By Roger Cox, Editor
Notwithstanding its reputation as a winter destination, Sun Valley is if anything even more appealing in summer. The ice-skating rink behind the fabled lodge operates year-round, but from June into fall it has to compete with tennis, golf, mountain biking, flyfishing, and a host of mountain recreation.
Its complex of 17 hard courts adjoins a large recreational swimming pool a short walk from the lodge. The outside deck at the modest pro shop has views across some of the courts at the grassy slopes of Bald Mountain.
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Though its summer season is relatively short—essentially early June to early September—Sun Valley hosts a solid set of programs on its 18 hard courts. Mark Rodel directs, offering clinics, Cardio tennis, midweek adult social on a weekly basis supplemented by adult day camps, round robins, and tournaments on selected dates during the high season. Juniors, meanwhile, can look forward to their own clinics and a handful of five-day day camps with beginner-intermediate sessions in the mornings and advanced sessions in the afternoons.
Courts & Fees. 17 hard courts and a full-service pro shop. Court fees: $25/90 minutes.
Trail Creek Golf Course: Robert Trent Jones, Jr. redesigned these 18 holes back in 1980, but Golf Digest still regarded it as one of the Top 75 courses in the country. Its fairways cross Trail Creek seven times, a natural repository of stray shots as are the ominous and well-positioned bunkers. 6,846 yards, Par 72.
Elkhorn Golf Course: A collaboration between Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Jr., Elkhorn is riddled with water hazards. Built in 1974 but acquired by the Sun Valley Company in 2011 it remains private to guests of the resort have access to its 7,214 testing yards and large, undulating greens.
White Clouds Golf Course: Just 9 holes but remarkable for its 360-degree views of the valley.
Spa & Fitness Center. Sun Valley Village has a, frankly, minimalist fitness center, containing little more than a few cardiovascular machines and some free weights.
And ... Recreation within the resort includes the ice skating rinks, an equestrian center, a gun club, an Olympic-size swimming pool adjacent to the tennis center, and a bowling alley (downstairs in the Sun Valley Lodge), while the valley itself has a wealth of hiking, biking, and mountain bike trails, kayaking, fishing, and much, much more.
The resort runs a summer day camp for kids ages 6-14 and a half-day or full-day Playschool for those as young as 6 months.
The classic place to stay is, of course, the fabled Sun Valley Lodge. Built in 1936, this historic four-story hotel is a short walk from the tennis center. Its 148 rooms have French country interiors and furnishings, marble baths, and large-screen televisions. Otherwise options include the Sun Valley Inn, standard and deluxe condominiums, and cottages.
Options in the resort village range from delis to the Lodge Dining Room, but for more memorable cuisine head into town to places like the ever-popular Pioneer Saloon (steaks), Big Wood Bread Bakery (breads, homemade granola, soups, and sandwiches) or Michel's Christiania, to name a few.
If you like the sound of Sun Valley, also check out these mountain resorts:
There are several choices of lodging: the famous Sun Valley Lodge, which has rooms and suites; the nearby Sun Valley Inn; two categories of condominiums—Standard, which have 1 to 4 bedrooms; and Deluxe, which include Lodge apartments and 2- or 3-bedroom units—and Cottages, which range in size from 2 to 5 bedrooms.
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Travel Instructions. The resort is 12 miles north of Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey. Horizon Air and Delta's SkyWest provide service via such gateways as Boise, Seattle, and Salt Lake City. Ground transportation to the resort is available from Sun Valley Express (1-877-622-VANS). There are also several rental-car agencies at the airport.
General Tourist Information. For information about vacationing in Sun Valley, contact the Sun Valley/Ketchum Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 2420, Sun Valley, ID 83353; 800-634-3347.