty of water and lots of sunscreen. It's 3,400 vertical feet to the top!

Hiking Baldy with the family is a terrific activity. Just remember real hiking shoes, plenty of water and lots of sunscreen. It's 3,400 vertical feet to the top!

My favorite way to enjoy Baldy is to hike the approximately five-mile Bald Mountain Trail that originates at River Run. Switchbacks wend through open meadows, covered in wildflowers in July, through pine groves and along many ski runs. It is great exercise and provides fantastic views all around the Valley. I love to catch the lift down upon reaching the summit, munching a well-deserved snack and enjoying the breeze and the view. Like many who live or vacation in Sun Valley, for me, the climb up Baldy is the equivalent to a few good hours on a stair climber at the gym but much more beautiful and much more fun! I am pretty excited to try those flow trails, too.

 

Lift service lifts off on June 21 for hikers and July 1 for bike service. Many are counting the days. Bring on summer!

 

–RES

Meal with a View

Roundhouse Restaurant, nestled beneath Rock Garden run (or just off Roundhouse Lane if you prefer a gentler entry) about two-thirds of the way up Bald Mountain, is one of the gems that makes Sun Valley, Sun Valley. Rustic, charming and traditional, but with a modern flair, this one-of-a-kind restaurant features roaring fires, a cozy atmosphere and drop-dead views of Ketchum, the Pioneer Mountains and beyond.

Roundhouse welcomes you to lunch beginning December 12

Roundhouse welcomes you to lunch beginning December 12

Roundhouse will open for the season on December 12, serving lunch seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m (starting December 19th). There is also still space available for a special dinner on Christmas Day. Reservations are required for dinner and are accepted for lunch. Expect starched white linens and crystal at both seatings to compliment a delicious menu that relies on locally-sourced, seasonal fare. But no worries, this is still a ski lodge. Parkas and ski boots are de rigueur at lunchtime and the atmosphere is an only-in-Sun Valley mix of upscale and casual.

Charming and cozy -- a meal at Roundhouse is sure to be memorable

Charming and cozy -- a meal at Roundhouse is sure to be memorable

For the ultimate in après ski, be sure to visit Averell’s Bar on the lower level of Roundhouse. Featuring huge picture windows overlooking Roundhouse Slope and downtown Ketchum, there is no more beautiful way to end a day on the snow. But Averell’s is more than a glass of wine or a hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps. Every day, revelers are invited to enjoy Roundhouse’s famous fondue, accompanied with baguettes, red potatoes and granny smith apples. Additional “add-ons” are available for dunking in the sublime fondue, including spicy sausage, grilled steak, shrimp, wild mushrooms and roasted winter vegetables. Handmade Bavarian pretzels served with spicy mustard, cheddar spread, honey mustard, mesquite chipotle barbecue, olive cream cheese and jalapeno beer cheese are the perfect reward for completing all that vertical on skis or a board. The menu is designed for sharing, so bring your friends and indulge! The gondola will whisk you – and your gear — back to River Run after après ski ends.

Your chariot awaits to or from Roundhouse

Your chariot awaits to or from Roundhouse

Evening meals are served both in the main dining room and Averell’s. Be sure to come a bit earlier than your reservation to enjoy a cocktail at the inviting upstairs bar. And for dinner at Roundhouse, getting there is often half the fun! A ride on the Roundhouse gondola on a winter’s evening can mean a bright moonlit night, or an intimate cocoon of snow on the gondola’s windows. Be sure to wear warm boots, gloves, a hat and coat as the gondola isn’t heated during the approximately 15-minute ride. It is perfectly acceptable to change into party shoes once you reach Roundhouse, too!

