An Afternoon in the (Bowling) Lanes

A row of colorful bowling ballsIf you are a parent who has ever stared down the long tunnel of unstructured hours on a rainy day when your kids are home, then this is for you! It is also for parents who may have spent a busy day skiing or sledding; fishing or hiking or biking, and want an easy family activity to wind down. What could this amazing solution be?  Why, bowling of course!

Many people do not know that in the lower level of the storied Sun Valley Lodge, there is a Bowling and Game room. This full-service facility rents shoes and lanes and features a small arcade that kids just love. In fact, children’s birthday parties at the bowling alley are a locals’ favorite.

A vintage 1957 Sun Valley pinball machine

This vintage pinball machine from 1957 is one of the hidden treasures at Sun Valley's Bowling and Game Room. It isn't available to play, but it sure looks great!

On a rainy, chilly transition-weather kind of day this week (that just so happened to be the day there was no school due to parent-teacher conferences), I took my two favorite second graders to the bowling alley to blow off some steam.  With me loudly whispering, “Walk! Walk!” we quickly made our way down one of the Lodge’s plush hallways, surrounded on both sides by wonderful black and white photos documenting the Resort’s rich history and celebrity clientele. Then, with the Salon and Spa just ahead (what a perfect day it would be for a massage and a facial, but no!), we veer down the stairs to the Bowling and Game Room.

Jeremy, whose patience makes bowling with kids a pleasure

Jeremy, whose patience makes bowling with children a pleasure

The boys, who are repeat customers, make a beeline for the counter, or a beeline of sorts that includes a quick lap to see what video games are new. Finally, Jeremy helps me lace fidgety feet into bowling shoes and get the boys to our lane: lucky number six. They laugh so hard they can’t breathe as they try to hoist heavier balls in search of one that is the perfect weight. Without even needing to be asked, Jeremy throws up the bumpers, ensuring a successful and enjoyable bowling experience. Endless gutter balls really aren’t fun. Before it is my turn to throw a strike (ha!), I return to Jeremy once again.  If I can’t have a massage, I can at least have a beer.

The Bowling Alley and Game Room isn’t just for kids, though. I went on one memorable date there that was book-ended by drinks in the Duchin Room and dinner at the Ram Restaurant, and my friends and I gather in the brightly lit space a few times a year to enjoy a variation on dinner and a drink or dinner and a movie. Something about hurling a ball down a polished lane while wearing what are perhaps the ugliest shoes ever invented, encourages camaraderie, laughter and a chance to just relax. No bowling skills required.

When we re-emerge into the dusk and drizzle after a few games, I decide to treat the boys to the perfect ending to the afternoon. We stroll through the Sun Valley Village to the Chocolate Foundry, a confectioner that looks and smells exactly like you hope it would.  The old fashion store creates handmade treats certain to please everyone in your group.  After much debate, my group decides on truffles and fudge, smiling from ear-to-ear.

Delicious selections at the Chocolate Foundry

The Chocolate Foundry feeds every child's sugar fantasy

Whether you are a local or a guest at the Resort, be sure to spend some time at the Bowling and Game Room.  It will remind you that sometimes the simplest things are the most satisfying, and sometimes a rainy day is a gift.


The boys roll a great round at the Sun Valley Bowling and Game Room

The boys roll a strike -- or close enough

A Sea of Sheep

The star of the weekend, ready for his close-up

The Folklife Fair, a big part of this weekend’s highly-anticipated Trailing of the Sheep Festival, proved a feast for the senses. Dozens of lamb dishes, cooked on site in a park in Hailey, tantalized. The smell of lamb burgers, lamb pockets, delicacies of every persuasion, wafted throughout the fairgrounds, subtly reminding visitors that it was lunchtime. And by all accounts, the food tasted just as good as it smelled.

Local lamb burgers tasted as good as they looked







Strains of bagpipes resonated across grassy fields throughout the day, drawing the crowds temporarily away from the food stands and craft tents to cheer on performers. Basque dance groups also proved to have a Pied-Piper effect on visitors, attracting a wide circle of onlookers.

Children and adults alike were invited to touch shorn wool that lay in huge matted bundles throughout the park. It was much, much softer than it appeared. Color exploded from every corner. From the perfect bluebird sky of the Idaho Indian Summer day, to yarn bundles in every hue, to the capes and bright skirts worn by the dancers, the Folklife Fair was a feast for the eyes as well.


Local lamb -- the draw for many fair-goers

Judging from the hundreds of out-of-town license plates lining every street for blocks and blocks around Roberta McKercher Park, people came from near and far to enjoy the Trailing of the Sheep. For every familiar face enjoying what might have been the nicest day of the year, there were three or four unfamiliar ones, all soaking up this glimpse into Idaho’s rich sheep-herding history, all coming together to remember to appreciate life’s simpler joys.

While the parade that wends down Ketchum’s Main Street may be the weekend’s signature event, the fair also deserves a few hours of your time. Before this year, while I always attended the parade – and I do love it; it is colorful, and musical and downright funny – I had never made it to the Fair. From now on, the opportunity to walk through the dozens of craft booths, admiring people’s skill and handiwork with textiles, stopping to let my children watch old-fashioned spindles at work, and yes, to enjoy the wonderful locally-sourced food prepared by local chefs, is permanently on my calendar.  If it’s on your calendar next year, too, be sure to check out the great room specials Sun Valley Resort offers for the Trailing of the Sheep weekend.


