Come for the great outdoors, stay for the great pasta, prime rib, and local fish in Idaho’s glitziest getaway
Sun Valley, Idaho, has been a clutch winter travel destination since the 1930s. But with fewer than 25,000 full-time residents in the whole of Blaine County, the local restaurant industry relies almost exclusively on tourism dollars year round. Ernest Hemingway was famously a fan of the summer fishing season, and today, the appetites of vacation homeowners like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett, Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill and Melinda Gates are more than enough to maintain a food scene that’s surprisingly vibrant considering the low headcount. In Sun Valley as well as the neighboring towns of Ketchum and Hailey, winter and summer visitors can fill up on mushroom poutine and Korean fried chicken, as well as plenty of local goodies like trout, salmon, beef, elk, and bison.
1. The Ram
3. Michel’s Christiania
4. Town Square Tavern
6. The Kneadery
8. Pioneer Saloon
10. Warfield Distillery & Brewery
11. Tundra Restaurant
12. C.K.’s Real Food
13. The Smokey Bone BBQ
Get a glimpse of what spring break in Sun Valley, Idaho is all about. Sunny corn snow skiing, pond skimming, gelande quaffing and Après ski live music are just a few of the not-to-miss happenings as we close out the winter season.
Also, get out to the remodeled Warm Springs Day Lodge for the Baldy Bash with killer spring skiing and riding, a street party with live music by Andy Frasco and Casey Kristofferson, and a barbeque on the patio.
Saturday, April 13, 2019 to Sunday, April 14, 2019.
Come for the skiing and stay for the party!
Sun Valley, Idaho
By March, the ski-mad crowds have thinned out from Idaho’s premier ski resort, but assuming global warming hasn’t completely ruined the season, you’ll still have loads of snow on the mountain. That means ample opportunity for skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and even cold weather fly fishing. It’s also prime time to spend a night at Idaho’s Dark Sky Reserve, where the best stargazing in the northwest seems especially bright on a cold, clear night.
Q: I’d love to know how long you’ve been based there and what brought you there?
My husband and I moved here from Paris, France with the intention of staying the summer and then moving to San Diego for one year, then returning to France. We came to spend some time with family and do some river rafting and explore the mountains. We spent the summer in Sun Valley and just couldn’t tear ourselves away. We arrived in 2002 on a 1-year plan, and here we are 16 plus years later!
Q: Could you share your perfect winter day – breakfast, activities, lunch, dinner, yoga, skiing, snow shoeing, etc?
There are many perfect winter days in Sun Valley!
For the Alpine skiers and snowboarders, start with a delicious breakfast at The Kneadery, then play in the super pipe on Dollar or go for the 3450’ vertical on Bald Mountain. Lunch at Perry’s Restaurant (and you have got to try their cookies). Après ski choices abound: Apple’s Bar & Grill or River Run Lodge are convenient favorites.
For the Nordic skiers, there are extensive trails up at Galena Summit & Harriman Trails (31 miles), Sun Valley (25 miles), and Hailey (10 miles). Galena offers the historic Galena Lodge where you can get an awesome lunch and enjoy a beer on the deck and take in the amazing 10,000’ peaks of the Boulder Mountains.
For non-skiers there are plenty of snow shoeing trails out Galena and in Sun Valley, and if you haven’t tried fat biking, you should rent a bike and go! Top it off with a burger and beer at Grumpy’s or Lefty’s, or a steak at the Pioneer Saloon, or carnitas at Cabanita.
Or go skate with Olympic and world-class skaters at the Sun Valley Outdoor Ice Rink, or catch a Sun Valley Suns hockey game on Friday and Saturday nights and grab some dessert at the Konditorei in the Sun Valley Village.
After a long day outside, it is awesome to take in a yoga class and hit the jacuzzi at the YMCA or Zenergy Health Club which has an outdoor heated pool and jumbo jacuzzi. For fine dining, try Michel’s Christiania or The Grill at Knob Hill in Ketchum, or head down to Hailey to CK’s Real Food.
Getting tired of being so sporty? On your way to the spa for a massage, stroll through the historic and recently remodeled Sun Valley Lodge with ski photos of all the movie stars who put Sun Valley on the map. (There’s also a fun bowling nouveau retro alley below the Lodge.) Take in the Sun Valley Center for the Arts for the latest art installation or check out the many galleries you can walk to throughout Ketchum. Catch a play at the Liberty Theater in Hailey, a show at The Argyros in Ketchum, a concert at Whiskey’s, or a Film Festival at the old Sun Valley Opera House.
