Whether you’re celebrity chasing or couch crashing, here’s the run down on where to stay, eat, and ski.
April 13, 2017 By Julie Brown
There are two ways to experience Sun Valley. The Hollywood way, with diamond-crusted facials and celebrity hobnobbing. Or the couch-surfing way, with a DIY flair that capitalizes on the local secrets of your hosts. Both are excellent approaches to the original American ski destination.
Where to stay
For a bit of Old Hollywood Nostalgia: Pull up to the Sun Valley Lodge, where furs and dark sunglasses are the norm. In the same realm of historic grand hotels as Yosemite’s Ahwahnee and Mount Hood’s Timberline Lodge, the Sun Valley Lodge has had a regular rotation of celebrities stroll through its hallways since it opened in 1936. Today those faces are preserved in the archival black-and-white photos adorning the walls. A renovation in 2015 kept that heritage and grandeur while updating the Lodge with amenities like larger guest rooms and windows, a limestone deck and heated pool. A visit here is not complete until you’ve bowled in one of the six regulation-length lanes on the ground floor.
The Sun Valley Inn, just across the courtyard, is a bit more of a throwback (as in, it hasn’t been renovated like it’s sister hotel). But with royal red printed carpet and a black grand piano in the lobby, it has a certain charm. Or go modern in downtown Ketchum at the Limelight Hotel.
If you’re on a tighter budget: Do what I did and crash at a friend’s. Hopefully they have a guest bedroom, or at least a couch. Or check out the new locally-owned hostel, the Hot Water Inn. A “boutique mountain lodge” in the price range of a single dollar sign, the Hot Water Inn offers 10 bedrooms—shared and private—at the base of the Warm Springs lift. Jam sessions encouraged.
Where to Ski
For courduroy cruising with the blue-hairs: Sun-starved Northwesterners flock to the sun-soaked and aptly named Seattle Ridge where blue-square groomers are a plenty. Of course, a few rounds of Warm Springs laps is a must. For more beta on where to ski, read it from a local.
If you don’t own a Mountain Collective pass and/or don’t want to throw down on a lift ticket: Sun Valley’s secret is its backcountry access. There are five mountain ranges within an easy drive of Ketchum. Mountains as far as the eye can see. Drive to Galena Pass and skin from the road. Or hike into a yurt in the Sawtooths for a weekend of couloir hunting.
The scene: Ketchum, Idaho was the last place Ernest Hemingway called home, and while Warfield Distillery & Brewery is new, there’s a good chance “Papa” would have liked it — the place not only serves great food, but makes its own beer and liquor as a rare combination brewery and distillery.
Ketchum is also home to the nation’s very first destination ski resort, Sun Valley, the place that invented the chairlift, but it’s one of the few ski towns that is busier in summer than winter, thanks to world class mountain biking, several golf courses, white water rafting, and a huge slate of festivals and symphony performances, so Warfield has a hungry (and thirsty) audience all year round.
It occupies a prime corner location in the heart of the town’s condensed Main Street, with one long, deep, big room. Despite the distilling and brewing operations, it’s more restaurant than bar, with three rows of tables and booths running front to back, an open kitchen across most of the back wall, a small sit down bar in the right back corner, and a glass encased pot still in the back left. The interior has a very Western feel, with worn wooden floors, dark wood tables, leather booths decorated with equestrian harness belting, and exposed brick walls. Overall, it’s got a cozy but refined “upscale tavern” aesthetic, and the antique safe built into the wall behind the bar is a nice touch.
Reason to visit: Duck drumettes, octopus, pork coppa steak, mussels, beer
The insider’s tour of one of the most historic ski areas in North America
February 24, 2017 By Gabe Schroder
PHOTO: Courtesy of Sun Valley
Fun fact: Sun Valley is a town, a region, and a ski area. The town of Sun Valley is home to the Sun Valley Resort, which includes the lodge, golf course, Nordic skiing tracks, and Dollar Mountain (a small ski hill for beginners, with a big terrain park for the hardpack huckers). A mile or so away is the town of Ketchum that is full of charm, history, nightlife, and local flavor. Towering above the town of Ketchum is Bald Mountain (aka Baldy), the crown jewel of Idaho ski resorts. Together, the resort, the town, and the ski area can all be referred to as Sun Valley.
