Summer, Your Way

Summer in Sun Valley is pretty darn spectacular. Get out there!

Summer in Sun Valley is pretty darn spectacular. Get out there!

The Memorial Day weekend is upon us and with it, the promise of endless sunny days filled with, well, whatever makes you happy. Sun Valley summers are rife with possibility, whether your tastes tend to climbing mountains, biking single track, swinging at tennis or golf balls, sunbathing, stargazing … the possibilities truly are endless.

For my family, summer is all about being outside. When, in late June, the sun rises at 6 a.m. and sets at 10 p.m., there is time to indulge in everything that makes the season so memorable.

After much consideration and heated debate around the dining room table, here is a list of the top five activities that define our Sun Valley summers. It would have been easy to name 50, but the winners are:

When you reach Pioneer Cabin, this is your reward

When you reach Pioneer Cabin, this is your reward

Hiking
My favorite way to enjoy the wilderness and scenic beauty of the Wood River Valley, the Sawtooth Mountains and beyond (and beyond and beyond) is on foot. Whether I have a two-hour window in my schedule or the luxury of a full day to get out into the woods, the possibilities for eye- (and lung!) popping hikes are as limitless as the amazingly well maintained, beautiful trail system that originates in our backyard. In-town hikes like Adams Gulch, Proctor Mountain and Chocolate Gulch offer diverse topography and challenge. A short drive from town gets you into the White Clouds, the Smoky Mountains, the Pioneers and the Boulders. Tucked among these mountain peaks are some of the most spectacular high altitude lakes you will ever see, and even during “high season,” many of these trails are surprisingly lightly traveled. My all-time favorite in the Smoky Mountains is the Norton Lake/Big Lost loop — spectacular and easily manageable in a half-day. Given a full day, the Sawtooths are my destination of choice, with trailheads in the Stanley area about an hour’s drive north of Ketchum. One of the destinations in that region isn’t called Shangri-La for nothing! Oh! And hiking up Baldy to Roundhouse for lunch and a gondola ride down is pretty terrific, too! And cresting the final ridge up to Pioneer Cabin is probably one of the most beautiful payoffs, beauty-wise, in the world. This list goes on and on!

People travel from all over the world to fly fish Sun Valley. Try it and you'll see why

People travel from all over the world to fly fish Sun Valley. Try it and you'll see why

Fly Fishing
As the band the Talking Heads sang in the 80s, “Take me to the river, drop me in the water,” and for our family, this is gospel, as long as we get to bring our fly rods. Sun Valley is surrounded on every side by some of the most pristine, productive trout water in North America. Steps from town, the Big Wood River fishes fantastically throughout the summer, tempting novices to get hooked and offering more sophisticated fishing to experienced anglers. For children, Penny Lake is fishing heaven and a great introduction to the lifetime sport. Over Trail Creek pass, Copper Basin and the Big Lost River beckon with some of the most spectacular scenery in the state and south of Bellevue, Silver Creek draws fly fishing aficionados from around the world with its notoriously selective natives that challenge and delight.

Skating on the outdoor rink isn't just child's play, but it certainly is fun

Skating on the outdoor rink isn't just child's play, but it certainly is fun

Skating Away
With two figure skaters in the family, much of our summer is spent at the Sun Valley ice rinks. But skating isn’t only for those working on their Double Salchow! Taking a few turns around the iconic outdoor rink that hugs the Lodge’s terrace is a fabulous way to spend an afternoon. In fact, it is the coolest place to be on hot summer days. Skate rentals, attire to make you look like a gold medalist and admission to general sessions are all available at the historic skate house, as is the opportunity to sign up for a few lessons with one of the rink’s highly accomplished pros. Then on Saturday nights, beginning in July, the stars of the skating world shine under Idaho’s canopy of stars in Sun Valley’s world famous ice shows. We love to enjoy the bountiful dinner buffet before the show or wrap up in a blanket on the bleachers to see, up close and personal, the finest athletes in the world. This year’s lineup includes luminaries like Evan Lysacek, Ryan Bradley and Ashley Wagner. This may be your last chance to glimpse future Olympic champions as they finalize preparations for Games in Sochi.

Dining al fresco
Dining outside is one of the great pleasures of life, especially when you live in a climate where it is only possible for a short window of time. Whenever eating out is on the calendar, we chose to go al fresco. At the Resort, dinner on the Ram terrace is our absolute favorite, both for the food and the terrific view of activity in the Village. The swan pond, surrounded by soft green grass, couldn’t be more picturesque if an artist painted it. Other terrific outdoor dining at the Resort includes the terrace at Gretchen’s restaurant overlooking the ice rink, light fare and drinks on the Duchin Room terrace and of course, my other favorite, outdoor dining at the historic Trail Creek Cabin. A short drive from Sun Valley takes you a world away to enjoy outstanding food as Trail Creek burbles nearby and the surrounding mountains look, at sunset, as if they are draped in velvet. Other al fresco dining opportunities also abound in Ketchum and Hailey when decks and patios are the place to see and be seen all summer long, whether you’re enjoying a burger or a gourmet four-course dinner.

The terrace at the Ram is a wonderful place to enjoy a meal under the sun or stars

The terrace at the Ram is a wonderful place to enjoy a meal under the sun or stars

Leisurely bike rides
Nearly every night of the warm weather months, my children and I hop on our bikes, hop onto the Rails-to-Trails bike path that runs right by our home and pedal the evening away. This paved path is appropriate for everyone as it gently leads past Hailey to the south and well past Ketchum to the north. The route often runs next to the Big Wood River and offers more than 32-miles of pedaling possibility. My advice? Don’t rush. This is a great opportunity to simply enjoy the surroundings and the company.

Family bike rides are a terrific end to a busy day (and no worries, my daughter only took off her helmet for the photo!)

Family bike rides are a terrific end to a busy day (and no worries, my daughter only took off her helmet for the photo!)

Summer possibilities are so varied, whether you are visiting for two weeks or have lived here for 20 years, there will always be new hikes to try, new mountain bike trails to explore, another stretch of river to fish or to whitewater raft, campsites you haven’t visited, a new stretch of beach at a mountain lake at which to picnic, a swimming hole to jump into, another opportunity to work on your handicap. Phew!

No matter what you like to do, though, the critical thing is to just get outside, be with friends and family and remember what summer is supposed to be about. Unplug, enjoy, unwind, explore. It’s summer in Sun Valley.

–RES

Everything that makes summer wonderful is at the end of this rainbow in Sun Valley

Everything that makes summer wonderful is at the end of this rainbow in Sun Valley

Sun Valley Fashion is in Full Bloom

Color and pattern prevail for spring at the Brass Ranch

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

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

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

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

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

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 perfect for the mountain lifestyle at Pete Lane's

Men can find everything they need to enjoy the mountain lifestyle at Pete Lane's

–RES