Dinner at Roundhouse in winter is peaceful, magical, festive and delicious

Dinner at Roundhouse in winter is peaceful, magical, festive and delicious

Still need a reason to stop by? This season, Roundhouse is hand-crafting signature cocktails, as well as offering an extensive wine list and many boutique brews. New cocktails, appropriately named after ski runs, include: the Graduate (Woodford Reserve Bourbon, bing cherries, diced apples, cinnamon, orange bitters, simple syrup), the International (Hendrick’s Gin, Fever-Free Mediterranean Tonic) or the Sunny Side Organic Lemondrop (Organic Square One Vodka, organic lemon juice, organic agave nectar, organic sugar). Also special for the holidays is a Huckleberry-Pomegranate Cosmo (Pama Pomegranate Liqueur, Patron Citronage, huckleberry puree, organic Agave nectar). Cheers!

For dinner reservations, please call 208-622-2012 or book online through Open Table.

A meal, or drink, just tastes better at 7,700 feet, whether you are wearing your ski boots or high heels. There is no better way to toast the season than from a cozy table at Roundhouse!

–RES

Start your own holiday tradition at Roundhouse this season!

Start your own holiday tradition at Roundhouse this season!

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

‘Tis the season to get out that red pen and mark your calendar so as not to miss any of the wonderful events that will make holidays in Sun Valley the merriest yet! From twinkling lights, to fabulous food; from fun for the family to sensational shopping – it’s all right here.

It's beginning to look a lot like the holidays in Sun Valley

It's beginning to look a lot like the holidays in Sun Valley

Here are some highlights for your December plans:

Our season kicks off in earnest on December 14 with a Winter Wonderland Stroll in the Sun Valley Village. This special afternoon includes photos with Santa at the Boiler Room deck from 1 to 3 p.m., a gingerbread man decorating workshop at 2 p.m., delicious food cart offerings including cider, hot cocoa, beignets and treats, craft demonstrations and a scavenger hunt and Window Stroll prizes. Stop into a la mode for gourmet hot chocolate or the Konditorei for a savory lunch or treat. It is a celebration for all ages.

Pop into a la mode and warm up with a special holiday hot chocolate

Pop into a la mode and warm up with a special holiday hot chocolate

The Sun Valley tree will sparkle to life on December 21 in front of the Inn. This annual tradition officially begins at 5 p.m. Shortly thereafter, the storied Sun Valley Carolers will entertain with their wonderful multi-part harmony renditions of Christmas classics and Sun Valley General Manager, Tim Silva, will then count down and light the tree. The remainder of the evening includes caroling, Santa arriving by sleigh at the Inn, ice carving demonstrations, food and warm drinks and a vintage Christmas sweater party for the grown ups at the Duchin Room beginning at 6 p.m.

On December 22, music takes center stage when the 6th annual Classic Christmas Concert comes to the Opera House at 7 p.m. The Sun Valley Hallelujah Chorus will bring its signature blend of gospel and traditional music and will be joined by a live trio and the Sun Valley Carolers.

The Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade and fireworks are among Sun Valley's most treasured holiday traditions

The Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade and fireworks are among Sun Valley's most treasured holiday traditions

The culmination of all the pre-Christmas festivity leads to Christmas Eve, Sun Valley style. Don’t miss the tradition of the Christmas Eve Nutcracker on Ice and Torch Light Parade. At 4 p.m. on the 24th, complimentary hot cocoa and cookies are served on the Lodge patio. The Carolers welcome what is always a huge audience to the show at 5:30 p.m., with the special Nutcracker production, featuring professional and local young skaters, gliding into action at 5:40 p.m. Following the show around 6 p.m., look past the rink to Dollar Mountain where members of the Sun Valley SnowSports instructors and special guests will ski down the slopes holding lit torches – creating a mesmerizing serpentine of light into the dark night. Fireworks follow and if that isn’t enough, Santa is scheduled to arrive for a special appearance.

 

The torchlight parade is truly magical (photo courtesy Charlie Webster)

The torchlight parade is truly magical (photo courtesy Charlie Webster)

Shopping at the Sun Valley Village specialty shops, as well as at the base of River Run, will inspire you to polish off those Christmas lists. Quality defines the merchandise available at Brass Ranch, Panache, Pete Lane’s, Silver Creek Outfitters, the Toy Store, Towne & Parke Jewelers and the Sun Valley Signature Shops, and no matter if your tastes run from classical to whimsical, there is truly something for everyone.