Taking its rightful place amongst North America’s most legendary ski areas, Sun Valley’s Bald Mountain serves up a unique and world-class ski experience. Some skiers, however, are quick to dismiss Baldy due to its fancy day lodges, low annual snowfall (220 inches, on average) and absence of cliffs, chutes, and other natural features.
All of which is true, to some extent. Sun Valley’s tree-cut runs and wide, open bowls don’t have the same alpine gnarl factor that other more jagged ski areas feature. But don’t be so quick to dismiss Sun Valley. The ski resort, which opened in 1936, has a cemented place in skiing lore, and skiers who have spent time here know this place is legit.
Easy access from town with 3,100 feet of sustained fall-line skiing and a cool ski patrol overseeing an open boundary policy combine to create a no-nonsense ski experience not easily found these days. This is a mountain where skiers come to ski—not to be seen or be a part of something cool. Skiing here is all about feeling the raw and continuous tug of gravity. For once a skier commits to Baldy’s uninterrupted fall line and surrenders to her relentless pull, her true beauty is revealed. Here’s all you need to know to make the most of skiing at Sun Valley.
BY KUTV MONDAY, JANUARY 16TH 2017
This week on Road Trippin’, Casey Scott visits the Sun Valley Resort in Sun Valley Idaho, to discover the fun things to do, places to eat, places to stay and more!
STAY – Sun Valley Lodge – Relax in style and comfort in the iconic Sun Valley Lodge. Completely renovated and reopened in June 2015, the Lodge offers the finest hospitality with 108 rooms – 65 with fireplaces – and five celebrity guest suites. Adjacent to the Lodge is the 20,000 sq. ft. Spa, with a year-round outdoor heated pool, hot tub and state-of-the-art fitness center. The Lodge is located in the Sun Valley Village, with dining, shopping, a movie house, outdoor ice skating rink, bowling alley and free shuttle service to town and all the base areas – all within walking distance from your room. Spend: Starting at $350/night – Website | Directions
RELAX – The Spa at Sun Valley – Relax and enjoy the 20,000 sq. ft. Spa with 15 treatment rooms, a year-round outdoor heated pool and hot tub and fitness center, after a day on the mountain. Massage, acupuncture, experience packages and a full-service salon are among many of the choices to help you unwind. An added bonus – guests receive a day pass to all Spa amenities on the day they receive their service. Spend: Varies on service. – Website | Directions
EATS – Gretchen’s – Gretchen’s restaurant, named after Olympian and Sun Valley native, Gretchen Fraser, is the perfect place to enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner. Conveniently located in the Sun Valley Lodge, Gretchen’s offers a wide range of fresh and innovative selections for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Chef Derek Gallegos brings his culinary skills to each menu item, with such popular choices as the Huevos Rancheros de Inez at breakfast, Baby Golden Beet and Tuscan Kale Salad during lunch and 44 Farms Angus Flatiron Steak with a side of whipped Idaho potatoes for dinner. Healthy choices highlight the menu, such as the Lodge “Power Bowl” – an egg white scramble with quinoa, baby kale, edamame, roasted butternut squash and tomatillo salsa. A perfect protein boost after working out in the Spa fitness center or skiing at the Sun Valley Nordic Center. Whatever you’re craving, Gretchen’s is sure to have something from traditional dishes with a new twist to fresh classics with a little bit of extra flair. Spend: $12-$35 per entree – Website | Directions
DEALS – Ski & Stay Packages – Discover your unbeaten path in Sun Valley. Save over 25% on lodging, lift tickets and kids 12 & under ski for free**based on 3 night minimum stay. One free kid’s lift ticket per one paid adult lift ticket.Package available / now through Feb. 15 and Feb. 20-April 3, 2017.To reserve your spot on the Sun Valley trail, please call / 800.786.8259 – Spend: Varies based on availability, dates & room type – Website | Directions
MOUNTAIN COLLECTIVE – Mountain Collective – Sun Valley Resort is a part of the Mountain Collective! Hit Sun Valley for two days of skiing/boarding with your Mountain Collective pass, then 50% off each additional day of skiing/boarding! No blackout dates. That’s a deal! Spend: Varies based on when pass purchased. Current price / $499 per adult Site – Website | Directions
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We can dream, can’t we?
