Sun Valley: Come for the winter, stay for the summer. This well-known valley phrase neatly sums up the schizophrenic nature of existence in a resort town. Life in Sun Valley has always been separated into two distinct seasons: winter and not-winter, and the people who live here fall into one of two camps: “Waiting for Winter” or “Waiting for Winter to End.”
I’m in the latter camp. I love summer in Sun Valley, and the fact that it comes after 7 to 8 months of a frigid, snowy landscape makes it all the better in my book. The only downside is there just isn’t enough time to do everything a Sun Valley summer has to offer before that cold white stuff rolls back in.
Despite the vast differences between our two seasons, there is one thing they have in common. Neither is officially here until the Gondola starts to climb Bald Mountain.
Last Friday marked the official start of the Sun Valley summer, and Mr. Sun and I took the little tykes for their first ride on the Gondola. (I must admit shamefacedly that this was my first ride on the Gondola too – if you want to know why I’ve been so bad, ask me in the comments section below!).
Little Sun was thrilled to get in “the big elevator to the sky” but was disappointed to learn that skiing was not to be a part of this excursion. On the ride up he kept pointing out all the areas where he loves to ski (he’s 4 and so far has only showed off his skiing prowess on Dollar, but clearly he’s already a Waiting for Winter-valleyite). Baby Sun was transfixed, as was I, by the views of the surrounding landscape as we rode in comfortable luxury to an altitude of 7,700 ft, arriving in a few short minutes at the doors of the country’s oldest ski lodge, The Roundhouse.
Once at our destination, we headed for the most family-friendly spot in the 73 year old lodge, settling into Averell’s Bar for some light libations in front of a breathtaking view.
While it is clearly in its element as a curious capsule transporting skiers to their ultimate destination, riding the state-of-the-art Doppelmayr CTEC Detachable-Grip Gondola in the summertime is a new Sun Valley tradition. Whether you’re seeking a thrilling mountain bike ride, a challenging day of hiking or a moonlit dining spot, a ride to the top should definitely be part of your summer Sun Valley Bucket list.
Although conceived as a winter resort in 1935, Sun Valley is so perfect in the summertime I think it gives winter a run for its money as the season to come here for. What do you think? Which camp are you in? Waiting for Winter or Waiting for Winter to End? Tweet us @SunValleyResort or post a comment below.
Details: The Gondola travels from River Run Plaza. From there the top of Baldy is accessible by a quad lift. First ride up is 9 am and the last ride down is 4:30 pm. Ticket prices are here. Mountain biking opens June 30. The Roundhouse serves lunch from 11:30 – 3 pm, with lighter fare available from 3 – 4 pm. Lunch is first-come, first-served, reservations are required for dinner (served Friday and Saturday beginning this Friday, 208.622.2012). Each adult gondola pass receives a $10 coupon for lunch at the Roundhouse.