The tastes, smells and flavors of holiday meals also help define the season. Sun Valley’s signature restaurants will be serving fare that invites you to linger, to continue the conversation, to order just one more course or another glass of fine wine.

Tell Santa how good you've been this year at a special breakfast in the Lodge Dining Room

Tell Santa how good you've been this year at a special breakfast in the Lodge Dining Room

Special to the season is the reopening of the elegant Lodge Dining Room for a Champagne Brunch every Sunday, December 15 through March 30. On December 21 and 22, be sure to come to the bountiful breakfast for a special chance to see Santa Claus before he begins his around-the-world journey. Please call Restaurant Reservations 208-622-2800 to reserve a seat with Santa.

Historic Roundhouse perched two-thirds up Bald Mountain opens for the season for lunch daily on December 12 and for dinner during the season on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. A meal there is truly magical! Reservations for dinner are accepted at 208-622-2012.

The Sun Valley sleigh ride to Trail Creek Cabin is a must-do holiday activity

The Sun Valley sleigh ride to Trail Creek Cabin is a must-do holiday activity

No trip to Sun Valley is complete without a sleigh ride under the stars to historic Trail Creek Cabin for a warm, inviting and plentiful meal before a roaring fire. Book your sleigh ride and dinner reservations through the Recreation Center at 208-622-2135.

Check back to this blog for updates and more information on all the flavorful, fun options for holiday food as well as all the holiday hoopla.

Holidays in Sun Valley are exactly what they are supposed to be – genuine, memorable, colorful, filled with traditional. Be sure not to miss a minute!

–RES

It’s Autumn! Get Out and Hike

You don't need to go far from town to enjoy a fall hike complete with golden aspens

You don't need to go far from town to enjoy a fall hike complete with golden aspens

Ah, September in Sun Valley: Cool mornings and evenings; warm sunny days; the always-evolving alchemy of aspen leaves as they turn bright gold. Though each season here certainly has its merits, there is something truly spectacular about autumn.

And with the children back in school, the booked-to-the-minute fun of Labor Day weekend behind us, it’s time to get out there and take a hike. Though many local trails were temporarily closed in August due to the Beaver Creek Fire, right now, local hiking is at its peak.

The Hemingway Memorial is a beautiful tribute to the author and a gateway to terrific local hikes

The Hemingway Memorial is a beautiful tribute to the author and a gateway to terrific local hikes

Whether you have lived in Sun Valley your entire life or are just visiting for the weekend, a great place to start a September hike is at the Hemingway Memorial just east of the Sun Valley Lodge on Trail Creek Road. The memorial features a likeness of the legendary writer who completed For Whom the Bell Tolls in suite 206 at the Lodge, and is tucked beneath shady trees on the banks of Trail Creek. Stone benches in the shape of a half moon offer a place to sit and reflect on the inscription that reminds Hemingway is laid to rest in the Ketchum Cemetery:

Best of all he loved the fall
The leaves yellow on the cottonwoods
Leaves floating on the trout streams
And above the hills
The high blue windless skies
Now he will be a part of them forever.

From this very unique, and very nearby, trailhead, miles of beautiful single track wend through Proctor Mountain. For the novice, gentle walks lead along the creek and east. Craving more vertical? Numerous trails climb to the saddle of Proctor, offering fantastic views in every direction, including one of the best ones around of Baldy. If you’re up for a challenge, the Ruud Mountain trail cuts steeply right to the more traditional Proctor Mountain trails, leading to, and beyond, one of the first chairlifts in the world.

Bald Mountain in the warmer months offers stunning vistas and great exercise to those on foot

Bald Mountain in the warmer months offers stunning vistas and great exercise to those on foot

Also “in town” are popular hiking and biking trails near the White Clouds golf course across from Sun Valley Resort. Don’t forget Bald Mountain offers a great cardiac workout, terrific views and the possibility of a fabulous lunch to reward you for your efforts. Start at the River Run side of the hill and bear right to the Bald Mountain Trail. This leads, in switchbacks, both to the Roundhouse Restaurant (offering a fabulous barbecue deck lunch through September 8), and all the way to the summit. If you want to channel your inner local, head straight up the Warm Springs or River Run ski runs to the top. It’s an unbeatable workout and who knows, maybe you will want to take the Baldy Hill Climb later this month.