From Aspen to Park City, ski country real estate is full of over-the-top, extravagant homes.
Sure, the reasonably priced, cozy A-frame cabin on 20 acres still exists, but you’ll likely find more homes worth $2 million than $200,000 if you want to own anywhere near a resort.
Even though most of us will never buy a luxurious ski home, that doesn’t mean we can’t look. Today’s modern ski homes range from oversized log cabins to brand-new, contemporary builds.
Some sit on massive compounds with hundreds of acres—although the land will cost you—while others are located on prime, ski-in/ski-out lots. But no matter the style of home, all deliver on amazing views and some gorgeous real estate eye candy.
Behold, 10 extravagant ski homes available for purchase, right now.
In Sun Valley, Idaho:
If a ski compound is more your thing, check out this 120-acre property with three residences on site. Plenty of oversized garages, a heated pool and spa—including a pool house, naturally—and extra perks like a tennis court come with the 7 bedrooms, 8 baths, and 10,067 square feet. How much will this beauty cost you? The price is available for serious buyers only.
The New York Times is as excited about the opening of the Limelight as we are! See what they have to say in their recent piece: By Elaine Glusac
NOVEMBER 30, 2016
Overnight options in ski country will expand across the range beginning with the new Limelight Hotel Ketchum in Idaho, gateway to Sun Valley Resort. Owned by Aspen Skiing Company and opening Dec. 16, the 99-room lodge in Ketchum’s very walkable downtown will include outdoor hot tubs and a swimming pool, firepits and a lounge with regularly scheduled live music as well as free shuttles to the ski area and free use of fat-tire bikes and snowshoes (rooms from $240).
November 15, 2016
Alaska Airlines to use Advanced Technology to improve Sun Valley airport access New procedures will increase reliability and reduce weather-related diversions by 95 percent SEATTLE — Alaska Airlines’ sister carrier, Horizon Air, has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to begin using its proprietary Required Navigation Performance (RNP) instrument approach procedure at Friedman Memorial Airport near Sun Valley. The procedure is expected to reduce weather-related diversions by 95 percent allowing Horizon to have the best access to Sun Valley of any airline. It is projected to reduce diversions for Horizon from an average of 40 to 50 per year down to one to two estimated diversions per year.
RNP technology allows aircraft to follow precise three-dimensional curved flight paths through difficult terrain using a combination of onboard navigation technology and the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite network. It allows aircraft to fly safer flight paths, provides more reliable landings, and eliminates reliance on ground-based navigation aids. This enables pilots to navigate aircraft more precisely and efficiently, while also being able to fly to lower altitudes in to airports where limited visibility upon approach is common due to weather and characteristics of the terrain.
This effort, which has been in development for more than 10 years, will allow Horizon to deliver more reliable service for its valued customers. Additionally, the company expects to save up to $600,000 a year by completing flights that would have would have otherwise been diverted or cancelled due to weather. Alaska and Horizon Air are the only major U.S. carriers with a fully RNP-equipped fleet and fully-trained flight crews. “Just in time for the ski season and holiday travel, the expected improvement in reliability this brings to our airport during inclement weather will greatly benefit our customers traveling to the area as well as local residents,” said Chris Pomeroy, airport manager at Friedman Memorial Airport. “This is a fantastic complement to the other recent facility improvements, including our newly renovated passenger terminal and new concessions.”
The Trump effect. How will it impact the US economy and housing?
By Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist, Windermere Real Estate
The American people have spoken and they have elected Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States. Change was clearly demanded, and change is what we will have.
The election was a shock for many, especially on the West Coast where we have not been overly affected by the long-term loss in US manufacturing or stagnant wage growth of the past decade. But the votes are in and a new era is ahead of us. So, what does this mean for the housing market?
First and foremost I would say that we should all take a deep breath. In a similar fashion to the UK’s “Brexit”, there will be a “whiplash” effect, as was seen in overnight trading across the globe. However, at least in the US, equity markets have calmed as they start to take a closer look at what a Trump presidency will mean.
