Sun Valley, Idaho, is rightly known as one of the great ski destinations in America. After all, this is the place that pioneered the very first chair lift back in the 1930s. As winter moves into spring, summer and fall, what emerges from the snow is a beautiful green resort with plenty of unique opportunities. Here are five ways to fill your days and nights.
A bit of winter's chill is still in the air even in the sunshine as Sun Valley has a year round outdoor skating rink. Take the rare chance for the need to apply sunscreen before you skate as you bask in the the warmth and skate in the summer sun.
Head back to the rink on certain nights when top figure skaters such as 2014 Olympic medalist Gracie Gold take to the rink for ice shows. Add to the evening by arranging a gourmet dinner as you watch the performance.
The Sun Valley Pavilion is a tent covered concert hall that is the perfect blend of indoors and outdoors. You can feel the breeze while sitting in the 1,500-seat arena, but the tensile fabric overhead keeps out any unwanted rain or the strong mountain sun. There are terraces on either side of the stage where you can pick up a pitcher of margaritas to help you enjoy the show.
If you want to see the stars while listening to music, the grass-covered hill area behind the Pavilion can seat 3,000 more concertgoers.
The Sun Valley area was a favorite hunting spot for writer and local resident Ernest Hemingway, as well as Hollywood stars such as Clark Gable and Gary Cooper when they visited the area. That tradition continues at the Sun Valley Gun Club where shooters can try trap, skeet, and clays.
If you're not a sharpshooter or have never tried shooting before, take the opportunity to get personal lessons from certified instructors who will turn you into a straight shooter in no time.
Afterwards, go across the street to Trail Creek Cabin for beautiful views and a seasonal dinner menu with a Western flare.
With three different courses totaling 45 holes, there's something for every type of golfer. The Elkhorn Golf Club is semi-private and has 100 sand traps spread out over 7,200 yards to give golfers a challenge. Trail Creek is Sun Valley's signature course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. The nine-hold White Clouds Course offers stunning 360-degree views of the surrounding area.
There's also the option of the 18-hole Sawtooth Putting Course, which lets everyone, including kids, enjoy the fun of putting on actual greens.
Whatever course you play, stop by the Sun Valley Club and sit on the deck as you enjoy the offerings from the full restaurant and bar.
What would a mountain resort be without mountain biking and hiking in the warm summer sun? At Bald Mountain, you can put together any combination of getting up and down through hiking, biking, a gondola ride or a trip on the ski lift.
Hikes range in level from beginner to challenging, while bikers can experience everything from uphill climbs to downhill switchback trails. However you spend your day on the mountain, make sure to save time for a burger and incredible views at the famous Roundhouse. This 1939 landmark sits mid-mountain at the end of the gondola line so you don't even have to hike or bike to get there.
Mountain resorts are a great place to visit for activities in spring, summer and fall. Sun Valley offers not only traditional mountain and resort activities such as hiking, biking and golf, but its also a place to try unusual activities like skating outdoors and skeet shooting.
What are your favorite mountain resort activities?
Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.
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Kathleen Curry and Geoff Griffin are hosts of The Travel Brigade Show - a weekly travel and destination podcast. Kathleen Curry is experienced in both the travel industry and broadcasting. She has worn the hats of travel writer, photographer, travel agent and hospitality evaluator. Her advice of, “No excuses, just travel!” reaches out to listeners who pick up on her enthusiasm for travel and benefit from her savvy advice. Her travel guilty pleasures are eating at a street-cart vendor so she can splurge later to order room service, finding deals to rack up sky miles so she can book her next flight and hoping her social security comes through some day because she has spent her future retirement savings trekking the globe.
Geoff Griffin is a reformed attorney turned travel junkie with over two decades of experience as a journalist and editor specializing in sports, outdoor recreation and travel. His current philosophy is that there are two stages in life - You’re either on a trip, or you’re planning your next trip. His travel guilty pleasure is trying recreation adventures that require the use of an expert guide to keep him from harming himself or hopping on a plane knowing nothing about his destination other than the airport code and wandering about a new town while relying on the locals to point him to the best places.
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