Slightly further afield, but still a very short drive from town, the Adams Gulch trailhead just north of Ketchum provides many trail options for hiking and mountain biking, as do Chocolate Gulch and Fox Creek. To the east, a hike to the historic Pioneer Cabin (there are three different routes up) is one of the most beautiful in the area. In the fall, this very popular hike is more lightly traveled and it is the perfect time to go.

The walk up to Pioneer Cabin is beautiful, but the real pay out is cresting the final ridge

The walk up to Pioneer Cabin is beautiful, but the real payout is cresting the final ridge

For all these hikes, remember, even if the trailhead is right up the street, you are in altitude and the autumn weather can be variable so be prepared. Bring plenty of water and a light rain shell, layers, wear comfortable sturdy shoes, bring a snack or lunch and sunscreen is a must.

For a full list of current trail conditions, please click HERE.

September is the most beautiful hiking month in the Wood River Valley, at least by my account. Take some time for yourself, get out there and hit the trails!

–RES

I Can See Clearly Now

Blue skies and picture perfect weather welcomed diners to lunch at Roundhouse Restaurant Thursday

Blue skies and picture perfect weather welcomed diners to lunch at Roundhouse Restaurant Thursday

The weather Thursday was bluebird skies, scattered white fluffy clouds, bright sunshine and no smoke: the perfect day to kick off Labor Day weekend by hopping on the River Run gondola to ascend to a barbecue lunch with the best view in town.  Sailing over the single track mountain bike trails and ski runs, the ride on the gondola is beyond scenic. As you soar above the tree line, the majestic Pioneer Mountains provide a sublime vista to the east, while the cities of Ketchum and Sun Valley take form in miniature below.

But getting there is only half the fun when you decide to have lunch at the historic Roundhouse restaurant. Perched at 7,700-feet above Ketchum, Roundhouse says Sun Valley like nothing else. With its rustic interior, vast decks and unparalleled views, a meal there shouldn’t be missed.

The view is unbeatable from the Roundhouse deck -- and the barbecue lunch lives up to its surroundings

The view is unbeatable from the Roundhouse deck -- and the barbecue lunch lives up to its surroundings

Roundhouse just reopened for the rest of the summer season and will serve a tasty, varied barbecue menu through September 8. Choose from traditional beef burgers or veer into the more esoteric: buffalo burgers, chicken burgers, veggie burgers (my choice – delicious!), bratwursts and entrée salads. Sides include homemade coleslaw, potato salad, fruit salad or chips. Enjoy a beer, wine, cocktail or soft drink with your sophisticated picnic on the deck.

From Friday to Monday, the Lookout Restaurant atop Baldy will also offer its wildly popular taco bar at lunch to those enjoying a hike, bike ride or sightseeing trip on the mountain. Lift service to Lookout begins where the gondola lets off to get riders to the tip top of the hill.

A gondola ride up to the historic Roundhouse for lunch is a must-do Sun Valley activity

A gondola ride up to the historic Roundhouse for lunch is a must-do Sun Valley activity

Lunch with a view is just one of many must-do activities to put on your Labor Day weekend “to-do” list. One of the busiest holidays of the year in Sun Valley, there are parades to delight; antiques and art to browse and buy; cars to covet; pancakes of which to partake.

The annual multi-day celebration that is Wagon Days is jam-packed. Starting Friday, Arts, Crafts and Antiques Fairs can be found up and down the Valley. From 4 – 7 p.m. that day, cowboy poets, old-time fiddling, western music and more will delight at the Ore Museum in Ketchum with concerts from Matt Renner and the band Slow Children Playing to follow.  Also Friday night, local art galleries will open their doors and welcome lookers and buyers from 5 – 8 p.m.

