Events will ignite a thrilling summer season at the Sun Valley Resort. Whether it’s sports in the famous sunshine or the stars of the stage shimmering beneath the celestial stars, there is always something remarkable happening IN SUN VALLEY.
It’s been a big snowy winter, and without even time for a deep breath, the summer season has kicked off. A great deal gets packed into the summer season every year at Sun Valley Resort, and this year’s calendar has more of everything. Get ready for stars spanning a wide range of the arts, more variety, and more excitement. Sun Valley’s entertainment brightens every week with its traditional favorites and some surprises, and the Sun Valley Pavilion celebrates its tenth season. But, it is vacation time, and there are still plenty of opportunities for relaxation and just sitting back and appreciating the area’s beauty.
The Great American Eclipse
On August 21st, a total solar eclipse will block the sun and turn daytime into nighttime in the narrow path of totality extending from Oregon to South Carolina. Amazingly, the path of totality travels right through northern Blaine County and Sun Valley, and because of the high probability for cloudless skies, eclipse enthusiasts will head to central Idaho in great numbers for prime gazing.
Sun Valley Resort plans a special viewing opportunity on Bald Mountain for hotel guests, season pass holders, and the public. For more information, check out www.sunvalley.com/eclipse2017. It will be many years before another total eclipse can be viewed from North America, and this will be an astronomical experience to always remember.
The Glorious Outdoors
Sun Valley has long been famous for golf since Trail Creek opened its 18 holes in 1937. Now, there are a total of 45 holes with the addition of Elkhorn’s 18 holes and White Clouds’ nine. But as many have said, that even though the golfing is great, Sun Valley offers much, much more.
A trail system runs throughout Sun Valley, and it’s possible to take a hiking trail up to appreciate the same views that White Clouds affords. Sun Valley is also a tennis destination with highly ranked tennis pros. The shooting range offers an opportunity to try a new sport or hone skills. The pools were early icons for summers at Sun Valley, and the new pool by the spa invites guests to cool off, stretch out in the sun, and to pause for some poolside refreshments.
With so much to do and so many choices, decision-making can get overloaded. This is where the Summer Fun Pass comes in handy. One Fun Pass costs just $59, and people can choose six activities from eight options. The choices include: a session of ice skating with skate rental; bowling for an hour and a half with shoe rental; an hour on the paddleboat; a gondola lift ticket for a ride up Baldy; a session at Spider Jump; one fun round on the Sawtooth Putting Course; renting a cruiser for the bike path for a half day; and for those with a sweet tooth, a scoop of ice cream at à la Mode. The River Run Day Lodge and Sun Valley Guest Center sell the Summer Fun Passes starting June 23.
The Gondola carries mountain bikers, hikers, and visitors up Bald Mountain for what can be a full day of activities. The Gondola and Roundhouse restaurant both open June 23. The restaurant serves lunch from 11:00am to 3:00pm, and the bar stays open until 4:00pm. Sun Valley is making efforts to link even more trails this summer with extensive trail construction to connect the top of Bald Mountain to the base of River Run with bike trails, which is slated for completion in summer 2018. This season, lift-serve mountain biking opens on July 1, with access to the Cold Springs and Warm Springs trails slightly delayed due to elk closures in these areas.
Cycling and mountain biking have taken off in popularity at a rate to rival alpine skiing in the winter, and Sun Valley offers choices for road biking, bike paths, and mountain bike trails, along with bike rentals, sales, and repairs. Three big organized biking events happen this summer. The first is the Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival, opening June 29 with live music, bike clinics, demos, shuttle rides, and more. There’s a different flavor to Ride Idaho, a seven-day supported ride along the Salmon River, through Stanley Basin, and into the Sawtooth Mountains. It is sized for 350 participants with organized stops and refreshments and begins August 5th. Idaho’s premiere gravel bike event, Rebecca’s Private Idaho, returns over the Labor Day weekend, September 1 to 3, with options for 50-or 100-mile rides through stunning terrain.
