By Ann Zimmerman
Sun Valley is a destination for active people and families, and with the plans for the summer season announced, it a schedule that will challenge the most active to keep up with the happenings. At the same time, the resort is taking on the challenge of building a new spa and remodeling the landmark Sun Valley Lodge.
New and Old Favorite Events
The schedule is filled with events that are old favorites and new traditions. Ride Sun Valley returns for the fourth year from June 27 to July 5 to celebrate cycling at Sun Valley. The area’s scenic rides include 400 miles of contiguous single-track, 32 miles of multi-use path, and two bike parks. The event invites recreational riders to professionals. There is an incentive for cyclists to stay extra days for the Hailey 4th of July Criterium and the USA Cycling Marathon Mountain Bike National Championship on July 5.
Opportunities for cyclers continue through the summer with the lift service at Bald Mountain opening for bikers (in addition to hikers) July 1. Jack Sibbach, spokesman for the resort, notes a new trail will be opening. According to Sibbach, “The mountain bike trail will be accessed by the gondola and Christmas Lift. It’s a flow trail for all abilities from the top of the mountain to Roundhouse.”
Sun Valley marks the Fourth of July with its first ice show starring medalists Gracie Gold, Jason Brown, and Nathan Chen. After the Fourth weekend, ice shows are scheduled for Saturdays through August 30. Sun Valley Opera and the resort offer the Fab Four on July 5, a Beatles tribute band, to add to the holiday activities.
July events continue with the Ketchum Arts Festival (July 11–13), the Sun Valley Writer’s Conference (July 19–22), and the launch of the 30th anniversary season for the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, along with the Sun Valley Center for the Arts Concert Series including shows by Chris Isaak, Michael Franti, and more.
The Killebrew-Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament returns August 20–23 to benefit leukemia and cancer research. The event includes a concert featuring the Doobie Brothers at the Pavilion. A week later, the area celebrates Wagon Days and the Big Hitch Parade, and the Sun Valley Harvest Festival wraps up the season the third week of September.
Summer is synonymous with golf in Sun Valley. Tyler Jones has just assumed the role of the Director of Golf. He has oversight of Sun Valley Golf Course’s 45 holes, Trail Creek’s 18 holes, White Cloud’s nine holes, and the 18 holes at Elkhorn—enough options to fill any golfer’s summer.
Accessibility by Air
For many, enjoying the Sun Valley summer happenings just got more convenient with new direct air service from Denver and San Francisco, and direct service continues from Seattle, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake City.
Jack Sibbach clarifies, “We have been working with the Fly Sun Valley Alliance to provide hassle-free, convenient, and direct air transportation. On July 2, United Express is initiating daily flights to and from Denver and to and from San Francisco. Alaska Air provides daily direct service between Los Angeles and Seattle, and Delta Connection Sky West, flies directly from Salt Lake City. In addition to those in these cities with direct service, it will be easier for people in Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., and Houston to make connections.”
Sibbach also notes that for flights arriving in nearby Hailey, the resort provides a complimentary free shuttle service. He adds that there is a new offer, “United Express and Alaska Air customers flying into Hailey this summer are eligible for a bonus, the Summer Benefit. This coupon can be cashed in for a free gondola ride, a basket of range balls, or a pass for the 18-hole Sawtooth putting course.”
Updating Convenience and Comfort
Sun Valley is skilled at balancing its important history with progress. This challenge will be tested in the remodel of the Lodge and construction of the connecting new spa building.
The landmark Sun Valley Lodge dates back to 1935. Architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood, famed designer of many of the National Park Service’s rustic lodges, designed the fire-resistant concrete building, and construction took less than a year. The Lodge’s history of famous people and notable events can now be experienced in one of three fascinating self-guided walking tours available through the resort.
Architects commissioned for the redesign are Frank Nicholson, Inc. of Boston and the local firm, Ruscitto/Latham/Blanton Architectura, PA. Carol Holding, owner of the resort for 37 years with her late husband, is personally overseeing the lodge renovation design. She remarks, “We want to keep the wonderful feeling of the Lodge, while at the same time providing the modern comforts and convenience that our guests expect, fitting the Lodge for the next 75 years of fun in the sun.”
According to Sibbach, the Lodge renovation will address the lobby and provide more gathering space with views. It will also combine some of the smaller rooms to create suites with fireplaces and expanded bathrooms that better accommodate families. Additionally, the renovation will increase energy efficiency. The exterior is anticipated to look the same, but there will be a one-story addition to the poolside wing. The interior public spaces including Gretchen’s and the lobby should be brighter, and the overall space will feel fresh and renewed.
The 20,000-square-foot spa building will provide space for 15 treatment rooms, a salon, a fully equipped fitness area, a yoga studio, steam room, and relaxation spaces. The building’s configuration on the site allows for full enjoyment of the pool.
Surprisingly, the construction shouldn’t take long or inconvenience guests. According to Tim Silva, Sun Valley General Manager, both the Lodge and the spa will be open by June 2015.
Summer at Sun Valley is spectacular. This summer is filled with even more events than previous seasons. For more detailed dates and specifics on tickets, please consult the calendar on Sun Valley’s web site, sunvalley.com.