The "Big Hitch," made up of six enormous ore wagons is a sight to behold and the grand finale of Saturday's parade

The "Big Hitch," made up of six enormous ore wagons, is a sight to behold as the grand finale of Saturday's parade

Saturday is the big show with many events leading up to Wagon Days‘ famous Big Hitch Parade. Starting at 8 a.m., bring the entire family to Ketchum for an old-fashioned, all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast with all proceeds benefiting local youth groups. The kids can work off that carb-fueled energy at a children’s carnival featuring mini train rides, astro jumps, a climbing wall, bungee run and more.

At 1 p.m. the Big Hitch Parade rolls down Sun Valley Road. This, the largest non-motorized parade in the Northwest, features museum quality buggies, carriages, carts, stagecoaches and wagons that illustrate and honor the tenacity of the area’s early settlers. Six gigantic Lewis Ore Wagons, the Big Hitch, pulled by a 20-mule jerkline, offer the eye popping grand finale. Music and festivity in Ketchum extend well into the night following the parade.

The Great Wagon Days Duck Race also follows at Rotary Park. A favorite of children of all ages, this event launches thousands of plastic ducks into to Big Wood River to ‘race,’ all while benefiting local non-profits.

Sun Valley's Silver Car Auction is eye candy for anyone who loves fabulous four-wheelers

Sun Valley's Silver Car Auction is eye candy for anyone who loves fabulous four-wheelers

In Sun Valley, on both Saturday and Sunday, be sure to come by the Silver Car Auction beginning at 9 a.m. 250 collector car owners and dealers display and auction off unique and beautiful cars until 8 p.m. There is eye candy for everyone from admirers of classic cars to sports cars and is a must-see for aficionados of every persuasion.

While in Sun Valley, be sure to stop into the Konditorei or Gretchen’s for a delicious breakfast or lunch, or grab gourmet sandwiches to go at the Short Line Deli followed by a special ice cream treat at a la mode. Village restaurants will be serving dinner over the weekend, too – the perfect way to unwind and enjoy the best in local flavors and handcrafted recipes after a very busy day.

And then there is the final Sun Valley on Ice show of the year starring Johnny Weir, rodeos, more live music, a hoedown, western dance – not to mention golf, biking, hiking, tennis, horseback riding, the Gun Club, fly fishing, swimming …! There is so much to do, it’s a good thing it’s a long weekend.

The Great Wagon Days Duck Race is a spectacle and fun for children of all ages!

The Great Wagon Days Duck Race is a spectacle and fun for children of all ages!

We can’t wait to see everyone out in Sun Valley and Ketchum enjoying glorious weather (the forecast looks great), a fantastic array of events and fun for everyone. We are all so grateful that Wagon Days is on and better than ever and can’t wait to share this spectacular weekend, as well as our own very special, very active version of normal, with our guests. It’s going to be a great Labor Day weekend!

To borrow shamelessly from the incomparable Johnny Nash, Jimmy Nash and others, “It’s gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day…”

–RES

Sun Valley Salutes Firefighters and Looks Forward to Labor Day

The simple sign at the base of River Run said it all Sunday night

The simple sign at the base of River Run said it all Sunday night

The intermittent heavy rain that fell this weekend offered more than a hint of the poetic following the raging wildfires that threatened the Wood River Valley just a week ago. As the moisture swept through in waves during Saturday night’s Sun Valley On Ice show that benefited the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, and again on Sunday, during a huge picnic and concert at River Run honoring the 2,000-plus heroes who fought the behemoth Beaver Creek Fire, there was no question there was change in the air. With her thunderous announcements in the evening sky, Mother Nature proclaimed that Sun Valley had turned a corner – that it’s time, again, to look ahead.

Visitors and locals mingled with fire professionals at the base of River Run, looking forward to enjoying the rest of the summer

Visitors and locals mingled with fire professionals at the base of River Run and looked forward to enjoying the rest of the summer

Sunday evening’s party at the base of Baldy’s River Run drew firefighters from all over the state and country who were part of the Great Basin National Incident Management Team #1. It also drew our local heroes from the Ketchum, Sun Valley, Hailey and Wood River Fire Departments. To say thank you, Sun Valley distributed 565 tickets to firefighters and their families, providing a full western barbecue and beverages, all for free.