Sounds of Music
The artistry and athleticism of the world’s top figure skaters will be brighter and more colorful this year with the addition of a new theatrical lighting system at the ice arena, which celebrates 80 years of ice shows at Sun Valley. Between July 4th and September 2nd, seven shows hit the ice, and each features different medalists and champions, so it is possible to see different skaters each performance night, making it tempting to go every night. Following tradition, there will be fireworks on July 4th, the evening of the first performance.
The Sun Valley Opera Summer Festival returns to the Pavilion July 5 through 8 with a varied program and guest soloists. There will be a departure from classical melodies on July 6th when British Rock Royalty takes the stage with songs from the biggest bands in British rock, with tributes paid to Pink Floyd, The Who, Queen, and Led Zeppelin.
This is the 20th season for the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, and its music beneath the stars is a firmly planted local tradition and an unexpected delight for visitors. From July 24 through 28, the In Focus Series explores the Russian soul in music. Jazz pianist and vocalist Diana Krall performs for the highly anticipated gala on July 30th, which begins the Orchestra Series. The series continues with a mixed program and selected guest soloists through August 17 and culminates in Verdi’s Requiem, which Music Director Alasdair Neale calls, “A once-in-a-lifetime production.”
Dance is also a strong presence with the International Ballet Festival under the direction of Isabella Boylston, American Ballet Theater principal ballerina and Sun Valley native. Dancers from American Ballet Theater, the New York City Ballet, the Royal Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, The Marinsky Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet perform two evenings at the Pavilion, August 22 and August 24. The programs are completely different each evening, and at the conclusion of the last night’s program, an original piece premieres featuring Ms. Boylston among the performers.
Autumn is great in Sun Valley. It’s a time to enjoy the still pleasant temperatures, to kick the leaves scattered on the pathways, and to glimpse the first snow on the highest peaks. It is also the time when the Sun Valley Jazz & Music Festival returns, October 18 through 22.
New Faces, Ideas, and Opportunities
Sun Valley has a growing reputation for its dining, and Jim Snyder, as new head of Food & Beverage, will be adding his touch to menus and continuing the emphasis on wholesome, fresh foods with choices that can tantalize all palates. Jim Snyder most recently worked in Steamboat Springs heading Intrawest’s 80 restaurants at six winter resorts, and earlier in his career had management responsibilities over Good Earth’s Restaurants.
For those who want to explore Sun Valley’s restaurants beyond where they may have dined before, there are some semi-secret spots. Many miss the Elkhorn Clubhouse Grille because it is neither in the Village nor on the mountain. Kelli Lusk, Public Relations and Communications Manager at Sun Valley, suggests trying the Elkhorn Clubhouse Grille on Monday or Friday nights for specials like burger night or an all-you-can-eat fish fry. She adds that River Run is also a great spot, and it is open this summer from 9:00am to 5:00pm. And for people dedicated to wellness, there are healthy choices for locally-sourced fare at the Konditorei (except perhaps the tempting European pastries) in the Village.
The Spa is also tweaking up a new menu of spa treatments under the direction of the new Sun Valley Spa Director, Tracy Harper. Before arriving to oversee the 20,000-square-foot spa, full-service salon, and fitness center, Tracy Harper headed a spa and fitness center in Horseshoe Bay, Texas, and previous to that managed the spa at Hotel Park City.
In keeping with Sun Valley’s emphasis on health and wellness and finding new expressions, Sun Valley is offering occasional Saturday yoga sessions at River Run, Yoga on the Mountain, for a second year.
Reflecting on Sun Valley’s plans for the summer—playing in the sunshine; gasping at the moves of leaping ice skaters; hearing all types of live music; eating delicious meals with an emphasis on fresh ingredients; enjoying a spa treatment followed by a splash in the pool and a cold drink with an umbrella; and then adding in some yoga stretches before pedaling off on a bicycle—it just may add up to be more than a little bit of wonderful.
Plus, there is a complete, total solar eclipse!!!!!