The boys imagining life in a sheep trailer -- albeit a really, really nice one

Unexpected traffic jam on the bike path after Sunday's big parade

SV SHRED: Holiday Treats

Family fun in Sun ValleyFun stuff to do for the whole family

By Mike McKenna

It’s tough to find a better place in this big, beautiful world of ours to enjoy the holidays than Sun Valley, Idaho. From fantastic skiing and snowshoeing to bowling, ice skating  and snow tubing, there are lots of fun ways to fill up a day around here.

To help you make the most out of it, here’s a rundown of some of the fun stuff the whole family can enjoy during the holidays in Sun Valley.


 Bowling & Game Room

One of the Pacific Northwest’s oldest bowling alleys, the Sun Valley Lodge Bowling Alley and Game Room offers a 1950′s atmosphere and features six lanes, video games, a Juke Box, pool table and snack bar. Open nightly from 4pm to 10pm daily, the Bowling Alley and Game Room can be reserved for private parties. For more info, check bowling alley hours and details here.

Cross Country Skiing or Snowshoeing

The Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center is located at the 58,000 square-foot Sun Valley Club in the backyard of the world famous Sun Valley Lodge. They’ve got all the gear to supply the whole family for some fun frolicking in the snow. For a round up of other local snowshoe trails, from easy to insane, check out Sun Valley Magazine’s "Walking in a Winter Wonderland."

Sun Valley Lodge Skating Crowd

Skating in front of the Lodge at Sun Valley's famous Outdoor Ice Rink

Ice Skating

There’s no doubt where the coolest place is in Sun Valley, it’s the Ice Rink. Open to the public and home to the legendary Sun Valley Ice Shows, the Ice Rink is a great time for the whole family. The ice rink is open daily at 10 am has a full range of rental sizes.

Fly Fishing

Even on the coldest days, fisherman of all ages can be found casting the day away on the Big Wood River. Check out the reduced winter guide rates, which include all the gear, for day of fly fishing with the world-renown guides at Silver Creek Outfitters or read about the basics here.


Micro-Stock Car Racing

Sun Valley’s Limelight Room will host the Micro-Reality Stock Car Racing Thursday, December 29 & Saturday December 31, from 6 to 10 pm. $25 per person at the door. Youngsters and those young at heart are welcome to join in the fun, which will include: Video Games, Fast Track Auto Racing, Guitar Hero, Hose Hockey, Giant Twister, Speed Pitch, Calf Roping Lessons, Electronic Putting Challenge, Music & Prizes! For more information or to make reservations call 208.622.2135.

Learning to ski under Sun Valley's blue skies

Ski Lessons

From daylong kids classes to private lessons for the whole family, taking or having the kids take a ski or snowboard lesson is always a good idea. Sun Valley Snowsports Ski School is well known and highly respected for helping shredders of any age improve their skills and have more fun on the slopes. Follow this link for Ski School basics. 

Forever Plaid

Celebrating their final season, Forever Plaid offers "Heavenly Musical Hits" the whole family can enjoy. Kids under 12 are admitted for free. For their full schedule, check out the Sun Valley Calendar of Events.


Situated in the heart of Sun Valley Village, the Opera House was built in 1937 and serves as Sun Valley’s charming 340-seat theatre. Call 208.622.2244 for check here for films and times.  The Opera House also plays the classic film, "Sun Valley Serenade" each afternoon at 4:30 and admittance is always free. Ketchum’s Magic Lantern Cinema also offers current films nightly and as matinees most days.


The two base lodges at Sun Valley, River Run and Warm Springs, offer live music most weekends and holidays weekdays. Check out the Calendar of Events for times and listings.


Sleigh ride to Trail Creek Cabin with Bald Mountain as backdrop

Sleigh Rides

A sleigh ride to Trail Creek Cabin for dinner has traditionally been one of the most memorable and fun Sun Valley winter experiences for the whole family. Round trip scenic rides are available Tuesday through Saturday and nightly during the Christmas holidays and President’s Week. Private bookings are also available. For dinner at Trail Creek Cabin, the half-hour long horse-drawn sleigh rides leave the Sun Valley Inn at 6pm, 7pm and 8pm for a family style dinner. For more info or reservations call 208.622. 2135 or check here.




Sun Valley Lodge offers two year-round swimming pools. The Lodge Pool is heated to a soothing 100-102° and cocktail service is available for aprs skiers. The Inn Pool offers breathtaking views of Baldy. The Lodge also offers a state-of-the-art fitness room. Check here for more info. The Wood River YMCA also has a pool and lots of other activities for the whole family, from a climbing wall to large fitness facility.

Tubing at Dollar Mountain is fun for the whole family


Rubber meets the snow in three 600-ft. lanes at Dollar Mountain’s Snow Tubing Park. Fun for the whole family, the tubing park is open daily. For more details, check here.

New Year’s Eve Party

Kids of all ages are invited to celebrate New Year’s Eve Sun Valley-style at the Inn’s Continental Room. Food & beverages are included. The family-friendly party runs from 7:30pm to 1:00am, $75 per person on New Year’s Eve. For reservations please call 208. 622.2135.