A little rain couldn't keep the crowd away from the party at River Run where locals and visitors were able to thank firefighters in person

A little rain couldn't keep the crowd away from the party at River Run

In the light drizzle, the firefighters, still in uniform, looked relaxed and happy, enjoying live music from local bands Up a Creek and Old Death Whisper. They shook hands with appreciative locals and visitors alike and by all accounts, greatly enjoyed the party thrown in their honor.

“We thought we’d have the picnic to bring the entire community together to thank the firefighters,” said Jack Sibbach, Head of Sun Valley Marketing. “This fire affected the entire Wood River Valley and this was a great opportunity for everyone to gather in one place and say thank you. It’s also the time for all of us to now look forward to the rest of the summer and the fall.”

At the storied Sun Valley ice show Saturday night, the fire’s Incident Commander Beth Lund also expressed her appreciation for the huge turnout, the support for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation and for the Valley that so clearly valued her team’s efforts. She reiterated how dangerous a job it is to fight these fires and how organizations like the Wildland Firefighter Foundation provide critical help to families who suffer a loss or an injury amid the unpredictable flames.

Admission to Saturday's Sun Valley On Ice was free, but donations were accepted on behalf of the Wildland Firefighters Foundation

Admission to Saturday's Sun Valley On Ice was free, but donations were accepted on behalf of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation

The cast of Sun Valley On Ice then emerged under the lights wearing fire hats and skated from the heart, honoring the events of the past weeks. The show was provided free to guests with a suggested donation to the firefighters.

Sun Valley truly has turned a corner; skies are clear, the sun is shining. Those short-lived evening rain showers washed away any remaining ash and soot and changed the entire feeling up and down the Wood River Valley.

Starting Wednesday, jump on the gondola and head up to Roundhouse for lunch with a pretty spectacular view

Starting Wednesday, jump on the gondola and head up to Roundhouse for lunch with a pretty spectacular view

Now it’s time to end the summer on a high note. Bald Mountain reopens to foot, bike and gondola traffic on Wednesday, August 28.  The gondola will run daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and the deck at Roundhouse Restaurant will offer a daily barbecue. There is no more scenic place to eat. Beginning Friday, the famous taco bar at Lookout also makes and end-of-summer, back-by-popular demand appearance.

Sun Valley has extended its sale on winter passes through September 15. Don’t miss this opportunity to save up to $350 on what promises to be an amazing snow season. This year, there are seven passes from which to choose, including a new Young Adult Pass, as well as a new installment payment plan for select products. Come by the River Run Ticketing Office, buy a $15 ticket for the gondola and check out what’s new for the coming season!  While you’re at River Run Plaza, be sure to also pop into Brass Ranch and check out the sale in progress.

The centerpiece of the Big Hitch Wagon Days Parade is something you have to see to believe

The centerpiece of the Big Hitch Wagon Days Parade is something you have to see to believe

For Labor Day weekend, it’s on! Festivities begin in earnest on Friday and run all the way through the Monday holiday. Highlights include: an antique car show and auction, Rebecca Rusch’s Private Idaho bike tour, pancake breakfasts in Ketchum, the final ice show of the season featuring crowd favorite Johnny Weir, rodeos, antique and art shows, an Art Gallery walk, a western shoot-out, and of course, the Big Hitch Parade. Be sure to be in Sun Valley during one of the best Labor Day celebrations in the nation.

And it’s not over after Labor Day! September in Sun Valley is a spectacular month during which to golf, hike, bike, fly fish … you name it. This year, it is also a spectacular month for music. Tickets are on sale now for Reckless Kelly, playing September 6 at the Sun Valley Pavilion and Clint Black who will entertain under the sail on September 12.

Again, we thank the amazing firefighters for giving us the gift of enjoying this upcoming Labor Day celebration and the renewed opportunity to truly appreciate the beauty and splendor of our one-of-a-kind valley.

Rest up now. It’s about to get busy!

–RES