On a macro level, I would start by stating that political rhetoric and hyperbole do not necessarily translate into policy. That is the most important message that I want to get across. I consider it highly unlikely that many of the statements regarding trade protectionism will actually go into effect. It will be very important for President Trump to tone down his platform on renegotiating trade agreements and imposing tariffs on China. I also deem it highly unlikely that a 1,000-mile wall will actually get built.
It is crucial that some of the more inflammatory statements that President-Elect Trump has made be toned down or markets will react negatively. However, what is of greater concern to me is that neither candidate really approached questions regarding housing with any granularity. There was little-to-no-discussion regarding housing finance reform, so I will be watching this topic very closely over the coming months.
As far as the housing market is concerned, it is really too early to make any definitive comment. That said, Trump ran on a platform of deregulation and this could actually bode well for real estate. It might allow banks the freedom to lend more, which in turn, could further energize the market as more buyers may qualify for home loans.
Concerns over rising interest rates may also be overstated. As history tells us, during times of uncertainty we tend to put more money into bonds. If this holds true, then we may see a longer-than-expected period of below-average rates. Today’s uptick in bond yields is likely just temporary.
Proposed infrastructure spending could boost employment and wages, which again, would be a positive for housing markets. Furthermore, easing land use regulations has the potential to begin addressing the problem of housing affordability across many of our nation’s housing markets – specifically on the West Coast.
Economies do not like uncertainty. In the near-term we may see a temporary lull in the US economy, as well as the housing market, as we analyze what a Trump presidency really means. But at the present time, I do not see any substantive cause for panic in the housing sector.
We are a resilient nation, and as long as we continue to have checks-and balances, I have confidence that we will endure any period of uncertainty and come out stronger.
Discover some of our favorite activities in Sun Valley, Idaho, as they happen by day and night.
Photographs by Ian C. Bates Written by Gulnaz Khan
The charming resort city of Sun Valley in central Idaho offers something for every type of adventurer. Spend warm summer days hiking wildflower-filled trails and biking scenic mountain paths, and brisk nights bowling at the lodge or sipping whiskey at the pub. As the leaves turn golden and frost settles over the valley, ski, snowboard, and ice-skate by day, and cozy up by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa for a relaxing evening.
Hike or horseback ride up Dollar Mountain to watch Sun Valley’s magical landscape transform as the sun goes down. During the day rolling clouds cast the wild scene in light and shadow. As the evening sky darkens into denim, Ketchum’s speckled streetlights create a glittery display.
Painters spend the afternoon capturing the Sun Valley’s sweeping landscape, immortalizing its golden grasses, evergreen trees, and layered mountains on canvas. In the evening, spectators can view nature through an artist’s eyes with a visit to the Gail Severn Gallery in Ketchum, which features artists like Michael Gregory.
A great day in Sun Valley begins and ends on Main Street, which offers an eclectic array of boutiques and restaurants for all tastes. Start the day with a steaming cup of joe at Lizzy’s Fresh Coffee, and return in the evening for some hand-tossed pizza, cold beer, and football at Whiskey Jacques.
Fly fishers cast their lines into the rushing waters of the Big Wood River, which stretches 137 miles through central Idaho. Even if you don’t hook a trout, you can still sink a ball during a late night a game of pool at Casino bar in Ketchum.
The early morning sun shines over the rolling meadows, lodgepole forests, and Boulder Mountain Range along the 19-mile Harriman Trail. After a day of mountain biking, give your legs a rest with a windows-rolled-down drive back to town, and watch the mountains transform as night settles over Bald Mountain.
Paragliders satisfy their thirst for adventure on Bald Mountain’s ivory slopes underneath cotton-white clouds. Down the mountain, patrons of the cozy Sun Valley Lodge get their heartbeats going with a spirited game of bowling in one of the Northwest’s oldest alleys.
Bathers luxuriate the day away in one of the area’s plentiful natural hot springs, which reach piping temperatures of 124ºF. Continue your aquatic adventures at night with a dip in the heated pool at the Sun Valley Lodge.
Skaters glide across the outdoor ice rink at the Sun Valley Lodge, admiring the mountainous backdrop. After a day on the ice, grab a hot cocoa and gaze into the star-speckled sky.