Idaho, the state you will be craving to go to again and again. Let me introduce to you Sun Valley. Perhaps you already heard of it when Marilyn Monroe went for yearly ski trips, or the famous Ernest Hemingway who was a resident or perhaps the latest Summit that attracted the likes of people such as Warren Buffet, Oprah Winfrey and other power people.
It’s the ski town that holds it charm, yet delivers a wonderful, luxurious experience without that overstated feeling. Sun Valley, Idaho is located just three hours east of Boise, the state’s capital. As you enter into the corridor that rests between the mountains, you can tell you have arrived at something special. There are wild elk packs running roaming through the fields, snow cap mountains and charming rustic buildings. A rushing river that runs along the town and winds in and out of the pastures.
The first town you arrive at is Ketchum which sits at the base of the best skiing in town, Bald Mountain. This is where all the action is at, top end shopping like Lululemon and boutiques boasting some of the best designers around. A Starbucks that has been accommodated to it’s environment, featuring round logs and modern fixtures. Saloons dating back to the forties with local taxidermy. It truly is a gem. The next area to go to is the resort of Sun Valley. As you walk through the halls of the entrance of the hotel, there’s pictures of people like Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, and Claudette Colbert. The resort takes you back an era yet is fixed with modern day amenities like an on sight bowling alley and state of the art ice rink. This hotel is one of those special places worth staying a night or more and the nostalgia is key. Sun Valley resort is situated at the base of Dollar Mountain and has shuttle service to get you around which makes for a convenient day on and off the mountain.
The allure of Sun Valley is that of what Aspen was like 10 years ago. It has all of the amenities that one could need yet its more hidden and untouched. The valley is filled with so much to do from bike rides along the paved path on the river to the state of the art golf courses designed by Robert Trent Jones. One of the favorited activities by locals is the hot springs. The state of Idaho is known for these natural mineral pools that steam out water from the mountainside from anywhere between 95-110 degrees fahrenheit. It is a relaxing, natural hot tub that is sure to rejuvenate. The best in the area is the Frenchmen’s bend hot springs located out at the end of Warm Springs Road from town. It’s between a fresh running river and the roadside and is very scenic looking up into the snow cap mountains. This is a great way to start or end your day.
Another great day trip is to drive out to Stanley and overlook the stunning Sawtooth Mountain Range and have lunch along the river. Often along the Salmon River in Stanley, you can watch bald eagles coming in for a meal. Whether it’s biking or hiking there are many ways to enjoy the valley floor. A great afternoon can be spent up at Bald Mountain by taking the gondola halfway up to the Roundhouse restaurant that hosts some amazing views of the mountains. Of course a day of ski is a must but if that’s not your cup of tea, the gondola ride alone is worth it.
Overall, Sun Valley is one of those special locations to go to as it brings you into nature in a different way. The wildlife roaming around the thick fields, the snow caps in the distance and the exuberant amount of water is a sure way to get grounded. With amazing direct seasonal flights with United out of San Francisco, Denver and other major cities, it is easy to get to and makes for a great weekend trip. Be sure to pack warm layers, a pair of binoculars to see wildlife, and a good book during down time. But really do make this place your next destination ski weekend. You'll be craving to come again to this American classic.