Hemingway made his home here; Bruce and Demi own much of the town; George Soros’s vintage Wagoneer is a frequent sight on the local streets. The place is Sun Valley, Idaho, long a ski destination for the rich and famous, albeit one that’s far more low key than Park City or Aspen.
Here, everyone from J.Crew’s Mickey Drexler to Clint Eastwood to Dree Hemingway and Scout is basically free to ski and, in summer, sun, undisturbed amidst a stunning snow-capped backdrop that rivals the Alps. If you missed the beginning of ski season this year—fear not. A record snowfall this year means that the fabled Bald Mountain (and its smaller companion, Dollar, to which Katy Perry was relegated during her visit last year) will be open for business through late April, and skiing in a bikini top is not unheard of.
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And as locals say, “people come for the skiing and stay for the summer,” so opportunities to visit abound. But hurry—The New York Times has named Sun Valley one of the top places to visit in 2017, so be sure to get there before the crowds.
Below, we’ve compiled the best places to stay, see, and visit in the area.
SUN VALLEY RESORT: Imagine your ideal mountain retreat—grand lobby, fireplaces aplenty, snow-capped views—and you’ll find it at this storied retreat, established in 1936. The recently-renovated hotel’s halls are lined with archival photos of illustrious guests from Clint Eastwood—who still hits the slopes early morning—to Marilyn Monroe.
GALENA LODGE: Those in search of more rustic accommodations (read: no wifi) can book one of the coveted yurts at the remote mountain lodge outside of town. It’s the ideal jumping off point for various skate-ski and snowshoe trails, and the views atop the surrounding mountains are unparalleled. If you favor more conventional accomodations, it’s still worth a trip for dinner and a sunset snowshoe on select evenings. Book ahead.
SUN VALLEY RESORT SPA: The recently-renovated resort also features a world-class spa, to which you can adjourn for an après-ski hot stone massage or a signature Carita facial, followed by a dip in the hotel’s idyllic heated outdoor pool, which steams enticingly in front of a stunning mountain backdrop.
THE PIONEER SALOON: No trip to Sun Valley is complete without dinner at The Pioneer Saloon (or the Pio, as locals call it), a taxidermy-festooned, wild-west feeling favorite. Start with drinks in the boisterous bar area, then adjourn to the dining room for the special trout or an insider’s choice, the Jim Spud, a baked potato loaded with all the usual fixin’s as well as world-class steak. Extra points for recognizing where it’s name comes from—it’s an homage to the preferred meal of Jim, the affable host. Order the mud pie for dessert.
THE KNEADERY: Daytime sister restaurant to the Pio (and with an almost as impressive taxidermy collection), where they serve up delicious pancakes, benedicts, and omelettes as well as lunch fare until 2 PM daily.
THE GRILL AT KNOB HILL: “Rocky Mountain fare” is the vibe at this delicious restaurant, situated in at another local hotel; perfect for date night and comfort food like fried chicken, prime rib, or schnitzel.
TRAIL CREEK CABIN: If you’re staying at the Lodge in winter, request a sleigh ride to this romantic cabin that’s located on the edge of the woods just outside of town. You’ll be greeted by a roaring fire and the most delicious bread—make sure to order German chocolate cake for dessert. If you’re staying elsewhere, you can drive right up.
ENOTECA: Happening Italian restaurant right next to the Pio with delicious flatbreads. Make a reservation as it’s a hot ticket right now.
LIZZY’S FRESH COFFEE (open only until 3 PM): This tucked-away spot has the best brew in town and roasts the beans in-house, a process you can watch thanks to the open floor plan.
THE MILL: Crave some exercise beyond skiing? Tiffany Larson’s new treadmill studio is your ticket for private and group running and strength combo classes that will work off all the rich foods you’ll inevitably be sampling.
ZENERGY: You can buy a week-long membership to this luxury gym, which boasts state-of-the-art equipment, hot yoga and other great classes, an indoor-outdoor pool and hot tub with memorable mountain vistas. Especially striking at sunset.
BRASS RANCH: The high-end ski shop offers the best of the best mountain attire, from Rossignol at the more affordable level right up to the most luxurious styles from Moncler and Bogner. Stop by the adjacent pro shop to have your boots adjusted and your feet will thank you.
THE GOLD MINE CONSIGN: Stop by here for chic secondhand furs and finery; visit the sister store Gold Mine Thrift down the block for mega-deals on clothes and ski equipment (a recent trip yielded a Missoni hat for $8 and a Bogner ski jacket for $30) all to benefit the cozy community library.
DÉJÀ VU: Suzy Hart’s jewel box of a vintage shop features an impeccably-curated selection of all the staples: Gucci, Prada, Chanel, as well as an array of fabulous furs and Hepburn-worthy ski styles.