Q: How do you personally compare SV to other winter ski towns? What makes it different/special?
Sun Valley is a bit more remote than some resorts but once you get here, you’ll love the friendly people and easy access to so much beauty and recreation. It offers a small town feel with a quirky combination of long-time ski bum characters alongside sophisticated locals and transplants and visitors from all over.
Q: Would you suggest people check out Hailey? What makes Hailey unique?
Hailey is awesome! Sun Valley/Ketchum offer the resort feel, Hailey offers the Home Town feel with a bit larger, more full-time population. Hailey has the new state of the art Campion Ice House next to the Hailey Visitors Center (and in other seasons check out the skate park, rodeo grounds, and hiking/biking trails). Hailey has the history Liberty Theater that Demi Moore donated to the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, Flight Archery Studio if you want to get your bow and arrow on, the Metropolitan Big Wood Cinemas with stadium seating, the Quigley Nordic trails, and multiple yoga studios. Hailey also has great food! CK’s Real Food, diVine Wine bar, Dang’s Thai, Zou 75 sushi, and Lago Azul (try the Sandy Tacos – best ever).
Q: Any tips for skiing on mountain at the resort?
For short scenic cruising, take the Gondola and then head over to Seattle Ridge, for bowl skiing head up to Lookout, want long vertical take College down to River Run or head over to the Warm Springs side and ski top to bottom! Ask the ‘Yellow Coats’ for the trails with the best conditions on any given day and get a local’s intel.
Q: Any not to miss winter events?
Great Winter Events:
- Dollar Torchlight Parade & Fireworks.
- Alpine Championships at Sun Valley on Bald Mountain
- Boulder Mountain Tour and Sun Valley Nordic Festival.
- The Sun Valley Film Festival.
On-going fun things in the winter:
- Try a holiday horse-drawn sleigh ride to Trail Creek Cabin for a nice meal and cozy lodge atmosphere with Christmas carolers and fires in the fireplace. More budget-friendly, there are also daytime Sleigh Rides.
- Take the Gondola up to The Roundhouse for a six-course Prix Fixe Chef Tasting soirée.
- Go see the classic Sun Valley Serenade or a Warren Miller flick at the Sun Valley Opera House.
Q: Favorite place to rent gear?
Sturtevants or PK’s Ski & Sports in town are touted as the best; there are also rental shops at the base of the mountain at Warm Springs, River Run and Dollar.
Published on January 3, 2019 by FREESKIER
FREESKIER is teaming up with the crew at Visit Sun Valley to give one lucky winner and a friend of their choosing a three-day, two-night trip to Sun Valley, Idaho, to ski one of the most beautiful resorts in North America! Enter your information below to be considered to win complimentary lift tickets for two days of skiing at Sun Valley, a two-night stay at the brand new Limelight Hotel in downtown Ketchum, a $75 gift card to use at the delicious Sawtooth Brewery and a fresh pair of Crosson Skis of the winner’s choosing. The dates of the winning trip are March 7th through March 9th and all you have to do is get there!
Flocked in a frosty coat of white and adorned with shimmering lights, wreaths, and a passionate reverence for time honored tradition and family gathering, few places are as magical during Christmas as Sun Valley. As the streets lined with lights welcome visitors to town and the village teems with festive activities and traditions, the spirit of Christmas is infectious to all who enter. So come to Sun Valley and rekindle your love for the most wonderful time of the year while bonding with your loved ones and enjoying the skiing and ice skating, caroling and worshiping, dining and shopping–even late night bar hopping.
See what Sun Valley has in store for your family this winter!
Papoose Club Christmas Bazaar
A fundraiser for the Papoose Club–come out and shop the wares of local artists and craftspeople for unique presents for that person who has everything.
Ketchum Christmas Lighting Ceremony
Join in the start of the Christmas season at Town Square in Ketchum with the lighting of the Town Square, Santa arriving on his traditional fire truck sleigh, and hot cocoa and cider with cookies for everyone!
A Christmas Carol
Holiday fun for the whole family! Come join the tradition.
