This year will mark Sun Valley Co.’s 77th winter season, and to celebrate, the resort is offering a few new treats and traditions for visitors and locals alike. They include an international art display, new adventure trails, a new snow-tubing location at the River Run base, the reopening of the Sun Valley Lodge Dining Room and a whole new world of on-mountain dining.
International art display
This year, the Sun Valley Mall will be transformed into an outdoor art exhibit for the first annual Winter Wonderland Festival and Holiday Window Stroll. A Sun Valley Co. news release states the new tradition will feature 13 international art displays that honor the cultural diversity of the holidays and festive celebrations around the globe, “from Italy to Norway, Kenya to China, Russia to Argentina.”
According to the resort, featured artists will include Oklahoma’s Danielle Davis, England’s Ben Javens, Argentina’s Miguel Ornia-Blanco and Finland’s Janine Rewal.
“This is an exceptional cultural and celebratory experience for our local community and visitors from around the world,” said Tim Silva, Sun Valley Co. general manager. “We are confident this fun and interactive event will become a new Sun Valley family tradition.”
Those who attend the exhibit will receive a “passport” to be stamped at every display. Each stamp will feature a holiday greeting in a different language. Participants will also be given a seasonal confection at the end of their stroll. The stroll opens today, Nov. 23, and will be on display until Jan. 4. It will be free and open to the public.
The art displays will serve as festive backdrops for a Winter Wonderland Gala on Dec. 1. The gala will feature an unveiling of the resort’s 2012 Gingerbread Village display, a Window Stroll Scavenger Hunt, wagon rides and a taste of Sun Valley tapas from The Ram restaurant and Bald Mountain Pizza, followed by visits with Santa.
New adventure trails
Bald Mountain will feature two new “adventure trails” this year that will provide banked-turn fun through the trees for “kids” of all ages. The first, located on Seattle Ridge to the left of Christin’s Silver, will be called Pine Martin Plunge, and the second, located just below Gun Tower Lane to the right of Cold Springs Cut Off, will be called Deer Hollow.
“They get their names based on what goes on there,” said Peter Stearns, Sun Valley Co.’s director of mountain operations. “For example, a lot of deer like to hang out in the trees near Deer Hollow.”
Stearns said Sun Valley Co. decided to expand the adventure trail system this year due to the popularity of the five adventure trails the resort added last year.
“The adventure trails naturally teach skill development,” Stearns said. “They offer great terrain-based learning. Plus, the kids really ranted positively about them last year.”
Snow-tubing at River Run
As part of a Sun Valley Co. effort to increase the vibrancy of family-friendly après-ski at the River Run Day Lodge, the resort’s snow-tubing setup has been moved to the River Run base this year and will remain open after the chairlifts close for the day. Also, the River Run Lodge will be open later this year.
“The River Run Lodge and the moving carpet lift for tubing will be open at least until dusk,” Stearns said. “The tubing run won’t be as long as it was on Dollar [Mountain]. We’re trying to build a snow play place at the River Run base. The target is more for younger kids than teenagers.”
Stearns said the music scene at the River Run base will be enhanced this year and that the idea is for parents to be able to enjoy a cocktail or snack after skiing—even into the early evening—while the kids have fun tuckering themselves out in the snow.
Lodge Dining Room to reopen
The resort plans to reopen its grandiose Lodge Dining Room at the Sun Valley Lodge, Jack Sibbach, Sun Valley Co. director of marketing and public relations, said.
“The Lodge Dining Room was not open last winter or summer except for Christmas,” Sibbach said. “But it’s a very special room and we want people to be able to enjoy it. It’s going to be very fine dining.”
Sibbach said the room will be open seven nights a week from 7-9 p.m. starting Dec. 1.
Konditorei gets remodel
The Konditorei at the Sun Valley Mall is currently undergoing a remodel, but will reopen with a return to Austrian authenticity on Dec. 22.
“The thing I’m most excited for this year is the Konditorei,” Sibbach said. “It’s going to be a real konditorei, not just a coffee shop any more. I think it’s going to be a great dining experience. We’re making an effort to give it more Austrian flare.”
Sibbach said “konditorei” is an Austrian word for a gathering place that serves fresh pastries, sandwiches and coffee.
“We’re going to have sit-down table service now and all fresh food,” he said. “The staff will wear authentic, handmade Austrian uniforms. During Christmas, we’ll even have a zither player there.”
Sibbach said the Konditorei, when it reopens, will offer a much more ample selection of food than it has recently and will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Brennan Rego: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sun Valley reshapes on-mountain dining
Sun Valley Co.’s on-mountain dining is going to be different this year. Radically different. John Murcko, Sun Valley’s Co.’s recently hired director of culinary operations, will initiate his first winter at the resort by giving each lodge on Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain “its own personality.”
“Just like skiers and snowboarders tour the mountain looking for different terrain and experiences, I want them to tour the mountain the same way when it comes to cuisine,” Murcko said.
But what will each lodge’s “personality” be? Here’s what Murcko said:
River Run Lodge: “The River Run Lodge will feature global cuisine. The Asian wok and American grill will still be there, as well as a Mediterranean deli zone and more.”
Roundhouse: “We’ve completely remodeled the kitchen at the Roundhouse. The food will be different, as well. I call it a modern bistro flare.”
Lookout Lodge: “Lookout’s going to be a taqueria now. It’s going to be a great value place on the mountain. The tacos will only be about $3. It’s going to be a great place to share snacks with friends when you get cold.”
Seattle Ridge Lodge: “We just bought a new grill for the Seattle Ridge Lodge. The concept there is to do a classic American grill. We’re going to cook on cherry and almond woods to add flavor.”
Warm Springs Lodge: “We will offer an elevated level of service there. People won’t have to get their own silverware or water and the tables will be bussed. The food will be what I call casual gourmet.”
Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge: “The food at Dollar will be geared toward the youth and younger generation user groups. Out approach will be American comfort food. We’re going to serve mashed potatoes, which is my favorite food to eat while skiing.”