Strolling in a Winter Wonderland

Holidays in Sun Valley are simply magical. Snow glistens on the mountains and on evergreen leaves, horses pull colorful sleighs, the focus is on family and the simple joy of spending time together. If you’re looking for a place where Christmas looks like it should, look no further than Sun Valley!

Sun Valley’s season of merriment and joy kicks into high gear on December 9 with the Winter Wonderland celebration. Ho, ho, ho!

The season is a true Winter Wonderland, and the celebration by that name that kicks off December 9 is a feast for all the senses with gorgeous decorations, scents of gingerbread and hot cocoa, the beautiful harmonies of carolers, a fun scavenger hunt, and a breathtaking festival of lights. The opening event takes place in the charming Sun Valley Village from 1 to 4 p.m. on the 9th.  Bring the children and delight in many special activities including a village train that takes the little ones on an adventure through the resort that is known to bring smiles from ear-to-ear! Spend some time at the Boiler Room at a kids’ gingerbread and cookie decorating party. All kinds of candies, sprinkles, and frostings will be available to inspire children to decorate beautiful (and delicious!) holiday cookies. Yummy seasonal food offerings will be available throughout the Village and live musical performances of holiday favorites set the stage for a wonderful afternoon. Did I mention the opportunity for some great photos with Santa, too? The jolly man will be in the Village ready to listen to any and all Christmas wishes!

Climb aboard! The children’s train at the Winter Wonderland celebration is a perennial favorite

Another fun part of the Winter Wonderland kick-off party is the start of Sun Valley’s annual Scavenger Hunt. Participants can pick up their cards at the Guest Information Center in the Sun Valley Village starting on the 9th and visit all the shops (11 in all) at the Resort. At each stop, there will be a darling Tyrolean bear incorporated into festive holiday windows. The bear will be engaged in an activity like skydiving or giving a gift. Children will match the name of the store with the description of the bear’s activity on their card. Once all locations and activities are connected, they can turn the card in for a holiday-themed prize. “Children love to take part in the scavenger hunt, and we love to make it special for them,” said Stacey Timmons Ehleringer, Sun Valley’s Director of Retail. “They enjoy the beautiful holiday decorations and the fun of filling out their cards.” The Scavenger Hunt continues all season long through December 31 and is a favorite activity for locals and visitors alike.

The festivity at the Village continues into December with many special events. A wonderful way to actually enjoy holiday shopping is at the Open-Air Holiday Market on December 16 and 17. More than 20 top local and regional vendors will set up tents on the Opera House Lawn and wow shoppers with wonderful unique gifts. Modeled after Europe’s famed Christmas Markets, Sun Valley’s will offer unique, handcrafted holiday wares. Carolers will provide a festive live soundtrack for shoppers browsing one-of-a-kind presents, sipping on rich hot cocoa, nibbling on fresh baked treats, and soaking in the season. Austrian-themed food and drink will be available for purchase, too.

Get creative (and maybe a bit messy) at the cookie-decorating event at the Boiler Room.  The best part? You can eat your mistakes!

Be sure to stop into Sun Valley’s wonderful Village shops, too, to shop for everything from cashmere to designer skiwear; toys to special hostess gifts. The Girls on the Run chapter of the Wood River Valley will provide a free ‘wrap and run’ service from 1 – 6 p.m. at the Sun Valley Signature Shop to help make purchases look spectacular. On both the 15th and 16th, from 1 – 6 p.m., there will be even more special shopping opportunities. The first, a Glassybaby “Road Show” features the very popular hand-blown collectible glass votives from Seattle. The event benefits I Have A Dream Foundation – Idaho and will be held at the Sun Valley Lodge Gift Shop.  At Sun Valley Signatures, new work by favorite local artist Nancy Liston will be featured in special trunk shows. Shoppers can preview new winter designs and the release of the 2017 limited edition Holiday ornament. The artist will be on hand for demonstrations and personalization of her Sun Valley-themed ceramics, paintings and hand-dyed scarves.

Special holiday shopping opportunities abound in December – from and Open Air Market to the Glassybaby Road Show

Also on the 16th, be sure to stick around for the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony in the Village. The party begins at 5:30 p.m. and includes a visit from Santa, the Sun Valley Carolers, live holiday music, an ice carving demo, free cookies and hot cocoa, and a no-host bar. Sun Valley pulls out all the stops to create a gorgeous festival of lights in the Village and the ice sculptures have to be seen to be believed. It’s truly a magical night. Stores will be open late, and the exciting new Village Station restaurant will also be open to welcome patrons for a delicious bite or a drink.

Sun Valley during the holidays is alight with glittering trees, made even more beautiful when the resort’s official Christmas tree is lit on December 16

Please check back to this blog next week for more “don’t-miss” ways to celebrate the season in Sun Valley.

Here, the holidays are filled with wonder and an old-fashioned charm that is getting harder and harder to find. Be sure to kick the season off by enjoying the Winter Wonderland, the Open-Air Market, and the Tree Lighting Ceremony. It’s only the beginning!


Cheers to the season!

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