Tree Lighting Ceremony – Sun Valley Resort | December 15
Featuring Santa, live holiday music, ice carving demo, free cookies & hot cocoa, and no-host outdoor bar. Festivities begin around 5:30pm with Tree Lighting to follow.
Sun Valley Winter Wonderland Ice Show and Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade | December 24
The Sun Valley ice shows are a sight to behold any time of the year, but the Nutcracker on Ice is one spectacle that brings a smile and a warm heart to everyone who attends. This is truly a time honored family tradition that lets us all know the Christmas is here, while free admission celebrates the giving of the holiday season. Fireworks and a light show of skiers wielding torches down Dollar Mountain is the last thing children for generations have seen before crawling into bed to wait for Santa to arrive in the night. Free to all!
Gallery Walk | December 28
Each year, the Sun Valley Gallery Association hosts seven gallery walks (exhibition openings for all SVGA galleries), which are eagerly anticipated and free to the public. Locals and visitors alike take in thought-provoking exhibitions of newly installed art, enjoy wine, mingle with friends, and often meet the artists.
Night-Skiing on Dollar | December 31
Hit the slopes to and enjoy some night turns, music under the stars and fireworks. Admission includes skiing and riding on Quarter Dollar, face painting, New Year’s Eve party hat decorating, photo booth, bouncy twister and so much more! Ring in the new year with family fun and festivities. 4-9pm
Bubbly Bash | December 31
Welcome in 2019 with fellow supporters of the arts at the New Year’s Eve Bubbly Bash, which promises once again to be the valley’s most festive holiday celebration. The annual sold-out event benefits the Sun Valley Center for the Arts and is co-hosted by Sun Valley Resort and The Center’s Junior Patrons Circle.
The ‘Sixth Sense’ and ‘Pulp Fiction’ star’s 20-acre lakefront ranch sold after seven years on the market.
Actor Bruce Willis has officially sold his 20+ acre lakefront ranch property in Hailey, Idaho, just 12 miles south of Sun Valley. In 2011, Willis listed the estate for $15 million with Sotheby’s, then re-listed it in 2016 as a co-listing with Engel & Völkers Sun Valley and Keller Williams for the same price. While the home’s final sale was only a fraction of the original listing price, Willis’ listing represents the single biggest residential sale ever in the Hailey area. Travis Jones was the listing agent with Engel & Völkers Sun Valley.
The far-from-modest, 8,400-square-foot home was fully rebuilt by Willis in 2003, and currently features six bedrooms, a guest house, and a gym. Willis also added several streams and ponds to the property, along with an impressively grand heated pool that features waterslides, waterfall features, and a rope swing.
SUN VALLEY, IDAHO — Mountain peaks pierce the sky like emerald pyramids as we weave through Idaho’s Sawtooth National Forest, more than two million acres of gorgeous green that’s home to Baldy, one of the Smoky Mountains’ highest summits.
After spending a day discovering the hipster comforts of Boise, we’ve driven three hours east to this massive wilderness, where the blue sky is free of clouds and mountain goats scale the golden granite, for a late summer getaway. Sun Valley is the posh resort area that includes Ketchum and Hailey, towns that Bruce Willis, Tom Hanks and other Hollywood elite call home.
To wrap one’s head around how much nature is here — and just how deeply your soul will surrender to it — crunch the numbers: The region is home to more than 1,000 lakes, 3,000 miles of rivers and countless mountain trails and equestrian routes. There is so much to do in the summer, you almost forget about the world-class skiing that’s defined Sun Valley since 1936.
KETCHUM — The dates have been set for Sun Valley Center for the Arts’ 50th Arts & Crafts Festival — a cultural highlight of the Wood River Valley’s summer season. This free event will take place Aug. 10–12 on the lawns of Atkinson Park in Ketchum. Festival hours 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 10. Weekend hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Center uses a rigorous jury process to select artists and craftspeople to exhibit work at the Arts & Crafts Festival. According to the Art Fair SourceBook, a comprehensive guide to the top-selling art fairs and craft shows around the country, the event is ranked in the top 100 fine art festivals in the U.S.
Each year, the three-day outdoor fine arts show gives Wood River Valley residents and visitors the opportunity to interact directly with artists and learn what’s new in the world of arts and crafts. In addition to the exhibition, the festival includes artist demonstrations, food vendors and a free kids’ craft area.